Tag Archives | universities


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.