Don’t let yourself get caught in the all-too familiar trap of waiting until your children have gone back to school before thinking about your own continuing education. Too often, waiting can result in disappointment: finding out that a course is full, for instance, or that it has been cancelled simply because it was short a few registrations needed to be given the go ahead.
Registration for fall adult education courses begins in July or early August. Rather than running a schedule that is separate from day programs, as was typical in the past, adult education programs are now generally synchronized with day programs. This means that all classes start right after Labour Day.
Why is this so? For one thing, more and more “traditional” full-time day students are now choosing to study on a part-time basis. They often do this to cover the cost of increasing tuition fees. For another, “non-traditional” students, those who typically attend classes part-time during the evening or on the weekend, are now choosing to register for full-time studies during the day.
The number of full-time students has increased in step with the increasing number of people who have been laid off, or whose so-called ‘life-long’ job has suddenly disappeared. As the traditional full-time day and non-traditional part-time night students start to look more and more alike, school schedules are becoming unified. Since many fall courses now start immediately following Labour Day, the registration process begins in the summer.
Interestingly, there is one way that traditional and non-traditional students are becoming increasingly different. Baby boomers, the large post-war demographic cohort that drove the part-time degree market during the seventies and eighties, now drives the second career market. As new technologies and changes in the labour market have taken hold, many baby boomers are choosing to retire but adding learning for interest courses to their resumes. Some take a general interest (non credit) course offered by a community organization, or school. Others register for one course in a credit program perhaps on an audit basis (no course work required) purely for interest’s sake. Getting the paper work done for this option may take more time. In some cases, you may have to be admitted to the program to take that one course. So start now!
There have been several recent changes to the registration process for English classes for newcomers. If you are new to ESL, LINC or ELT classes, you must be assessed at a central testing site before you proceed to your local site to register for a class. It is a good idea to sign up for the assessment in the summer when the centres are not as busy. Then you will be ready on September 8th when classes start. Even though these programs have continuous intake, starting at the beginning of the term is far less disorienting than joining a class later.
Make sure to give yourself time to shop. Unlike high school students, who have the advantage of career counseling services on site and education fairs where several post-secondary education providers come to their schools, adults have to go out and shop alone. Shopping around is more complex for adults because of their varied work and educational experiences. Get ahead of the game and start the process in the summer!
By starting early you have time to go to orientation sessions or to contact a program officer. This not only helps you find a course that better fits your plans but could also help you understand how you could get credit for prior education and work experience. This is especially important for newcomers. The educational institutions need more time to evaluate your prior learning. Give them the time they need to help you by starting to shop in the summer.
Many continuing education programs have open admissions so you do not have to go through an admissions process to register. Open admission courses are easy to register in. You just have to pay the course fees. But if you want to take a course in a program that requires you to be admitted, you will need more time to gather information such as transcripts from previous education.
Giving yourself time will also allow you to track down and apply for financial assistance for your tuition. Yes! Even part-time students are eligible for assistance. General interest courses,
such as TDSB Learn 4 Life courses, offer a $10 fee for those on social assistance as well as discounts for seniors. In the spring, 2013 issue of Learning Curves, Joanne MacKay-Bennett outlined
some of these options in a front page article called, “Ask and You May Receive.” See: www.learning-curves.ca
Although distance education courses used to compose a small percentage of course offerings, they now make up a good percentage of available courses. Some of these have term start dates, some continuous intake. Do remember to check that information on the provider’s website. Here your choice includes not only the Toronto providers of distance education but all providers of distance education in Ontario and Canada. If you are taking a course from a distance education provider towards a program of study (certificate, diploma, degree) at what is called your “home” program, make sure the home program will accept the distance education course before you sign up. This takes time! Can you guess what I am going to say next? Right! Start the ball rolling in the summer months!
See List of Registration Start Dates below:
The following list gives you an overview of registration start dates and orientation sessions for the Fall Term. Not all the schools or programs are listed but you see the idea from the ones we have been able to contact that registration for the Fall starts in July and August. Check with your school now for Fall Term registration starts in July and August
SCHOOL BOARD PROGRAMS
Toronto Catholic District School Board
Toronto District School Board
Durham Catholic School Board
Durham District School Board
York Catholic District School Board
York Region District School Board
Dr. Betty Stephenson Centre for Learning Call 905-884-2046
Uplands Learning Centre
Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
Peel District School Board
Halton Catholic District School Board
Call 905-7555. Ext 223
Halton District School Board
PRIVATE CAREER COLLEGES
See the Ontario Ministry Training, Colleges and Universities web page Continuous Intake
COMMUNITY BASED PROGRAMS