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It is the time of the year that Western and it's affiliates have commencement ceremonies. The reality for too many graduates that there are few employment opportunities after receiving your degree.

After a decade of explosive growth in enrolment Canadian Universities are having to face a grim future of how they can try and reduce the very high student turnover numbers.

The stats show us that up to 20% of students quit university, never to return to any post-secondary program, while 20-50% drop out of the program that they had initially chosen. Canadian universities spend millions of dollars marketing their schools and programs to entice students and their parents to spend many thousands of dollars in tuition fees, books and accommodations. Often times the folks have not gone on to university but they feel obliged to not deny their children what their parents never had or needed to be successful. You do not have to have a university degree to feel fulfilled.

Deciding to drop out , however can have lifelong consequences for society and for the students. For the students dropping out of school is an admission of failure and bad judgement, There can be a loss of confidence and there is a psychological cost of failure as judged be one's peers.

No one waves good bye to the disenchanted students when they do not go to classes. Too soon the unhappy student becomes a "Christmas Graduate". They are dropped off the role to return home to hang their heads in shame that they did not make the grade and please their folks.

Many students switch programs and universities in the vain hope that this time they will be happy and successful in their new choices. There is sadly no Interest Career testing for prospective students. If you have the high school pre-requisites, meet the cut offs you are in-like-flyn. No one speaks of the course loads or long hours that are expected to be spent in the library in the wee hours of the night to memorize sometimes irrelevant knowledge to please your professor. Often times there are no co-op opportunities for the student to experience the reality of what they are going to do when they graduate.

Who drops out of university? The so called experts in the Admissions know which students have the odds stacked against them. A young man who finds reading/writing is not his thing will have a hard time in passing the compulsory English Literacy Tests. A student who enrols in university whose parents did not attend either college or university and squeaked through with less then great marks is at high risk. No matter what anyone tells you the family income really matters. Hard to balance working for minimal wages forty hours a week in the wee hours of the night and focus on your studies to pay for your fees and housing. Students from poor/ working class families are at risk of dropping out of university.

Young men who do not like doing many hours of homework are not in the same class as their sisters who enjoy reading/writing and pleasing their friends and parents.

A college or apprenticeship hands- on- studies are viable alternative choices for young men or women who aspire to well paid future employment. Community Colleges are not easy push overs. High school Academic University level courses helps you to prepare for the college course load. The biggest feeder school for Fanshawe last year was the University of Western Ontario.

I have never known a well paid plumber or electrician who regrets that they did not have a PHD, which translates into "Poppa has Do" designation.

Universities have an obligation once they have accepted a student into their school to take the time and effort to care. When it doesn't work out the university have a obligation to find out what went wrong and attempt to fix the problems.

Len Lesser is an education/ career counselor www.career-education.ca

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com