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Research Your Options

There are many options to explore and details to think about as you make your decision about which post-secondary program you want to attend. The journey usually begins with knowing your dreams, interests, strengths and challenges.

Consider Your Options
You can enroll in post-secondary studies at colleges, universities and technical institutes.

Colleges:
  • Offer certificate, apprenticeship, diploma and applied degree programs ranging from a few months to 4 years.
  • Tend to offer programs related to specific occupations (e.g. a diploma in graphic design).
  • May offer transfer programs that allow you to begin a degree program at the college, then transfer to a university to complete it.
  • Tend to have smaller classes and a more close-knit community.

Universities:
  • Offer degrees and a variety of other certificate and diploma programs ranging from 1 to 8 or more years.
  • Tend to offer programs that are broad in scope or specific to a profession (e.g. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Engineering
  •  Uusually require higher entrance marks, research skills, critical and abstract thinking and more written work.


Technical Institutes:

  • Offer certificate, apprenticeship, diploma and applied degree programs ranging from a few months to 4 years.
  • Tend to offer programs that are hands-on.
  • Often develop programs in response to industry and labour market needs.


Private vocational schools:

  • Offer vocational training for a specific occupation.
  • Programs are usually shorter in length and focus on basic training.

Visit Websites
Websites for post-secondary institutions and programs will give you a feel for their focus, atmosphere and resources. Many sites post pages where frequently asked question (FAQ) are answered.

Talk to Others About the Program
Talking to current students and recent graduates of a program can give you a good idea of what it is like. You can also find out about a program’s reputation by talking with people who work in the field. How can you find these people?

  • Through your network - your parents, your high school counsellor, your teachers, your friends, your friends’ parents, etc.
  • Professional organizations and companies that work in the areas related to the program. - Program advisors at the post-secondary institution.
  • Disability Service Office staff at the post-secondary institution.


Visit
Take advantage of opportunities to visit the post-secondary institutions and programs you are interested in:

  • Many colleges and universities hold open houses for prospective students.
  • Take a campus tour with a friend or parent and explore.
  • Make an appointment to visit the Disability Service Office (DSO).
  • Make an appointment to talk to the program advisor.
  • Ask the program advisor and DSO about opportunities to shadow students in the program, and students with disabilities who are attending the institution.

Excerpt from: Transition Planning Guide for Students with Disabilities and Their Families, Alberta Learning (2007).

 

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