We must be reflective practitioners pausing at key moments to take our pulse - as individuals, institutions, and communities - in order to move forward with intention.
THE VALUE OF POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION
Considering higher education? Find out why it could be right for you.
Canada’s 2016 census reported that “more than half (54.0%) of Canadians aged 25 to 64 had either college or university qualifications, and Canada continues to rank first among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in the proportion of college and university graduates.”(1)
Times Higher Education reported in 2017 that a study by the Higher Education Funding Council for England found that post-secondary graduates reported a greater sense of life satisfaction and well-being than non-graduates (2), while research from the Lumina Foundation found that graduates can expect to enjoy better earnings and lower unemployment than non-graduates, as well as additional benefits such as increased job safety and a higher likelihood of employer-supported health insurance and retirement programs.(3)
Though obtaining post-secondary qualifications represents a significant investment of both time and money, earning a university degree can set you on right path when it comes to future job prospects and a larger income over time. And beyond these practical advantages, there are myriad benefits to pursuing post-secondary education that may help you decide that it’s the right choice for you.
Post-secondary education makes it possible for students to engage in transformative learning experiences, undertaking innovative ways to expand their knowledge not only in their chosen field of study but also by exploring new areas of interest.
Honours-level or independent study projects, study-abroad programs, and research opportunities afford students the chance to master their understanding of complex material and put theory into practice.
University also allows students to explore courses and activities outside their degree program, opening doors to new possibilities and passions. You might decide to add a minor in a complementary discipline, take a specialized certificate program, or even change your major altogether.
Relationship-building and collaboration
Students engaged in post-secondary education develop important and lasting relationships with their peers through academic, extracurricular, and leadership opportunities, building friendships and networks that will endure well beyond graduation.
Collaborative work with faculty, such as research projects and specialized programs, sees students working alongside professors who serve as guides and mentors in the learning process and enrich the university experience. Your professors can support you in finding meaningful projects to complement your studies and can offer guidance as you determine the path you want to pursue after earning your degree.
Personal development and an expanded network
Many universities welcome international students from around the globe, allowing students to learn about and from peers with diverse backgrounds. You might also choose to take advantage of exchange opportunities yourself: spending one or two semesters abroad offers a rewarding academic challenge and will broaden your social network.
Post-secondary students have no shortage of campus activities to get involved in, whether it’s serving as a peer mentor, acting as a residence advisor, joining a varsity or club sports team, volunteering for campus events or running for student government. These activities help to develop leadership, organization, communications and team-building skills, while also giving you practical experience that will serve you well in the future.
Preparation for future studies and career goals
Institutions of higher education foster an environment where students can become critical thinkers, developing their capacities for expressing creative and independent thought – abilities that are highly valued by employers and graduate-level programs alike.
Is post-secondary education the right choice for you? You may have other plans in mind that will help broaden your intellectual horizons and develop your personal skills outside a university classroom setting, or you may be thinking about entering the job market as soon as possible. But as a university graduate you’ll have been able hone the skills needed to succeed in our rapidly-changing world and to be a valuable, thoughtful contributor to society.