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It is December and our graduating high school students/parents have very hard questions to answer- community college/university/apprenticeship. What are the costs in time and money? What are the cut offs for admission and what is the attrition rate?

How do you know if college or university would be your best choice? If you know for sure what you want to do then the community college may be the way to go; the instruction is specific ie Broadcasting or Paramedic. The tuition costs, $2,500,are approximately half that of the university but hopefully your training will lead to a meaningful job.

You attend University to get an overall education, not a specific career accept for the faculties: Business, Engineering, Nursing, Social Work that offer employment after four years of study.

So how does a parent know what is in the best interest of their youngsters? If your children like to read for FUN and enjoy school than look hard at university. Hands on students who find it hard to sit at a desk can do well in college co-op courses/ apprenticeship.

To stay at home or go away to university is a hard question to answer. You’re are looking at $8000.00 for residence /meal plan plus $5,000 for tuition. Books $1,500, entertainment & incidentals vary but the average is $1,000 per year. Budget for first year and you can apply for a mortgage of $15,000!

You do not make your children independent by paying all of their expenses. When students have a vested interest coming from their own pocket book the whole dimension changes regarding attending classes vs the party scene. Cell phones, sweet cars, designer clothes are not necessities of life.

There are scholarships ,bursaries and loans available to help defray the costs of schooling. Students can opt for Ontario Student Aid Program - the maximum $9000 loan is the responsibility of the students and is payable in instalments six months after one leaves school. On average the debt load for four years of post secondary education is $60,000.

The university applications are due in January 3/2008 with three choices of program .university costing $105.00 Check out the web site www.ouac.on.ca

Students opting to apply to college have five options costing $85. that are due February 1,2008. The college web site is: www.ontariocolleges.ca

The choice to attend a post secondary institution or an apprenticeship is difficult. Tradespeople are in high demand and do very nicely, thank you. There is the tale of the plumber billing a lawyer. “ I don’t charge my clients such outrageous fees.”The plumber quietly responded, “ right on, when I was a lawyer I didn’t either..”

In to-days world of change and accreditation it is very hard to make a success of oneself without a post secondary education. The experts tell us that in the near future seventy-five percent of jobs will need post secondary schooling.

Parents need to help their children earn a positive sense of direction to be the very best that they can be.

Folks, the last year of high school passes quickly, too soon your son/daughter will be off to explore their new horizons. Plan on making personal visits to the campuses to make informed choices. Next year is too little too late.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com