We answer these questions:
- How do we train?
- How do I work with my tutor?
- How should I send and receive assignments?
- What if I need an extension?
- What if I encounter a computer-related problem?
- What if I have chosen the wrong course?
How do we train?
Once you have decided on a course and have enrolled and registered for the course via our website, you can start your course straight away. We will send you the course notes via email and link you with your tutor.
Our courses are practical, writing-intensive and industry-based. Our aim is that you can walk away with a finished product that is up to industry standard, that you can sell or have published. We are committed to providing you with an expert mentor to guide you through the course notes and assignments to help you achieve this aim.
We (the admin team
) are available to help or offer advice at any point, from your first encounter with our writing school, to your graduation from your course. Your tutor is also available at any time during the week to answer your queries or mark your assignments.
How are we different from other online writing schools or community writing classes?
You may have noticed that our website doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles and flashy ads. We don't sell gimmicks like "Write your novel in X number of days" or "Write a best-seller and grow rich", primarily because being a writer is almost never a get-rich-quick-scheme. On the contrary, it can be hard work!
We don't offer classes with general feedback or even less effective - feedback from your classmates. What we do is provide the old-fashioned writing apprenticeship: working under a master in the field and crafting your writing skills line by line.
Many of our tutors run MA programmes in Creative Writing or Journalism at various universities around the world. At our college you can train under superb tutors for a fraction of the cost of a university degree.
How do I work with my tutor?
We only work online, via e-mail correspondence. Once your application has been accepted and you have paid for your course, you will be emailed your first module. A module consists of course notes, examples and the assignments you need to complete. You will also receive an email from your tutor welcoming you to the course.
Any questions you have pertaining to your course you should ask your tutor. This could range from discussing a certain point in the notes, to how to interpret a task in the assignments. Tutors enjoy students who engage with them and are happy to share advice and opinions with you.
Once you have completed the first assignment you should send it directly to your tutor. You will receive the next module from the tutor and shortly after you will receive marks and feedback on the work you have done. The course progresses like this until you have completed all of the modules. You will find that you soon develop a comfortable working relationship with your tutor.
How should I send and receive assignments?
Being an online college, we embrace the scope offered by the electronic format delivery of the Internet. All work is sent to you as either a Microsoft .doc file or an Adobe .pdf file. These will be viewable on any computer system, both Mac's OSX operation system and Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. You will of course need Adobe's Acrobat reader for .pdf's or Microsoft Word for .doc's. Some courses will require you to log into the student centre of our website and download audio examples. These are always in the .mp3 format and will be playable on the huge range of software around that supports the format.
When sending assignments to your tutor we recommend the .doc (or .docx) format. This is probably the most commonly used format in the world and the format that all of our tutors are able to open. It also allows the tutor to directly add comments or corrections where appropriate. If you don't have MS Word then any plain text editor will be fine, for example the free NotePad software is fine.
Just a word to Mac users. If you use a native product to the Mac please make sure you save it in a format that can be read by your tutor. Purchasing Word for the Mac is a great idea for compatibility with the industry but anything will do as long as it is readable by the tutors. If you need any technical assistance contact admin.
What if I need an extension?
All our courses are designed to be completed within the specified timeframe by a person who is in full-time employment. However, there are some instances (i.e. a crisis) where you may need to stop your studies for a set time or where you need an extension. We understand that life happens and we want to see you successfully complete your course. There are several options available.
- A formal break from the course - Should you need to stop studying you need to let your tutor and admin know. We will then freeze your course for up to six months and await your instruction before we restart it. The duration of the break needs to be reasonable as there should be some continuity during the course. For example, a few weeks to a few months would be fine. For longer periods your tuition may become too fragmented and the successful completion of the course compromised. All extensions are subject to tutor approval and availability.
- If you need an extension - All requests for extensions must be made to the college principal. You need to state a reason and a note is placed on your student record and we will ask you to commit to a new deadline. Please note: we only grant extensions in selected cases, and receiving an extension on a deadline-driven journalism course, for instance, is rare. Depending on the reason given, you may or may not be awarded a certificate as you will have gone over the time allocation. We will allow you to continue your course until completed provided your tutor is still available. We will also liaise with your tutor before we grant an extension.
What if I encounter a computer-related problem?
There are things that can go wrong. You may forget your password or not be able to log in. You may not be receiving modules or they arrive corrupted. You might have a computer virus and can't work on your assignments. For course-related queries your first port of call would be your tutor. If you don't get a solution you need to let admin know. For anything technical or outside of course-specific problems, write to admin. The administrative function of the college serves to support the student with any problems that occur. We aim to respond immediately or at least within one working day. We will work on a solution until the problem is solved and you are satisfied.
What if I have chosen the wrong course?
During the application process we get a good idea of your suitability for the chosen course. If we feel there is an alternative course that will serve you better we will always recommend you consider that course before we approve your choice. We provide plenty of detail for each of our courses so you can make an educated choice as to which one will suit you best. If you want advice before you apply just ask us; we have a huge amount of experience in establishing your needs as a writer and finding the most suitable course for you.
If you do embark on a course and you find that it was the wrong choice, then we will happily transfer you to another course as long as it is early in your course (i.e. within the first module). If you change your mind later on in the course, we will charge you pro rata for the modules you have completed and an administrative fee.
Does it matter where I live in South Africa?
Not at all. The beauty of an online writing course is that you can study from anywhere in South Africa.
Our SA Writers’ College writing course students are from these parts of South Africa: Cape Town, Western Cape; Johannesburg, Gauteng; Durban, KwaZulu-Natal; Pretoria, Gauteng; Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape; Bloemfontein, Free State; Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Kimberley, Northern Cape; Polokwane, Limpopo and Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.