Lots of opportunities at college, students told

  • Oct. 5, 2012 6:00 p.m.

High school students at G.M. Dawson and Queen Charlotte Secondary got a lesson last week on the opportunities and savings to be made by attending college rather than university. Sherry Beal, Kaarlene Lindsay and Ruth Wheadon of Northwest Community College spoke to grade 10 students in Masset and the grade 11 and 12 classes in Queen Charlotte, giving them some ideas about the range of choices facing them as they consider their post-secondary education. Ms Beal, an educational advisor at the Prince Rupert campus, said NWCC offers everything from high school courses for adults, to trades apprenticeships, to associate degrees. In cooperation with universities like UNBC and Simon Fraser, NWCC has also been able to help students earn bachelor degrees and even masters degrees without leaving the north coast. For students who might not be sure what they want to do after high school, college offers an affordable and close-to-home way to explore options, she said. And for students who are set on pursuing a university degree, college offers the chance to do the first two years closer to home, with smaller classes, and at much less expense. According to their calculation, a student could save at least $8,600 in one year by attending NWCC rather than university. Ms Lindsay, the First Nations access coordinator at the Prince Rupert campus, said NWCC also offers intensive field schools in the summer, including one on Haida Gwaii, where students can earn six credits. Many students have described the field school experience as life-changing, she said. The students also heard that there is lots of financial help available. Grade 12s should start investigating their options now, Ms Beal and Ms Lindsay said. Ms Wheadon, NWCC’s community education liaison on Haida Gwaii, told students that help is available. NWCC has entrance scholarships for one student from each high school on the islands, as well as many other awards. Ms Beal agreed, and told students that if they make the effort to apply, there is lots of money out there. “At the college, we gave away $32,000 last year, and it was hard to get people to apply,” she said. She ended the presentation by saying that NWCC staff are there to help with any questions from students, even if they don’t end up attending the college, or are interested in going to a university. “We recommend you start thinking about this now,” she said. “There are wonderful opportunities out there, it’s just a matter of asking.”