YOUTH VOICE: Preparing for the school year ahead

It's important to begin the school year with optimism, writes columnist Japreet Lehal

As students have returned back to school, after missing three weeks at the beginning of the new school year, naturally many – especially those in senior high school years – might be worried out about post-secondary applications and the studies that they will have to fit into a slightly smaller school year.

However, despite the unusual start, students should begin their academic year with an optimistic and upbeat attitude, while being committed to getting involved and focusing on their studies.

For students who plan to enter college or university following high school, not only should they focus on which program they wish to enter, but should also do thorough research on finding the program that best fits their needs and goals.

For instance, students would be well advised to research institutions that have the type of study majors they would like to enroll in, as well as the type of co-operative education programs offered.

Furthermore, students should try to visit universities they would like to possibly apply to and speak to current students, so that they can see if the campus culture fits well with their personality. Many universities offer the opportunity for prospective students to tour the campus, and this can be arranged by contacting them.

In addition to offering the classroom experience, the educational years are also a time to learn outside of the class and get involved.

The university environment plays a crucial role in one’s educational path, and learning about this before committing yourself to an apprenticeship, diploma, or degree program at any institution is important.

In addition to researching post-secondary options, students should find out about financial aid and which different options are available to them for financing their studies.

It is important that students apply for scholarships and bursaries.

It has been estimated that millions of dollars in scholarships are not claimed by students.

A variety of different financial awards are available, based on different types of criteria, and students should search for these applicable ones by speaking to their career counsellors at school, as well as applying through credible and trustworthy online sites.

As students begin to settle into their studies, the time will fly by very quickly.

Hence, it is vital that they make a timeline of when to apply to various different educational institutions and scholarships/bursaries.

Creating a timetable that lists deadlines – and giving enough time to complete the applications – will be of utmost importance.

While the year will be a busy one for senior students, they should take time to enjoy and fully engage with studies and other activities during the final phase of their high school journey.

Japreet Lehal, a student at Simon Fraser University, writes monthly for Peace Arch News.

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