It’s a statistic every first-year university student is familiar with: A percentage of their classmates — sometimes as few as 10, sometimes 50 per cent or more — won’t make it through their program.
Less familiar is the range of career counselling offered to those who do — or even don’t — succeed, only to find themselves adrift in the working world.
York University’s Career Centre, for instance, offers individual resumé feedback, practice interview sessions, workshops (cover letters, interview skills, how to find a summer job, part-time job, or on-campus job), and even an etiquette series where students are taught networking skills, says Dianne Twombly, manager of programs and services at York.
“We also do employer information sessions,” she says. “We have employers come to the career centre and students can hear about the company and the type of work that people do there, and often that provides lots of networking opportunities.”
Workshop schedules are posted on York’s website, where students and alumni can sign up for free. There are also programs for “career changers” who have been in the working world and would like to switch jobs.
“We put out evaluations after every workshop,” says Twombly, “and the student satisfaction ratings are very high.”
The majority of post-secondary career counselling is done individually. “Usually, it’s folks who have started a program and realize, ‘Whoops, maybe this isn’t what I thought it was going to be,’” says Eric Dunn, a counsellor with the Career and Counselling Centre at Centennial College.
Centennial offers a number of courses to the general public through its continuing education division, including a nine-hour course called Choosing the Right Career. During three weekday evenings or two weekend afternoons, students are given, among other things, a self-evaluation test, a lesson on the job market and a breakdown of schools they can register with for only $10.
“Good career counselling forces people to think about themselves and what they’re good at, and most people don’t do that kind of evaluation,” says Dunn. “They often make decisions based on what their dad always wanted, or what mom always wanted, and those aren’t the best reasons for spending a lot of money on school.”
Career counselling can help
It’s a statistic every first-year university student is familiar with:A percentage of their classmates — sometimes as few as 10, sometimes 50per cent or more — won’t make it through their program.