Archive | Universities

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You already know that getting a college degree is a great way to get started on obtaining a higher paying career in a field you love, but the world of college degrees can be slightly confusing. How do you know which type of degree is right for you?

Here, we’ll look at the three main types of college degrees — Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s — along with the pros and cons of each type, so you can make a more informed decision about your college education.

Associate’s Degree

Associate’s degrees are two-year college degree programs that prepare you for working in a certain field or industry. Most Associate’s degrees prepare students for entry-level jobs, and they are offered in several different areas. Examples of careers you can prepare for with an Associate’s degree include administrative assistant, graphic designer, paralegal, information technology manager, and network engineer.

The pros: Associate’s degrees are cheaper to get than Bachelor’s or Master’s, both because they involve the fewest semesters and are usually offered at community colleges, which cost less than four-year universities. With an Associate’s degree, you can graduate and start your career (and begin making money) earlier, or you can use the less expensive community college degree to transfer credits to a four-year school and go on to obtain a Bachelor’s.

The cons: You may earn less in a career when you have an Associate’s degree, and depending on your field, you may be competing for jobs with people who have Bachelor’s degrees. You may also have problems getting a supervisory or management position.

Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s degrees are four-year college degrees with a wide range of degree programs for just about every industry, field, or profession. Common careers that require a Bachelor’s degree include engineering, production management, financial analytics, industrial design, and network security.

The pros: No matter what type of job you’re interested in, chances are there is a Bachelor’s degree program for that type of job. In fact, some fields specifically require at least a Bachelor’s degree, such as law, medicine, and teaching. With a Bachelor’s, you will have increased job opportunities and increased earning potential, as well as more specialized knowledge and skills.

The cons: Bachelor’s degree programs can be expensive and require a greater investment of your time and focus, taking four years to obtain. There are also additional costs you’ll incur, such as room and board, rent, and transportation.

Master’s Degree

Master’s degrees are programs with Bachelor’s degrees as a prerequisite for entering. A Master’s program may last from one to four years, in addition to the four years required for a Bachelor’s. They are highly specialized and usually build on a prior educational foundation — for example, advanced practitioner jobs require graduate-level education.

The pros: Because they are highly specialized, Master’s degrees prepare you for advanced practitioner jobs that are not available to people with lower degree levels. You’ll also have vastly increased earning potential with your additional education.

The cons: Obtaining a Master’s degree is a very high investment in cost, time, and effort. The programs are typically very challenging as well as expensive, and require five years or more to fully complete.

There is no one-size-fits-all education. Depending on the type of job you want and the income range you’d like to achieve, one of these types of degrees will help you achieve your dreams.

This article was contributed by guest author Shae Holland.

Commuting to college can be a quick, cheap, and easy experience, or a relatively pricey and time-consuming challenge. Where you live and what your living conditions are can have a big impact on the costs associated with travel to and from school each day. Here are some tips on how you can save money while safely travelling to campus.

Consider Your Public Transportation Options
Your travel options depend heavily on the area you live in. If you live in a city, you likely have more types of public transportation available than you would in a rural location. If you have a bus stop near you, riding the bus can be a reliable and easy way to save money. Similarly, in some areas you can ride the train. Using a train to get to college can be useful for longer commutes and for avoiding the heavy traffic often typical on freeways in large cities.

Use of these options comes with the added benefit of saving you money on parking fees at school, and avoiding the hassle of hunting down a parking spot every day. You also eliminate the risk of getting into a car accident and potentially needing to hire an attorney.

Is Carpooling an Option for You?
Sharing a ride and dividing the cost of gas can be a great way to save money when you live in a dormitory with other students, or have students in your neighborhood looking to carpool with someone. Even if you live at home, you might be able to ride to school with a family member or friend who commutes to work near your college.

Walking or Riding a Bike
If you’re one of those people lucky enough to live near your campus, you can save a lot of money and get some exercise by walking or riding a bike to school. A dormitory located very close to school creates the ideal situation to walk.

If you have a bit more distance to cover to reach campus, but still not far enough for a drive, riding a bike is the cheapest and most efficient way to commute. Not only do you save money on gas and parking, you get exercise that can help wake you up for those early classes and you’ll be traveling in an environmentally friendly way. Be sure you have a bike lock and a place to lock up your bike as well.

As a college student, you likely have a limited budget and need to make the best of the funds you have available. Before you start school, make sure to consider your living situation and plan ahead to meet the costs associated with frequent travel to school. Knowing and investigating your travel options early can help keep your mind off the commute and focused on your classes.

This article was contributed by Eileen O’Shanassy.

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Choosing the right college is already a daunting task for any high school graduate, but it can be especially difficult for those with a disability. Beyond location and financial considerations, disabled students need to find a school with adequate resources to meet their needs.

Many colleges offer special accommodations for students with mobility impairments and learning disabilities. Legislation introduced over the past several decades has helped to further the cause of disabled students, giving them the same rights as their peers and leveling the academic playing field. Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, an institution receiving federal funding cannot limit the number of students with disabilities admitted and cannot restrict students because of their limitations.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 also ensured that disabled adults had the right to an education. Title II of the act prohibits discrimination by public colleges and requires schools to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled students, while Title III prohibits discrimination by private universities. Though legislation is in place to protect disabled students, every school has its own unique interpretation when it comes to reasonable accommodations, and it’s important to learn all you can about a prospective school’s policies before making a final decision.

Learn About Services Offered

Every school offers different services and facilities for its students, including the disabled population. Depending on the school, reasonable accommodation for a disabled student can include a number of things, such as:

  • Ramps, curbs, and lifts to access buildings
  • Learning assistance programs, including interpreters, readers, note-takers, and more
  • Additional time to complete coursework
  • Alternative course requirements
  • Modified tests and assignments

You can find out more about what services a school offers by speaking with the institution’s disability office or department. A representative should be able to tell you if the school can provide accommodations that suit your disability.

Visit the Campus

After doing your research, visiting prospective colleges is one of the best ways to get a feel for the place. Not only can you see if the lifestyle suits your preferences, but you can also check out the disabled accessibility options of buildings on campus as well as other facilities in person. During a visit, you can consider important questions such as:

  • Are there elevators in multiple-story buildings?
  • Does the library have accessible aisles and shelving?
  • Are residence halls close to classes?
  • Are there ramps and cut curbs along the sidewalks?
  • Is there enough handicapped parking?

Taking a trip to colleges that interest you also gives you the chance to speak with students living and working on campus. You can chat with others who have similar disabilities to get an inside perspective on the services and accommodations that a university offers.

This article was contributed by guest author Sally Writes.

Approximately 1 in 3 students who attend a two- or four-year college or university will transfer at some point to another institution.[1] While the idea of transferring can stir fear or doubt, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here is a helpful checklist for a successful transfer experience, ensuring no step in the process is missed:

Transfer Student Checklist

This infographic was created by DeVry University

Image by Celso FLORES, Flickr

Image by Celso FLORES, Flickr

The US is an extraordinary destination for international students from all across the world as it offers a wide range of schools and courses. Finding the right college, applying to it and obtaining admission as an international student can be a taxing procedure.

The initial phase in guaranteeing an incredible experience studying abroad in the USA is to locate the top colleges among the nation’s 4000+. From small undergrad schools and private human sciences schools to huge open exploration colleges and Ivy League universities, the USA has it all. While it may be hard to choose, having so many options helps your chances of getting admission into an American university.

Experts can offer you some assistance with narrowing down your decisions to the best 10 schools based on your particular interests. You can also read online journals, check the schools’ websites, and converse with current students to get an accurate picture of what to expect, and recognize what you need from a college.

For any undergrad, fulfilment comes primarily from picking the right courses. There are a lot of undergrad courses accessible at the top colleges, including BSc (Bachelor of Science) and BA (Bachelor of Arts) degrees. Junior colleges also offer two-year partner degree courses. Many programs allow you to pick your range of specialization toward the end of first year or mid-second year. The US advanced education framework takes into account adaptability in various professions. Program changes are usually allowed without deterrent to your graduation timetable.

A vital variable to remember when contemplating American programs is the expense. Undergrads applying to the US for higher studies must be in a position to plan for the different costs, which vary from school to school. Many private colleges charge around $35,000 a year, which includes room and board. In the event that you attend a junior college or a state-funded college, this amount may be less. To stay financially sound, recognize your financing alternatives before you apply.

Plan ahead of schedule. Keep in mind the end goal is to have a phenomenal educational experience, and if you’re coming from abroad, you will need to begin your visa application well ahead of time with documentation and a meeting at the US Embassy. Get the ball rolling no less than a year ahead of time so you’re on track!

This article was contributed by guest author Priyanka Singh.


We came across something on the Globe and Mail’s website that we just had to share with you. Within a section called “Canadian University Report” sit a number of articles on what you might want to know about university. Here are a few we think you should check out:

University profiles to help you choose
61 Canadian universities are reviewed in this article. For each university, it outlines how many students attend, the cost of tuition, the number of programs offered, and admission competition. A profile of your “typical classmate” is included, as well as a quote from a current student.

The pros and cons of different student jobs
This article identifies the pros and cons of off-campus jobs, on-campus jobs, and co-op programs. It explains that the transferable skills learned at work are valuable, no matter what your student job might be.

Students: How to make the money stretch for eight months
It’s difficult for first year students to predict how expensive the school year might be. This article forecasts costs and recommends resources students can refer to, so it’s a great read for first year students who aren’t sure what to expect.

Four tips to land a job straight out of school
The number one worry on every student’s mind is finding a job after school. This article identifies four ways you can increase your chances at landing employment. If you take these steps right from first year, you’ll be even better off.

Universities that teach you to change the world
“The” course to take at university these days is social entrepreneurship. This article identifies a few schools in Canada that have excellent social programs. If you want to change the world, take a look at these schools.

Read the remaining articles here.

Image by Sholeh, Flickr

Image by Sholeh, Flickr

Campus day season is upon us. This is a time for students (and their parents) to go to potential colleges and universities before making a decision on where to apply. To get the most out of a campus day, here are a few tips to prepare beforehand.

Prepare a list of questions before you go.

Often, many students, faculty members, and professors will be on hand during a campus day to answer any questions you may have. It’s helpful to think of potential questions you may have about academics, social life, finances, or residence.

Here are some sample questions to get you started:

  1. What are the admission requirements for my program (arts, sciences, business, engineering, etc.)?
  2. What kind of financial aid (scholarships, bursaries, grants, etc.) is available for incoming students?
  3. What kind of courses do first year students in my program typically take?

Have a set plan on what you wish to accomplish during the day.

Universities and colleges will most often post the campus day schedule as well as maps on their website. If you’re driving, using public transit, or even flying in for a campus day, make sure to plan your route accordingly, so you don’t miss any sessions that you wish to attend. There is usually no set agenda for campus days. Choose the information sessions that apply to your interests, questions, and concerns. Faculty members and professors usually run these sessions, so don’t be afraid to ask them any questions you may have. They are there to help!

Take a campus and/or residence tour.

Besides information sessions, campus and residence tours will be running throughout the day. Often, campus tours are facilitated by students. They’ll be able to give you a proper understanding of the ins and outs of the university or college as well as important points of interest. Additionally, if you have any questions, students will be happy to help you as they’re experiencing campus life themselves.

If you’re thinking about living in residence, going on a residence tour can be extremely helpful. Most likely, you will be taken into the residence rooms where students are already living. You’ll be able to see how big the living space is and the different types of residences.

Here are some common questions about residences:

  1. Are there single rooms or shared rooms?
  2. Is there a common kitchen or a meal plan?
  3. What kind of security is available in the residence building?

Imagine yourself on campus.

You may feel like it’s impossible to decide which college or university you wish to attend. But as you attend all the information sessions and tours, imagine yourself on the campus next year. Do you enjoy the atmosphere of the university or college? If you’re going to live in residence, would you like the options available? Do you like the way your program and the courses are offered at this university or college? Ask yourself these questions.

In the end, you will eventually figure out where you wish to attend university or college. In the meantime, attend campus days because they will be extremely helpful in your decision making process!

Here are some links to university and college campus days and tours across Canada:

Image by Julia Manzerova, Flickr

Image by Julia Manzerova, Flickr

Every day we’re faced with decisions. Get up or stay in bed? Check Twitter or scan newspapers? Then you decide what to have for breakfast and what outfit matches your mood for the day. These are pretty simple choices that don’t require much thought. But when trying to decide what educational qualification you need to have for the career you want, you’re better off making a thought-through decision based on data.

3 ways to decide if you should go to college or university

  1. Figure out what you want: It can be tough sometimes, but you need to have an idea of what kind of work you’re interested in. Finding what interests you the most is the first step. In high school, did you get excited about technical classes where you had to design things and use tools/instruments to construct or take things apart? Or were you more of a numbers person who found finance and accounting really easy? There is only one expert who understands what gets you excited and what you enjoy – and that expert is you.

  3. What is the industry demand?: Once you have an idea about what kind of work you’re best suited to, the next step is to find out what the industry trends are predicting. Are there lots of opportunities? What influences the industry? Is it a growing or dying industry? If becoming an administrative assistant is your goal, you’ll be disappointed to learn that this is not a growing career path. These kinds of jobs are affected by technology. There are dozens of software applications used to automate most of the tasks previously performed by administrative assistants.
    One way to learn about the industry is to search for the governing body for that career group. Examples of governing bodies for Accountants are the Certified General Accountants or Certified Management Accountants; for Plumbing it’s the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating; for Supply Chain it’s the Canadian Supply Chain Council. Most professions have governing associations with local chapters where you can meet and learn from professionals who are already doing what you’re interested in.

  5. What qualification is required?: If you followed the first two steps in this process, you’ll know what qualification(s) you need to have to get the job you want. Compared to university and college student recruiters who conduct education fairs at your high school, industry professionals are in the best position to tell you what education is needed for that career path. The fact remains that where you get your education should be determined by the nature and requirements of the job you want. A couple expecting a baby and in need of a new car should be looking at buying a spacious car rather than a 2-seater convertible. Same thing applies with university or college education – it has to fit your purpose.


How not to decide between college and university

  1. Following the crowd: All your friends are going to university. If you follow the crowd, you’ll never get past them. Besides, you may be interested in a different program compared to your friends. Don’t let them control your future.

  3. Selecting a college or university just because your parent(s) went there: Unless your parent currently has the kind of job you want and other industry experts in this same profession have also recommended that college or university, don’t decide just based on your parents’ emotional attachment to their alma mater.

  5. Deciding based on the cost: Money is the basis of a lot of decisions. How much is the tuition? Do I have to take a student loan? Can I get scholarships? These are important questions that require answers. But simply choosing to study at a university or college based on the tuition or amount of scholarships offered is not the best way to go. Do what you can to attend the best school for you.


Check out more free advice on making your college vs. university decision.

Image by COD Newsroom, Flickr

Image by COD Newsroom, Flickr

The Ontario Universities’ Fair takes place in September every year (in 2014 you can check them out from September 19-21). When I attended, oh-so-long ago, I remember feeling confused. There were so many schools in attendance and I had no idea what to say to them. General questions that popped into my head, such as “is it a good school?” or “is it a popular program?” had no merit – every school would answer “yes” and it didn’t help me figure out which school I actually wanted to attend. So that you don’t end up wasting your precious weekend hours, here are a few tips to make the trip a useful one:

Before you go…

Tip #1: Figure out your top fields of study

Many students don’t know the answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You’re young. You can’t be expected to plan out your entire future at the age of 17. But for the purposes of selecting a program to study, try to have an idea of what interests you. That’s what high school is for. Which classes do you prefer? Which ones do you excel in? If you can narrow it down to one field, great. If not, pick two, max three (if you have more than that, you’ll be exploring a General Arts or Undecided program). The good thing is, you still have another 3-4 years of studying in this field to figure out a career that’s right for you.

Tip #2: Rank your priorities

Figure out what will make or break a school or program for you. Will you cross a school off your list if it’s a long commute? Will you favour a school that boasts smaller class sizes? Make a chart (if you’re a visual person) listing all the schools you want to talk to, along with all the features you want to know about. When you ask your questions, you can easily check off ones that meet your requirements.

Tip #3: Do some research on schools

Before attending the fair, use your priority list to find out the top schools in the province, and the top schools for your specific programs of interest. If you can narrow your search down to the top 5-10 schools, you have a fantastic starting point.

Tip #4: Figure out whereabouts you want to study

Do you want to live at home or in residence? Do you like the big city feel or small town? If you’re open to anything, that’s great – just make sure to keep your budget (or your parents’ budget) in mind. Speaking of which…

Tip #5: Decide on a general budget

Remember that different schools and programs can run you varying costs. Residence and meal plan costs can add up and you may need to explore student loans. If commuting to school, you may need to consider costs of public transportation or purchasing a car. It’s best to have the “money talk” with your family and decide what you’re comfortable spending or borrowing.

While you’re there…

Tip #6: Try not to feel intimidated

Be prepared for a lot of students, parents, and booths. Be patient and remember these students are all in the same spot as you, and are likely asking many of the same questions. Feel free to listen to what other students ask; maybe the reps will answer a question you didn’t know you had. The fair will hand out a map of the area so you can easily find which booths you want to target. You may need to wait in line to speak to a representative, so it’s best to arrive with sufficient time. The Ontario Universities’ Fair has a great online resource you should look at before you attend.

Tip #7: Talk to student representatives

Many schools will bring current students as representatives, and in some cases, they are even better at answering your questions than administrative reps. Picture these current students as the “future you”. Ask them how they like it. Ask them what their favourite parts of the campus and program are – and more importantly, their least favourite parts. Students are likely to give you an honest view of what you can expect.

Tip #8: Pick up program-specific pamphlets

Many schools might tell you that the program details are online. If you’re a more visual analyzer, pick up the pamphlets there to bring home and you can directly compare the details for each school. The more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be to make your decision.

Tip #9: Ask about everything

There are no stupid questions. Ask about eligibility, the program, and costs. Ask about the campus. Ask about services offered to students. Whatever you can think of, now is your time to ask it. You’re not on the spot here – the schools are. Grill them to your heart’s desire. The Ontario Universities’ Fair put together a great list of questions to give you a starting point.

Tip #10: Be organized, but don’t limit yourself

You’ve prepared your questions and your top schools. Chances are you’ll make a beeline for those when you arrive – and that’s good. Take notes, because you’ll likely forget a lot of the answers when you leave. Once you’ve finished talking to your preferred schools, keep an open mind about everything else. Maybe there’s a school you forgot to research in advance. Maybe there’s a presentation starting soon about a school you haven’t talked to.

Good luck at the fair! For more tips, follow @OntarioUniFair on Twitter, or check out our review of the 2013 Ontario Universities’ Fair.