What to Do When Choosing a...

What to Do When Choosing a Post-Secondary School

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By Tiffany Chang

Grade 12 can be an exciting but also challenging year for students. From making sure you’ve completed all your graduation requirements to figuring out what your next steps are after high school, everyone’s preparing to begin a new chapter of their lives.

For some, a new chapter might include deciding which post-secondary school to go to.

Choosing a post-secondary school involves venturing into different, more self-directed territory as you continue your journey with academics. I myself experienced difficulty when making this decision and found that it was an intimidating process.

If you’re having similar difficulties, here are a few tips:

Do Your Research

Familiarize yourself with the programs available at your prospective post-secondary schools that interest you. You can do so by reading up on these programs online. It’s important to know what their specific admission criteria are and to ensure that you meet them.

Whenever you can, attend any events universities and colleges have for Grade 11 and/or 12 students. For example, Simon Fraser University holds webinars for those who’re considering their school.

Some have presentations at high schools, which can act as great introductions. Also, I highly recommend booking campus tours to get a feel for where you’ll potentially study. They’re a great way for attendees to directly interact with school representatives and ask questions.

(Concerning in-person gatherings, stay up to date on COVID-19 restrictions and what each school is doing in terms of safety measures.)

Avoid Giving Into Peer Pressure

Dealing with peer pressure isn’t easy either. Often times, the people giving you their input want what’s best for you. I’m not suggesting that they’re giving bad advice nor saying you shouldn’t take their opinions into consideration, but if you haven’t already, learn to trust your own instincts. Looking back at my personal experience with choosing a post-secondary school, though initially deciding to attend a school that others encouraged me to go to, I ended up where my gut told me to go. Remember: this is your journey of pursuing a higher education, not theirs. It’s up to you to steer yourself in the right direction.

Your Choice Won’t Be Set In Stone

Hypothetically speaking, say you choose the wrong post-secondary school. It isn’t the end of the world. You could transfer to another school that you think would be a better fit for you later on. Maybe what you first thought you wanted to pursue doesn’t turn out to be what you want a year or two down the road, and that’s okay.

While making your decision, consider the following: “Which school has the program(s) that best align with my desired career goals?” “Can I see myself going to this school for the next four to five years (or more)?” “Are there any work-related opportunities here that could help me gain relevant experience?”

Overall, if you incorporate what’s said above into your decision-making process, you’ll be well-informed about the post-secondary school(s) you might choose. Do as much research as you can, keep an open mind, and always go with what you think is the right path for you.


Simon Fraser University. “Upcoming Webinars.” http://www.sfu.ca/students/admission/tours-events/upcoming.html

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