Should you go to college or university?
Credit to Author: Geneviève Beaupré and Susan Qadeer| Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2022 19:40:53 +0000
If you are undecided between college and university, it is understandable because there are a significant number of factors to consider. For instance, predicting the direction of work is challenging. How will technology impact jobs? Which careers will disappear and what new careers will emerge? How can you prepare for future work? Is a university education still worth your time or will the job-ready focus of a community college program will serve you best? You probably have your own thoughts on this, but here are some things to consider.
Advantages of going to university
University can provide a broad education that you may find useful for the rest of your life. You may learn how to be critical in your thinking, and how to research and write effectively. There may be subject areas that you find you want to learn more about pursuing in school and on your own. Many students find that the university curriculum is useful in discovering broader perspectives and ideas.
University is also preparation for professional degrees. Some programs may offer direct entry into the first year such as engineering, and others admit students after a few years of studying or completing a first degree, such as law or medicine. An undergraduate degree is a requirement for a Master’s degree in a related field or one that is more interdisciplinary, such as public or business administration. If you are sure you want to go to university and need additional credits or skills, you might consider adult learning through the school boards or a college program.
If eventually your chosen field of work becomes redundant or you want to change career direction, a university degree is a way of telling future employers that you are able to learn, apply yourself and have made an investment in your abilities. It can also help you keep track of things that you found interesting and may be able to build on as life takes its twist and turns.
Reasons to pursue a college degree
If you know what you want to do for a living and specific skills and credentials are needed, college may be a good approach. While some colleges offer four-year applied bachelor’s degrees, their programs tend to be focused on skills-based learning. College programs usually have a component of on-the-job learning, which helps develop your skills and build contacts when you are looking for work. Apprenticeship programs and pre-apprenticeships may also start in college.
If your spoken and/or written language skills are weak, you might attend college where both can improve. This is also true for math and science courses offered through academic upgrading or bridging programs. It is a place where you can prove your abilities if you don’t have any Canadian experience or if you have an inadequate high school record.
College may be a better choice if you need to work relatively quickly or have limited funds. Most college programs tend to be shorter and less expensive than university and this may be important for those who know they don’t have much time or energy to devote, or cannot afford post-secondary studies for a longer duration.
It is getting easier to move between college and university. Colleges have advanced standing and specific programs for students with university credits or a degree and some universities recognize college diplomas toward their degree credits. It also helps to maintain good grades when credits need to be evaluated.
If you already have a university degree and are looking for a career change, you might look at the diploma and certificate programs at colleges. You may consider a one-year post-graduate college diploma focused on helping you acquire specific job skills and experience.
The process of exploring whether to go to college or university can be difficult and confusing. It can be helpful to seek support and talk this through. Some schools offer advise for individuals in the community who would like to know more about programs and admission requirements, as well as related career options, all of which can help you arrive at a decision.
Whether you decide on university or college, you could start out with continuing education credits to test out both your interest in the subject area and your ability to tackle them. Being reasonably well-prepared for post-secondary studies is like an insurance policy for success. Regardless of your choice, both college and university have academic supports available to help students.
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