2013 Focus Magazine - Guidance For Higher studies for Highschool students - Parents Discussion

On Saturday, November 9, 2013, ASGC hosted its annual Career Fair at Middlefied C.I.. Many professional from a variety of career areas were present to share their experiences with high school students. Parents also had an opportunity to ask questions about how to support their children in making decisions about career options. Listed below are some questions that were asked by parents :

What can I do to help my child decide on a career

It is important for students to base decisions about career pathways based on their interests and academic achievement. In Science alone, there are so many different options other than medicine and engineering to pursure, such as Kinesiology, biochemistry , marine biology, pharmocology, genetics, environmental science, psychology etc.

Students can use online career inventories to explore careers which match their interests such as the one found on the following website: http://www.yrdsb.ca/students. Information about career pathways can also be gathered on the Ontario School Counsellors' Association website : www.osca.ca

It is also helpful for students to have the opportunity to gain some firsthand experience in a career area which interests them. They can get this experience through volunteer work, summer jobs, internships or through their school's Co-operative Education program.

Should my child pursue an apprenticeship or go to college or university?

It is important for parents to discuss with their children the ways in which they enjoy learning.

Those who like to learn "on-the-job" may want to explore a career in one of the trades, through an apprenticeship program. Examples include automotive service technician, hairstylist, plumber, tool & die maker etc. Apprenticeships can take between 2 - 5 years to complete. Information about Ontario's youth apprenticeship program can be found at : http://oyap.com

When deciding the option between college or university, it is important to explore the different programs and the academic pre-requisites required by the colleges and universities. Information on Ontario's college programs can be found at: http://www.ontariocollegs.ca. A guide to Ontario's universities can be found at http://www.electronicinfo.ca

There are also join programs which allow students to begin a program at a college(like Seneca College) and complete a degree at a university ( like York University). Information about joint programs can be found on individual college websites.

Parents are encouraged to visit college and university campuses during their Open House days and/or to attend the annual College/University fair held in the Fall at the Metro Convention Center. The answers to many questions can be answered by college/university representatives at these events.

How can I enrol my child in a "Gifted" program?

Giftedness is defined as "an unusually advanced degree of general intellectual ability that requires differentiated learning experiences of a depth and breadth beyond thoese normally provided in the regular school program to satisfy the level of educational potential indicated." - Ministry of education. In York Region, students are identified by a regional screening process in Grade 3. Students who meet the screening criteria receive an individual psychological assessment and then are identified as a Gifted student through IPRC process and will also received support from the school's Special Education Resource Teacher.

What is the difference between IB and AP?

Both IB (International Baccalaureate) and AP (Advanced Placement) are programs that provide enrichment for students in high school. Students do not have to be identified as "gifted" to enroll in these programs. Students who are highly movtivated and seeking intellectual challenges might benefits from an IB or PAP program. If a student is considering studying abroad, he/she could consider enrolling in an IB program. Those who would like to study in the United Sates could consider taking the AP program. Students who excel in the IB and AP exams in Grade 12 may be exempted from first year university programs at certain institutions. More information about IB can be found at : http://www.ibo.org and details about the AP program can be found at : http://apcanada.collegeboard.org

What types of post-secondary scholarships are available for my child?

Post-secondary scholarships are awarded based on either community work, academic achievement or a combination of both categories. It is advisable for students to begin drafting their scholarship application during the summer prior to their Grade 12 year to ensure that sufficient time is spent on these competitive applications. Information about scholarships can be found at the following websites : www.studentawards.com and www.scholarshipscanada.com

Parent involvement

Schools are eager to have parents as partners in education. Parents do not need to wait for parent-teacher interviews to contact the classroom or subject teachers. Teacher are happy to meet with parents at any time during the school year through scheduled appointments. Parents who like to share their opinions about decision made by the school are invited to join the School/Parent Council. Information to support parents is also available on the People for Education website : http://wwww.peopleforeducation.ca/. Tip sheets for parents are avaialble in Tamil on this website. Parents are strongly encouraged to get involved in their child's education whether the child is in elementary or secondary school. Research indicates that students who perform well at school are the ones that have caring, supportive and actively involved parents!

Yours sincerely,

Janani Pathy
Vice Principal
York Region Distric School Board