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5 Creative Ways to Fund Your College Education

Attending college is an exciting prospect. However, once the initial thrill subsides, parents and students are now faced with the challenge of dealing with a costly tuition bill. Fortunately, there are many avenues students can take to help cover this expense. Online portals like Scholly and Scholarship Canada help introduce prospective college students to a wide range of scholarships, grants, and bursaries prior to start of the new school year. In these instances, financial aid is awarded to individuals based on necessity, academic standing, volunteer experience, amongst other criteria.

You may also choose to reach out to the bank in order to fund your tuition. Students can save for their education by opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). An RESP account will accumulate tax-free interest and can remain an active account for up to 31 years.

Even if you happen to be the recipient of CIBC’s Canada’s Luckiest Student contest, or tuition is paid for by parents, a bank loan, or scholarship, there are still several expenses you will encounter as a student. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to make extra cash without sacrificing too much time away from your studies.


5 Ways to Earn Extra Money in College

  •       Part-Time Jobs: One of the most conventional ways to earn a steady income is to secure a part-time job. Luckily, there are several positions available to students conveniently located on campus. For instance, students can apply for opportunities at the cafeteria, bookstore, or library. These jobs will also help build technical skills and provide valuable experience in the workplace.
  •       Buy and Resell Textbooks: Textbooks are costly but essential materials for academic success. Students who are looking to score a deal can help you earn quick cash by purchasing your used textbooks. At the end of each school year, you can buy textbooks from other students and resell these books to new students during orientation week. Through this method, you can potentially earn more money than reselling the same books back to the campus bookstore.
  •       Become a Tutor: If you excel in a specific subject, consider using your skills to help others and earn money for your services. There are many college students who struggle with understanding the course material and often require help outside of the classroom. Tutoring is an excellent opportunity to help a fellow student in need and to help sharpen your skills as a teacher.
  •       Delivery Services: If you own a car or bicycle, consider a job in food delivery. There are many opportunities for employment in this industry, as restaurants often employ students for their take-out services. While working in the kitchen or behind a cash register are valuable experiences, delivering food may help you earn more money as a result of earning tips on top of a regular wage.
  •       Sell Items Online: From electronics and used mobile phones to clothes and books, students can sell just about any old item using an online platform. Sites like eBay or Amazon make it easy to set up an account so you can begin to make money just sitting in your dorm room.
  •       Publish an eBook: College students have plenty of experience in researching and writing, making this an ideal option for students who are looking to bring in some extra money. For example, the Amazon Kindle store makes it easy for students of all skill levels to write and publish an eBook.

Experience in the Workplace Begins in College

It can be a challenge to juggle school, social and work commitments, especially for students who are entering their first year of college. This type of schedule takes a great deal of focus, dedication, and time management, but those who can master the formula will benefit in many ways. While earning an income is a significant advantage to working a part-time job during the school year, students also have the opportunity to learn valuable skill sets and gain experience in the workplace. By using a little creativity, you can make some extra cash while unlocking your own potential both inside and outside of the classroom.

Top 10 Gadgets for New Students to Survive College

Every year, the month of September signifies the start of a new school year. For first time college students, it is the beginning of an exciting chapter into adulthood. However, with several unknowns on the horizon, preparing supplies that are necessary for academic success can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, a look through our brief guide will assist you with picking out the right gadgets for your needs and help you get the most out of your college experience.  

10 Useful Gadgets to Help New Students Survive their First Year at College

  •       Laptop: Relying on a laptop to take notes during class will help students keep up with professors and save time when converting these notes into school projects or papers. With several options available on the market, you can find a suitable device to fit your needs and budget.
  •       Laptop Lock: A laptop lock is an essential item for college-bound students. Safely leave your device unattended in the library or any public space on campus, during a coffee break, or those quick trips to the bathroom.
  •       External Hard Drive: Students spend countless hours taking notes and pouring over various school projects. An external hard drive is essential for backing up your files. Without it, you may unwillingly put hours of work in serious jeopardy if your hard drive fails or your computer gets lost or stolen.
  •       Smart Writing Notebook: If you are the kind of student who prefers to forgo a laptop in favour of writing down notes during class, invest in a smart writing notebook from Moleskine. After connecting this set to your device, your handwritten notes can be conveniently converted into digital text.
  •       Scientific Calculator: For budding scientists and mathematicians, getting through your college classes will be much easier with a graphing calculator. From finance to engineering, these instruments will help you navigate complex formulas and equations.
  •       Noise Cancelling Headphones: Depending on your method of study preferences, you can listen to your own soundtrack in the middle of a quiet library or tune out the noise in a crowded space with a pair of headphones. There is also a variety of headphone options available, including wireless, earbuds, or headsets.
  •       Wearable Tech: A smartwatch can help you keep track of your busy schedule and fitness routine. Sync the gadget to your Smartphone and use it to manage your eating and fitness habits, set reminders, send messages, play music, and more.
  •       Phone Battery Case: Keeping your phone charged at all times is essential for your safety on campus, especially if this is your first experience away from home. Even if you forget your wall charger at home, a phone battery case will keep your device protected while extending its battery life to get you through the day.
  •       Heated Travel Mug: Inevitably, there are days when students will run late to class. If you don’t have time to stop at the coffee shop on campus, brew your own batch and transport it using a heated travel mug. Save time and money, while ensuring that your beverage stays warm throughout the lecture.
  •       Reading Light: Chances are you and your roommate will operate on different schedules. If you find yourself working on an assignment late into the evening, a portable reading light will help keep the peace and allow you to work, even if your roommate has already shut off the lights.

Using Smart Technology to Help Students Succeed

Over the years, things have changed when it comes to attending a post secondary institution. Notebooks and pencils are no longer the most efficient way to organize lectures and schedules. Luckily, students can now use modern technology to their advantage. With these products, students are able to focus on multiple tasks and improve their performance in the classroom. Remember, the shopping list for new students is often extensive and the cost of electronic gadgets can quickly add up. To help save money, always inquire about student discounts.

7 Strategies that Successful Students use to Stay Organized

College is much different than high school. That may seem obvious, but it’s important to be prepared for what will be expected of you. Students who aren’t prepared for the heavy work load, longer classes, and increased independence can find themselves struggling adjusting to college.

Find a way to organize

The volume and speed of the work that comes in college takes many students by surprise. It’s important to stay organized and on top of readings, assignments, labs, tests and exams. Use a calendar – either electronic or paper-based – to write down due dates and to-do lists.

Journalism student Isabella Krzykala, who graduated from Sheridan College in April, says a day planner “saved my life. I wrote down everything I had to do and checked things off as I did them. It was my brain in one book.”

Maddy Patterson, a special events management student at George Brown College, goes through the course outline for each class and writes down all the due dates for the semester. Each Sunday, she writes a list of what she needs to accomplish for the upcoming week, incorporating her part-time work schedule and laying out a plan for the nights she’s free.

“My visual outline of my work really helps me stay ahead of things.”

Focus on focus

Krzykala says at first it was hard to sit still and concentrate during three-hour college classes. But she forced herself to adjust by answering and asking questions and writing down notes. Both require active listening, enhance learning, and help to build a relationship with instructors. Bring along water and healthy snacks to stay fuelled up.

Limit mobile distractions while studying by leaving your phone in another room, disconnecting your laptop from Wi-Fi, or at least limiting how much you’ll check social media or texts to once an hour or so. “It’s easy to look at it without even thinking about it,” said Krzykala. “It’s just out of habit but it interrupts your concentration.”

Don’t procrastinate

Leaving work until the last minute increases stress and decreases quality. Krzykala always starts assignments as soon as she gets them, even if it’s just 20 minutes. “There were a couple of times I left things too late and I got overwhelmed and stayed up too late and it was terrible. If you start everything on time, get into a good rhythm and use your time right, it shouldn’t happen too much.”

Patterson says it’s important to make good use of breaks between classes because the pace of work in college can be deceiving. “You can feel ahead one week and behind the next.”

The right place

Find the place that allows you to work the most productively – an office at home, a dorm room, a library or a coffee shop. “I know the room in my house where I work best,” said Patterson. “I go in there with the mindset that I will work for this amount of time and not do anything else.”

Find a good group to work with

Seek out relationships with fellow students who share your motivation. You’ll learn from one another and reinforce good habits in each other. “Not everyone has the same initiative or cares as much about their education,” said Patterson. “Group work can be a challenge. Learn who you work well with and who shares your work ethic.”

Set goals

Think about the marks you want to achieve. You may find you have to readjust but it’s always better to have something to shoot for than to just hope for the best. And when you reach your goals, reward yourself. Maybe that’s with a fancy coffee, a dessert with friends or a few hours off from studying.

But Krzykala, who now studies journalism at Ryerson University, warns against being too hard on yourself. “A bad mark should not ruin your day. My mom told me that I’m going to school to learn. I’m not an expert. So I try to learn from it when I get a mark I don’t like.”

Use college resources

Don’t be afraid to ask help from your instructors. College is the time to advocate for yourself and seek what you need. There are plenty of campus academic resources, too, to help with course selection, career path preparation, and study skills. Take advantage of everything available to you to do well in college.

“Going to a guidance counsellor has been so helpful to me in choosing my electives well,” said Patterson. “Most people don’t realize the help they can get with that.”

Why Students are Considering College

In Canada, enrolling in university is traditionally considered the essential stepping stone to academic success. When considering post-secondary education, the path initially appears to be quite obvious. It starts in high school where there is a distinction between “college” level and “university” level courses that students may take. Unfortunately, this contributes to an environment that constantly reminds students who are set to graduate high school of the misconception that attending university is a superior option. It also encourages a false promise that a reputable university is the way to secure a steady job and earn a better income after graduation.

The reality is, the current job market has changed drastically even in the past decade and the outdated justifications for attending university over college may not prove truthful. Now more than ever, it is a time to reconsider alternative options for post-secondary education rather than buying into false claims and old-fashioned perceptions. Students should be encouraged to base their decisions upon their own career goals. With youth unemployment rates on the rise and the staggering underemployment rates of university graduates, attending college carries the potential to get students out of school and immediately into the workforce. Today, employers look to hire candidates who are skilled and career-ready, which a college education is designed to do. This is reflected by the fact that 83% of students who graduate from a college program are employed within six months of graduation.

Celebrating 50 Years of Canada’s College System

This year marks 50 years since the creation of Canada’s college system. A variance from the traditional university set up, this system was introduced to help a new generation of Canadian students address the nation’s changing labour trends and market needs. Currently, there are 24 colleges located in Ontario that feature over 900 program options to choose from. All programs combine classroom learning with technical training to provide students with a more comprehensive educational experience. The college system serves 200 communities across the province, even providing students in remote areas with a chance to access higher education. Furthermore, over 200,000 full-time and 300,000 part-time students are presently enrolled at an Ontario college.

Canada’s college system is also renowned for its partnerships with leading university institutions. Thus, students have the option to pursue a combination of university and college programs in an effort to further enhance their post-graduate careers. According to Statistics Canada, up to 50% of college students already possess a university degree or even a post-graduate degree. Ontario colleges have not only forged strong relationships with universities but they are also connected to a large network of contacts within a number of different industries. Some of the exciting programs that colleges offer students include business, advertising, paramedicine, tourism, the skilled trades, and more.

College vs. University

College offers more benefits in addition to giving students a real shot at securing employment after graduating. As opposed to university, college is far more goal-oriented, personable, and filled with serious students who have perhaps finished a university degree program, only to realize that their chosen career requires the type of training and experience only a college can provide.

While universities may carry an astute reputation, they are often too large to offer the attention students deserve. Lectures may be taught by professors, but students can expect tutorials and evaluations to be carried out by graduate students. Conversely, colleges typically have a smaller class size and students are always taught by experienced instructors. Moreover, students will learn specific course material and gain hands-on training that can be applied to their chosen career in the real world.

Factors to Consider

Before students can make an informed post-secondary decision, they must consider all factors. Firstly, it is important for prospective students to research their chosen career field before deciding if attending a college or university is best. There are many resources available online outlining the high school level requirements for admission to college programs, and the types of careers college programs lead to. Each institution will provide students with a different set of qualifications, even for similar programs. Co-op placements in school are also a fantastic way to try out a field you may be interested in, while establishing connections that may help you down the road.

Students should also take their financial situation into consideration. Typically, university tuition is much higher than college tuition. In addition, the length of a university program can take between 3 to 5 years to complete, while most college programs may only take 2 years. Therefore, not only is tuition higher for university students but they will also be paying for their education for twice as long.

Finally, those who thrive in a less competitive and intimate setting may find the transition from high school to college much easier. Simply put, college provides students with a better opportunity to study and work in a specific field that they will enjoy for years to come.


Work towards a Successful Future by Enrolling in College

In summary, there are many avenues to take when it comes to post-secondary education. It is important to remember that university is not the only option and it certainly is not the best option for every individual. College programs have a lot to offer and it is worthwhile to take them into consideration when determining your academic goals.

How to Choose the Right School


Choosing an educational path after high school is challenging, exciting, and stressful for many students and their families. Some students know exactly what they want to pursue as a career, which post-secondary program will get them there and which college or university is right for them. But many more are less certain.

The choices can seem overwhelming. There are 24 colleges in Ontario alone, offering more than 900 programs that lead to diplomas, degrees and post-secondary certificates.

So how do you go about making an effective choice?

Start your research early.

This is a big and costly decision. Start your research early so that you are well prepared and confident by the time you have to apply.

Ryan McGarvey, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student in Oshawa, has been researching his options since the beginning of Grade 11. He is interested in studying musical theatre and has narrowed his choices down to Sheridan College and several Greater Toronto Area universities. His mom Renee McGarvey is doing lots of research online and the family visited open houses last year.

“We are keeping an eye out for open houses and meetings and I think some school representatives are coming in for presentations at my school,” said Ryan. “We will also go to the college fair this year. I will attend everything I can.”

While Renee says she’s “completely stressed” about making a choice, Ryan says, “I’m happy we started our research when we did because we’ve got a lot more to do.”

Talk to teachers and guidance counsellors.

If you don’t have a clear idea of your aptitude or interests, talk to your teachers and guidance counsellors. Take an aptitude test that can point you in a direction. Talk to anyone you can – your relatives, your parents’ friends, your friends’ parents, neighbours, for instance – about their jobs. Research the jobs that are out there, what demand is like, and what they provide in terms of income, working conditions and lifestyle.

If you have a potential career path in mind, talk to people in that field to see if it may be right for you. Then research the college programs that lead to that job.

“If you don’t do your homework and research and realize what a program is all about, it makes the climb steeper,” said Kelvin Lee, a recruiter at Mohawk College in Hamilton. He tells students to visualize themselves in their program choice and imagine themselves doing that job.

“We had two students ask about nursing, but 20 minutes into the talk they said they don’t like touching people and they don’t like blood. Then nursing isn’t right for them. It’s important to figure that out.”

Book a tour and visit the campus.

There are many fantastic options in Ontario’s college system, which is celebrating its 50 anniversary under the theme The Start of Something Amazing.

But no student should make a choice of a college without first visiting the campus, says Lee. Online research, talking to recruiters and inquiring with other students is all important, but it doesn’t replace walking around the campus, looking at classrooms, labs and other facilities or exploring the community around the college, says Lee.

“We are still stunned at how many students don’t visit and who literally throw a dart. Then they are surprised by the size of their classes or how big the campus is. You have to go in with your eyes wide open,” he said. “And you can’t get the full experience without visiting.”

Take advantage of open houses, college fairs and other resources.

The Ontario College Information Fair, Oct. 24 and 25 at the Enercare Centre in Toronto (www.ocif.ca), allows high school students and their families to meet faculty, staff and students from all 24 colleges under one roof. Each college will provide information sessions, potential students can learn about programs, admission requirements, and student life. There are also workshops on paying for college, career planning, degrees offered by colleges, and how to apply.

If you can’t make it to the OCIF, the Ontario College Information Program (CIP) is the official “Colleges on Tour” event. Throughout September and October, a group of college representatives will be crossing the province together for five weeks, stopping at each college. The schedule is available at: www.ocif.ca/college-information-program-2017.

Individual colleges also offer open houses and program tours. Many, if not all, will allow students to sit in on classes or even live in residence for a weekend when school is out. Talk to faculty and students when you are there.

Use the resources available at ontariocolleges.ca.

Keep your options open.

Colleges and universities are increasing working collaboratively, with hands-on college courses added after a university degree or college diplomas leading directly to university studies. For instance, the number of university graduates enrolled in college has increased more than 40 per cent over the past five years.

“There are many connections now between college and university. Smart students and parents consider both,” said Lee, who has been a recruiter for 13 years. One ongoing challenge for the college system is that most high school teachers and guidance counsellors have only studied at the university level, so may not be fully aware of all that college has to offer.

Kasia Miecznikowski enrolled in a humanities program at McMaster University, hoping to pursue multimedia in her second year. “I thought university was the choice for me because my grades were high. No one really told me about college. I didn’t consider it,” she said.

”Towards the end of my first year, I realized that courses that had nothing to do with the second-year program I wanted to take would determine whether I got into the program… I was doing all these academic essays and I didn’t feel I was learning a lot. I wanted to be hands-on.”

So Miecznikowski is now happily taking broadcast journalism at Mohawk College.

“I feel so good about my choice. I will be learning by doing and the faculty are people who have worked in the field I want to pursue. My advice to high school students is to make sure you really know your options.”

Is it better to wait a year?

If you truly can’t make a decision and feel overwhelmed by having to try, it may be best to wait a year and get additional high school credits or work to save up for college.

Maddy Patterson, who is studying event management at George Brown College, suggests that volunteering can help young people find a career path that’s right for them. “I took a year off out of high school because I was having trouble deciding what I wanted to do. I did a lot of volunteering at sports events because I was considering sports management. I didn’t know about event planning until I did that.”

Patterson then explored her school choices and chose George Brown based on student reviews and its internship program.

“I 100 per cent recommend volunteering to figure out what you don’t like and what you do like. It narrows your path and it helps with future job opportunities.”

Lee says some students find it better to come to college to test the waters in a general arts, science or skilled trades program and then narrow their focus depending on what appeals to them. Sometimes they find the program for them by meeting other students or watching them do class projects out on the campus.

Also keep in mind that there are multiple programs with January starts. That buys some more time and the volume of applications is lower for that time.

SirtNet & Sheridan: Ontario Screen Industry Collaboration

Sheridan College and a consortium of industry partners announced last Friday at xoTO Filmmakers Lounge in Toronto, the full commercialization of SirtNet, a first-of-its-kind in Canada, fibre optic based collaboration network for the Ontario screen industries. The event was attended by over 100 industry representatives, and featured remarks from municipal, provincial and federal government officials, as well as industry partners and Sheridan representatives.

The SirtNet solution, which has already dramatically transformed production and postproduction processes, has been identified for almost a decade as a key means to build a global competitive advantage for the sector. SirtNet was developed as an applied research project by Sheridan’s Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT) in collaboration with industry associations and leading companies from both the information technology and screen industries sectors. The announcement recognizes the recent commercialization of SirtNet by a consortium of companies including Beanfield Metroconnect, StorageASP, and Netkeepers.

SirtNet logo

“SirtNet was conceived in response to the Ontario screen industry’s need for a secure network that would allow production and postproduction teams to collaborate remotely from the start to finish of a film or television series, creating a more efficient workflow,” said John Helliker, Dean of Innovation and Engagement at Sheridan who spearheaded the initiative. “Research and development for SirtNet was initiated by SIRT in 2013, with the support of all levels of government and driven by committed industry partners.”

SirtNet now connects multiple Toronto studios and has been used in the production of more than four television series, including The Handmaid’s Tale and Vikings, along with numerous feature films. The network’s productivity benefits have played a key role in attracting new productions and studios to Toronto, such as Legend3D’s decision to establish a location in Toronto and create 280 new jobs.

SirtNet is the first commercialized applied research project of this scale at Sheridan. The project harnessed the expertise of numerous student researchers from the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology, the College’s Information Technology team, and  research centres.

“As our industry partners assume ownership of the network, SirtNet completes its evolution from an industry-identified challenge, to a college-based applied research project, and back to the industry-driven tool it was always designed to become,” said Dr. Janet Morrison, Provost and Vice President, Academic, at Sheridan. “We will always be proud of the role that Sheridan and SIRT played in bringing this network to life.”

“Real-time collaboration from sound stage through post-production and delivery is everyone’s dream in the media and entertainment sectors,” said Wayne Kim, Managing Partner of SirtNet. “StorageASP, Beanfield and NetKeepers are excited about continuing to work with the screen industries to expand SirtNet throughout the Province in this next chapter of its growth.”

About the Screen Industries Research and Training (SIRT) Centre:

SIRT was established by Sheridan in 2009 at Pinewood Toronto Studios, in order to support and foster innovation in production and post-production for the film, television and gaming sectors. With partnerships and support from Ontario’s guilds and unions, as well as leading companies and industry associations such as FilmOntario, SIRT is Canada’s leading innovation and technology support centre for the screen industries.

Pictured top right (from left to right): Dr. Janet Morrison, Provost and Vice President Academic, Sheridan; Neishaw Ali, President and Executive Producer, SpinVFX and Co-chair, Computer Animation Studios of Ontario; Councillor Paula Fletcher, City of Toronto; John Helliker, Dean of Innovation and Engagement, Sheridan; Karen Thorne-Stone, President and CEO, Ontario Media Development Corporation; Julie Dabrusin, Member of Parliament, Toronto-Danforth; Arthur Potts, MPP, Beaches-East York, Wayne Kim, Managing Partner, SirtNet; Shaul Swartz, Managing Partner, SirtNet. Photo by Kendall Townend.

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