Nearly 70 graduate, professional and post-degree programs presented their opportunities to students interested in furthering their education after completing their undergraduate degree at the graduate and professional education fair, hosted by the Wilfrid Laurier University Career Development Centre as part of their many services that help students figure out life after Laurier.
Throughout the day, students were able to talk to representatives stationed in the Concourse, Paul Martin Centre and Senate and Board Chambers.
“I’m just trying to get an idea what my options would be when I’m done and what I can apply to,” said Iliana Grande, a fourth-year Honours BA student in French who added that she was utilizing the event because she felt she needed to gain more specific skills before entering the workforce.
Fourth-year Honours BA in political science student Katelyn Sheehan said the fair added to the research she has already done into her options for graduate studies. “It opens your eyes to things you might not have looked at,” she explained.
With more than 30 per cent of Laurier students pursuing further education after completing their undergraduate degree, Jillian Perkins-Marsh, co-ordinator of career information for the Career Development Centre, explained that there are many resources available to guide them through the process of finding and applying to the right programs.
For those who have not decided what they wish to pursue after graduation, Perkins-Marsh said that there are career consultants available to help students determine what they need.
“Part of what my role is in career information is to assist students one-on-one, or we do a lot of workshops around the application process to virtually every program,” she said.
The increase in the number of students interested in post-graduate studies is not just present at Laurier but is having effects across the country on the options available.
“When the application pool number is increased there will be more competition,” Perkins-Marsh stated. “Most institutions are looking at increasing their graduate studies programs, so that’s a good thing for students who are interested in grad programs right now.”
Several of the recruitment booths featured in the Concourse represented universities from Australia to the United Kingdom, grabbing the attention of students who are interested in studying beyond Canada’s borders.
Discussing the reason students apply for graduate and professional schools abroad, Lindsey McCaffrey said, “The competition in Ontario is fierce for teachers college.”
Julie Marinaccio, from D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York, shared a similar view, stating, “Graduate schools in Canada, they’re very, very competitive and they don’t have enough spots for all the students.”
Marinaccio noted that the interest was high in teachers college at D’Youville and with growing number, in occupational and physical therapy as well as health programs.
“People go abroad for a lot of different reasons,” said Perkins-Marsh, reflecting on the students that she has worked with at the career centre.
“Some people want to travel and also do school so they do it one shot, others are interested in going to specific programs in different countries because they might be well known for that particular area.”