“Students are afraid of making a mistake, it puts a lot of pressure,” admits Josée Landry, president of the Order of Counselors and Guidance Counselors of Quebec. Here’s what to consider to make an informed decision.
1. Knowing yourself well “You have to take into account what you like, your hobbies, your favorite subjects and your extracurricular activities to know how you can fulfill yourself,” begins Josée Landry. Determining our values is also not to be neglected. “Parents can for example value stability, while the young person will prefer freedom”, illustrates Patricia Rancourt, guidance counsellor.
2. Take into account one’s abilities “Beware of received ideas!” warn Josée Landry and Patricia Rancourt, who remind us that ability does not necessarily rhyme with interest. It is indeed not uncommon to hear that the sciences open all doors. “Doors that we will not necessarily take, insists the president of the Order. There is a risk of undermining the esteem or the motivation of the student who has neither interest nor facility for the subject.
3. Choose a field rather than a profession “Registering for a course does not mean that you have a career choice to make,” recalls Patricia Rancourt. Rather than choosing a profession, it is better to find a field that interests us. Vocational training, college or university: different paths could then be taken.
“It’s rare that there are no exit doors, explains Josée Landry. What we have learned will never be lost.” She takes the opportunity to debunk another received idea: “You can absolutely go to university after having taken technical training at CEGEP!”
4. Stay flexible Interests change over the course of a lifetime. Someone who works in mechanics could for example choose to reorient themselves in education in a professional environment. And with the advent of technologies and an evolving labor market, new sectors and professions are developing.
5. Trusting each other It is often difficult for young people not to give in to pressure from society, school or those around them. “We cannot be 100% sure, thinks Patricia Rancourt. You have to go out and try.” Acknowledging your fears can help defuse the situation. “We often ask young people: ”What’s the worst that could happen?” reveals Josée Landry. It’s important to let go.”
6. Have a plan b “Making a choice takes time, continues Patricia Rancourt. You have to document the different possibilities that exist. If our first choice is not retained, we can then go to a related program or one that meets similar interests in the 2nd round, depending on the places available.
7. Stay connected to your needs Other criteria can be taken into account in choosing a program: whether or not to stay with your parents, leave your friends or your lover… “We underestimate the impact of this decision on the personal life”, thinks Josée Landry. In the event that several establishments offer the same program, it is important to assess which environment best suits us.
8. Participate in open houses Open houses are an excellent way to get a more concrete idea of the targeted field and to exchange with professors and students.
9. Not relying on job prospects In a context of labor shortages, many fields are trying to attract more candidates. Josée Landry points out, however, that the job market is fluctuating and that beyond job prospects, the feeling of accomplishment is often a determining factor in being happy at work.
10. Comply with Admission Requirements Registration systems may differ from program to program and region to region. On the other hand, it is important to stay well informed of the rules of each establishment, while making sure to respect the deadlines.
- The SRAM and SRAPF websites offer advice, allow you to consult the open house calendar and apply for admission online.
- The Young Explorer for a Day and Academos sites offer mentoring and the opportunity to discover a profession.
- The Parents’ Space on the orientation.qc.ca site is for those who wish to support their child in his reflection, according to his level of studies and his needs.
- My training video presents different careers and training opportunities.
- The paying site Repères.qc.ca is a wealth of information on professions, programs, educational establishments and loans and bursaries.
- The works of Quebec author and guidance counselor Isabelle Falardeau. “Very easy to read and full of practical exercises,” recommends Patricia Rancourt.