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Students Back To School At Canadian College For More! Abdullah Muhaseen has an academic  pedigree   that   would   be   the   envy   of  many.   He   graduated   from   one   of  Canada's   top   universities,   earning  bachelor's   degrees   in   both  neuroscience and psychology.

paramedic.

A professional   career   in   medical  research   or  graduate  studies  seemed  to be in his future, but Mr. Muhaseen  chooses a different path: He enrolled in  a   public   college   to   become   a 

The University   of   Toronto   graduate   is   part   of   a   growing   trend   in   Canadian   higher  education. Driven in part by the slouching job market, the country's colleges are seeing  a  rise   in   applications  from  people   who   have   already  received   degrees  from   leading  universities. Public colleges in Canada offer a variety of vocational programs, including one­ and  two­year courses similar to what U.S. community colleges provide. While   the  Canadian   college  tends   to   lack   the   resources   and   amenities   university  graduates are used to, they are opening the door to steady work. At Centennial College,  Mr. Muhaseen's second alma mater, officials say more than 90 percent of graduates get  hired   within   six   months   of   completing   its   programs.   Other   Canadian   colleges   boast  similar successes. "All of our colleges work very closely with business and industry so we know what's   needed and how many jobs," said Rick Miner, president emeritus of Toronto's Seneca   College, one of the country's largest colleges. During his eight­year tenure, which ended  in 2009, he said enrollment of "postgraduate students"—the term Canadians use for  those   who   have   earned   university   degrees—increased   at   a   steady   rate,   eventually  making   up  15   percent  of  the  full­time  student  body  and   50  percent   of  the   part­time  population. "The colleges have become kind of a finishing school for university graduates," he said. It's   unclear   exactly   how   many   of   the   country's   1.5   million   college   students   have  university degrees.


"Nationally, the number of university graduates in colleges is difficult to quantify, but we  hear about this all the time because they're looking for advanced skills and training they   can take to the job market," said James Knight, chief executive of the Association of  Canadian  community   colleges,   whose   son   also   went   to   college   after   getting   his  university degree.   A Practical Approach The trend, of course, hinges on a perception that a university bachelor's degree is not  as valuable as it once was, at least in terms of finding work. "A   university   degree   used   to   be   an   entree   to   a   job.   [Employers]   didn't   care   if   your  degree was in archaeology—they'd take you into the accounting firm and train you for  the job," said Ann Buller, president of Centennial, in Toronto. "Their university degree  means they have a good, solid education but not necessarily something that translates  easily into a job. We can help them discover their passion." Mr. Muhaseen echoed her sentiment. "I   love   my   job.   No   two   days   are   the   same,   and   it   fits   my   lifestyle,"   he   said   about   becoming a paramedic. Mr. Muhaseen graduated last year from Centennial College and  now works in busy downtown Toronto. He said he enjoyed the rigor of his college programs. "In university you can slack off and still get by. Oftentimes you tend to forget a lot of   what you learned in an elective course, but not with this program," he said. "Every day   you have to be on top of your game." Other university graduates agreed, saying they   liked the more practical education at colleges. "University is more theory and not a good preparation to finding a job today. The college   experience excels at that," said Denise Marshall. Ms. Marshall, who earned a four­year  degree  in  commerce   from Concordia   University,  in  Montreal, lost  her job  during  the  recent economic upheaval. But she found a new career after deciding to study technical   writing at Seneca College. She now works at Research in Motion, the makers of the BlackBerry. She said she  looked for technical­writing courses at various universities, but they were often a small  part of an English degree. Beth   Agnew,   the   technical­writing   program   coordinator   at   Seneca,   said   midcareer  changers like Ms. Marshall are common in her program, but even more so are people  with newly minted degrees and little job experience.


"Most applicants to our technical communication program are fresh out of university,"  she said. "They're often looking for ways to differentiate themselves from hundreds of  others. We find the degree opens minds, but the college course lights the fire within."   A New Student Body The increasing number of university graduates at colleges is causing administrators to  rethink how they serve students. Centennial,   for   example,   developed   specific   postgraduate   courses   in   subjects   like  communications, health care, and technology. "Right now we have 25 postgrad programs where you need a degree or diploma to get   in, and it's our fastest­growing sector. Out of 14,000 full­time students, about a thousand  are in postgrad programs," said Ms. Buller, the college's president. Colleges are also doing more to recruit this growing student population, by attending job  fairs on university campuses. Still, colleges do have to be somewhat cautious when catering to postgraduates. The  students   often   have   higher   expectations   about   the   services   or   amenities   they   may  receive, and they have different needs, Ms. Buller said. "The way you treat and deal with these students is radically different," she said. For instance, university graduates aren't necessarily interested in playing varsity sports,  but they want to know about library access and the availability of tutoring services. For the future, Ms. Buller predicts more Canadians will hold a university degree and  have studied at a college to train in a specialized field. She said today's high­school  graduates are more accepting of the idea because many of their parents went back to  college. She said she says to them: "You might not come to Centennial in the fall, but we might  see you in five years." Source: Centennial College Blog

Students Back To School At Canadian College For More!  

This write up speaks aloud about the accomplishments of international students at Canadian community colleges. College program, at community...

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