For me, high school was more of a social time than anything else; planning ahead was not my strongest suit. But in retrospect spending a little more time bumping up my grades and asking "What college is right for me?" would have saved me a lot of stress and a car full of money. Here's what I learned the hard way about selecting colleges-three times.
A few months before high school graduation, a friend of mine mentioned an outdoor recreation program at Sir Sanford Fleming College. We jumped into it together without much thought. Big mistake. As a result, I spent a year of purgatory in a program that simply wasn't for me. But at least it was better than doing nothing. Most students who take time off after high school to decide what to do never make it to college at all. That wasn't what I wanted for my life.
This time I studied my options and made a list of my priorities. My choices were limited by my poor grades. But I was drawn to a communications program at Laurentian University, a relatively small college of about six thousand students. It had a really good "articulation program." This meant that I could do three years of communications followed by a condensed single-year program from a list of affiliated colleges and get two diplomas out of it. It was like I was given a second chance at choosing a path which would lead to a real career.
I worked hard at Laurentian for three years learning all about public relations, advertising, and journalism. There it was- journalism, of course! I had always liked writing; my best marks in high school were always in heavy writing courses. But back then I simply had not put the thought into it. I found a good journalism school, Cambrian College, toured the campus, and signed on. This time around, my grades got me in. Within a year I was the recipient of an honors degree and a college diploma.
Do yourself a favor. Take time now to start planning what you want to do and where you want to do it. The sooner you start exploring your path, the less time you'll spend feeling lost.
Jason Hagerman is a journalism grad writing for EduGuide and others.
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