Quick Guide to Post-Secondary Education Planning for Parents and Students

Quick Guide to Post-Secondary Education Planning for Parents and Students

05/01/2015 3 By J. L. James

It Is Never To Early to Plan For Post Secondary Education


It is that time of year when applications for post-secondary education are being processed, or still being completed by students.  Assisting our children to become independent and exit the home in the best way possible is the goal.

One of the things my parents taught me is that post-secondary education is and continues to be a  great socio-economic equalizer.  It does not matter if you are from humble origins or the offspring of the captains of industry, if you have an education and the drive,  you can fulfil your destiny.  Your upward mobility is only limited by your self-imposed constraints.

When Planning Post Secondary Options Choose  Carefully

Parents, know that your child will make post-secondary choices based on one or more of the following: Click To Tweet

  • Future career choice
  • Current school courses
  • Finances
  • Distance from home
  • Friends
  • Fun/Party School


University or college ?  That is the question. The answer is whatever is in the best interest of your child. For the parent/student, education will be the most expensive purchase after or before the house. It’s no wonder this is the generation that has the highest debt load ever in the history of Canada. Gone are the days when you could work through the summer and cover most of the cost of your next term.  Many students are not getting those jobs and the pay for those that do barely covers current costs.

The McLean’s University Rankings, is Canada’s go to guide for lists and descriptions of Canada’s  university campuses.  Colleges and Trades are gaining popularity,  especially with a decline in qualified trade’s people. If you live in Ontario, there is also: eInfo, a guide to Ontario’s universities and where they are located for high school students at electonicinfo.ca


Action Plan for Long Term Post Secondary

Students, a plan of action is important not just for this particular exercise but for life in general, having a general guideline will be helpful and enable you to see the pros and cons.  Not just for the first year, but for the duration of your studies and beyond. The plans should include: the advantages and disadvantages of  going to a particular school and taking the chosen subjects.

What do you need to go into a particular program?  Are your grades competitive?  If not, can you bring them up in time.

Have a plan B

Work for a year to gain some financial footing and work experience. Travel for a year. Some students feel that they need a gap year for whatever reason.


If an undergrad or gap year abroad is viable option there is a great resource that makes the tour every year.  Study and Go Abroad Fairs will be coming to a city near you.  Go online and to find the dates. 

The most popular reason for studying aboard is a scholarship. Click To Tweet

It is a good idea to be very clear about what the scholarship covers and what conditions need to be maintained for it to be continued. This is particularly important with sports scholarships.  Sports teams at the post-secondary level are very results oriented, this is often a pressure point for young students. You would not want your offspring stranded in foreign regions.



  • How much will post secondary it cost?
  • Are scholarships available
  • Student Loans
  • Provincial/ Banks
  • Parental contribution



Take the tours offered by the schools. Brochures are glossy and the script is appealing, but there is nothing like walking through the Ivy yourself.

Talk to people who have been there.  First hand experience from a few former or current students will give you a real picture of campus life.

Call potential departments, don’t be shy.  The student guidance office will be happy to put in touch.  Scholars are very passionate about their departments.

There you have it.  All that is left for you to do is to:

1. Apply

2. Accept

3. Deliver the grades

4. Go

If you have found: Quick Guide to Post-Secondary Education Planning for Parents and Students  helpful, or want to share your experience of this process.  Send me an email via comments.


Guide Contributors:

Bambi – Our millennial student adviser.

The Beaver – Educator, Urban Historian and Empty nester.



Service Canada provides information on all types of schools located across Canada.

The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum provides detailed information and links for those interested in apprenticeship training in Canada.

The VECTOR website provides videos and information on approximately 185 occupations in Canada:  www.vector.cffee.org

MONEY AND YOUTH is a book published by The Canadian Foundation for Economic Education, a resource aimed at youth 14 and older.  Free but there may be costs for postage and handling.


J. L. James
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J. L. James

Writer at EmptyBesters
Social Commentator, Original EmptyBester.
J. L. James
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