Thursday, December 4, 2014

Secrets of Community College

University teaches you how to think. College programs teach you how to do, and how to do a job well. In an economy where employment is at a premium, knowing the nitty-gritty details of your career can mean all the difference for your employability and your financial status. Yet college is thought of as lesser, and snobbery has kept this valuable experience a secret. If you haven't heard about the benefits of this practical education, here's what you're missing.

Broader demographics of students
Centennial College, for example, considers it a mission to make its college courses available to everyone, and works to eliminate barriers to education. This means that classes aren't only attended by 19-year old high school grads. People from every walk of life take college classes. University can be an ivory tower, but college is a genuine cultural mosaic. Older, younger, immigrant, native, everyone's different. Being in such a diverse environment gives a student a greater look at the makeup of Canada, and prepares them for life in the world outside school's walls by being an accurate mirror of it.

A practical education for less money
Let's be frank: While it's not a universal statement, and it depends on programs taken, community college can be cheaper than university. On a purely pragmatic financial level, this is obviously beneficial. And that financial benefit will continue, as college will also link you up to the workforce as directly as possible. Between giving you hands on experience practicing your future career in labs and facilities and linking you directly with the workforce via placement and co-op opportunities, students are given tools and opportunities they can use to enter the workforce as soon as they graduate, or even earlier. It's a tough job market out there, and a technical, practical education will put you ahead of the crowd, which will pay off in the long run.

Personalized approaches
Near the end of University, as your education becomes more specific and less general, you may see shrinking class sizes of about 30, full of post-secondary veterans ready to focus on the specific things that are relevant to them. College has that class size and focus from the get go. It can be a draining, isolating, impersonal experience to be in a room of 200, and a small class allows education to be personalized. Your professor (who, by the way, will be an industry professional with real time in their career field) will know you and help you as well, and will be yet another valuable industry contact post-graduation.

Post Graduate Programs: The Next Step in Your Career

If you're in your last year of your Undergraduate Degree Program in College, with your exams, final assignments, and graduation looming, you could find yourself too busy to take a moment to ask yourself a very important question: “What now?” What does your post-graduate life look like? Do you have the skills and focus needed to land that dream job? Or do you think you need a little bit more? If you're looking to specialize your existing education, or even refocus into another subject area, a post graduate program may be for you. Postgrads are short, running about a year in length, and focus on the nitty-gritty ins and outs of a specific career.

Post graduate programs are tailored to build on what you learned at the undergrad level.

This means they're designed to deepen your knowledge of a specific segment of your chosen career. When taking that course, you will have time to deepen that understanding, as well as network with professionals, and gain practical experiences through internships and placements. You're building on your already-secure foundation to gain that extra inch of employability. Another reason a student may take a postgrad is to change the focus of their career path without a need for a lengthy and expensive education to follow it up, opening up new career areas when you hit the job market.

Don't take it on a whim, though. Postgrads can be immensely useful, but a lot of work. Despite their short span, you'll require even larger amounts of discipline and time management to make it. An advantage of this is that you'll be uniquely prepared for the challenges of the working world, having essentially experienced a dry run of that world while still in school. Indeed, you may find yourself approaching this program completely differently. You're taking it because you need something out of the school, shifting the balance of power in your favour.

But it's a two-way exchange. The education is important, but to get the most out of it, you must ensure that you put effort into it, and proactively pursue the networking and job opportunities that may present themselves. It's only a year, long but you need to know what to do with that year if you want to improve your employment prospects. It'll be a challenge, but a worthy one to get a leg up in the job market. If that sounds appealing to you, have a look at what schools like Centennial College have to offer, and cut ahead of the job-hunting crowd.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Distance Learning - A New Frontier for College Students

As technology changes, so does education. Distance Learning has long been looked down upon as a sort of disreputable method of getting a degree, but thanks to advancements in the field of education technology, it's just as valuable as traditional classroom learning. Similarly, distance learners now enjoy a higher profile in the employment world. Because of this, many colleges and universities now offer online courses in a broad variety of subjects.

When taking a course in distance learning, materials can be accessed online. At Centennial College, the virtual classroom is simple enough to run that anyone with a basic laptop or PC can access it. The program isn't done in isolation, either, as students can communicate with each other online, and for a virtual network of support. Similarly, tutors and instructors can be accessed any time through email, or even by phone.

Distance learning courses can be taken for several different reasons, depending on the interests and background of the individual taking them. They can be a hobby taken by a learner that simply want to pick up new life skills, or by a working professional who’s looking to upgrade and enhance their career. This is where that flexibility comes in handy, as study time in distance learning can be balanced along with a day job, ensuring a manageable work-life balance.

This is not to say that each course is easy, though. The great benefit of distance learning is that aforementioned flexibility of when you study, but study you must, since you’ll still have to schedule time in your week to hit the books, be they physical or virtual. There’s also still strict assessment requirements, and students may find themselves having to travel to the school itself to take their exams.

Distance learning in Toronto at institutions such as Centennial College allows a would-be student access to all the benefits of a practical college education, eliminating the time, money, and life reorganization needed to come to campus. Despite the shifting reputation of online education, a way to ensure that education is useful and relevant is to take it from a school like Centennial that already serves as a well-regarded day college. That way, you can rest assured that you’re getting an easily-accessible version of that same great education, in the convenience of your own home, on a schedule that benefits you. Fitting, since one of Centennial’s missions is to eliminate barriers to success. You should still be able to learn, despite any issues with life commitments, finances, or time you might have.

A Few Popular Misconceptions About College Education

Between the media, guidance councillors trying to put motivation in you, and general lack of knowledge, a high schooler heading into a College Degree Program can walk away with a few misconceptions of college, chiefly that it some sort of hostile environment, full of nothing but roadblocks. I won't sugarcoat one thing: It'll be tough, and you'll be a different person coming out of it than going in as a result. But there's a few things the average high schooler gets wrong about getting your Toronto degree, things that are less difficult and rigid than you may think.

Myth: Every class you miss brings harsh penalties
A big shock that hits a high schooler upon entering the post-secondary world is just how little attention is paid to where you are. There's no longer any penalty for missing a class. Unless it's a tutorial, attendance isn't being taken. In truth, there aren't any formal academic penalties for missing classes.

On the other hand, there's a more difficult angle to this now. No one's keeping track of you, so it's up to you to keep track of yourself. Yes, you won't be penalized formally for a class you skip out on, but you need to be aware that it's an important lesson that you missed out on. If not that, then maybe a due date for an assignment was revealed, or your instructor revealed topic that will be on your final. Either way, it's your risk now.

Myth: The structure of the program is even more rigid than high school
By structure, I'm referring to class times, deadlines, and scheduling. And this one is just false. If anything, structure is looser. In college, classes can be moved, cancelled, extended, or cut short at any time for any reason. Of course, most instructors and schools will avoid too much upheaval, but it's still more common than in high school. And if you're late for class, no one's going to lock a door, or ask you to get a late slip from the office. Of course, you may get some dirty looks coming in late, and constantly asking what you missed won't put you in anyone's good graces, but you needn't live in fear of the mad dash to morning class.

Myth: You're on your own
Another falsity. Just because no one's keeping track of you anymore doesn't mean no one cares. There are numerous resources present for your success in college, and it all starts with your instructors. Their email addresses will be out there, and they'll have office hours you can use. If anything, they're invested more in your future than your high school teachers. It's just up to you to seek them out instead of them finding you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Three Benefits of Learning from Home

Education is everyone's right, and if you're thinking of getting that practical college degree, but life seems to be standing in the way, there is hope. A program taken by distance learning in Toronto allows you to experience all the benefits of college education without having to come to campus. Courses in distance learning can eliminate barriers to success. If it's an issue of time, money, or other life commitments, you can still get your learning in.

Online education has struggled with its reputation in the past, but if it comes from a school like Centennial College, a solid community college with proper day classes, then you can be assured that you're receiving the same quality experience, only from the comfort of your own home. There's a few benefits to receiving your education in your personal living space, but it can really be narrowed down to three factors.

Time
Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to distance learning, and learning from home enables that flexibility. Instead of pulling both late nights and early mornings, you can catch the regulation seven-to-nine hours of sleep whenever you can, and start and finish that education at whatever time of day you're ready. There's other time benefits, too. If you weren't going to distance learn, and your plan was still to live at home, making the trip to campus is no longer a concern. Not having to commute to and from school can save you hours both ways, particularly in the GTA, freeing up massive chunks of your schedule. This links into the second major factor.

Money
Time is money, after all, and not having to make that commute will save you one way or another, be it through gasoline, parking spots or Metropasses. On top of that, you'll be bypassing all the little expenses that come with campus life. No need to, for example, rent a locker, or buy a new school bag. In addition, you'll never be tempted to subsist off of fast food, or anything else pre-made. Groceries will always be cheaper than what you can buy on-site, and you'll never have to worry about making your lunch the night before.

Focus
On the flip side of the transportation argument, if you were planning on living on campus, moving out can be strenuous. If it's your first time away from home, you'll have new responsibilities, and new worries. School should be your first focus, and distance education lets it be your only focus, with the familiar comforts of home there to allow you to put your mind to your sole task of getting that relevant, career-building education.