Transitioning Out of High School
Pathways shift and change as people continue to learn more about themselves and reshape their goals. The workplace and world of post-secondary education are responding to that with different agreements and partnerships that help people better customize their life-long learning.
What are Post-Secondary Pathways?
In supporting students with their individual pathways planning, we identify 5 main initial postsecondary pathways, as listed below. When students are considering their initial next step beyond high school, we want them to do that with a consideration of who they are and who they want to become. No one pathway is better than the other – the right initial pathway destination choice is how it supports the student with meeting their goals for success. Students should consider each of the following in terms of how it will help them achieve their goals related to a potential career.
The apprenticeship pathway is a paid postsecondary education to learn a skilled trade combining on-the-job and in-class training. As an apprentice, people learn a skilled trade on the job, working with and learning from experienced workers, and getting paid while they do it.
Apprentices also learn in a classroom from instructors who know the trade. This may take place on a college campus or in a union training centre.
For most trades, apprentices work for a year and then switch to studying in class for eight to 12 weeks, either full or part-time. It takes between two to five years to complete an apprenticeship, depending on the trade. There are 144 Skilled Trades to consider in 4 sectors: Industrial, Motive, Service, and Construction.
For more information on apprenticeship, students/families/caregivers can talk to their guidance counselor, Co-op teacher or SHSM Lead, explore myBlueprint, visit the OYAP website, or reach out to the OYAP coordinator at UGDSB. Upper Grand students are also invited to join the Apprenticeship 101 classroom to stay up to date with opportunities and information related to this pathway.
What is OYAP? The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a specialized program in high school that allows you to explore apprenticeship and consider careers in the skilled trades, generally starting in Grade 11 or Grade 12 through the cooperative education program.
We also offer Dual Credit Programming, which allow eligible students in high school to take college or apprenticeship courses that count towards: their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. a postsecondary certificate, diploma, degree or a Certificate of Apprenticeship.
College programs offer a blend of academic learning and practical skills training. They offer a variety of options for student learning and programming to meet the needs of the world of work and the diversity of the students who attend them. College instructors generally come from industry and have professional experience in their area of programming.
Colleges offer everything from one year certificate programs to 2-3 year diploma programs, as well as graduate certificate programs and degree programs covering over 200 areas of study province wide. TuItion generally costs less than university and class sizes are smaller.
In addition, they offer transfer opportunities that support students diverse entry and exit points.
Students who are considering college will need to meet certain admission requirements, including successfully completing a minimum number of courses with a C, U, or M course code in their grade 12 year. They also must consider specific subject and minimum grade requirements for admission, especially when applying to really competitive programs.
For more information on college, students/families/caregivers can talk to their guidance counselor, explore myBlueprint, the Ontario Colleges website, attend college fairs and/or meet with college representatives when they visit their school. College recruiters are also always happy to help someone considering college programming. We also offer Dual Credit Programming, which allow eligible students in high school to take college or apprenticeship courses that count towards: their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. a postsecondary certificate, diploma, degree or a Certificate of Apprenticeship.
The community pathway is most often accessed by students with special education needs who are primarily participating in non-credit courses leading to a Certificate of Accomplishment or an Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC).
Options in this pathway to consider and plan for include but are not limited to: paid or volunteer work and different recreational and personal skill development programs. Students might also access specialized programs (CICE – Community Integration through Co-operative Education) offered at a few Ontario colleges.
Students planning for the community pathway are supported by Special Education staff, parents, and community support agencies. Building a portfolio that highlights their strengths, goals, and skills and includes evidence of any certifications, etc. achieved throughout secondary school can be an asset to support successful next steps.
Universities offer undergraduate degrees (i.e. BA, B.Sc., B.Comm.) professional degrees (i.e. MD, B.Ed., LLB) and graduate degrees (i.e. Master’s and Ph.D.). Most undergraduate degree programs are four years. Like colleges, universities offer different program options for potential students to consider, including transfer programs and microcredentials.
While in some programs the primary focus can be more on theory and ideas rather than specific skills, learning opportunities can include labs, field research and online courses. Many universities have adopted a mandatory component of experiential learning as part of a student’s educational experience. Some professions specfically require a university degree.
Students who are considering university will need to meet certain admission requirements, including successfully completing a minimum of 6 courses with a U or M course code in their grade 12 year. They also must consider specific subject and minimum grade requirements for admission, especially when applying to really competitive programs.
For more information on university, students/families/caregivers can talk to their guidance counselor, explore/compare university programs in myBlueprint, book a tour, attend university fairs and/or meet with university representatives when they visit their school.
Some students choose to go directly to the workforce upon completion of their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. There are a variety of options available to them and different community based resources that can support them with additional skill development and equipment to get a successful start.
Students who are going into this initial postsecondary pathway do not necessarily have specific course requirements or grade averages but benefit from well developed employability skills and resumes. Co-op courses offered in grade 11 and 12, as well as job sector training and certifications such as those offered through our Specialist High Skills Major programs offer students a great head start when they are going into the workplace directly after high school.
For more information on the worplace pathway, students/families/caregivers can speak to their guidance counselor or co-op teacher, attend career fairs, explore job postings through myBlueprint or local employment agencies, or look at Labour Market Information through the Workforce Planning Board. Students might also benefit from connecting with an Employment Services Provider in their community.
Click here to learn more about ONtransfer and how students can change programs and schools if they find that their initial choice is no longer what they want.
Do you want to speak to someone about postsecondary pathways and or student success in UGDSB and don’t know where to start? Get in touch using this form.
Do you need a transcript? Click here to learn more about when and how to go about making this request.
Did You Know?
- Access to an Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator that would be happy to meet with you if you want to know more about that pathway option. Ask your Co-op/Tech/Guidance/Student Success teacher for more information!
- Partnerships with Youth Employment Agencies to support career counselling conversations. Ask your guidance counselor or student success teacher about making an appointment.
- Dual Credit programming options, where students can complete high school credits and college credits at the same time. Ask your Co-op/Tech/Guidance/Student Success teacher for more information!
- A variety of student success initiatives to help students meet their goals. Type “Student Success” into the search bar when exploring the website of a school you are interested in – you might be surprised with the amount of supports available!
- ‘Accessibility Services’ to support students with special needs. Type “Accessibility” into the search bar at the school you plan to attend. Connect with them as soon as possible to have everything in place for when you start.
- Resource Centres to support First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students making the transition to post-secondary. Type “Indigenous Resources” into the search bar of your chosen school and reach out to the contact provided. Or, click here to check out Future Further, a resource specifically for self-identified Indigenous students considering post-secondary.
- Financial Aid Offices to help troubleshoot financing related to school. Type “Financial Aid” into the search bar of your selected school and reach out to the contact provided.
- Youth Employment Agencies, with programs such as Youth Job Connect, where you can earn money while enhancing skills and developing your network. Google “Youth Employment Agency in ___________ (your hometown) to find your first connection and/or check out our Resources and Links page for ones we have already made!
- Mentorship programs where students can access 1:1 mentors to help with individualized pathway exploration. Type “Mentorship Programs in ________________ (your hometown) to find your first connection and/or check out our Resources and Links for ones we’ve already made!
- ‘Gap Year’ ideas and programs that include work, travel, skill development, and networking. Check out this Gap Year link to see some of what’s out there!
Students can use their myBlueprint account to support breaking down barriers to successful transition related to budgeting, self-awareness and employment. In addition, myBlueprint offers guides to support student transition.
When in grade 12, our students will be invited to change their account over and take it with them so they will continue to have access, long after graduation.