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For EDSS students, the future starts now

The new school year may only be a month old, but for graduating students at EDSS and other area high schools, the planning has already begun for their post-secondary careers.

Since mid-September, a number of universities and colleges have been visiting the high school each week to provide students with more information about their institution and the programs they provide. This past week, representatives from Waterloo and McMaster universities visited EDSS, as did those from Fleming, Georgian and
Conestoga colleges.

“It’s really about getting out all the information about what’s required to get in to the programs and really salesmanship on the courses they offer,” explained the guidance department’s Mike Forler, who also organizes all the visits. “They’re about 45 minutes to an hour long, and they (the schools) bring lots of material.”

The planning doesn’t start now, though. Forler said the school tries to get students thinking about their post-secondary careers as early as possible, so that when the time comes in Grade 12 to make their decision, they’re better informed.

TAKING IT ALL IN About 50 students visited the EDSS library to listen to Amelia Burton, liason officer for the University of Waterloo, discuss some of the benefits of the school, its campus, and the city.

“There’s a half-credit careers course [in Grade 10] that really starts that ball rolling at that point. It starts in Grade 9, but really the main emphasis is in 10 and goes on from there.”

Planning ahead is critical because so many programs at the university or college level are often difficult to get in to, and students need to plan for that, he added.

Universities and colleges see these visits as ways to introduce the school to the students, and help dispel any myths that they might have about the institution.

“Often you know a university by reputation or some other aspect, but there are a lot of pieces of the university that you might not be aware of or you might not know,” explained Jody Berringer from the marketing and undergraduate recruitment department at the University of Waterloo. “They may think that at Waterloo, for example, we might not have an Arts program, when in fact it’s the largest program at the university. Students have pieces of the picture, but not always the entire picture.”

The college and university visits at EDSS continue until Nov. 26, with a total of 22 schools visiting. Not all of Ontario’s 21 universities or 28 public colleges can visit the high school, but there are fairs and information days that parents and students can still attend.

On Oct. 25 and 26, Conestoga College is holding a fair in Kitchener, and all Ontario colleges will be represented to answer questions and offer more information.

Likewise, from Oct. 25 to the 28, the university information program will be touring Waterloo Region, including information from all Ontario universities. The tour will be at St. David Secondary School on the 25th, Galt Collegiate Institute the following day, Bishop Macdonell and Cameron Heights on the 27th, and St. Michaels CSS on Oct. 28.

For parents in Elmira looking for information a little closer to home, EDSS invites you to an event on Oct. 14 from 7-8:30 p.m. Topics of discussion include college and university planning, apprenticeships, funding, scholarships, and direct-to-work career opportunities. For information, call the guidance office at 669-5414, ext. 511.

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