Monday, November 17, 2014

Four Things College has that University does not, and why you can have both

Entering the world of post-secondary education? Students exiting high school have a distressing tendency to assume that by default, this means a university education, with college being the second choice for those that can't "make it." By default, you may assume that means university. However, don't be too hasty to assume college is somehow the lesser of the two educational paths. In reality college and university offer separate, yet equally valuable experiences. College is about directly pointing the way to the workforce, by learning practical skills over theory, and getting your hands busy actually working on the things you want your career to involve.

Luckily, you can have it both ways, and don't have to choose which path you prefer. Several Ontario colleges now have joint programs, where they pair with an Ontario university to give you the practical vocational training of a college program, and the intellectual foundation of a university's bachelor degree program. If you opt for this unique combined path, you can receive several college-only benefits, including…

A mission to get you out of the classroom
University is about learning the intellectual foundations of a vocation, and college is about actually doing it, getting up and practicing your craft. Centennial College, for example, accomplishes this by having a broad variety of labs and facilities across its campuses to simulate working environments, including a restaurant for culinary arts, television and radio studios for media and journalism, and a simulated hospital for health studies. Essentially, the school lets students have a dry run at their future job in a safe environment before exiting to the real world.

Direct pathways to the workforce
Along the same lines, a college education will involve you spending as much time as possible logging work experience hours before graduating. This can be in the form of a placement, an internship, or a co-op program. As a part of your education, these placements will give you a kind of real-world experience school can't match. While internships have recently been given a bad rap by the media, Ontario colleges such as Centennial work with students to ensure that their placements are worthwhile, educational, and even paid. Aside from the experience, these work opportunities can give you industry contacts, networking opportunities, and a way to satisfy the need for job applications to have years of experience.

Industry professional instructors
Instead of professors, college instructors are frequently individuals who have logged real hours inside of the career they're teaching, and so offer wisdom from a place of true experience. If you're studying public relations, you'll be taught by PR professionals. Culinary schools are run by chefs. Media is taught by professional media makers. It adds an extra layer of relevance to the proceedings.

Double the credit
Finally, for taking a joint program, you'll receive double the credit, earning both a degree and a diploma in the program you've chosen. Aside from proving that you walked a unique educational path, you'll get a leg up on the competition when it comes to career hunting through the impressive credits on your resume.

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