Last Saturday, I attended a University Fair with my dad and brother in Toronto. Yes, I was nervous but also so fricken excited at the same time. I would have to say that it was such a great experience and I would recommend for every grade 12, 11 or even grade 10 and 9 students to attend. It's such a great way to learn more about what universities are best for what you want to go into career wise, and what other universities are out there.
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect which made me nervous. Thankfully my oh-so-brilliant father helped me out for what questions to ask the volunteers, but overall, it was very informative.
Heres some advice about upcoming University/College events: GO TO THEM! I would absolutely, positively go to least one or two of them to get a sense of what to expect at all the schools you want to attend. Go to your guidance office to find out about all the upcoming university/college fairs and university/college open houses. It's well worth it. They have lots of information about scholarships, housing, courses, careers and they are all very friendly.
If you're like me and had no clue what to ask, let alone what schools to ask, the internet is your best friend. Research is key. Just like me, I had no clue what sort of courses I wanted to go into.
This is what I did to figure out what a rough idea of what career would be best for me:
-Figure out your interests; What do you like doing? Hobbies? Do you enjoy art? Are you do well in maths? Are you athletic? These are the sort of questions to start asking your self in order to figure out what sort of field you want to get into. It's best to go into a career that you ENJOY doing. Don't force yourself to do something because your parents want you to do it (unless it's a career you know you will enjoy) or what your friends think will work best for you. It will help you in the long-run. Trust me.
-Research what kind of careers that include your interets that you would enjoy doing; Now, after thoughtful thinking of your interests/hobbies, it's time to find out how to incorporate these passions into a career. Search using Google (or another search engine that you prefer) careers or courses that include your hobbies. Also, make an appointment at the guidance office to talk to one of your guidance councilor about your future. Ask them about what kind of careers that would suit your personality, interests and the courses you have taken over the past 4 years in high school. If you have a slight idea about what career you want to go into, I would also go to the library to go more in depth about the career. The internet is a quick way to find information, but nothing beats informations like at a good book from a library. Plus, the internet today has so much false information that it's hard to see what's real and what's not. This is probably one of the most pain-staking processes and will take the longest out of these 5 steps, but it's the most important step. For me, I LOVE art and I also feel that maths is one of my strongest subjects. I found out that architecture or industrial design sound like great careers for what I enjoy doing. Not everyone will find exact careers for ALL the things they like doing, but you will eventually find something that satisfies you to a point.
-Then start researching universities that have courses or programs that attend to your interest needs; At this time, you will have to start researching Universities that you would like to go to. I researched the Universities that were rated the highest for my career goal in order to see the highest requirements needed to get accepted. Then I found so many other Universities with other great offers as well. I then started to build up a list of questions that I would bring to the fair to as each of the University representatives. REMEMBER TO SEE THE LOCATION OF THE UNIVERSITY! Residence is another thing to keep in mind because if it's away from home, then you will have to live on or off campus with other students or by yourself. You have to be comfortable with where you live.
-Go to a University Fair; Now go out there and ask many questions! I do advise going to multiple fairs just in case you do have followup questions, or you forgot to ask an important question. It will be hectic and a little nerve-racking to go up there and bombard them with questions, so I guarantee that you will forget to ask a few. I feel that going to one of these fair is better then email the university itself or just by looking off their website because you get to speak to a real person face-to-face who knows the University first hand.
-Go to an open house; This is just another add on that might give you a sense of the atmosphere located in and around the University. If the learning environment isn't working for you, then the University might not be that great of a choice because remember that you will be learning there for how-many years for your course. You have to be comfortable with your learning environment. You can also check out the campuses, residence and ask more questions about University life to the representatives on tour. This is another great way to learn more about what career you want to go into, and gives you a sense of University life.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can always change career paths down the road if you change your mind. Everyone will always have second thoughts about their current decisions, which is normal. It's because you feel as though you must go through with your initial goal all the way through until the end of university and live your life through that same career until you die. But that's not always the case. Many people go trough various careers or variations of their initial careers in order to find a job that they enjoy doing. It's a process that everyone goes though and you can always ask for help on the way. Asking LOTS of questions will help you understand what career is best to your likings.
Well, I hope my advice helped. University seems so exciting, but it's the process getting there into the program is what's the hardest and strenuous at the moment.
Excitingly, I'm going to an open house in Ottawa tomorrow! It's going to be a 5 hour drive, but my parents are willing to help me find out what University would be best for me :)
Thankyou and good luck :)