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It is time for your grade 12 son/daughter to make some serious decisions regarding their future plans. Beginning in October the university/college information will be available on line www.ouac.on.ca for students for entry in September 2018.

There is a lot to decide for parents and their soon to be high school graduates to ponder. Many will choose to take a Victory Lap (5th year of high school) to upgrade their mark and try to figure where
they want to go.

Students who are not quite sure of their future plans can opt for a Gap year after high school to work; save some money before going on to a post secondary school education. Not a year off but rather a
year of self discovery after spending 14 years in school. The Gap year is not very popular in Canada
but European youth tend to enjoy the experience, taking a break in their education, before going on to college or university.

A Community College diploma with two, three year programs with Co-op career hands on training is
now a viable alternative for those who do not want to spend many years in an Undergraduate Degree Academic program followed by a Masters or a PHD. A PHD translated can indicate that "Poppa has Dough".

With skilled tradespeople retiring there is a great need for student Apprenticeships who are most fortunate to be able to work with their hands and enjoy mastering a trade. I have never met an unemployed, underpaid plumber in my life.

There is a huge cost difference in time and money for our students. The annual cost for students to attend a post secondary education in their own city is roughly $7,000 to $8,000.per school year and
more than double when you go out of town. These costs are magnified when a student takes on
Ontario Student Aid debt with interest/payments due after leaving school. One has to add in the cost of lost potential income when you are going to school for eight months a year for four or more years. Add
it all up and $20,000. can be blown in the post secondary education cloud. My advise to parents and students is to think global and look local when choosing a post secondary school.

The problem is in the choosing. Often lacking proper guidance, many students enroll in programs that donít bring forth careers related to their field of education. Sure hard to find careers related to a Philosophy degree. Too many students end up working in minium-wage jobs after graduating from university or opt to go the Community College route. The University of Western Ontario traditionally
is the largest feeder school in London to Fanshawe College to help students help find viable paid employment after graduation.

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce recently reported that 75% of university graduates feel they will need to earn extra credentials to be able to find a meaningful career. The extra time spent in school will add to the average debt load of grads that is now a whopping $30,000.

The mismatch between the skills that employers look for and what students study begins in high school where the focus from guidance counsellors and teachers is too often placed on the process of applying
to universities and colleges.

Students need to be exposed to their various choices starting in grade 11/12 to show where the jobs
are and which educational programs will better prepare them to find work in those areas.

In my counseling practice I have seen too many students who have chosen the wrong programs and have dropped out of a post secondary education. They try to place their round pegs into a square education holes while wasting their time/money along with positive self concept in the false pursuit of a post secondary education that does not quite fit their needs and aspirations.

I have had young people who have asked me to tell their parents that they have not attended classes after the first two weeks of classes. They find themselves too soon "Christmas Graduates," being told
by the Registrar to leave school, to try again after a mandatory year out of school.

Chosen properly a post secondary education is an investment in better- job- prospects and higher
wages then people can expect with only a high-school education.

Recently I received and e mail from one my former students "Thank-you, After Seven years". "Ben"
saw me seven years ago and this week he has learned that he had been accepted into the University
of Western Ontario Schulic School of Dentistry.

His Strong Interest Inventory testing indicated Health Sciences and he perused a Bachelor of Science Degree that he enjoyed and did very well. It was my best birthday present e mail ever to see that I have helped a nice young man from Dorchester who now has a promising future.

Len Lesser is an education/career counsellor in Dorchester.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com