Finding Your Best Fit
Choosing the right school means knowing yourself and what you want from your experience.
They say there's a lid for every pot and it's no different when it comes to post-secondary choices: it's not about the right school but the right school for you. Do you want to be near family or stretch your wings? Is there only certain schools that offer your program? Here are some tips for choosing your dream school:
Inventory your lifestyle
Start by taking inventory of the experiences in your life so far. Do you like living in a small town or big city? Do you need to be near family or do you want to explore new scenery? Do you enjoy lots of choice in courses or do you prefer the smaller class sizes more likely from a smaller institution? Think about each of these lifestyle choices and make some decisions about what is important to you. (Hint: it pays to be really HONEST with yourself about your preferences.)
Consider your career
For those of you sticking with the collective childhood dream to be astronauts, there are only a certain number of aerospace programs available. Same with you medieval literature specialists. Your career may drive your choices if you've already decided or if your program is obscure, so do your research. You might even try to connect with others in the field to get their opinions on the program they took. Then see point number one to help you pair your program options with some lifestyle preferences.
Do your research
Once you have narrowed down some preferences and programs, start your research more intensively. Anne Kalil, manager of Student Recruitment at Algonquin College, suggests starting with the school website. You might even see if there's a virtual tour. Visit your program page to learn about the program of study, or if they have a co-op or field placement, and then also be sure to look into other aspects of college life. If you're an athlete, see what sports are available to you whether it be varsity or recreational. If you're into clubs, find out which ones are offered virtually or off campus. "You have more opportunities to be successful if you like your school and it's the right fit for you," says Anne.
She adds that recruitment professionals, career counsellors and others are available to answer your questions. Don't forget to ask about any elements like transfer credits, visa requirements or any special testing that may apply to your situation—most schools have specialized staff to help and they're happy to meet with you over a variety of platforms from email to text.
Take a virtual tour
Virtual campus tours can be a great way to test drive a school. Sign up for the official tour, and then leave some time to wander around yourself. Check out the library, the fitness centre, and the dorms if you're considering living on campus. See if you can set-up a Zoom chat with a prof from your prospective department, a current student or a recent grad for even more insight. As Anne puts it, "it's a big investment so you want to be sure you're in the right program at the right school."
Learn why Algonquin College is right for you
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