How to choose an education provider

If you are going to study abroad, you may be wondering which institution of higher education to choose? Where can you get the highest quality education? And which university diploma is more valued among employers? There are thousands of universities in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand offering programs for international students. In this article, we will talk about the types of educational institutions and their differences.


Universities provide the most prestigious higher education. The programs are academic, but more and more universities are trying to make their programs more applied, develop courses in conjunction with industry representatives, include internships to better prepare their graduates for further work. The teaching staff, as a rule, is very highly qualified, and the technical equipment of universities sometimes boggles the imagination: medical and engineering laboratories, libraries, sports grounds, courts, gyms, modern classrooms – all this is at the disposal of students for comfortable and exciting learning.

There are 42 universities in Australia, but the most prestigious ones are included in the famous Group of Eight.

There are 8 universities in New Zealand, which are in the top 3% of universities globally. The University of Auckland is the most prestigious of them.

There are 97 universities in Canada offering programs not only in English but also in French. The University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of British Columbia are among the top 100 universities in the world

Famous for its longest tradition in education, the UK has 133 universities. Among them are the most prestigious and well-known worldwide, such as the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

There are currently 10 universities in Ireland, the most prestigious of which is Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin.

University tuition fees are the highest compared to other types of providers. One year at university can cost:

  • In Australia – A $ 25,000 – 40,000;
  • In New Zealand – NZ $ 25,000 – 40,000;
  • In Canada – CA $ 15,000 – 20,000;
  • In the UK – £ 10,000 – £ 38,000;
  • In Ireland — € 20 000 — € 29 000.

State Institutes

In different countries, this educational institution class may be called differently: TAFE in Australia, Institute of Technology or Polytechnic in New Zealand and Ireland, public college in Canada and the UK, but the essence is the same. These are public educational institutions focused on practical programs in a variety of areas – from trades and engineering to business and IT. Their main task is to prepare students for the job and give them the skills they need in real life. You will find a large number of vocational education programs here, but many institutes also offer undergraduate and graduate programs.

Public institutes tend to employ industry professionals who can share their real-life experiences with students. It gives them a slight advantage over universities, where many teachers have never left the academic environment and know about their subject only from books and scientific research.

The campuses of state institutes are not as large as those of universities, but the technical equipment is of a high standard. Workshops, halls with machines and equipment, laboratories, recording studios help students to master their professions in practice. New Zealand institutes even maintain their own vineyards and orchards for winemaking and horticulture courses.

Price for one year of study at public institutes and colleges:

  • In Australia – A $ 7,000 – 20,000;
  • In New Zealand – NZ $ 18,000 – 25,000;
  • In Canada – CA $ 11,000 – 18,000;
  • In the UK – £ 10,000 – £ 25,000;
  • In Ireland — € 10 000 — € 20 000.

In the UK, polytechnics were given university status in 1992, so they are now part of the so-called “New Universities” group, but there are public colleges as well.

Private institutes and colleges

Private institutes and colleges are usually the least prestigious and most affordable institutions. The exception is some prestigious specialised colleges, where the tuition fees and the diploma value can be comparable to universities, for example, the Media Design School in Auckland.

Private educational institutions offer programs in business, management, marketing, information technology, and design. They have smaller campuses than state institutes, but it also has advantages. The small number of students in the class allows teachers to devote time and attention to each student. In small institutes, teachers often know all their students by name and are always ready to help if they need additional help.

Tuition fees at private institutes and colleges are much lower than at universities:

  • In Australia – A $ 9,000 – 15,000
  • In New Zealand – NZ $ 10,000 – 20,000;
  • In Canada – CA $ 7,000 – 15,000;
  • In the UK – £ 10,000 – £ 15,000;
  • In Ireland — € 10 000 — € 15 000.

Which university to choose?

When choosing a university, you need to consider several factors, such as your future career plans, the chosen speciality and budget. If the prestige of education is essential to you or you plan to engage in scientific research, then you should choose a university. If you aim to obtain an applied speciality for further employment, for example, in the field of engineering or construction, then a public institute will be the best option. And if you are on a tight budget and are considering business or IT programs, then a private college suits you well.

What is better in terms of further employment? According to our students’ experience, university prestige is the last thing employers look at. Your work experience, skills, English level, and ability to present yourself at an interview are more important. You can read more about it in our article How to find a job.

If you struggle to choose a university, contact us. Our consultants will help you select a university and education program.

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