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TREND ALERT MUST-HAVE DEGREES VIRTUAL LEARNING STUDY IN THE NORTH FIRST-YEAR ESSENTIALS STUDYING IN THE USA USE YOUR CAREER CENTRE HIGH SCHOOL EDITION | SEPT. 2013 HIGH SCHOOL EDITION JOBPOSTINGS.CA

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JPHS offers high school students the scoop on pursuing post-secondary education and transitioning into the labour market.

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Page 1: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

TREND ALERT

MUST-HAVE DEGREES

VIRTUALLEARNING

STUDY IN THE NORTH

FIRST-YEARESSENTIALS

STUDYING IN THE USA USE YOUR

CAREERCENTRE

HIGH SCHOOL EDITION | SEPT. 2013

HIGH

SCH

OOL E

DITI

ON

JOBPOSTINGS.CA

Page 2: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

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Offer available for a limited time and subject to change without notice. 1 Based on tests comparing download speeds on the Rogers LTE network vs. Bell and Telus’ LTE networks within Rogers LTE coverage area. LTE device, LTE SIM and plan required. Actual experienced speeds may vary based on device, topography and environmental conditions, network congestion and other factors. Rogers LTE network available in select Canadian cities. Visit rogers.com/LTE for coverage. 2 Available on 1GB or above Share Everything plans. With up to 10 additional devices including a tablet, mobile hotspot or internet stick. 3 A Connection Fee of $15 per line also applies (to fi rst invoice, applicable to new line/ device only) to activate your service on the Rogers network. Where applicable, additional air time, data, long distance, roaming, options and taxes are extra and billed monthly. Device Saving Recovery Fees and/or Service Deactivation Fee(as applicable) apply in accordance with your service agreement. ™Rogers and related names & logos and Live Like Never Before are trademarks used under licence from Rogers Communications Inc. or an affi liate. ©2013

Page 3: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

SEPTEMBER 2013 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

FEATURES20 TREndy dEgREES Video games, ecotourism, media stud-ies: check out these hot, new degrees!

25 HEAding nORTH Living among nature, going to school with other students that don’t mind the cold. Studying in the North has more advantages than ever.

27 ViRTUAl lEARning Getting out of the classroom doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Virtual and dis-tance learning gives you a new array of opportunities.

EdUCATiOn06 FiRST-yEAR ESSEnTiAlS We’ve whipped up some tips on how to survive your first year of real inde-pendence.

09 HAndy SkillS & dOllAR BillS There’s a greater demand than ever before for students in the skilled trades. We’ll tell you how to get your foot in the door and your hands dirty.

10 TimE TO USE yOUR CAREER CEnTRE You have free career advice right at your school! Don’t wait until gradua-tion to think about your career.

12 yOU didn’T gET in. nOw wHAT? Don’t worry: you’re not finished yet. We show you how to pick yourself up and give post-secondary another go.

14 FAll inTO THE gAp Don’t know what you want to do? Taking a year off can give you all the perspective you need.

17 STUdying in THE USA American schools have different pro-grams and a vibrant college culture. Looking south of the border may be worth your while.

18 BREAking dOwn yOUR BUdgET Thriving during post-secondary is about knowing your money. We give you tips on where to spend and where to save.

0120

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SAVE AHEADFigure out where your money will go. “Some students get student loans, but here’s the scary part: they get it in chunks in September and January. They’ve got to learn to spread that out,” says Campbell. “When a student sets their budget, they have to figure out their fixed costs: rent, tuition, books, the cost of food and transport.”

PLAN ON GETTING A JOB! Although working a couple shifts a week on top of going to school might not sound so appealing, there could be benefits. “It really sets you up for what life can be like,” says Campbell. “If you learn to balance your life in that way, that’s a great skill!”

NO CHARGE Avoid the credit card squeeze. It’ll help in the long run. “We see far too many young people ruin their credit rating before they’re 25,” says Campbell. “If you’re tempted to get one, and feel that it’s necessary, stick to one card with a limit of no more than $1000.” Another option might be to get a pre-loaded credit card for emergencies. At least then you’ll know when the party’s over.

BALANCING EXPENSESIf your money arrives in lumps, keep your “expense funds” separate from your “fun funds.” This makes it easier to monitor your expenses.

BUY THE BOOK? In my second year, I bought a $200 history textbook for an elective that I couldn’t sell back because they weren’t teaching it the following year. This taught me a lesson: only buy the books you need. I saved $500 one year because I used the books reserved in the library. Of course, this isn’t ideal for everyone, so scour the school bulletin boards for used books, or even try online.

CAMPUS LIVING: ON/OFF“It’s going to be cheaper living off-campus if you can live with roommates and you’re careful with your money,” says Campbell. “Tuition fees and meal plans are usually paid in advance and you don’t have any transportation issues.”

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THE FRONT PAGESTABLE OF CONTENTS

Page 4: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | SEPTEMBER 2013

indEXPublished by Passion Inc. 25 Imperial Street, Suite 100 Toronto, ON M5P 1B9

jobpostings.ca 1-877-900-5627 ext. 221

Photos from istockphoto.com are used throughout this issue; individual artists have been credited.

Jobpostings publishes it’s High School Edition annually. 60,000 are distributed to over 690 high schools in Ontario. Contents of this publication are protected by copyright and may not be reprinted in whole or part without permission of the publishers.

“High school is the mouse race to pre-pare you for the rat race.” - Anonymous

pUBliSHER NATHAN LAuRIE [email protected]

ASSOCiATE pUBliSHER MARk LAuRIE [email protected]

COmmUniCATiOnS And pROJECT mAnAgER DAvID TAL [email protected] @DavidTalWrites

EdiTOR JAMES MICHAEL MCDONALD [email protected] @mcjamdonald

ART diRECTOR ANTHONy CAPANO [email protected]

dEVElOpER MISHRAz AHMAD BHOuNR [email protected]

THE FRONT PAGES AD INDEX

COnTRiBUTORS

kate Aenlle, Angelina Attisano, Jamie Bertolini, Lauren Della vedova, Hillary Di Menna, Laura Eley, Christine Fader, Rebecca Feigelsohn, Maya Hamovitch, Emily Minthorn, kevin Nelson, Panagiota Panagakos, Eleni Papavasiliou, kyle Reynolds, Megan Santos, Sam Weltman, Andrew Williams

nATiOnAl ACCOUnT mAnAgER MARy vANDERPAS

EdUCATiOn ACCOUnT mAnAgER SHANNON TRACEy

BRAnd AmBASSAdOR BERNIE [email protected] @careerunicorn

mASTHEAd COnTACT

LOOKING FOR A PART TIME JOB THAT DOESN’T

Visit Jobpostings.ca where you can find the latest internships and part time jobs from Canada’s top employers. Don’t limit yourself to working at the corner store. Challenge yourself. Push past your limits. Find a career path you will love ... and doesn’t suck.

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Page 5: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

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Page 6: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

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Page 7: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

SEPTEMBER 2013 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

05

THE FRONT PAGESEDITOR’S NOTE

High school, for me, had its ups and downs. I tried hard in class, (for the most part). I had good friends. I had several part-time jobs, ranging from fast food to retail. I played badminton and tennis, of all things. I simultaneously fought with and loved my family. I searched for and determined my interests, sexuality, opinions, and convic-tions. Overall, as for most teenagers, it was a confusing time.

Because I did well in most of my classes, I had no idea what to do when I went away to university, (so the confusion continued). I mucked around in different programs, tested out the waters of business, philoso-phy, and everything in between before tak-ing some time off. After working in bank-ing for a year, I grabbed my stuff and ran away to Newfoundland, completing an English degree and opening doors in a field I actually enjoyed.

When I look back on my time in high school, I realize how formative high school years are. Despite lacking knowledge of careers and the precarious nature of post-secondary, I know now how influential my teachers actually were to my development: Mrs. Tice taught me strength of character; Mrs. Nowicki-Prime taught me to embrace the crazy joie de vivre that life throws your way; Mrs. Chisholm showed me how to sharpen my critical thinking; and Mrs. Lihou-Perry told me to just be myself. It’s remarkable that these four women were able to help me become who I am today, as plenty of the authority figures are doing for you and your peers.

But even they don’t have all the answers, especially once you leave high school and move on to the next stage of your life. School has changed. Industries are evolv-ing and growing. And many of the deci-sions will be made by you and no one else.

So, while the mentors in your life are help-ing you discover yourself, we’ve compiled

FROm HigH SCHOOl TO AnywHERE

some resources to help you make it there, (resources I wish someone had given me as I was making my post-high school deci-sions). We give you tips on surviving your first year of college or university. We ex-amine schools in Canada, the USA, and abroad, to make sure you know all your options. We discuss budgeting, how to pick your major, and new, trendy programs to consider. And if you’re looking to take a year off after graduation, we look at why that isn’t such a bad idea.

Moving on from high school is daunting, no matter what you’re jumping into next.

But with the right guidance and informa-tion, the transition will be painless and suc-cessful.

Happy reading!

From the desk of James Michael McDonald

Page 8: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | SEPTEMBER 2013

EDUCATION CHECkLIST

31

One big difference between high school and post-secondary is the amount of freedom you get. With a few exceptions, you’ll probably only have about 20 hours of class per week. Attending classes is not mandatory, and you’ll probably be living on your own for the first time.

The danger though, is that because no one is holding you accountable for at-tending classes, you may fall behind on assigned work and readings and that can get you into some trouble. According to Statistics Canada, about 14 per cent of first-year students drop out of school and don’t complete their studies. So, how can you make sure this isn’t you but still have a good time?

AttenD frosh weekFrosh week is an opportunity for you to meet other first-year students and have lots of fun. During frosh week, you’ll also learn your way around your campus, ensuring you’re familiar with your surroundings. You’ll also find out who you need to speak to if you are having any problems.

Go to clAssThe temptation to skip class is strong, especially if you were up late the night before, have a ridiculously early class, the weather is beautiful, or if your friends who don’t have class want you to join them at the pub. However, you should make an effort to attend your classes. In addition to learning the material, you’ll also learn about what your professors expect for your upcoming essays and assignments, what to look out for on your tests and ex-ams, and changes in due dates. (Everyone loves a due date extension!)

Get orGAnizeD AnD plAn AheADEvery professor will provide you with a course syllabus that includes all the course readings, assignments, and due dates. Take the time to add all your due dates into your calendar so you don’t miss im-portant deadlines. During crunch time, you’ll find that you have several assign-

ments, tests, and even exams all at once. It’s important to plan ahead and try to be-gin your assignments and studying early so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Use AvAilAble stUDy resoUrces All schools have a variety of programs to ensure your academic success, like peer tutors and writing labs. Find out what’s available at your school and take advan-tage of the services. Doing so can make a significant difference in your grades.

visit yoUr cAreer centreSeek the assistance of the career profes-sionals at your school. They’re an awesome resource that can assist you to plan and map out your career and educational path.

eAt heAlthyWith all your studying and assignments, it’s easy to forget to eat (and eat well), but a healthy body is important, not only to perform physical activities, but to perform mental ones too, (not to mention fight-ing off scurvy). Your grades will suffer if you’re not in healthy physical condition.

exerciseMake sure to schedule exercise into your routine at least three times a week. Exer-cise will not only help you burn calories and avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15,” it will make you feel better, allowing you to focus better on your studies.

sleep! Most post-secondary students stay up late studying, surfing the net, watching TV, or socializing. It’s recommended to have eight hours of sleep every night so you’re rested for your lectures and exams.

Although adjusting to life as a post-second-ary student isn’t always easy, it can be a lot of fun. Some of my happiest memories are from my years as an undergrad. So while you’re taking the necessary actions to make sure you’re on your game, don’t for-get to take some time out for yourself and enjoy the ride. | Panagiota Panagakos

yOUR FiRST-yEAR CHECkliSTAdjusting to your first year of post-secondary can be a huge shock.

Everyone starts with a clean slate, so don’t get too hung up on the grades you got in high school.

06

X

X

X

X

X

Page 9: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

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Page 10: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

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Page 11: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

SEPTEMBER 2013 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

HAndy SkillS And dOllAR BillSOverlooked opportunities in the trades could be the perfect fit for you.

The workforce is a lot like high school. You have the popular careers that get all the attention, and the careers that are often overlooked but hold so much promise. The skilled trades industry is practically the lat-ter and it’s seeing an incredible demand for young talents.

Trades range from construction to the hos-pitality sector. They include hairdressing, masonry, and cooking—anything that re-quires a hands-on skill. The beautiful thing about these professions is that they’re some-

thing you can do on the side or as a full-time career, whichever works for you. And high school is the perfect place to enter this sector.

Many high schools have programs that teach skills students can apply to a trade. The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) works closely with high schools to provide co-op placements and a more inti-mate training experience for the field.

Julian Da Silva Silveira is a grade 12 student who’s been involved in OYAP while attend-ing Central Technical School in Toronto.

He’s been preparing for the electrical trade. “This program would be great to put on a resumé,” he says. “An office job you can’t re-ally apply to everyday life. But for trades you can work around your house and save mon-ey. Instead of hiring an electrician to come work on something, I can do it myself.”

Plumbing is another area students should look into when considering trades. Andrew De Sousa, a plumbing student at Central Tech, notes the different facets he can get into. “For the first five years, I plan on do-

IN THE YEAR 2007...33%

25%25%33% OF ALL TRADE JOBS WERE FOUND IN ONTARIO 25% OF MECHANICS WERE FOUND IN QUEBEC 25% OF PLUMBERS WERE FOUND IN ALBERTA

25% of gas fitters and pipefitters were also found in Alberta

ing as much learning as I can,” he says. “From there, if you have your licence, you can go onto sales or you can work for big supplying companies, giving input on bet-ter products…there are a lot of options.”

Most students would rather get their hands dirty outside a cubicle. The satisfaction of starting something and seeing it finished is a reward in itself. “I’ve made this,” says Ca-leb Bolychuk, an OYAP carpentry student at Central Tech. “I’ve assembled this right and it’s just satisfying to see what you com-

pleted instead of just a stack of papers.”

According to Lucio Stavole, curriculum leader of construction at Central Tech, one skilled trade isn’t necessarily in higher de-mand than the other. Instead, it depends on which stage a project is on. “One employer might be busy this week, but next week it’ll be very slow,” he says. Among the co-op placements discussed by Stovole were con-struction, automotive, carpentry, hairdress-ing, and restaurant services. “(The OYAP students) have graduated or are about to

graduate. They come back to school to get that specific training, and they go off to work,” says Stavole. If the employers like how you work and hire you, your appren-ticeship may count as your co-op hours.

“Some people might go on to university and come out more broke than they went in. Trades can make you money while you study what you love and give you a running start on your way to a career.” As Bolychuk put it, “it’s like playtime with a cheque at the end.” | Andrew Williams

EDUCATIONTRADES

09

SOuRCE: STATSCAN.GC.CA

Page 12: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | SEPTEMBER 2013

TimE TO USE yOUR CAREER CEnTREDon’t wait until graduation to find out what your career should be.

¨I thought I’d like my program but I hate it. Now what?

¨I know exactly what I want to do. How do I get from here to there?

¨If I change my program, what are the career implications?

¨What can I do with a degree/ diploma/certificate in X field?

¨What pre-requisites do I need to take now to get into program X in the future?

¨Where can I find a part-time, summer, or after-graduation job?

¨Where can I volunteer?

¨What’s a “good” job for the summer?

¨How can I work or study overseas?

¨What will give me the “edge” when I look for work?

¨I want my resumé to really stand out from the crowd. Can you help?

¨I’ve never had a “real” interview before. Can I practice in a mock interview?

¨I love my program but what are my career options from it?

¨Where can I find work in my preferred field/geographic area?

¨What’s it like to work in job X?

¨What do future prospects look like in job y?

¨How much money does job z usually make?

Through all their programs, but particularly workshops or individual counselling sessions, the career centre helps first-year students find answers to these questions and more:

I work in a career centre. While I do see students occasionally wearing suits for in-terviews, this particular student’s formal attire (not to mention floral sidekick) was markedly different from the standard fare of yoga pants, Uggs, and sports jerseys I’m used to.

She wore a fancy dress and carried a bou-quet of flowers wrapped in cellophane. “I need to figure out my life,” she said, look-ing tearful.

“Okay,” I said. “Have a seat; we can chat.”

Looking agitated, she asked nervously, “how long do you think this will take? I graduate at 2 p.m. and my parents are waiting down in the car.”

During first year, you might not be inclined to think about, (let alone visit, the career centre on your campus). The word “career” seems to conjure up images of 30-year-olds in cubicles and it doesn’t ex-actly relate to anything in your life, right?

It’s easy to end up like the many students who unwittingly land in my office on their graduation day, decked out in their sti-lettos or silk ties, shaking at the thought of what to do for the rest of their lives. When they leave our conversation, they invariably say, “I wish I had known about this earlier.” They thrust their bouquet of flowers thankfully into my hands and plead with me to spread the word to ju-nior students to start early.

So, here I am, on behalf of all those students in beautiful dresses and snazzy suits—both the ones who know exactly where they’re going and the ones who aren’t sure at all. Whichever group you fall in, the career centre can help you, right from first year, even if you’re not ready for the cubicle or corner office just yet.

whAt’s AvAilAble?Employment programs: Career cen-tres post local, national, and international

full-time and part-time jobs, as well as summer and internship placements on their website. They also host employers on-campus, collect job applications on behalf of companies and try to recruit more employers to hire students from your school and program. They might also be able to connect you with volunteer opportunities.

Information area/library: Most ca-reer centres have books and computers that allow you to find out more about career options, what to do with your in-terests (in books like Careers for Talkative Types), and how to write resumés and

succeed in interviews. They also have directo-ries to help you connect with networking and employment opportuni-ties, education and grad school information, and program calendars from other schools. (The com-fy couches are a bonus!)

Events: Whether it’s at a large career fair in an arena or a small information ses-sion with one education program, these are great opportunities for first-year stu-dents to find out more about areas of interest, learn about postgrad programs, and meet employers in a low-risk, friendly environment. Many career centres will run themed events that tap into students’ interests, (like eco-careers), and help you connect with people, alumni, and orga-nizations who work in those fields. (And there’s usually food and free swag, too!)

You’re paying a lot for your program, and sweating buckets on assignments and ex-ams to boot. Right from first year, career centres help you make your education work for you; they’ll help you finesse the high school version of yourself into the newly sophisticated post-secondary you.

So, when you’re thinking, “I need to figure out my life,” drop by your campus career centre. We’re here to help—no fancy dress or flowers required. | Christine Fader

ADvice AnD sUpport

“i nEEd TO FigURE OUT my liFE. BUT HOw lOng dO yOU THink THiS will TAkE? i gRAdUATE AT 2:00 p.m. And my pAREnTS ARE wAiTing dOwn in THE CAR.”

up to 80% of undergraduate students change their majors at least once, a figure that would be much less if students took advantage of their high school career centres.

3110

EDUCATION CAREER CENTRES

SOuRCE: STATSCAN.GC.CA

Page 13: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

LocationStudy in Toronto, Canada’s largest and most diverse city. Why YOU should choose the

University of Guelph-Humber!

Close-Knit CommunityOur average class size is only 49 students!

Learn more!guelphhumber.ca/futurestudents

Degree + DiplomaEarn a university degree and a diploma in four years of full-time study.

Industry ConnectionsWorkplace experience is part of every program.

Page 14: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | SEPTEMBER 2013

EDUCATION OPTIONS

12

The letter arrives: you didn’t make the cut.

It may feel like the end of the world, but it really isn’t. Speak to an academic advisor at the institution you applied to. Figure out why you were denied. Was it a low GPA? Or did you have an incomplete or late ap-plication?

Most students are too bummed to even try, but talking to an advisor can increase your chances of getting in—if not this semester, then the next. Applicants are often rejected because there weren’t enough spots left. Typically, when this happens you can be added to a waitlist; if a student drops out, you’re next in line. This happens more often than people think, so don’t rule yourself out.

MeetinG with An ADvisorIf you want the advisor to work hard for you, come prepared. Demonstrate your in-terest and commitment to your education. Bring copies of your transcripts, student number, and a resumé. Most people apply to more than one institution, so if this school is your first choice, make a point to say so.

reDoinG A coUrseAn academic advisor can develop a plan with you to increase your grade point aver-age. Maybe you didn’t do so well in Math 12, and that C- is holding you back. Most colleges and universities let you redo the course on campus. Make sure you know how your institution of choice calculates your GPA with repeated courses, as some schools will use the higher grade while oth-ers take an average of the two.

Get help with hoMeworkWhen repeating a course, getting a better grade after the first attempt is preferred. Hav-ing to redo a course more than once can be expensive, time consuming, and may be a sign that the program is not right for you. Make the second shot worthwhile by hiring a tutor or taking advantage of the institution’s free resources for extra help. Most schools have learning centres to provide assistance; chances are the extra effort you put in will pay off. To find a tutor, ask the advisor if they have a list, go to the student union, or scan notice boards on campus for advertisements.

yOU didn’T gET in...

nOw wHAT

Go to colleGe first then trAnsfer to UniversityColleges are a great way to start your post-secondary education. Many boast smaller classrooms, less expensive tuition fees, and an easier commute. Plus, you’ll save money living at home, rather than living in campus dorms. Many colleges act as feeders to uni-versities, so most of their courses will trans-fer for credit. However, it’s your responsibil-ity to verify transferability, so check before you take any course. Taking this route also means making sure your grades are in order, so confirm the university’s entrance require-ments before you apply.

tAke A yeAr offA post-secondary education will be one of the largest investments you’ll ever make, so don’t take it lightly. Take time off to work, save money, and research all your possibilities. Booking an appointment with a career advi-sor can be beneficial too. Selecting a career which suits your personality before you com-mit to a program will save you time and mon-ey in the long run. | Eleni Papavasiliou

$3,500

$3,000

$2,500

$2,000

$1,500

$1,000

$4,000

$4,500

$5,000

NL $2,649

QC $2,774

MB $3,729

BC $5,015

CONSIDER SCHOOLS IN OTHER PROVINCES 2012/13 tuition fees across the country

$ PER YEAR

SOuRCE: STATSCAN.GC.CA

Page 15: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

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visit HydroOne.com/Careers.

Page 16: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | SEPTEMBER 2013

fall into

14

Why taking a year off of school is gaining popularity in North America.

After completing four intense years of high school, Alexa Gar-rison assumed that continuing her education as an environmen-tal science undergrad would be the obvious next step in her life. “There was never any question of whether or not I’d go,” she says. “I never even considered taking time off after I graduated.” That is until she found herself locked in her dorm room, bur-ied under a pile of overdue assignments for a crop of classes she wasn’t even interested in. “Basically, I woke up at midterms and realized that I didn’t even know why I was there.”

Alexa’s story is a familiar one to guidance offices across Canada. Here, as in the United States, most students go straight from high school to their first year of post-secondary. But in much of Eu-rope, it’s normal for students to take a gap year: a hiatus from

school. Now the idea is gaining popularity here at home, and research is showing that a breather between high school and post-secondary school is good for you in more ways than one.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that a student take a gap year, especially if there’s uncertainty about what they want to study,” says Paul Bowman, manager of Career and Education, and a career counsellor at Queen’s University. “We certainly see plenty of students who are motivated and have a clear direction who haven’t taken a gap year, but we also see a lot of students who aren’t really sure why they’re here. They’re basically just putting in time.”

Alexa isn’t an environmental science student anymore. After those brutal midterms, she dropped out of her program, join-

VS

Words Emily Minthorn // Illustrations Anthony capano

GAP yEAR

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15

ing the one third of Canadian students who leave school after their first year. “It sucks to be part of that drop-out statistic, but it would suck worse to waste more money on a second year of a program I wasn’t into.” Alexa’s now getting ready to travel to northern Ontario on a three-month tree planting stint this sum-mer, and while she still wants to go to school, “I just need some time off to figure out what I actually want to do,” she says. Alexa plans to use the money she earns tree planting to go do some humanitarian work overseas.

A gap year is exactly what many students need to find clarity, agrees Bowman. “Most people who take a gap year do return to school. It’s a fear from parents, but from all the data I’ve seen, it’s not a credible fear. All the evidence suggests that people will come back to school.”

Keep in mind that a gap year is very different from the ‘victory lap’ that’s become common since the elimination of grade 13 from Ontario high schools. “Staying in your same high school and being around the same people is not likely going to lead to the sort of growth and change that a year in a different environ-ment, around different people, doing different things is likely to give you,” says Bowman.

So what exactly should you do with your gap year? Travel is cool, but it’s expensive, so a year working abroad makes financial sense and there are tons of resources (on and offline) to help gappers find a position working or volunteering overseas. Then again, you could get a job or internship close to home and test drive a career you’re really interested in, risk-free. The positions you can land right out of high school might not pay that well—or at all—but if you’re still living with your folks, they won’t have to.

In any scenario, a gap year is only worth taking if you spend it doing something productive: gaining work experience and self-knowledge, for example, rather than raiding fortresses as a night elf warlock. “If you do take a gap year, make some plans,” says Bowman. “Get out the door, meet people, get involved, try new things, learn, and network. Get out of your comfort zone.”

Even if you’ve already been accepted to a post-secondary pro-gram, universities are willing to work around your gap year. Some even have bridging programs that involve a year abroad before resuming school. Successful students who request a deferral for a gap year always present the registrar with a game plan, says Bowman. “Universities support students doing that, because they know that students are likely to have a better academic outcome. There’s growing evidence that a gap year does correlate with in-creased motivation for students.” With that increased motivation comes greater focus and, Bowman believes, a more fulfilling ca-reer. Which is kind of the point of this whole thing anyway, right?

“i wOUldn’T HESiTATE TO RECOmmEnd THAT A STUdEnT TAkE A gAp yEAR, ESpECiAlly iF THERE’S UnCERTAinTy ABOUT wHAT THEy wAnT TO STUdy.”

Gap YearFOR DuMMIES

GAP yEARS ARE CATCHING ON. THERE’S AN ENTIRE NICHE OF GuIDEBOOkS FOR GAP yEARS FROM FINANCIAL ADvICE FOR STuDENTS TO GuIDEBOOkS FOR PARENTS. LONELy PLANET EvEN HAS A GAP yEAR TRAvEL GuIDE.

1412108642 160

On average, Canadian high school students take about 9 months off before starting post-secondary education. Ontario students take the most time off at about 15 months; students from Quebec take the least amount of time off, at about 3 months.

ONTARIO

AVERAGE

QUEBEC

6

5

4

3

2

1

7

8

9

TIME OFF (MONTHS)

Male students tend to take double the amount of time off as opposed to their female counter-parts.

TIME OFF (MONTHS)

Students living in rural areas are likely to take more time off than students who live in population centres.6

5

4

3

2

1

7

8

9

SOuRCE: STATSCAN.GC.CA

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STUdying in THE USAThere are plenty of opportunities south of the border.

Maybe you have a dream school in mind. Maybe you want to experi-ence life in a different part of the world. Maybe you want to put a na-tional border between yourself and your parents. Whatever the rea-son, students from around the world are attending American schools.

Every year, five per cent of more than 723,000 international students move from Canada to pursue higher education in the US.

With many schools south of the border, the choices can be over-whelming, but there are many reasons to study in America.

QUAlity of eDUcAtionAmerica has some of the best universities in the world. Of the top 25 universities listed in The Times World University Rankings for 2011–12, 18 are American. In addition to the Ivy League, dozens of US schools appear on the list of the world’s top 400 schools.

cAreer benefitsJane Rendely, a Canadian career and educational counsellor, says, “when a person comes back to Canada and they have been trained in the United States, there is an edge that comes with that.” But she cautions that “it depends on the school…not all American universities share such cutting edge training and hold such a high reputation.”

Also, many US programs have established affiliations with employers, enabling you to develop contacts in the field. “There are several career benefits,” says Dr. Alexander Castilla, the director of Ivy Educational Systems, “such as participating within social and professional networks that students use for the rest of their lives. This exchange of ideas, knowledge practices, and other forms of social capital will continue to be intrinsic to understanding and facilitating human development.”

Check out the university’s admission statistics, their application pro-cess for international students, and what items you’ll need to com-plete to get accepted.

be sUre to coMplete the necessAry testsTo apply to US schools, you have to write the SATs, part of the cul-ture in American high school. The SAT tests reasoning, language, and math, (and can be taken right here in Canada!). Check the ad-missions page of the university’s website to find the average admis-sion for SAT scores and grades.

Prepare for the SATs and try to write them in high school. Stella Lee, a grade 12 student applying to biology at UNC Chapel Hill and UCLA, advises doing some preparation for the tests. “I took a course through the Princeton Review. I found the private tutoring classes they offer are a lot better than the classroom ones.”

look GooD on yoUr ApplicAtionMake your credentials sparkle with good grades, (especially in ad-vanced placement (AP) courses), writing an awesome entrance essay, and being involved in extracurriculars.

There are 647 high schools in Canada that offer AP courses—un-dergraduate-level classes taught in high school. A higher grade shows the admissions board that you mean business. Try to take AP courses in the eleventh grade because American universities make most of their decisions based on grades from this year.

Many US universities require entrance essays—especially for schools with higher reputations. For these essays, write honestly and show yourself as a person because you’re applying to an institution with certain values. The admissions office will use your essay to help them decide if you match those values. (Be sure to proofread to check your grammar before you send off your essay!)

Going to university in the US takes planning and persistence. But the possibilities for a life-enriching experience and a fulfilling future may just lie south of the border.

Words Maya Hamovitch // Illustrations Anthony capano

EDUCATION

17

STuDy IN AMERICA

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EDUCATION BuDGETING

18

BREAking dOwn yOUR BUdgETyour guide to university life that won’t break the bank.

When I left for university, I had no idea what things cost. With a student loan in my hands, I bought whatever I laid eyes on: fast food, beer, music. I accumulated a gargantuan amount of debt that I’m only now able to pay off. Debt is the last thing you want after post-secondary. Together with Laurie Campbell, executive director of Credit Canada, a not-for-profit charity that’s helped people deal with debt for over

40 years, we’ve compiled some indispensable tips to get you the most bang for your buck during your first year away from home.

Words Kevin Nelson // Illustrations Alashi & Anthony capano

SAVE AHEADFigure out where your money will go. “Some students get student loans, but here’s the scary part: they get it in chunks in September and January. They’ve got to learn to spread that out,” says Campbell. “When a student sets their budget, they have to figure out their fixed costs: rent, tuition, books, the cost of food and transport.”

PLAN ON GETTING A JOB! Although working a couple shifts a week on top of going to school might not sound so appealing, there could be benefits. “It really sets you up for what life can be like,” says Campbell. “If you learn to balance your life in that way, that’s a great skill!”

NO CHARGE Avoid the credit card squeeze. It’ll help in the long run. “We see far too many young people ruin their credit rating before they’re 25,” says Campbell. “If you’re tempted to get one, and feel that it’s necessary, stick to one card with a limit of no more than $1000.” Another option might be to get a pre-loaded credit card for emergencies. At least then you’ll know when the party’s over.

BALANCING EXPENSESIf your money arrives in lumps, keep your “expense funds” separate from your “fun funds.” This makes it easier to monitor your expenses.

BUY THE BOOK? In my second year, I bought a $200 history textbook for an elective that I couldn’t sell back because they weren’t teaching it the following year. This taught me a lesson: only buy the books you need. I saved $500 one year because I used the books reserved in the library. Of course, this isn’t ideal for everyone, so scour the school bulletin boards for used books, or even try online.

CAMPUS LIVING: ON/OFF“It’s going to be cheaper living off-campus if you can live with roommates and you’re careful with your money,” says Campbell. “Tuition fees and meal plans are usually paid in advance and you don’t have any transportation issues.”

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TRENDS

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TREnd AlERT: THE mUST-HAVE UniVERSiTy dEgREES

Who would have ever thought university could be so cool?

In a world where our generation is so obsessed with having the newest piece of technology and keeping up with the latest must-haves, it comes as no surprise that the academic world has started to acquire a taste for what’s most trendy. To keep up with what’s popular, universities across the country have introduced more contemporary bachelor degree programs designed to attract new high school grads because of their relevancy to today’s world.

We’re focusing on three trendy programs from three different schools in Canada that will surely add to your university ‘wants’ list.

mEdiA STUdiESWe all consume different forms of media each day, so much so that sometimes we’re unaware that it’s there. Whether it’s through a billboard hovering next to a busy highway or the TV in your parents’ kitchen, we are constantly fed ideas from the media. Since it’s so ingrained in our minds today, why not learn more about it?

The University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus offers a degree in media studies to help students better understand and critically analyze the happenings in the media. Michael Petit, director of media studies and the joint program in new media, says students study everything from its history to its place in the contemporary world. “Media studies really began with Plato, back in his cave where he theorized that we dilute ourselves by looking at images on a wall that seduce us into thinking that’s real,” he says. “We look at the study of media from Plato’s time forward, so we look at a lot of different theories.”

Studying the history, theories, and cultural aspects of media in a global context is what is primarily covered in the four years of the program, says Petit. “We do a lot of topic courses like media and globalization, media and the world of work, food and media, digi-tal culture and gaming, media ethics, and so on.”

So if this tickles your interest and you dream of pursuing a career in the field, the University of Toronto also offers a joint program in new media, which Petit describes as “a professionalization towards a specific career in the media.” This can mean anything from web design to communications to working on mobile applications. The joint program requires a practical year at Centennial College in Toronto, where students take courses in coding, as well as acquire other digital skills.

The aim of a degree in media studies is to not only prepare you for a career in the contemporary market, but to also help you suc-ceed in it. “The reason why I think it’s so exciting and important is because we live in such a media-saturated world,” he says, “and we really need to develop the critical skills to analyze it for ourselves because otherwise we’re just cultural dupes of the media too easily.”

VidEO gAmE pROgRAmmingIf you spend a lot of your free time playing video games at un-godly hours of the night, studying video game programming might just be your match. With courses in video game design, advanced graphics, and physics in gaming, a degree in video game program-ming offers the opportunity to do more than just play.

“The video game industry is very popular. Everybody loves video games,” says Dr. David LeBlanc, associate professor and chair of the department of computer science and information technology at the University of PEI. “A lot of students have their own ideas about video games that they’d like to see built.” The desire to build new video games is something that Dr. LeBlanc may have warned students against a few years ago. “Your chances of going to work for a company and them going ‘Oh, what a great idea! We’ll build it’ were very slim,” he explains. “[But] now with a lot of game de-velopment going over to mobile apps for smartphones, anyone can develop a game and put it up in one of the stores.”

According to Dr. LeBlanc, landing a job in the video game industry after graduation will be a bit of a challenge. “Video game com-panies won’t just hire anyone...they want very high-skilled people; they want our best students and our program’s designed to ensure that only our best students get into it.”

But don’t let that get you down. With a strong work ethic and skills in math, problem solving, and logic, your path to a career in the field will be clearer, says Dr. LeBlanc. “It’s a very competitive and very demanding industry, but you get to work on really cool games and you get to work generally with very interesting and fun people. If you can get into it, it’s a good yet high-pressure industry.”

In addition to that, video game programming is just a specializa-tion to the actual degree you’ll earn in computer science at the University of PEI. “There’re lots of programs out there that’ll just train you for the video game industry, but if you don’t make it in the industry, your education is basically useless. Having a program that gives you a wider base so you can go out and work in other industries is really important.”

Words Megan Santos // Illustrations Anthony capano & roman Durkovic

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ECOTOURiSm And OUTdOOR lEAdERSHipIf you have an appreciation for nature and oftentimes find yourself outdoors, a degree in ecotourism and outdoor lead-ership at Mount Royal University might just be the academic adventure you were hoping to find. “Students become experts in group leadership in the outdoors, in the planning and execu-tion of multi-day expeditions, risk management, and outdoor program development,” says Joe Pavelka, associate professor and coordinator of the bachelor of ecotourism and outdoor leadership.

The program gives you the opportunities to not only devote time to working in provincial parks and kayaking through riv-ers, but also to develop skills in communications and become entrepreneurially savvy. “Students take a variety of courses throughout the four years,” he says. “They range from activity courses, through to theoretical courses, practical courses, inde-pendent study courses—so it’s quite varied.”

Students who are interested in this program should be self-motivated. “We say that about many programs, but ecotourism and outdoor leadership is a broad area and we make sure that our students have a good, strong background in a variety of areas.” Despite this, there is always an opportunity for students to specialize in their interests within the program.

“We have students who are involved in management with Parks Canada, to NGOs that are both national and international (do-ing a bunch of community-based tourism projects), through to a number of entrepreneurs.”

The chance to work and live abroad has also made the bach-elor of ecotourism and outdoor leadership a big attraction for students. “About half of our students end up going abroad for work for one reason or another,” says Pavelka. “Our entrepre-neurs have started their own companies in Alberta, BC, Mexi-co, and different parts of North America.”

If you’re the type of student with an adventurous personality and a lover of hands-on work, then this is the gig for you.

“STUdEnTS BECOmE EXpERTS in gROUp lEAdER-SHip in THE OUTdOORS, in THE plAnning And EXECUTiOn OF mUlTi-dAy EXpEdiTiOnS, RiSk mAn-AgEmEnT, And OUTdOOR pROgRAm dEVElOpmEnT.”

74.5% OF TRAVEllERS SAy A HOTEl’S EnViROnmEnTAl pOliCiES inFlUEnCE THEiR dECiSiOn TO STAy THERE.

SOuRCE: RESPONSIBLETRAvEL

TRENDS

Page 25: Jobpostings High School Edition 2013

CAREERMASH.CAYour Passion + Tech = Your Future CareerToday’s in-demand careers mash up tech with anything you can imagine – art, sports, fashion, entertainment, business, healthcare, the environment – you name it!

Tech is everywhere and employers need grads who “get” tech.

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STUdying Up nORTHStudents discover there’s more to the North than cold winds and snow.

Long winters and sub-zero temperatures usually come to mind when there’s any mention of Canada. Talk about northern Can-ada and thoughts go to an arctic tundra where half the year is spent in darkness. This may be the reason why students aren’t exactly eager to pack their bags and head north for their post-secondary education. However, that’s not all the North has to offer, and going there for your post-secondary education may just show you how wonderful the North can be.

“I think that for a lot of people in Canada, a trip north is a right of passage,” says Michael Vernon, communications coordinator at Yukon College. “I think that the big attraction to come here would really be to broaden your knowledge and experience of Canada, especially for people who want to be more connected to the natural world, and are looking to be inspired by incredible landscapes.”

For students who are looking for a change of pace and scenery as they enter their post-secondary education years, northern col-leges and universities like the University of Northern British Co-lumbia and Yukon College may just be the academic getaway you’ve been hoping for.

Northern schools often boast smaller class sizes which, according to Pat Maher, associate professor at the University of Northern Brit-ish Columbia, is a great advantage for students as well as professors. “For me, it’s that I know the students’ names,” he says. “I have first-year classes with 30 or 40 students in them, so I know when a student isn’t there, and I can ask them ‘What’s the matter?’ and why they haven’t shown up. I can really dedicate a lot of time to my students; I can come up with a lot of really unique opportunities that I just don’t think there would be a possibility for in the city.”

Vernon agrees. He says that smaller class sizes offer much more interaction for students with their classmates, as well as their in-structors. It also allows students and instructors to engage in new teaching practices like collaborative learning.

“It allows our instructors to be more nimble in experimenting with new technology—such as being one of the first (schools) in Canada to utilize iPads to help organize patient information and plan patient care in our practical nursing program,” says Vernon. “This year, the practical nursing, health care assistant, primary care paramedic, and bachelor of social work students at Yukon College came together for several joint real-world simulation ex-

Words Kate Aenlle // Illustrations Anthony capano

FEATURES NORTHERN SCHOOLS

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ercises, which he says are “easier to facilitate and coordinate with individual classes of 10–20 students instead of 100–500.”

Many students also choose to leave home and pursue their post-secondary studies in other provinces because who doesn’t want to experience university and college life away from parents? “We’ve had students here from downtown Toronto who thought about going to Lakehead [University], but Thunder Bay wasn’t far enough away,” says Maher about some of the students who enrol at the university. “They wanted that, ‘I’m going to go all the way to northern BC. I don’t know what’s there, but I think there are probably some great opportunities’ experience and they’ve taken advantage of that.”

Vernon also thinks that while it’s not exactly your typical city-living lifestyle, the Yukon has many things to offer. “We have modern amenities here in Whitehorse. There are lots of winter activities and lots of things to get involved with but, as busy as we are, there’s definitely less happening here compared to a big city like Toronto or Vancouver.”

Over the past several years, attendance of out-of-province stu-dents to northern schools has been slowly rising because, accord-

ing to Vernon, “there are certain programs that we offer that at-tract people from outside the territory,” like their programs which have connections to the outdoors and the environment.

“For some programs, like for our national science programs, we’re right here where climate change, for example, is happening,” says Vernon. “The effects of climate change are really apparent here, so if you’re studying anything about that—or maybe something like animal populations—the results are right here, and the abil-ity to go out into the field is what’s great. You can’t necessarily do that in a school down south.” Their renewable resource manage-ment program has been running for 20 years, and he says “that’s also attracted people from across the country, who are wanting to get into natural resource management and conservation.”

The outdoor recreation and tourism management program at the University of Northern British Columbia is something that Maher thinks students should take advantage of if that’s the field of study that they’re interested in.

“I think that in some of the city schools, like in Toronto or Van-couver and other places like that, to have a program like that means driving hours and hours to get to the outdoors to do a class or a field trip, (like a three week-long field course), whereas I can step out of the university and run a three-hour lab and be

25

back in a matter of seconds at the university in time for the next class,” he says. “I can provide opportunities for a program like ours, which looks at outdoor recreation, conservation, and na-ture-based tourism, with activities and content right here, versus being in the city and perhaps needing to drive for that.”

Northern schools can offer many of the opportunities and experi-ences that most other colleges or universities across the country have; however, as with post-secondary education in general, there are obviously going to be some challenges along the way.

“Folks who are leaving wherever they are from to go somewhere else—that’s always a big deal,” says Maher. “I know for me, I went and did my PhD in New Zealand and that was a big deal. For some, it’s leaving the comfort of their home, where their friends and family are. It’s a big step, regardless of where you’re coming from. It’s an even bigger step if you’re not entirely com-fortable or aware of what’s happening at that school or in that community because all of your friends and their siblings grew up and went to school elsewhere. There’s just some stepping outside of your comfort zone involved in the transition.”

If you’re unsure about your plan of action, as far as making the big move to the North, Maher says that you need to do your home-work and research as much info about the schools you’re interested in as you can. “There’s all kinds of information on the web where you can really get a flavour of what a community or university is like. I think that part of it is that you’re not just buying into a uni-versity that you might want to go to, but you’re buying into the city or small town (that you’ll be living in). You need to know what the difference is between places and figure out if it’s just a wasteland out there with no good clubs or restaurants, etc,” he says.

He also suggests that students contact the schools. “I encourage students all the time to phone a university or a professor. Because I teach at a small school, I’m aware of the problem with recruit-ing students here, so I’m always open to taking the time out of my day to answer questions, so that you’re hearing it from me. I quite often put students in touch with alumni so they don’t just hear it from a faculty member, but they can hear all the great stories right from the horse’s mouth.”

At the end of the day, though, Vernon says that your northern school experience, should you choose to accept it, “all depends on how willing a person is to engage in the community, the culture, and the nature that’s happening all around here.”

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BEyOnd A diplOmA millThe pros of virtual distance learning.

Words Rebecca Feigelsohn // Illustrations polygraphus & Anthony capano

Contrary to popular belief, taking a class or completing a degree online isn’t about lounging on the couch watching The Price is Right in your pajamas. Technically you can be nude while participating in a heated discussion about the economy and you can submit your assignments while lying in bed, but the benefits of virtual distance learning are far

greater than the freedom to not leave your house all day.

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FEATURESvIRTuAL LEARNING

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FEATURES vIRTuAL LEARNING

Distance education allows students to study, learn, and participate on their own schedule, at the place of their choice, and without the limits that face-to-face contact with a professor or peers demands. This type of learning is especially beneficial to students living in remote and sparsely populated regions, students with disabili-ties or special needs, mature students, and workers undertaking professional develop-ment. The ‘distance’ in distance learning can be psychological, social, or geographi-cal; there are many factors that limit a stu-dents’ ability to attend a brick-and-mortar institution but that doesn’t mean their ac-cess to education has to be jeopardized.

the benefits Online and distance courses give students flexible alternatives so they can maintain work, family, and personal commitments while earning credits towards their degree. It also allows students to save money on commuting to and from campus, moving or living expenses, as well as the potential costs of day care if they have children.

Jenna Laskin, 28, a student completing a Human Resource Management degree from Humber College, decided to learn online for some of these reasons. “I want-ed to be able to work and travel while com-pleting the degree,” she says. “I was actu-ally living in San Diego while taking my first three courses. Humber was the most appealing to me because the program started immediately and was very flexible. As a mature student, the idea of sitting in a classroom again did not appeal to me.”

In addition to the flexibility that distance education provides, there are also environ-mental benefits. “By not having campus attendance requirements, distance learn-ing reduces the carbon footprint of main-taining classroom spaces and student com-mutes. The growing use of e-text books also saves trees. This makes it a much greener alternative,” says Dr. Nancy Park-er, director of Institutional Studies at Atha-basca University, a Canadian open univer-sity. By having online learning resources and reducing the need to construct new learning spaces, virtual distance learning not only saves students’ time and money, but also helps save the environment.

“The other benefit that you gain by doing a degree [or taking a course] online is that

you learn how to communicate the way the world is communicating today,” says George Siemens, who has taught hundreds of courses online since the late 90s and is currently an online professor at Athabasca University. By learning online, you are developing your skills and ability to com-municate in an age when being technologi-cally savvy is key to your success.

Siemens also notes how distance learning and discussions online can be particularly useful for students who are more reserved and may have difficulties participating in the classroom. “In some ways, there’s a greater equity of participation online,” he says. “Someone who might be a bit more introverted might need more time to process their thoughts before sharing

their thinking. So there’s more equity in that regard: the conversation might not be dominated by a few people as it might have been in class.”

Dr. Adam Chapnick, an associate profes-sor at Canadian Forces College who has taught online and documented his expe-rience on a blog called “Virtually Learn-ing,” agrees. “To take a course online allows you to express yourself in online discussions in much greater depth than you often can in a face-to-face limited time discussion. It allows you to think through your comments in terms of class participation, edit them, proofread them, and double-check them before you post it. It allows you to get a broader sense of an entire dialogue before you add your com-ment. It leaves you with a record of other students’ comments that you can go back to; you don’t need a tape recorder. I think

“i wOUld EnCOURAgE All STUdEnTS —AT SOmE pOinT in An ACAdEmiC CAREER iF THEy ARE gOing TO dO AT lEAST A FOUR-yEAR dEgREE—TO dO AT lEAST OnE COURSE OnlinE. iT STRETCHES yOUR BRAin in diFFER-EnT wAyS, yOU lEARn in diFFEREnT wAyS, And i THink THAT’S JUST gREAT FOR EdUCATiOn in gEnERAl”

5

10

15

20

25

TOTAL SCHOOLS PER PROVINCE

SCHOOLS OFFERING ONLINE LEARNING

30

35

40

PEIBC AB SK QCMB ON NS NB NL

45

0

AT ANY GIVEN TIME, THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY

1,000,000STUDENTS REGISTERED IN ONLINE PROGRAMS IN CANADA IN BOTH COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY LEVELS.

THE % OF STUDENTS ENROLLED IN DISTANCE EDUCATION FROM RURAL OR REMOTE AREAS.

25%

75%THE % OF

GRADUATESFROM A VIRTUAL

LEARNERSPROGRAM THAT

FIND JOBS AFTERGRADUATION.

4/10 PROVINCES IN CANADA HAVE UNIVERSITIES THAT STRONGLY FOCUS ON

DISTANCE EDUCATION AND ONLINE LEARNING.

BC

ABQC

NL

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that a lot of the benefits come in the po-tential for depth in the students conversa-tions that go on.”

the Myths Because of the aforementioned couch-po-tato stereotype, virtual distance learning often gets a bad rap. Students interested in online learning might be deterred because they don’t want to be seen as lazy and they want to ensure that their degree will be recognized once they graduate. There is a fear that online learning is perceived as easier and lower quality than campus-based learning and distance learning in-stitutions being equated to diploma mills that simply churn out certificate after certificate. However, “research has con-sistently demonstrated than the student learning outcomes from reputable pro-viders are equivalent to more traditional delivery,” says Dr. Parker.

Siemens notes, “There was a time when there was a lot of suspicion about the validity of online degrees and just on-line learning in general. I think definitely over the last five years the perspective has changed quite a bit. Part of the reason is that we now spend most of our day—in our work and personal lives—involved in some sort of technology-mediated communication...I think that part of the reason that some of the negativity around online learning’s validity has changed is due to the fact that we’re living our lives in online networks.”

Dr. Chapnick also notes that commonly held beliefs about virtual distance learning being easier is untrue. “If you really want to learn from the experience, don’t go in thinking it will be easier than in class, or a lighter workload. Learning requires effort, whether that’s online or in class, it’s the effort that really counts. There are some specific benefits, especially if you are in a remote area, to taking online classes, but none of them have anything to do with an easier or a less rigorous experience if you really want to get something out of the course,” he says.

the fActs & fiGUres These commonly held myths are being put to rest as the Internet is becoming more imbedded in our daily lives and dis-tance learning is becoming an increasingly popular option to traditional face-to-face

learning. According to Contact North, Ontario’s distance education and training network, no reliable, systemic data exists for the number of students studying on-line in Canada. However, they estimate using proxy data, that there are “between 875,000 and 950,000 registered online stu-dents in Canada (approximately 92,105 to 100,000 full-time students) at college and universities studying a purely online course at any one time.” Dr. Tony Bates, an e-learning and distance education research associate consultant for Contact North and former online professor for over 20 years, notes that “approximately 20 per cent of all course enrolments are online in post--secondary institutions in Canada.”

To add more figures about this growing trend, Athabasca University, Canada’s largest distance education university, awarded a total of 1,788 credentials (full degrees) online in 2012, made up of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees,

as well as graduate and undergraduate diplomas and certificates. A large num-ber of students also enrol in particular courses at Athabasca to use towards their degree at another institution and a total of 38,000 students register annually. In addition, Canadian Virtual University (CVU), an association of public Cana-dian universities specializing in online and distance education, had over 100,000 students register last year. These findings are indicative of the growing popularity of virtual distance learning.

the stUDents According to Dr. Parker, 5,000 of the stu-dents enrolled at Athabasca were from ru-ral areas, which is an area with a popula-tion of 400 people or less. Dr. Bates notes that the data collected by Contact North indicates that there are 3,000 students in Ontario alone who are from rural areas and are enrolled in online courses. How-

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JOBPOSTINGS.CA | SEPTEMBER 2013

ever, since education is not a federal respon-sibility, no nationwide statistics exist. What can be surmised is that distance learning is quickly growing, especially in smaller com-munities where the diversity and number of course offerings are minimal.

“The online space has additional ben-efits, such as the access opportunity: you can take courses that might not be offered at your local university,” says Siemens. “If you are located in a remote or small southern Ontario community, for exam-ple, and your local college or university doesn’t offer a particular course, if you can go online, you can take a course from any university around the world.”

The benefits of online learning aren’t in-clusive only for those living in rural areas; all students benefit from increased flexibil-ity and access. Jaclyn Tanz, 22, is in her final semester of a bachelor of commerce from Dalhousie University. In order to have a decreased course load as well as gain credits while she completed several co-op terms, Tanz took online courses from four institutions, including her home university. “I took courses online from Dalhousie, Athabasca, Thompson Rivers, and at the University of New Brunswick. I lightened my course load during the year by taking classes in the summer and gained credits toward my degree while I was completing my placements and earn-ing money,” she says.

As a student who has taken both distance classes as well as face-to-face, Tanz can speak to the different challenges of each learning method. “When you are taking a course online, self-motivation is really important because once you fall behind it is very challenging to catch up. When you go to class, you have a scheduled time each week that you devote to studying the material, so it is more structured.”

Online professors also emphasize the im-portance of self-motivation. “I think that self motivation is absolutely critical. Even the most attentive instructors can only do so much,” Dr. Chapnick says. “A willing-ness to ask for help when you need it is also absolutely critical.”

Siemens notes the distinction between self-guided courses, which “have little or no interaction with the instructor, and [the student] needs to be a highly-moti-

30

vated and self-regulated learner,” versus “cohort-based models,” meant to resem-ble a traditional classroom as they have assignment dates and set times to partici-pate.

the ADvice Tanz, a seasoned online learner, recom-mends doing as much research as possible before committing to a distance degree or course. “In my experience, each online class has been unique and each professor has different expectations and uses differ-ent tools and resources. Find out whether you will be required to work with your peers and how many hours a week the professor will be available to answer ques-tions. The more you know about the class before you start the better.”

Dr. Bates recommends that students treat their distance classes as they would a class-room course. “Be sure to set aside as much time for the online course as you would for the face-to-face course. Make sure you’re well organized and you’re not the kind of student who needs to be chased all the time, because it won’t work very well.” Dr. Bates also suggests that when deciding to learn, online students should consider how online education would fit into their existing routine. “I would encourage stu-dents if they feel it would fit their lifestyle because it’s more of a lifestyle choice than an academic one. You could learn just as well online as you can in the class. Check the courses out and make sure they’re properly designed,” he says.

Dr. Parker notes that “the most success-ful distance students will be academically well-prepared for the level of study they are undertaking, have clear goals, and support from their family and employers.”

Whether you need to pick up an extra course, pursue an undergraduate degree, or complete a graduate program, it is worth considering virtual distance edu-cation and seeing how it can fit into your academic lifestyle.

“I would encourage all students—at some point in an academic career if they are going to do at least a four year degree—to do at least one course online. It stretches your brain in different ways, you learn in different ways, and I think that’s just great for education in general,” says Dr. Chap-nick.

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mAking iT TO THE TOpWondering how to get there? Read on to find out how this young

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Where did you go to school? What pro-gram did you attend?

University of Alberta, with international ex-changes at the National University of Sin-gapore, University of British Columbia, and Vanderbilt University. I received an individual-ized major through international studies with a drama minor.

What drew you to your field?

The opportunity to develop my leadership abil-ities, personal growth, and financial freedom.

How did you find your position?

My brother was involved with College Pro for two years when he was in university, and I want-ed to be like him. They spoke in my class about the opportunity and I put my name down to find out more information about it.

Tell us about your responsibilities.

As a College Pro entrepreneur, I ran my own business from start to finish. I was responsible for all the marketing, sales, interviewing, hir-ing, training and retaining of staff, financial management, and production management. There is a lot of training, support, and systems to guide a manager through this, but, at the end of the day, the entrepreneur is the one respon-sible for all of this.

What is the most challenging aspect of your position?

For some, it’s being able to hold themselves ac-countable to their own goals and plans; for oth-ers it’s being able to train and lead their own staff. Universally, the amount of energy that has to be put into your business is extremely extensive and can be exhausting.

What is a rewarding part of your job?One highlight is when a manager successfully accomplishes all their “firsts” in their business: booking their first job, hiring their first em-ployee, and producing their first job. There are also the satisfying moments when everything is working smoothly in your business and you know you created it all.

What skills have you learned through your work experience?There are infinite skills I’ve learned: sales, mar-keting, interviewing, training, priority manage-ment, conflict management, business financials. Every aspect of my life has been influenced by running my own company.

What do you think it takes to be success-ful in this career?Openness to learning: being open to learning from your business coach, other managers, and being able to assess and learn from yourself. Also, grit: strength to stick it out through the difficult times by knowing the short-term pain will be outweighed by the long-term gain.

What are you most proud of to date?Being the top female in the history of College Pro. I produced $312,000 in my second year as a franchisee while coaching five rookie busi-nesses and taking a full course load.

What are your future career aspirations?In the long run, I’ll end up creating my own startup, as well as investing in and coaching other businesses. I am passionate about helping individuals reach their full potential. We are ca-pable of so much more than we think possible.

What advice do you have for students looking to land their first job?Get real life experience. Grades are important in order to keep doors open in your future and to develop a work ethic, but employers want to know what you have done. Action is valued by employers far beyond discussions of what could and should be done.

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