Monday, November 17, 2014

Pre-College Preparations: How to Make the Right Choice

There's a number of factors to consider as you look into entering the post-secondary world of college programs in Toronto. You need to chose a career, choose your college courses, get your tuition and finances in order, and prepare your life for a big change, all on top of figuring out where you're actually going to go. A lot of it comes down to yourself and your personal attitudes about education and life. Here's a few ideas to consider when it comes to making an informed decision about your education:

Know why you're going to college
This is really a pair of questions. Firstly, are you going to college because you want to get a career, or because it's just what you do after high school? If it's the latter, maybe you should stop that mad scramble to prepare, and analyze your life priorities. If you can answer that, you're probably in a position to answer the next query: Is the subject you're going to school for something you enjoy, are good at, and can net you a reasonably profitable career in the future? Take some time on that, and seriously consider it before you take the college plunge.

There's another important angle to this: If you're not sure of the answers, it's better to hold off on attending a school until you do know. Making mistakes is an important part of life, but when it comes to your education, it's better to wait and get it right the first time then spend years and dollars having a do-over. And to answer these questions, you'll need to…

Do the research
Firstly, you'll need to research your chosen career path. Check how the job market is on it. When school's done, are you going to be employed? And if so, how much money are you going to make? Search for work-life balance, too. How busy, happy, healthy, and fulfilled are the people who've chosen this career? After all, you're going to be one of them, so that's an important question.

Secondly, research your colleges of choice. This includes, but isn't limited to: Reputation, campus life, variety of programs, tuition, services, and financial compensation. Don't go in blind: Make a choice backed by knowledge. The final step to this research, though, should always be in the flesh.

Visit the campus
Never going in blind can apply to the physical space of a campus, too. For all the academic accolades you might find, you'll still need to be spending a few years on that college campus, and your education will be a lot harder if you don't care for the setting. You need to make sure it suits you. Go to the campus, go on a tour, learn what amenities the campus has, and absorb the culture and the people around you. And speaking of those people…

Be ready to make friends
You're there to develop your career, and an important part of a career will be the people around you. They'll be your support during your academic career, and a professional network when your post-grad career gets going. It's a new set of peers to interact with, and you need to make sure you're ready. If you're an introvert, or don't consider yourself particularly sociable, take the time to practice meeting new people and networking. It will put you ahead of the game right out of the gate.

In the scramble to get ready for the post-secondary world, there's a lot of important things you should consider that can get left by the wayside if you're not careful. There's questions that are essential to answer in order to ensure you enter college and the next chapter of your life ready for success.

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