Choosing a Community College

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    Aug 21, 2013
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Choosing a Community College Photo by Jason White

Deciding whether or not to get a college education is one of the most important choices you will ever make. Since the credential you earn will be the first qualification that potential employers see on your resume, it is vital to choose a Canadian college that is well respected in your field. Here are the top three things to consider when choosing a community college.

Reputation: One of the first things to look at when considering college courses is the college's standing among its community. Do programs have high employment rates? What does the community college do to ensure students are successful? Are there lots of post-graduate success stories? How can you be sure the community college cares about your success? At Centennial College, for example, its stance on the success of its students is written right into its mission statement: "We make every decision to support the career and personal development of our learners." And there's numbers to back that up. Outlined in its 2012 Graduate Employment Report, this community college boasts a 90 - 100% employment rate for students who take Advertising – Account Management, Animation, Computer Systems Technology, Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology, Environmental Protection Technician, Graphic Design Media, Journalism (Fast-Track), Truck and Coach Technician Apprenticeship and many other college courses. Meanwhile, many, many of its other 240 programs enjoy a 70-80% employment rate. The Toronto college also has many initiatives to ensure that grads find jobs, such as career fairs, capstone projects that can be added to any resume, field or paid co-op experience, and more.

Theory-Practice Balance: Although Canadian colleges are known for offering more emphasis on hands-on experience, the amount you actually receive during your college courses varies by school. At Centennial College, every single program offers students a range of hands-on practical application opportunities — whether through placements in the field, simulated experiences in real-life settings, field trips, projects, group work and much more. For example, students of all Hospitality, Tourism and Culture college courses have access to facilities that include a commercial kitchen in which they can prepare food for the community college's real-life restaurant, a conference centre and much more. On the other hand, students of Health Studies college courses have access to real ambulances, simulated hospital rooms and enjoy placements in various wards of hospitals. Meanwhile, students of Transportation programs complete their Toronto education with on-the-job experience with an employer who ensures they are actually partaking in activities they will complete in the real world. The examples of theory-practice balance at this Toronto college are numerous.

Options: A final aspect to factor in when choosing a community college is the options that college offers. Established in 1966 as Ontario's first community college, Centennial College houses 240 full-time and 150 part-time programs. These types of options attract 16,000 full-time students and 22,000 part-time ones. Additionally, all programs come with choices: whether it's class schedules, program length (for example, the English for Academic Purposes offering allows students to choose how long they will attend, depending on their future goals), or partaking in a co-op placement. Students at this community college are thought of as people with other responsibilities, not just numbers.

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The author here speaks about various factors which needs to be taken into considerations before you pick up a Community College.

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