6 rules for choosing a school



I like to use the comparison of cooking a roast in the microwave or in an oven. Although a microwave is great for popcorn, it isn’t good for a juicy roast. Many private schools may offer a program in six months, and that may be a good option for upgrading or refreshing a skill; however, a six-month diploma program will never compete with a college diploma or a university degree.


WHERE DID YOUR FUTURE CO-WORKERS STUDY? When choosing, for example, a Social Service Worker program, don’t hesitate to ask people working in the field where they studied. Too shy to ask? Go onto some of the website forums and ask online or contact the local association. They will be happy to give you any advice you might need. Your future success is in their best interest.



Community colleges and universities may advertise, but they will rarely sell you on a program you may not be suited for. If a school is trying to talk you into a program or attempting to get you to “sign on the dotted line” ... don’t.  


Also, beware of any school that is willing to make compromises on the course of study, for example, allowing you to not have to do a placement or willing to shorten the program for you.



Most schools will present you with statistics stating such claims as 97% employment rate! You will want to ask them such questions as “where” did their students get employed and in what period of time did they get employed?


Question the Labour Market Statistics. Labour market stats can be easily manipulated. If I told you that there was a 100% increase in the employment of blacksmiths in the past year that could simply mean that last year there was one and this year there are two. Consider the source of the information and the agenda behind the information.


The best source of labour market information I can recommend is www.workingincanada.gc.ca . Government websites, although at times wordy and hard to read, are the most trustworthy sources of information.



There are great adult learning centres throughout the GTA which offers courses in hairdressing, business, early childhood education, personal support work and many, many more.


Computer classes can be taken through continuing education or online and are as good as anything you may take at a far more expensive class. It is also good to note that the Toronto District School Board offers special low rates for low income residents for one course per semester.  


There are also some great free online computer classes along with online tutoring assistance. Be sure to check out www.khanacademy.org. They offer free courses with new ones being added daily.




 Visit your local Employment or Career Centre (www.poss.ca) and ask questions of the staff that work there. They see many people daily and help people move forward on their career path.


Get onto public forums such as the one on settlement.org and ask others for their feedback. 


     Deciding on a school can be instrumental in determining your future path. Your research will be well worth it. Good luck!

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Toronto, Canada