Your children have choices to make, and they need your help.
Today, the post-secondary education experience is about offering students maximum choices so they can open up as many doors in their future as possible. Your children need your help to navigate these choices in order to find the right fit for their skill sets, interests, finances, and personal styles.
So how can you offer this support?
- Talk with your children. Start asking questions like this when they’re still in high school:
- What do you like to do? How would you like to spend your days? In what kind of environments?
- What career or job opportunities are there in that area? How easy or hard is it to connect with these opportunities?
- How feasible would it be to pursue this option? What would the challenges be?
- Research the educational and/or training options and what they will cost.
- Start discussing, researching, and imagining the possibilities early—grade 12 tends to be much too late!
- Consider following this timeline, complete with tips for supporting your child to make great post-secondary choices and access the most promising opportunities:
Stage 1 Early Years Early Financial Planning
- A four-year degree can cost up to $70,000; choosing the right saving option early on can make all the difference
- Consider setting up a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) for your child’s educational costs
Stage 2 Grades 9 & 10 Academic Awareness
- New Curriculum has replaced Planning 10 with the Career Life Education course. You child will be starting to explore their interests, career options and post-secondary
- Course Planning usually starts early in the new year. Start conversations with your child about specific courses they will take in Grades 11 and 12, and their impact on future post-secondary choices
- Be aware of grades, as they start to have an impact at this point
Stage 3 Grades 11 & 12 Getting Ready
- Start researching scholarships, awards, and financial aid options
- Your child will continue doing post-secondary research as part of the new school curriculum Career Life Education and Career Life Connections courses. Be aware that every school and/or district may be offering these two required courses in different formats, and find out how they are being delivered at your school
- Set goals for making decisions with your child (e.g., “By mid-way through Grade 11, I will have learned about 3 different programs that I am interested in, and 5 post-secondary institutions that have the program I am interested in.”)
- Investigate the specific options (i.e., particular schools and programs) with your child
Stage 4 Fall of Grade 12 Researching Post-Secondary Options
- Help your child to create a budget that includes living expenses as well as tuition costs
- Research the specifics of each educational option (i.e., cost, application process, key dates)
- Submit applications for admission
- Decide on your first and second choices; you might need a Plan B
- Visit particular campuses and attend info sessions for different programs
Stage 5 Winter & Spring of Grade 12 Making the Decision
- Complete the application(s) for admission (i.e. submission of grades or other information if required) and accept the offer of admission to your institution of choice
- Your child will either decide to study while living at home or leave home to study
- If it’s the latter, help your child to apply for residence
- Help your child to research meal plans if living in residence
- Build independence skills in your child – and be prepared to accept them
- Recognize that your child is creating a relationship with the educational institute of their choice; they are becoming an adult and must navigate this relationship independently
Stage 6 Beginning of Post-Secondary Establishing Balance
- Your post-secondary student will make decisions about their schedule and course load
- The factors they will consider: finances, ability, work schedule, type of program, social life
- Encourage your student to take part in the Orientation activities at their institution
Overwhelmed by the lingo?
We’ve put together a glossary of terms common in the post-secondary world.
Downloadable Resources for Parents
10 Things Parents Need to Know
Set your student up for success with these key ideas.Download
The Post-Secondary Cost Puzzle Explained
How much does post-secondary education really cost? Solve the puzzle.Download
The 10 C's of Soft/Transferable Skills
Learn why soft skills are so important in post-secondary education and in life.Download
How an Undergraduate Degree is Structured
Learn the basics of semesters and credits.Download
Post-Secondary Students Need Help Finding Careers
An article about the need for guidance for students on the post-secondary journey.Download
BC High School Graduation Requirements
A summary of the grad requirements set by the province.Download
High School Graduation Requirement Changes
A summary of upcoming changes to high school grad requirements and curriculum.Download