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.

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