Come grades 10 and 11, students begin to think about their future. What is the next step? Well, the first decision is Pre-University or CEGEP. For those who know that going away is not for them, their decision is quite easy. But for those who have even the slightest interest in a different kind of experience, the range of options is even greater.
Pre-U is the option if you want to go away for university. It’s a program that fully prepares you in terms of the workload and background you need to fully succeed when you get to university. The classes are small and I find this extremely helpful because unlike CEGEP, I get to know my teachers well as most of LCC students are used too. It’s true that at university you won’t have a class size of six students (depending on the type of school you choose) but you will have a much stronger academic background and skills that prove to be a great advantage. I’ve sat through the most boring of English classes where I had to analyze sentence structure and write a 100-word paragraph where word choice was of the utmost importance. I’ve spent time writing different kinds of sentences (by this I mean the use of a comma or semi colon) and yes I thought this was completely irrelevant because a sentence is a sentence. However, when it came time to write my college essay–a very important part of your application–I found that my writing had changed. I did care about structure, and I made sure I had used a variety of sentences to make my writing even more proficient. The point is, you may not realize it until you have to apply it, but the skills (like sentence structure) will save you many headaches in the future.
Now if you’re thinking that you want to do a year of CEGEP and then leave the province that’s fine. But let me warn you that you will not get the support system that Pre-U has. You won’t have a college advisor making sure your application is perfect. You won’t have teachers with flexible office hours and you certainly won’t have a community of peers that are going through the exact same thing you are. Never in my life have I been so stressed. I have to study for my SATs, keep up my grades, and write six different essays on top of my sports. It’s a crazy balancing act but the best thing about it is that I have 26 other friends who know exactly what I’m going through. You also don’t have an assortment of candy available to you all day. What I’m saying is that if you know after a year that you want to go away you might as well do Pre-U because it will make your application experience that much easier.
Lastly, I’d like to offer some advice to all potential Pre-U students. If there is more than an 80% chance that you will be enrolling in the program next year, prepare for your SATs this year. My biggest mistake was waiting to do the majority of my SAT studying at the beginning of my Pre-U year and believe me, I regret it. I only have two chances to get the score I need, but if you write at the end of this year you have three or four chances. This also saves you a lot of stress because you are not dealing with it on top of the lengthy US application process. Also, time management is key. Use your spares, go grab some lunch and then head to the library. This will keep your workload more manageable. Lastly, just know that you will get into university no matter what. Don’t let the stress get the best of you, if something’s wrong talk to Mrs. Tulloch or Ms. Levy, that’s what they are there for. In Pre-U you have ample amounts of resources available to you; use them to your advantage. Nonetheless, whatever road you choose to take, make sure it’s the right one for you.–Samantha Elefant ’10 (Pre-U ’11)