What to Consider If You're Considering University: New Rules for Education and Employment

What to Consider If You're Considering University: New Rules for Education and Employment

by Ken S. Coates, Bill Morrison


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A degree is no longer a passport to success in today’s job market.

Going to university used to be a passport to future success, but that’s no longer the case. For some students, it’s still a good choice that leads to a successful career after graduation, but for many their degrees are worthless pieces of paper. Choose the wrong program and graduation is more likely to lead to disillusionment and debt than a steady paycheque.

Yet parents, guidance counselors, and politicians still push higher education as if it’s the only option for building a secure future. In this book, Ken S. Coates and Bill Morrison set out to explore the many educational opportunities and career paths open to Canadian high-school students and those in their twenties. This book is designed to help young adults decide whether to pursue a degree, enrol for skills training, or investigate one of the many other options that are available.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781459722989
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Publication date: 04/22/2014
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Ken S. Coatesis a prolific author, whose titles includeCanada's Colonies,The Modern North,North to Alaska, and many academic books. He has worked on north-centred television documentaries and served as a consultant to northern governments and organizations. He is currently a Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan. He lives in Saskatoon.

Bill Morrison was a professor and administrator at universities in Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia and a visiting professor in the United States before he retired in 2010. Morrison has published fourteen books, twelve of them in collaboration with Kenneth Coates. He lives in Ladysmith, BC.

Table of Contents


  • STOP!
  • What’s this Book All About?
  • So, Back to You
  • Some Vital Question
  • Meet the Swarm
  • Prepare Yourself:  Here Comes a Big Word
  • Don’t Be Afraid
  • Perhaps You Should Be a Little Afraid
  • We Know You
  • OK, We Know Who You Are.  Who Are We?
  • You Have to Know What You are Getting Into
  • What This Book Isn’t
Chapter One: The Cross-Roads—Making Choices that Matter
  • Of Exams and Cowherds—a Trick Question
  • Nostri Vaccas: that’s Latin for “our cows”
  • Lucky You: no Cows, no Latin
  • Life’s Not Fair, is it?
  • It Could Be a Lot Worse
  • In Some Places it’s a lot Worse
  • Reasons to Worry
  • How this Affects You
  • More Gloom (sorry)
  • Light at the End of the Tunnel
  • Reality Check:  Credentials that Win – and Lose 
  • Learning Equals Earning, or Used To
  • The Call Centre that Hired College Grads
  • The Knowledge Economy: Myth or Reality?
  • People Without Jobs: Jobs Without People
  • Not All Credentials are Equal
  • Sorry, There are No Guarantees
  • An Important Point. 
  • Reality Check II: Personal Qualities that Make a Difference
  • Are Brains the Answer?
  • What About Self-Esteem?  Shouldn’t I Celebrate Myself?
  • Preparing Yourself for a Confusing World: 
  • You Can Take This to the Bank
  • A Depressing Answer to a Simple Question
  • The University Halo Effect 
  • A Warning
Chapter Two: Know Yourself
  • Do You Really Want to Go to University?
  • It’s Not Hard to Get In
  • Why You Should Go
  • Take the Curiosity Test
  • What Interests You?
  • Here’s the Test: Be Honest with Yourself
  • How Did you Do?
  • Are You Ready for Success at University?
  • Have You Planned Properly?
  • Some Major Steps to Take
  • A Personal SWOT Analysis: What Do You Do Best?
  • Opportunities and Threats
  • Top Career Jobs
  • The Worst Jobs
  • Are you willing to relocate for work?  
  • Would you, Toronto person, live in Fort McMurray?
  • Are you willing to create your own job? 
  • Peer Pressure: Resisting the Swarm 
  • Be Yourself
  • Parental Pressure: Whose Life is It Anyway? 
  • Listen to Adults: Inside the Fallibility of Eighteen Year Olds  
  • Think it Through
  • Do What You Love 
Chapter Three:  How Are You Doing So Far? Preparing for Life After High School
  • Will this torrent of advice never end, you ask?
  • Get some skills, and if you have them already, sharpen them
  • Learn to Write
  • Good and Bad news on this Subject
  • Why Does this Matter?
  • How Do You Do it?
  • Study Math - and Learn to Like It
  • It’s not as Tough as you Think
  • We don’t do well as a Nation.
  • A Practical Reason to take Math
  • Select the Right Courses
  • Other Stuff you can Do
Chapter Four:  The University Option
  • Shad Valley: Do You Have What it Takes? 
  • Invest Time in University Planning (Canada Makes it Too Easy) 
  • A Big Mistake
  • Plan to Visit Several Campuses
  • Check Everything Out
  • Don’t Be Too Impressed that You Got In 
  • Big City Attractions, Small Town Appeal 
  • Think Small (University) 
  • Get out of Toronto
  • Look at the Size of First Year Classes
  • Look for Special First Year Programs 
  • Search out Elite Four Year Undergraduate Programs
  • Search Out First Year Transition Programs
  • Be Serious
  • Picking the Right Degree
  • Considering Bible College
Chapter Five:  The College Option
  • College and University: What’s the Difference?
  • College
  • These are Not Your Parents’ Colleges
  • College Offers an Excellent Career Track 
  • Why Are There So Many University Graduates at Colleges? 
  • Selecting the Right College for You – Investigate Carefully
  • Picking the Right Program for You 
  • A Second Chance for Students Who Slept Through High School 
  • Career Colleges
Chapter Six: Polytechnics
  • The Technology Future Makers 
  • More Warnings
  • You won’t get a traditional campus experience at a Polytech
Chapter Seven: Discover the World: Volunteering and Travel as a Launch Pad
  • The Small Corps of Volunteers
  • Don’t volunteer cynically
  • If you are Among the 2 percent: Give Something Back
  • As a Nation, we Don’t Give All that Much
  • Discovering Yourself through Volunteerism 
  • What’s in it for You?
  • A Great Step in Life’s Journey
  • Here’s our proposition
  • Katimavik
  • A Word of Caution
  • Some Ideas for Volunteering
  • Volunteer Activities as Career Building 
  • Open Your Eyes, Discover Your Future 
  • Discover the World: Travel as a Launch Pad
  • The Gap Year: Learning from the Kiwis and Aussies
  • Why not Wait a Year?
  • Connect with Asia
  • Who Pays for the Year of Discovery?
  • Work Your Way Around the World
  • Where to Go? What to Do?: The Trick is in the Planning
  • Be Adventurous, but be Careful
  • Did that List of Places Make you Anxious to Go?
  • Will Travelling Make You a Better Student or Employee
  • What Are You Searching For?  
Chapter Eight:  Entrepreneurship:  Why Wait to Be Your Own Boss?
  • Some successful Canadians you might never have heard of
  • Some People are Born Entrepreneurs 
  • The Real Entrepreneurs of Our Time
  • Do You Have What it Takes?
  • School has not prepared you for this – But Life Might Have
  • Many Entrepreneurs Start Small – and Young
  • Don’t Wait Too Long
  • The First Step is the Hardest 
  • Lessons from Entrepreneurship
  • Is Entrepreneurship Enough? 
  • Canada’s Missing Ingredient: Why Entrepreneurship is so Important
  • Canada needs Fifteen or more Waterloos
  • Give this Option Serious Thought
Chapter Nine:  Give Work a Chance
  • Why Work?
  • Not Ready for College or University? No Problem 
  • Employment as Incentive to Return to School
  • Employment as a Skills and Aptitude Test
  • Even a McJob can teach you a lot
  • Saving Money is a Great Way to Start
  • The brutal truth about minimum wage
  • Finding a Job with Impact
  • Consider some of these possibilities
  • Proving Yourself through Work
  • Independence, Financial and Otherwise 
  • The World of Work is No Walk in the Park
  • What we did
  • Work is the great equalizer
  • A Final Note
Chapter Ten: Apprenticeships and the Skilled Trades
  • How Apprenticeships Work
  • Apprenticeships are attractive for a number of reasons
  • Why Weren’t You Told About This? 
  • Why Don’t Your Parents Talk About the Trades? 
  • Career and Employment Opportunities
  • Will You Make Money?  You Bet! 
  • Here is a quick test
  • The Many Joys of Working With Your Hands 
  • Picking the Right Apprenticeship Program 
Chapter Eleven:  Surviving and Thriving in University
  • Home vs Residence 
  • How much does University cost?  
  • Who Should Pay? 
  • Scholarships and Bursaries 
  • Student Loans and Debt 
  • So Where is the Money to Come From? 
  • Working long hours is a bad idea if you can possibly avoid doing so
  • Why not choose the debt-free route?
  • What is Your Plan B? 
  • You are not in High School anymore
  • Stay in Residence, and Get a Roommate
  • Room with an International Student
  • Don’t Blow Off Orientation
  • Time Management: Self-Managed Learning
  • Make the First Month Work for You 
  • Most first year students procrastinate 
  • Don’t Skip Classes 
  • Making the Most of the First Year
  • How’d you like to trade places with us?
  • Romance
  • Booze and Drugs
  • Grade Shock 
  • Which Profile Fits You?
Chapter Twelve: Who Are You – and What Are Your Choices?
  • The Seeker
  • The Swarm Member
  • The Brain
  • The Thinker
  • The Builder
  • The Waffler
  • The Techie
  • The Reacher
  • The Rich Kid
  • High School Hero
  • Tiger Mom Survivor
  • The Rest
  • A Final Note to Parents

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