How to pick the right college program

There are thousands of subjects that can be studied in Canadian colleges. Here are 10 tips to find out which one suits you best.

Choosing a college program can be a confusing process – here are the things to consider.

Remember: place, place, place

If your first choice is to live at home, you’re in luck: most communities in Canada are within driving distance of a college. If the schools in your area don’t offer the program you want, there may be an opportunity to learn virtually. And if you’re thinking of moving away for college, consider how often and how easily you’ll be able to visit your home. Because colleges are typically associated with local industry, it may be easier to find work in the college’s location after you graduate.

to limit

Perhaps you already have a rough idea of ​​what interests you: carpentry, for example, or healthcare. From there, you may want to explore programs that offer concentrations or specializations tailored to specific jobs. Under one umbrella of woodworking programs, there might be one specifically for furniture making. Health care may be limited to offerings such as cardiovascular programs for ultrasound scans or nursing programs that focus on working with indigenous communities. This targeted type of training can provide a more direct route into the workforce.

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Look for practical options

Collaborations, internships, apprenticeships and applied research projects allow you to build relationships with employers and test whether you enjoy the job you are working towards. If the program you are interested in does not have a formal work-integrated learning component, there may be other ways to connect with the industry such as B. Networking events or guest lectures.

Note a school’s strengths

Many colleges are known for specific areas of education, such as robotics or culinary arts, and offer additional resources, state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, or partnerships with high-profile organizations. Having a school or program with a good reputation in this field can also be beneficial on your resume.

Find a program that “thinks” like you.

View a program’s required courses to see how you’ll learn. Some programs are based on theory, reading and memorization, while others contain more practical, hands-on elements. Look at the classes you did best in and whether you were successful in online, in-person, or hybrid environments.

get attention

College classes tend to be smaller than university classes, but it’s good to have a sense of how many students you’re sharing a classroom — and teacher — with. In smaller groups, it’s easier to build relationships with classmates, and you’re likely to have more one-on-one conversations with your teachers. This helps when it comes time to ask for references.

look forward to something

Ask yourself how many months or years you can spend at school, especially if you find studying stressful. If you can only afford to study for a short time, check whether the course you are interested in offers a fast-track option. If you have family or work to accommodate, look for part-time programs. Consider how soon you can expect employment after graduation, whether you need further education to get a job, and whether your starting salary meets your financial needs.

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talk to people

Other students are often your best resource when it comes to deciding what to study and where. Ask current students why they chose their programs. Look for Facebook groups and Instagram accounts, and find your college hashtag on TikTok and Twitter.

Find out what alumni are doing

Recent graduates can tell you what to expect after completing a program and can help you when you eventually begin your job search. Look for a school’s statistics on how many graduate students are employed in their field of study.

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Look at a program’s faculty – maybe you’re a fan of their work or aspire to a similar career path.

Sources: Matthew Bowie, Dean of Administration and Counseling at Ridley College, and Sheldon Hill, President of the Post-Secondary Counseling Chapter of the Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association.

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