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The results are in! What next?

BY DONNA POWELL WILSON

Tuesday, August 19, 2014    

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Let me extend heartiest congratulations to all the students who have received their 2014 CSEC and CAPE results. As expected, some students will be extremely elated with their performance, while others will be disappointed with the outcome. Irrespective of how these results are viewed, let us continue to encourage all our students to strive for excellence.

One common question every student will now have is where do I go from here? I urge you all to continue with your education. A post-secondary education could be your next major step, and I advise you to seek academic counselling at any of the numerous community colleges across the country. The education you would have acquired until this point in your life will remain with you and nobody can take that away. It is therefore necessary for you to make active, informed choices/decisions in furthering your education. This decision will prove advantageous to you as there are numerous immediate and future benefits to be derived.

Irrespective of your socio-economic status a college education improves your employability skills; thus allowing you to improve your employability options. It is your responsibility, though, to ensure that you choose a college of reputable standard. This is important as an investment in education is one that has the potential to bring you the most significant and long-term returns throughout the course of your life. It is imperative that you select a course of study that is intrinsically tied to your career and life objectives and a part of this careful consideration should be whether or not there is a demand for your area of expertise.

The process of filtering and choosing a post-secondary institution at times may be a daunting one and it is understood that there are external forces that will influence this decision such as parents or siblings strong alma mater connections, and traditions of the institution. While one should always ensure that institutions have a proven track record of excellence, the following should become essential when consideration is given to any potential institution.

(a) Affordability: Given the economic climate, you may need to shop around for cost-effective programmes. With the plethora of post-secondary institutions (to include those offshore) the variance with the tuition fees should not go unnoticed. Also, one extremely effective way of reducing the cost of your education is to study within or as near as possible to your community. This will significantly eliminate the cost of daily commuting or the expense

of boarding.

(b) Accredited programmes: While it is understood that accreditation is a process, pursuing a programme of study which is not accredited may result in you receiving a degree that does not get the global recognition that you need to survive in this hyper-competitive global marketplace.

(c) While it may be desirous to spend four continuous years in a programme for a Bachelor's degree, not many persons can afford this option. Also at times this causes unnecessary strain on your parents/guardians and even you. Rather, a number of notable institutions offer what is called a "two-plus-two model", where after two years of study you are awarded with an associate's degree. This certification makes you immediately employable if you are unable to complete the full four years for whatever reason.

Donna Powell Wilson, PhD, is the executive director of the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica.

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