Tag Archives | colleges

Image by COD Newsroom, Flickr

Image by COD Newsroom, Flickr

These days, nearly everyone goes to college after high school. If you know that college is something you want to do in the future, there are many things to consider before making your ultimate decision. When figuring out which college you want to attend, try to keep these things in mind.

  1. Choose a school that best allows you to reach your end goal.
    If you already know what you want to be in the future, find a school that BEST prepares you for that. For example, McMaster Health Science in Canada is one of the best undergrad programs that places you on a solid route to medical school. If you want to become a doctor, applying for something like this could be one of your top choices.

    If you aren’t too sure what you want to do yet, apply for a school that offers flexible programs that you can taper to your own preference. Programs like these allow students to figure out what it is they really excel at, and in the end this is what counts. The best programs give you the chance to develop to your maximum potential. They train you well, have engaging and inspiring professors, and have opportunities for developing strength of character. It’s important to not just factor in the academics in your choice, but also things that will make you stand out better upon graduating. Look out for co-op and internship programs, which allow you to apply what you learned and give you real world experience. This is arguably where you do most of your learning and is something that all future employers love to see. Remember to choose a school that isn’t necessarily the easiest to excel in, but that allows for the most growth for you on an intellectual and personal level.

  2. College is about YOU and YOUR future, no one else’s.
    If all of your best friends from high school are going to Western, that doesn’t mean you have to as well. It can be daunting to have to make new friends and social groups, especially in such a new environment, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Keep in mind that everyone who goes to college is in the same boat as you. You’re all in a new place, one you’ve never experienced before, and you’ve leapt out of your hometowns in pursuit of something. If you choose your school wisely, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll meet people with the same values and ideologies as you. In terms of people, college is nothing like high school – almost everyone is more mature, open, friendly, and whole lot more sensible. Trust me when I say that some of your closest friends will be the ones you meet in college.
  3. When finding the right school, make sure to start your decision process AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
    If you start early, you’re more likely to find the school that best fits your own goals, beliefs and individuality. To do this you’ll require lots of time to figure out what you want to do, research which schools offer that, and travel to these schools to get a better idea of what it’s actually like. Try your best to start early, even if you don’t know what it is you want to do yet. Having a good idea of what prospects lay ahead may also help you decide what it is or who you want to be.

Remember to choose a school that best fits your own values and beliefs and allows you to go where YOU want to go. I chose my university because I wanted to be surrounded by people who value working diligently and who think outside the box. It’s what I wanted and what I believed was best for me – and I’m happy with my choice.

For more knowledge from admissions experts, check out this link.

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 aherrero, Flickr

Image by aherrero, Flickr

In the big apple, New York University enrolls more than 50,000 students. The University of Toronto has more than 50,000 students at its St. George campus alone, and more than 300,000 students attend the University of Phoenix. Carleton College, a small liberal arts university in the town of Northfield, Minnesota, enrolls just over 2,000 students – a big step back from Phoenix’s 300,000. North American universities have a broad range of size.

How does size affect the average student experience? Many urban universities are large and can seem intimidating. Smaller universities in rural areas can seem friendlier, but may not present as great a challenge. Here are some positive points defending both proportions:

Pros of a large university:

1. Anonymity

You may not know anyone in your classes, but that means you can focus on yourself and your own learning pace without distraction.

Large universities offer bigger student populations and a wide variety of people from around the globe. If your new friends turn out to be jerks, you can disappear into the crowd. Instead of being stuck with one group of people that you may not get along with, you can eventually find the right group of friends through trial and error.

2. Interesting Campus

A large campus allows you to carve out your own niche. You can mix it up and keep your favourite spaces and commute interesting. Instead of having only a handful of options for study spots, you can find your favourite pockets within a larger campus.

3. Programs and Classes

Although online academia is growing in popularity and accessibility, larger universities can offer a more extensive variety of programs and/or specializations. Not all universities offer Celtic Studies, The History of Maple Syrup, or Elvish 101 (and yes, some do).

Larger universities need more professors to service their student population. Each professor is a unique link to their respective academic field. More professors means a broader range of opportunities and experiences you can tap into.

4. Extra-curricular Opportunities

At a small university, you might be the only Doctor Who fan. At a large university, there could already be a Doctor Who fan club that meets every week. A small university might have only one or two student publications, but a large university can have dozens of official and unofficial student publications. You can comfortably stretch out your interests and share them with your peers.

Pros of a small university:

1. Social Security

In your dorm, your classes, walking down the street, you feel at home. You will rarely feel alone or abandoned amongst the masses because you will always have someone to hang out with since there’s probably only a handful of people in the same classes. You might even know all the undergraduates in your residence, or those in your program.

2. Familiarity

Figuring out the campus takes less than a week. And by the end of first semester, you know the surrounding town inside out, including all the best places for takeout. If you’ve fully explored your campus environment, you may be more encouraged to go on international exchange.

3. Access to Resources

As one in a small body of students, you will get priority and easy access to all of the university’s resources. This includes one-on-one time with professors who might not have time for you in larger classes. If your grades slip, your professors or TAs might check in or take you aside. At a larger university, you might just get an impersonal warning from the Dean’s office. Getting references for graduate school will be a lot easier than at a large school, where you might not have as much face time.

4. Trailblazing Opportunities

No Doctor Who fan club? Make one, be a trailblazer. The same goes for student publications – no student historical journal or poetry magazine on campus? Found one, and it will look great on your resumé.

In conclusion, while there are definitive pros and cons to both large and small universities, all of the above observations are generalizations. Your happiness depends on your own personality and academic preferences. Have faith in your ability to find happiness in an overwhelmingly large university, and your creativity in a small one.