Choosing the right field of post-secondary studies: Advice for you and your teen

Getting accepted into a post-secondary institution is a major milestone in your teen’s life, and is often experienced with a sense of excitement, pride and relief. The pursuit of higher learning is a remarkable time in which your teen will meet new people, make new friends, and become exposed to a multitude of new, and often competing, ideas and views about the world we live in.

If he or she hasn’t already done so, your teen may also need to start thinking about what courses to take and fields to specialize in. Guidance and academic counselors typically advise teens and young adults to find a happy medium between studying what they love, and studying what will help them get a job after graduation and build a sustainable and long-term career. Another way to think of this is to find the balance between passion and practicality.

The balance between passion and practicality

One way to find the right balance between job security and job satisfaction is to help your teen take an inventory of their interests and the areas that they excel in, and match those to a career or vocational stream that is expected to be in demand in the future. This should help identify the key courses or ideal field of study your teen should pursue in order to optimize their job prospects after graduation.

For example, studies show that Canada has an aging population, which translates into sustained job growth in the health industry. Working backwards from this future projection, a young person enrolling in post-secondary education now with aspirations of working in the health industry would be wise to take courses in the life sciences, health policy, epidemiology, nursing or hospital administration, to name a few areas of study.

Savings and scholarships

You and your teen might also be thinking about options for financing his or her post-secondary education. In addition to your RESP, there are many bursaries and scholarships that your teen may be eligible for that can help finance their education. CST offers several scholarships including the C.S.T. Consultants Inc. Guruparan and Winsor Scholarships which are awarded annually to one male and one female student in their final year of high school in the amount of $6,000 each. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply online by this year’s application deadline April 30, 2013.

We are in the middle of a global economic shift that is changing future career trends and job scope for today's young people. Maintaining an open mind and being proactive when it comes to finding the intersection between where your teen excels and where the jobs will be in the future is the best way to arm your teen for the "real world" after graduation.

Career and job trend resources for you and your teen

Here are some useful websites that can help your teen learn more about everything from career profiles and future job trends to post-secondary level courses and career networking.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada – A federally-funded website that provides information and insight on future industry and career trends across Canada.

LinkedIn.com – The "Facebook of career networking". Facilitates professional networking, discussion and thought leadership on various topics including careers, industries and workplace trends.

wetfeet.com – A free, well-known site that offers cutting-edge advice on mapping out the ideal career path with emphasis on education, salaries and job trends.

vault.com – A free, popular site that offers timely advice on hot careers, industries, post-secondary education and future work trends.

khanacademy.org - Khan Academy’s free online learning and college tutorial courses.