If you're coming out of high school, it's hard to avoid a certain bias against community college. University is seen as having prestige, while college is for those that couldn't make it there. The truth is, when you look at the world we live in, college is one of your best choices for getting your career going. Colleges are about putting down the textbook, getting your hands dirty, and learning life skills, for gainful employment. Here are five reasons why college may be right for you:
1) You need a job when it's all over.
According to StatsCan, the gap between adult and youth employment rates is high throughout Ontario, with Toronto's youth employment rate sitting at 43.5%. It's hard finding work right now, because everyone's looking. If you want to stand out, you'll need something to separate yourself from the scores of young people with bachelor's degrees. You need a shortcut, a way in, and that way is through the college system. That's because…
2) Colleges give you skills you'll actually use
That's how you distinguish yourself from the crowd: Anyone can be a learner, but you make yourself into someone who can actually use the things they've learned.
A pair of examples from Centennial College: If you wanted to go into media, you could go to a university to learn writing, theory, and best practices. However, if you attended the college's programs, you'd go to the Story Arts Centre, and have access to a working television studio, video, audio and post production facilities, and digital imaging labs with the latest software. More importantly, you'd learn how to use them, and produce content to put in your portfolio.
Another example: Say you want to be a nurse. You can study medical sciences at a university, or you can gain practical, on-the-ground experience at the Nursing Lab at Morningside Campus, designed to replicate a real hospital floor as accurately as possible, ensuring that you know exactly what you'll be doing when you graduate.
But not everyone has the foresight coming out of high school to pick that path. Fortunately, if that's the case, you haven't been locked out of the experience. That brings us to another advantage…
3) Colleges are perfect if you need an upgrade
If you've already gone down one post-secondary path, and have decided you need to pursue an alternative, colleges have you covered with a broad variety of graduate certificate programs. Short and affordable, they're designed for people that have already completed post-secondary education, and are looking to acquire a new set of practical skills, to make themselves employable. And speaking of employability…
4) Colleges can clear the path to employment for you.
Take a moment and ask yourself: What does life after school look like to you? Job applications? Interviews? There's a way to cut to the front of the line.
Centennial College lets you cut the search out, with many of its programs geared towards getting students involved with employers before even entering the job market. Firstly, of course, there's the broad selection of co-op programs. On top of that, many of their programs have field placements built into them, letting you enter the workforce and develop a network before you even graduate. The school's Applied Research and Innovation Centre is also dedicated to getting students involved in research and development projects with outside companies.
That's the secret to employability: Networking. Getting an in with a company. If you're lucky, they'll hire you out of the program. And even if they don't, you have contacts, and a network to use. You've beat the rush. If this hasn't convinced you, there's one more factor…
5) You don't have to give that university education up.
Believe it or not, you can have it both ways, thanks to their joint programs. You'll go to a University to learn the theoretical aspects, head to college to learn the practical side, and at the end of it all walk away with both a degree and a diploma. Currently, Centennial is partnered with the University of Toronto and Ryerson University for different programs. Get the university experience, get the college skills, and get employed today.
It's a tough job market out there, with the work only going to those who stand out. Colleges can make you leap out of the crowd, by giving you useable, practical skills, programs that fit your needs and a way to get directly involved in the job market you want to be in. If you're ready to work, they're ready to see you put to work. Have a look at what the college has to offer and get your career moving.
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e offers guides, advice, and philosophy for new and returning college students, with a focus on Centennial College's offerings. Areas of focus include alternative methods of education, education's role in finding you a job and misconceptions about post-secondary schooling.
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