Wednesday, June 8, 2011

When Is The Right Time to Pursue a Post-Secondary Education?

The working assumption for the majority of high school students graduating is that they are going to attend either college or university after high school.  Certainly I felt that way.  However I'm not so convinced anymore that getting into post-secondary education right after high school is the right choice for everyone.

Personally, I was tired of school after graduating from high school and I needed to 'get my hands dirty' for a little while.  I realized this in my first year of college.  I had no motivation to do school work.  I was much more interested in exploring my new freedom and social opportunities as I wasn't living at home anymore.

Greg, a classmate of my brother's didn't go to college right away.  He lived at home for a year and worked in the forestry industry and saved a nice bit of money.  The following year he went to college and used the money he had saved to put a down payment on a house.  He live there while he was going to school and rented out the rooms he wasn't using to other college students he knew.  This covered his mortgage payments.  I was impressed to see how he had thought things through and was getting ahead of the game in the home ownership arena.

Tristan (another friend) went and worked in the oil patch on the rigs right after high school. (You can access job opportunities like he took advantage of at  He made a good bunch of money that he also put in the bank.  After a couple of years, he took the money he saved and used it to finance his education as a cabinet maker.  He eventually started his own business with the rest of the money, buying a truck and tools with it.  His business is very successful now.

Some people are geared up for college/university right after high school.  I think one of the keys to being ready is knowing exactly what you want to study.  Derek, a colleague I've worked with in IT, knew he wanted to be a computer programmer.  He went into university immediately after high school and got his BSc degree right away, and he's been enjoying himself (immensely) working in the field every since - first as an employee, and then for the last 15 years as a private contractor.

So when is the right time to pursue a post-secondary education?  When you are ready.  You gotta wanna, so to speak. Be true to yourself and figure out if you are really ready for more education right after high school.  You won't do yourself many favors by going to school if you aren't really motivated and focused on what you want to do.  There's nothing wrong with taking some time and figuring out what you should be going to school for.  It's a big decision - an investment (see this post for more details on what I mean)

Don't miss the 'Career Resources for Graduates and Young Adults' and 'Education Resources' pages.  It has some helpful links to videos, sites, and articles related to careers and career direction for grads.

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