Coming out of high school, students face a few different options: university, college, or the workplace.
Those who choose one of the first two opportunities typically want to stay close to home, noted Fort Frances High School guidance counsellor Mary Jane Gushulak.
“When [students] are in Grade 9 and 10, they are, ‘Oh yes, I want to get as far away from home as possible,’” she remarked.
“But when push comes to shove, they start thinking, ‘Maybe I don’t want to go that far. Maybe I’m not quite that ready.’”
For Lindsay Johnson, a Grade 12 student at Fort High who is heading to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay to pursue an honours bachelor of arts in concurrent education degree, financial cost was part of her decision.
“It is cheaper for me to come home for the holidays,” she reasoned.
Johnson wanted to go into her degree because “I like working with children and I love English.”
But she also liked the smaller class sizes Lakehead had to offer.
“It seems that it has lots of programs going on and it’s a smaller school, so you get more one-on-one contact with your professors,” Johnson remarked.
Proximity to home is why the University of Manitoba and Lakehead University are two of the more popular destinations for graduating Fort High students.
“Most of them are either going to Lakehead, Manitoba, or colleges in the area rather than going far away,” Johnson said of her classmates.
“I see less people wanting to go to southern Ontario or farther away to B.C. or places like that.”
But she noted the University of Manitoba also offers a University One program that is attractive to the kids.
“University One in Manitoba is a year where you can sample different programs,” she explained. “You may be thinking you want to go into business or you may be thinking you want to go into a science degree.
“So you can take a few science courses, you can take a couple of business courses, and find out which one you like or you also may choose something as an elective in geography and find out tourism is where you should be.”
Gushulak did say she doesn’t know if the U. of M. will continue the course as she’s heard some indications it won’t.
Another factor for students is where they can find the best opportunity in their program.
“[For some], they will go to Manitoba because they are hoping to get into pharmacy and they do need a residency in there,” Gushulak suggested.
“Or they might go to Lakehead where they are thinking of engineering, and they can get both the degree and diploma after four years.”
Johnson said science seems to be one degree a lot of her classmates are pursuing at the post-secondary level.
“Science is the new age thing,” she remarked. “It has the big impact on the world and seems more in demand.”
“We may have seen a slight increase in nursing programs, and I think that’s coming out of students had heard that nurses would be in high demand,” Gushulak noted.
But she added there’s been a major decrease in the number of students heading into the business field.
“We used to have a lot of students going on into the business programs, but we aren’t seeing that anymore,” Gushulak said.
“We are only seeing one or two.
“We find even our program at the high school level doesn’t have the enrolment that it once had,” she added. “If you don’t have a strong high school program, then your students aren’t aware what exists in college and university.
“And why it’s not going in high school, I don’t know,” Gushulak admitted.