Sunday, November 30, 2014

Continuing Education: Not Just for Mature Students

What image does the idea of a Continuing Education Program conjure up? For many, it's mature students returning to school after decades, attempting to re-invent themselves and acquire new relevance in the working world. Certainly, mature students are a recipient of continuing education, but there's a new client who can also benefit from that continued education: The young, recent graduate, looking for something a bit more specialized from their education in Toronto

Sometimes, you need that specialization
A common reason a student might avoid continuing education is the cost and time sink, particularly after spending years and dollars in the college system already. It may be seen as a bad investment, time that could be better spent job hunting. Worse than that, continuing education has picked up a negative stereotype of serving as a haven for students avoiding the real world.

None of these things are true. With the job market for young people being far more competitive than ever before, any advantage is a good investment. That extra year can be a saner, more helpful alternative than spending multiple years job hunting. And that's the thing: It can and will only be an extra year, since postgrads like the ones at Centennial College don't generally last longer than that.

Specified skills lead to specific jobs
What you get in that time is specialization. For example, it's a common career path for journalism graduates to go into public relations. You could graduate and begin applying for public relations jobs, trying your luck. But doing an actual public relations postgrad will train you in the skills necessary for the specific profession, letting you cut in line ahead of all the journalists applying to PR work with only their somewhat-applicable experience. Similarly, if you're a media graduate looking to get into developing and producing television and film, a "Script to Screen" postgrad can give you the exact skill set needed to break into the field.

Other times, you may want to redirect your career
The good thing about Centennial's postgrads is that they accept applicants from multiple academic backgrounds, meaning you could be taking the program for the sake of a change rather than as an enhancement. It's less common than you'd think for someone entering college to have a perfect, solid idea of what they want to do with their career, and if you feel like you need a change, a postgrad means you don't have to spend another major chunk of your life course-correcting.

A final word on that stereotype, the idea of post-grads being exclusively full of mature students. While that's not true, there will be a broad variety of students from different backgrounds and walks of life, and that's hardly a detriment. Indeed, interacting with a group of people that aren't simply early-20's college students can be good for your social development, by giving you a circle of peers that more accurately reflects the broad demographic variety of the rest of the world.

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