National Design Academy, Diploma in Professional Interior Design Reviews

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“In-studio course not worth the money”

★★★☆☆

written by RonanBullock on 26/10/2023

When I chose the expensive in-studio course option of the diploma in interior design at the National Design Academy, I had not envisaged that I would spent half of my in-studio time doing independent studies. The course is stretched over 2 weeks but could easily have been done in one week. The structure of each week is: lessons in the morning and independent work on the assignments in the afternoon. In the second week, you will have even more independent studies with the Thursday being fully dedicated to independent studies. Expect lots of time spent looking at your laptop! The positive: -Teachers. They are very friendly and interesting to listen to, especially when they go off script answering questions and talking about their own experiences. Teachers are the only reason I gave this review 3 stars instead of one. -doing some of the assignments gives you the practice you might lack. Content: I found the material covered to be rather basic: nothing that I hasn't already heard from a competent Youtubers or tiktokers. It also fails to address the needs of nowadays society. The module on hand drawn technical drawings was very interesting but I would question this approach in our technology filled era. Client will expect computer generated images so learning about CAD or SketchUp instead (even at a very basic level) might have been a better use of time. . Some essential aspect such as how to develop an idea were not addressed at all, not even in passing. What also lacked was the module that was removed during the streamlining of the course: furniture design. There was no introduction either to sketching or rendering (not even hand-drawn rendering given that we had done hand-drawn plans.) We tried to address those lacks by asking for an introduction to CAD rather than a day of independent study. We were told to enrol on the virtually delivered course (which is nearly 1000 pounds!). That virtual course cover 3 online design tools (CAD, SketchUp and Photoshop which of course you need to purchase prior to the course) and is a total of 12hrs spread over 6 weeks so there was more than enough time to fit an introduction to CAD into the in-studio course. The emphasis of the in-studio course is obviously on making money and on having the students complete the assignments (because it looks good for the business reputation to have students pass) with a minimum of input. It doesn't focus on imparting needed knowledge or providing value for money. In conclusion: This is the course for you if all you want is to pay a lot of money for a piece of paper to say you completed the course (which, by the way, has no value at the level of finding employment in that sector). Teachers will do their best to drag you through the stages during the in-studio-course and you'll get plenty of time to work on the assignment during the course (although you will still need to dedicate some time to finish after the course). If like me, you are interested in entering the profession, building up a business or getting as much info on all aspects of interior design as possible, look elsewhere. The diploma will only give you the very bare minimum needed to get the piece of paper which won't get you very far. NDA will then try to sell you their overpriced online degree course.

Was this review helpful? 6 1

“Best life decision I've made this year!”

★★★★★

written by jeanmarcward on 05/10/2023

The NDA is inspired and prepared me to enter into a BA program in Retail Design. Their tutors are hard working and dedicated to their students' success. This institute and awesome group of people made something and someone out of a guy who never got an A in anything in his life. I can't say thank you enough.

Was this review helpful? 0 0

“Uninspiring ”

★☆☆☆☆

written by Y00kinga87 on 18/02/2022

Dated website and course materials. Boring and uninspiring

Was this review helpful? 6 0

“very good company”

★★★★★

written by windshieldexperts on 15/11/2019

very good company.. The National Design Academy is the only institution to offer truly flexible, online, fully accredited interior design courses. From Diploma to Master's Degree level,

Was this review helpful? 3 7

“Good Course ”

★★★★☆

written by ErikHagan343 on 17/09/2016

I have done the NDA Interior Design Diploma. I think there needs to be some reform in the way that students that are unable to meet deadlines due extenuating circumstances or due to a changes in circumstances are dealt with. As it stands, a student would recieve a collection of automatic emails which seem to lead to loss of funding or call for the student to urgantly contact the office which can be quite stressful. Furthermore, some tutors are impersonal as there does not seem to be any thing to facilitate any kind of relationship between student and tutor. Events for students to connect and get inspired would be a great way for students to make connections and see their tutors informally as the student online community doesnt seem to be very active. However, inspite of these criticisms, the course content is good and provides a good understanding of interior design which can prepare you for the BA in Interior Design. The course inspired me creativity-wize and opportunities for work placements are also exciting. The staff were loverly (with the exception of one) and support and helpful study tools are available. This type of study is best suited to those that are comfortable with working independently.

Was this review helpful? 2 4

“Good”

★★★★☆

written by RosanaShewood on 01/06/2016

After reading the above, i feel the need to say something. If you sign a contract, like you do with the NDA, you have to stick to it. You can't just say this course is not for me and i want my money back.Of course they will chase the money that should have been paid, i know i would. I did the interior diploma and most of the units are creative and cool but some units are made for the practical side of the business and i can understand that is a boring subject but you need to know how an interior business works and how to run your business. The feedback takes up to 2 weeks(is room for improvement) but believe me, you need that time to recharge your batteries. In these 2 weeks, you will have access to your next module.Since i finished the diploma in 2013, they introduced new resources that will help you with your course and they improved the content. The tutors answer the emails as fast as they can and the NDA need to improve on this but you can always call them. They increased the time you have to complete an unit to 21 days i think. When i did it, it was only 18.You can always ask for extensions, so you are in no rush. I did the diploma with the degree in mind so it was a something that i can progress in to bigger things. I am now in my second year of Retail Design and the amount of work is no joke.I work full time and organising your study sessions is a must! Is up to you to learn as much as you can from these units or to just sit on your back side and moan about it. When i have a problem, all i have to is to call them and NDA will try their best to deal with it. The feedback is ok and fair and they provide advise on how to improve yourself.One thing that i would mentionis that they dont always give feedback on creativity. The conclusion is: The NDA is a decent place to study, is not perfect, but nothing is. They evolve all the time and i recently read a report conducted by Staffordshire University and the checks that NDA is going through are quite strict.

Was this review helpful? 6 3

“UTTER RIP OFF ”

★☆☆☆☆

written by Nyasiaa339 on 29/03/2016

I signed up for the Soft Furnishing course with the "Draw" of a £600 reduction. DO NOT DO IT! After having personal problems and unable to stick to the VERY rigid timeframe I was offered NO "Student Support" NO allowance for deferal just constant emails and letters threatening lose of subsidy IGNORED my email asking for someone to contact me to try and move forward so I can continue with this course. NOT INTERESTED IN HELPING THE STUDENTS JUST WANT YOUR MONEY The course itself is dated and quality is POOR Not even worth the £300 they DARED to charge me I am seeking legall advice to get a refund for this course, THERE IS NO WAY THEY ARE HAVING ANY MORE OF MY MONEY. Had I have read these reviews BEFORE enrolling I would NEVER have signed up! UTTER DISGRACE and cant believe Staffs Uni ACTUALLY Accredit this Fraudulent "Academy"

Was this review helpful? 4 2

“Awful!!”

★☆☆☆☆

written by on 09/02/2016

Awful communication! No help and constant threatening letters and emails. My partner was made redundant and I have been forced to do more hours at work to be able to pay the bills. This has left me unable to commit to the time frames that they ask for. They advert that you can do the course in your own time at your own pace but you are pressured in to submitting a unit in 21 days and if you don't you get threatened with being chucked off the course. I sent an email to my tutor explaining my situation and was polite and just asked me to email student support who can help me further. They said that I am unable to leave the course and that I will still owe the remaining balance. Which of course I had signed and I have agreed. She told me I owed 5 x 75 = £375 and we'll just leave it at that. (Mind you I paid £150 to begin with). Only to receive a letter 2 weeks later saying that I owe £600!!! And that they're going to invoice me and they need payment in the next 7 days. I have emailed numberous times and called to get someone to help me resolve this issue and explain why I now owe £600 but I have had no response. Anyone who thinks they can do a course in their own time with the NDA, you're wrong!

Was this review helpful? 3 0

“Poor Tutoring, Poor Structure, Easy Qualification”

★★☆☆☆

written by Eliv118 on 24/09/2015

I was extremely excited to start the Diploma in Professional Interior Design. The admissions staff were extremely friendly, the web chat was great and they expedited the signing up process so I could start really quickly. The first few units are extremely interesting and fun to do, however after unit 4 or 5 (there's 11 in total) you become slightly bored and demotivated, which is not helped by the fact that the tasks assigned are mundane and lacking in imagination. This is a design course, however there is very little encouragement to produce high quality work. The online portal has recently been updated and is flashy and classy, however the actual learning materials you will use are just downloadable PDFs which can be difficult to read and are extremely plain and disengaging. You can pay extra for paper materials to be sent to you - but they're just print outs of the PDFs, which you can do at home. The tutor feedback is ALWAYS negative or neutral (even when you've successfully passed a unit). There is never any encouragement, there's notes on how to improve on EVERY task. Obviously we can always improve everything we do, but if a unit is passed you can't redo it, rendering negative feedback useless. The notes do not relate to future work, it's always looking back at the work you've just done and is highly demotivating. The units towards the end of the course come with plain Microsoft Word templates for you to fill in (I'm assuming this is because people can't be bothered to put any effort in and they're trying to make it easier for you to complete the tasks). I cannot explain how pointless the final units are. A lot of the assignments require common sense answers and very basic knowledge. I've passed the majority of the units without even looking at the 100-odd page unit notes. They don't really contain any relevant content, just generic notes you can easily find on the internet. Overall, an easy qualification to gain if that's all you want to do, however the academy really doesn't pull its weight in engaging students and the tutors are frequently off on holiday or away teaching and don't really have the time to provide any assistance if you're stuck.

Mjbolivar's Comment

Written on: 28/09/2021

I generally don’t reply to any of this comment but I think it is fair that I give my personal opinion.

I had a completely different experience while taking this diploma.

Maybe having a nice tutor will make part of a difference. This tutor was always trying to engage with students with discussions and opinions about the subjects covered. Reviews and feedbacks were sensibly honest, and feedback was always fair and just.

Regarding the part of having templates to answer some units… I saw it as making it easy for you, because homeworks, specially the ones in the last units, were somehow extensive. So, I really appreciate them having templates to answer right away, without having the need for you to imagine how would you organize that extensive amounts of information into a proper presentation board.

And regarding the fact that sometimes common sense was required to do the assignment, it just show how mediocre someone wants to be. Of course it is interior design, not rocket science LOL. However, they provide enough material to read if people take some time to do it.

Definitely, as a student I understand that a “Diploma” is not a Bachelor’s degree; therefore, the content and extent is adjusted to the amount of time you will invest into it. You cannot compare a course which last one year maximum to a full degree of 3-4 years where you will have to cover in depth every topic.

I did the fast-track diploma in interior design and definitely I recommend it.

At the end of the day when you invest your time and money into a field of study you have to make sure that:

1) The institute is recognized by an university so the certificate will be valid to work independently.
2)You know the goals on the course you are choosing
3)You put some effort into it (even if you consider you are not being asked to do as much) because your success in the future will not greatly be affected by the institute you studied from, but by a combination of your personal effort and talent when reaching for your goals.

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Was this review helpful? 11 2

“Unjust feedback”

★☆☆☆☆

written by Tempie21 on 23/09/2015

Having studied with this academy for a while, I received feedback implying that I plagiarised part of my assignment. This was wholly not correct and they could not provide proof to back up their accusations. This has left me feeling both angry and upset a I have worked hard on the assignments and most certainly do not need to copy someone else's words, I am more than capable of writing my own. The quality of feedback is also very poor, it gives no direction or real guidance. If you are looking to enrol on an Interior Design course I would suggest looking elsewhere.

Was this review helpful? 4 0

“Produces excellent designers”

★★★★★

written by Wadefy210 on 29/08/2014

I currently employ two interior designers and two architects at my consultancy in England and we recently interviewed 24 applicants for an interior design position. Two of those applicants came from the National Design Academy & their work stood out as some of the best portfolio examples I have seen since working in this industry for over 30 years. The National Design Academy isn't particularly well known to the general public because not many school-aged students could manage the three/four years of incredibly focused/self directed study that takes place at the NDA. Most school-leavers, at least initially, want an easy-ride at university, and hence why the National Design Academy only attracts some of the most dedicated and talented applicants. This is much to do with the fact that it is specifically an interior design school, not just a 'general university with an interiors course' and it also due to the fact that students are expected to be extremely independent learners and develop a lot of project management skills too.

Nationaldesignacademy's Comment

Written on: 08/09/2014

Hello,

Many thanks for the kind review. We are glad that you appreciate the hard work and dedication that we see from all of our students and tutors at the National Design Academy.

Please let us know if we can ever be of any help to you in the future.

Many Thanks

Amy NDA

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Was this review helpful? 3 3

“Worse College ever”

★☆☆☆☆

written by Asia1967 on 22/07/2014

Do not waste your time and money. Poor material, poor communication and expensive.If you do not like the course they will charge you the full price even if you are not completing it. This college just want your money, once you sign the terms and conditions there is no way back.

Nationaldesignacademy's Comment

Written on: 28/07/2014

Hello,

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry that you were not happy with your National Design Academy experience. If you would like to discuss the matter further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Many Thanks

NDA

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Agundhner's Comment

Written on: 30/07/2014

I am very disappointed with the way NDA has dealt with the issues that I had which was caused by them and I had to pay for it. This was not fair at all.
Do not be fooled by this "Academy". They first lure you with a cheap price on the internet as funded student, but you have to finish the course within a year. It seen they cause issues during the course on purpose to get you behind, therefore you will not be able to complete the units within the agreed time.
They take ages to reply your emails and if they reply its always a reminder of that fee you have to pay if you withdraw from the course. Also after sending several emails to try to solve this issue they have a courage to state on a letter that you have not contact them and you get a letter from the legal department. Yeah, they will take you to COURT.
I paid a fee of £600.00 plus £ 295.00 to enrol as funded student and I have no qualification.
It is easy for NDA now to write some nice words on the internet and pretend that nothing happened. That is because they got what they wanted.MONEY!
BE AWARE! The cheapest course may not be the best option.








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Nationaldesignacademy's Comment

Written on: 08/08/2014

Hello,

Thank you for the reply.

It is always disappointing when one of our students fails to gain a qualification and we are sorry that you chose to leave the course at Unit 2 even though you had passed the unit.

However, we are subject to rigorous quality standards through AIM Awards, who award our Diplomas, and we are not allowed to ignore plagiarism or any other form of malpractice. Your assessor identified the website where you had taken the information from and in order to help your future development, she had to draw attention to this fact.

Tutor comments are always designed to be supportive and to help you improve and we would have been failing in our duty to help you achieve if we had neglected to point this out. Many students struggle with the concept of plagiarism but generally respond positively when we mention it. We recognise that it is usually a mistake and not a deliberate attempt to cheat and it was a shame that you did not give us the chance to help you progress and put this behind you

With regard to your payments, you signed a letter at the start of the course to say that if you withdrew, you would be liable for the full course fee, as the funding from the college would not be given. This is the same as any purchase agreement where you have not paid the full fee at the start. Unfortunately, as you chose to end the course without completing, we were just collecting the fee that you owed and the number of letters reflected the time it took.

Having read your early comments, you were excited to start the course so if you would like to continue with the programme to complete your qualification, at no further cost, please contact us. Our tutors would be happy to support you through the course.

Many Thanks NDA.

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Agundhner's Comment

Written on: 08/09/2014

Whatever Nda says will not change my opinion. Anyway, this is all my fault as you explained above, and I agree.
My mistake began when I choose Nda.

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Mjbolivar's Comment

Written on: 28/09/2021

Wow… they are willing to give you the opportunity to “resume” your programme where you left it, at No Further Cost… and you are still complaining?
Seriously?

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Was this review helpful? 2 0

“Great for a foot in the door”

★★★★☆

written by Kinsley161 on 09/04/2014

Curtain and soft furnishings. Great little course to get you started. Some info really needs updating though. Think they need to re read it. I am enjoying it and it's giving me lots of confidence. My only criticism is they are very slow at marking and I'm having to wait two weeks to get anything back. It's a shame as the tutors have changed and I really need to get this finished.

Nationaldesignacademy's Comment

Written on: 28/07/2014

Hello,

Thank you for the review. Glad you are enjoying the course. If you experience any troubles with the speed of marking, please do not hesitate to contact either your tutor or our main office who will be more than happy to rectify the problem.

Many Thanks

NDA

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Was this review helpful? 1 1

“Very disappointed”

★☆☆☆☆

written by on 30/01/2013

I signed up for the Diploma in professional interior design, I found support very limited, didn't have much time for students would recommend this course. I have to start all over again

Nationaldesignacademy's Comment

Written on: 28/07/2014

Hello,

Thank you for your comments. I'm sorry to hear that you are not enjoying the course. If you would like to discuss any issues in more detail then please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing or calling us. We will be more than happy to help in rectifying any problems.

Many Thanks

NDA

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Was this review helpful? 2 0

“fantastic course”

★★★★★

written by on 23/02/2012

I started this course in 2010 not knowing what i really wanted to do, i qualified as a hairdresser and didn't really like it. i paid £99 for the diploma in professional interior design which was a bargain, you get all the course notes that you need and a dvd which is optional but does help. The tutors are really helpful and respond via email pretty quickly. I was amazed how much information this course actually gives you. I finished my course within a year although you may finish earlier, i have young children and this fit in around them. definitely a must if your interested in interior design.

Dungoo's Comment

Written on: 25/02/2012

Thanks for this useful review. I am planning to enroll for this course. Can you please alos advice what kind of jobs one can expect after completing this diploma

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Nationaldesignacademy's Comment

Written on: 28/07/2014

Hello,

Thanks for the comment. Many students that study with us for the Diploma in Interior Design generally have the following career options available to them:

- Setting up your own interior design freelance business
- Working in a design practice
- Working in retail advising on design
- Working in an architectural practice

Alternatively, many of our diploma students opt to enrol on the FdA Interior Design or BA (Hons) Interior Design courses that are fully accredited by Staffordshire University.

If you would like to discuss the different options available to you then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Many Thanks

NDA

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Hazwalk's Comment

Written on: 14/11/2019

Hello,

I note that the original poster here paid £99 for this diploma. On the website it is advertised as £695. How is it possible for this kind of discount?

Kind regards

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Nationaldesignacademy's Comment

Written on: 28/07/2014

Hello,

Many thanks for the feedback. I'm glad that you enjoyed the course! Please do not hesitate in getting in touch if you fancy progressing on to the next level and starting the FdA Interior Design. All of our degree courses are fully accredited by Staffordshire University.

For more information contact us

Best of luck with your future studies.

Many Thanks

NDA

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Was this review helpful? 2 0

“I decided to do this course as I've always had an...”

★★★★★

written by 5ugar77 on 13/04/2010

I decided to do this course as I've always had an interest in Interior Design, but of course, once you've picked your route in life it can be difficult to change it! But, as this course Professional Interior Design Diploma is part time distance learning and was affordable (£99 when I did it) I decided there was no reason not to.

This was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I thoroughly enjoyed this Level 3 course, learnt no end and realised that not only do I enjoy this, but I can do it. I was able to continue working whilst I studied, and still found that I could do the course in just under 1 year.

The support from tutors was really good, and they have no problem with you calling them for advise (and they know what they are talking about!)

I've come away with a Level 3 Diploma and the confidence to do more. I'm so glad the National Design Academy offer these validated courses as I know that I can change careers just as soon as I'm ready. I have just enrolled on the Foundation Degree (also distance learning) which will give me a real chance of changing career once I've finished this.

I would thoroughly recommend the National Design Academy and their courses (at the moment I've only actually done the Professional Diploma in Interior Design) and distance learning has to be the way forward!

Nationaldesignacademy's Response to 5ugar77's Review

Written on: 28/07/2014

Hello,

Thanks for the feedback. We are glad that you enjoyed the diploma and hope that everything is going well on the FdA! Best of luck with your future career change! Let us know how you get on.

Many Thanks

NDA

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Was this review helpful? 2 0

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