Youthink PS

Spring 2020

Youthink PS is Western Canada¹s post secondary resource guide for high school students planning on attending university, college or other Canadian post secondary institutions and is distributed to 400 high schools across BC and Alberta.

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10 YOUTHINK PS > SPRING 2020 YOUTHINK.CA Health Sciences "What do you want to be when you grow up?" If you have ever been asked this question, you know how terrifying it is to not have an answer, especially as your time in high school starts wind - ing down. Will you get right into the workforce? Maybe take a gap year and travel abroad? Or attend a post-secondary institution? If you're leaning toward the last option, it opens up a whole new set of questions. Students tend to focus on getting into the "best" schools, but just because they're well regarded doesn't necessarily mean they are the best for you, nor are they the ones that will get you the most rewarding job at the end of it all. When you start thinking about which path you would like to take after high school, look at the fundamental differences between universities and polytechnic schools, and consider what your passions and hobbies are to fully understand which will provide the most rewarding experience for you. "High school students need to know who they are as individuals, and what their strengths, interests and goals are," says Raymond Moy, a guidance counsellor at Killarney Secondary School. "The best way to do this is to experience as many aspects of life as possible: travel, talk to people in various careers and programs, volunteer, and try new things. These experiences will help young people learn about themselves and then pick a suitable post-secondary path." University is often referred to as a place where "higher learning" occurs and intensive research is conducted. You can earn an academic degree as an undergraduate student in about four years, typically in large lecture halls where a broad approach is taken to theoretical subjects. For example, an English major might learn about the underlying concepts associated with literature throughout history and then go on to specialize in a certain literary style. Some applied knowledge is taught in tutorials and labs — smaller classes that meet separately after the professor's main lecture — where discussion, presentations and experiments are conducted. Because of the size of most universities, there are many opportunities for you to seize, such as international exchanges, co-operative work placements and even working for the school. If you love to read and write, think critically, and are genuinely interested in the degree you would like to pursue, university can be a wonderful time to grow and enrich your understanding of the world around you. If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, perhaps you're better suited to a polytechnic or trade school. Although some vocational schools have the word "university" in their title (i.e. Ryerson Polytechnic University), the approach to education is aimed directly at getting jobs for their graduates. Attending a polytechnic means choosing an industry-specific diploma, certifi - cate or degree to complete in smaller, hands-on classes in about two years. These institutions often offer pre-apprenticeship training opportu - nities in a variety of industries such as carpentry, natural resources, fashion, medical fields and digital technology design. A graduate can then pursue one of thousands of currently registered trade-specific sponsors in B.C. for an appren - ticeship. If you like working with your hands, solving logistical problems, or designing and building things, the polytechnic and trades route might be beneficial for you — and is more feasible than ever in the current economy. "Most apprenticeships are a combination of 80 per cent job training and 20 per cent classroom instruction," says Erin Johnston, director of training delivery for the Industry Training Authority (ITA). "You'll be in the workforce and getting a paycheque while you learn a trade." There are also opportunities for high school students to be apprentices. ITA has partnered with the Ministry of Education to create programs that allow young people in grades 10-12 to "explore trades, earn credits and complete the first year of an apprenticeship program." Both the university route and the polytechnic route are very intensive and rewarding, but in vastly different ways. Most importantly, remember that you do not need to settle for a post-secondary route based on someone else's opinion of where your skills lie or the validity of that route. This de - cision is 100 per cent about you, what you have to offer and what you want to gain out of what many people remember as the best years of their lives. • ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Labour Market Navigator – see which jobs are in demand and where in B.C.: Explore-Careers.aspx Education Planner – figure out which program/school/path is right for you: Industry Training Authority – opportunities for youth apprenticeship: THE NEXT STEP University or polytechnic: Which is right for you? BY CHRISTINA LUO

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