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What to Look for in a Post-Secondary Institution

Looking to further your education through a post-secondary school? You’re not alone! According to Statistics Canada, the number of students enrolled in post-secondary institutions in Canada from 2000 to 2019 has been climbing steadily, from 1.34 million in 2000 to around 2.15 million in 2019. While enrollments in public colleges and universities decreased slightly by 0.6% in the 2020/2021 school year, which can be attributed to pandemic-related reasons, roughly 2.17 million students enrolled that year.

There are a lot of people who are looking to change their life through education, and there are hundreds of schools to choose from. In Alberta alone, there are 135 designated post-secondary schools, many with campuses in Calgary and Edmonton. It can be a bit daunting determining how to choose a college, and your decision will likely take into account a number of different factors and priorities that matter to you.  

To help guide you through the process of choosing the right college for you, we’ve put together this short list of what to look for in a post-secondary institution.  

Interested in one of MaKami College’s Licensed Programs? Find out if you are Pre-Approved now!  

What is a Post-Secondary Institution?

First, it’s important to define what post-secondary schools include. In Canada, post-secondary institutions are comprised of three different types — universities, colleges, and institutions. Types of colleges and institutes recognized by provinces and territories include colleges, community colleges, colleges of applied arts or applied technology, institutes of technology or science, collèges d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEPs) in Quebec, and career colleges. 

Career colleges, like MaKami College, offer shorter programs than universities, usually 1 to 3 years. They issue diplomas or certificates to graduates for the completion of their respective programs. Some fields students can attend college for include business, computer and administration, health care, trades, and social services. 

Alberta lists recognized (or accredited) schools in the province particularly that allow enrollment for international students, including MaKami College. It’s important to look for a recognized college to ensure it meets the designation requirements and provides a quality education.

6 Post-Secondary School Considerations

1. Responsiveness 

When you were interested in applying for college, did someone take the time to follow up with you? Did they help answer all your questions clearly? Often, a school’s initial responsiveness can be indicative of how they operate on a regular basis. So if you’re phoning or emailing their student advisors and not hearing back, or they are very delayed in getting back to you, this may be something to take into account when deciding whether or not to enrol at that institute. If they are unresponsive during the enrollment process, that’s a good indication of the lack of support you might receive as a student.

2. Helpfulness 

How helpful were the staff when you inquired about enrollment? Did they go out of their way to help remove obstacles like financing, childcare or scheduling? Did they offer to book a tour for you to visit the campus and see what it would be like to be a student? While we knowingly make sacrifices to invest in our education, life happens. Look for a school that can be flexible with you when needed. It can help ease your mind about the decision you’re making.  

3. Bigger is Not Always Better 

Depending on the program you’re taking, larger post-secondary institutions do not always equal a higher quality of education. In fact, sometimes larger schools mean larger faculty and class sizes, more red tape and less flexibility overall. Instead of going to school because it’s one of the largest or most popular, do some research on their instructors and others who have attended the school to find out if it’s the right fit for you.  

4. Faster is Not Always Better 

Just like all schools are not equal, either are their programs. While it may seem important to you to finish your schooling as soon as possible, make sure you consider all factors when deciding where to take your program of choice. For example, will your certification be recognized elsewhere? Will your training be transferrable should you decide to change or advance your career down the road? Will you really feel prepared when you graduate to be successful in your career? 

Take a good look at the curriculum, and always ask about their practicum offerings before making your final decision.  For example, MaKami College offers the highest level of massage therapy training in Alberta in just two years, providing you with a more advanced education than other post-secondary schools.

5. What Supports Do They Provide Students?  

Does the school offer supports to help you succeed in your schooling? Regardless of your age, background or economic or social situation, your post-secondary school of choice should provide assistance to its students to help them succeed. 

Ask your school what the class sizes are, if one-on-one time with instructors or tutors is available, if they have learning strategists on their team or if they offer ESL services if that’s relevant to you. And how how much they support students in getting access to financial assistance can be important when you need help determining your options to pay for college. 

Be sure you feel supported right from the beginning of your time at your school, because it is likely you will struggle at some point, and without resources available you may be tempted to give up.  

Learn more about MaKami’s Student Services

6. Do they Offer Online Class Options?

While Covid-19 pushed many schools to operate on an online basis in some capacity, not all schools offer all programs online or in a blended format. Or they may have reverted to in-person only classes after stay-at-home orders were lifted. Review your school’s curriculum and learning options, and be sure to ask the student advisor about flexible learning options available to you.  

In general, be sure to do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions! You are investing time and money into your future, so it’s important to take the time before making this important decision.  

Want to learn more about MaKami to determine if it’s the best post-secondary school for you? Contact us.


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