Wednesday, November 7, 2012

University, College, or Both?

If you're in post-secondary, you've heard it. If you're in high school you hate it. If you're in elementary school you barely know yourself well enough to decide but we all know the age old question that begins back in your elementary school days: will you be going to university or college?

Remember back when you had to pick your high school courses in grade 8 and you had to choose academic or applied? Or later in high school when you had to decide whether to take university or college level courses? For so long before you ever get to applying for post-secondary school you are forced to make decisions about where you're going to go, possibly before you even know what you want to do!

There are lots of differences between the institutions of university or college, and today I am going to tell you about some of them.

First let's begin with recalling what they told us way back when:

College:
 - more hands on approach to learning
 - directs you into a field rather than providing a lot of theory

University:
 - theory-based learning style
 - learning the how, emphasis on writing and research

So I mean, this isn't innaccurate; the programs colleges offer usually provide for a very direct employment type learning style, however, this DOES NOT MEAN there is no writing, researching, or theory to accompany the program. AS WELL, university is NOT ALL THEORY. Most universities cater to varying learning styles in the classroom; a lot of university programs offer lab components and group work with hands on learning. There are also fieldwork courses and practicum courses as well.

The MAIN difference between the programs is this: the skills you learn.

 In college, you are gaining many skills, but a lot of special and specific skills to prepare and train you for a specific job. While you will be qualified for certain jobs outside of your field after going to college, you are really learning to master something specific while being there.

 In contast, in university there are some programs that facilitate direct employment with special training toward one job, for the most part the skills you are learning are diverse and transferrable. This means a few things: you may experience more difficulty finding a job once you complete your degree but the good news is that you have a plethera of skills under your belt so that you can apply to a wide variety of jobs.

 And guess what?! Many university graduates end up attending college once completing their degree to complement what they learned and to specialize in something specific! Some college students end up going to university, transferring some credits if possible in order to complete their program in a shorter time, gaining a wider variety of skills that they can apply to their field.

So what does this mean? It means that there is equal value in doing university or college, and that lots of people do both! There are over 60 collaborative programs offered at Brock University, where students earn both a diploma and a degree at the same time!

So whether you're a current or projected student, or maybe even a university or college graduate, just remember the value of your diploma or degree. Know that there are options for both college and university programs, and that through studying both you can help vary the opportunities available to you.

To those of you applying to post-grad right now: good luck! And remember to come by the Career Resource Centre at any time to recieve help with preparing your application documents! We review cover letters, resumes, personal statements and letters of intent!

See you soon,

Brittany
Sr. Career Assistant

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