Many students and their families believe that the post-secondary process is a brief process consisting of application to the ‘best’ universities, colleges, and institutes based on rank and status that a student can obtain admission to. This belief often drives a foreshortened, pressurized, and narrow process resulting in missed opportunities and often disappointing results. A happier and more productive method relies on a longer timeline, beginning in grade ten, and a continuity of growing awareness, about yourself and about the post-secondary options which are available to you.
There is only one ‘you’. You are a unique constellation of strengths, talents, skills, preferences, motivations, experiences, and goals. Universities, colleges, and institutions are just as unique, offering different programs, environments, and cultures. The most successful post-secondary research thus rests in the concept of match. Pursuing a high degree of match between you and the post-secondary institution you choose creates a higher probability of your being accepted, and more importantly of your thriving in the environment you have chosen.
Your grade ten year should be a time of transition, during which you begin to shift away from focussing on the day-to-day and to thinking about your future. As the beginning of the ‘graduation program’ and the major milestone of driving, grade ten also marks the time in your life when you should be taking more self-responsibility over your life, your studies, and your future. Grade ten is a time of exploration when you should be discovering and learning about who you are, who you want to be, and what you want to become, part of which are your post-secondary plans. The careers program at VC is designed to provide you with many of the tools, information, and guidance you need at this stage of your life.
The grade eleven year is a time when students need to bring a greater focus to researching their future plans, specific post-secondary programs, and the universities, institutes, and colleges at which they are offered. Using the research skills developed in our careers classes to compare and contrast a wide variety of options, decision making should be driven by which institutions stand out from the rest, in your opinion, not someone else’s. By the summer of grade eleven, students should have developed a shortened list of post-secondary institutions which they are knowledgeable about and have obtained and reviewed all materials, print or on line, required for the actual application.
The fall of grade twelve is a busy and exciting time for students, with more rigorous courses, graduation activities, and the pressures of applying to universities, institutes and colleges. This should not be a time for exploration and research, but rather a time to make final decisions about where to apply and to complete the application process. Making the biggest decision in your life so far should not be left to chance or to the last minute.