Doubt, anxiety and pressure are just some of the feelings graduating students across
Ontario are facing.
The Ontario government has introduced a new, more challenging curriculum into school, gradually eliminating
the final OAC academic year. This year, the final OAC students will be graduating at the same time as the Grade 12 students
in the new four-year program. This is known as the double cohort.
Many students wonder if their hard work in high school will pay off and get them into a post-secondary
institution of their choice. Others wonder if their marks are high enough to get them into their program of choice.
The Council of Ontario Universities says that admission standards for most programs are not expected
"In limited-enrolment programs, however, admission standards will likely increase because of stiffer
and greater competition."
According to the Ontario College Guide, the minimum grade for admission into the Dental Hygiene program
at Durham College is 105.5 per cent. This is what students are stressing over; especially wondering if this number will increase
in the coming year.
The government says there will be enough spaces in college and universities across the province to accomodate
the extra students. Universities increased their acceptances for fall 2002 by 16 per cent, matching a 16-per-cent increase
in the number of applicants. This trend is to continue for the coming year.
The public expects all qualified Ontario students will be able to find a place in an Ontario college
or university of their choice. There will be spaces available, but not everyone will get into the school or program they want.
Schools in Northern Ontario will have plenty of spaces available, however, most students don't want to live there.
Many students will be graduating with their younger siblings this year. This puts a strain on family
finances, especially for families of students who do not qualify for OSAP.
Money is also of concern to students. They worry about qualifying for OSAP because of the money their
parents earn. If they don't qualify, where will the money come from? They also worry about missing out on scholarships and
bursaries because of the larger number of students applying for them. Many students don't think it's fair for younger students
to be getting the scholarships they feel they should be getting.
The government is doing all that it can to reassure students and the public they have the double cohort
under control. They point out that not all high school students go on to college and university. Some take a year or two off,
or go directly into the workforce. Does this mean there could be a shortage of work as well because of the double cohort?
This is just one more question students are stressing over.