The adventure begins…

Starting college or vocational training is, for many young people, a phase where they reaffirm their autonomy, and one of important changes and expansion of their social networks. Just as when they advanced from elementary to high school, the transition from high school to college (or vocational training) is an important step in their life.

While some people get through this transition with ease, others experience great concern and anxiety.

Many young people see their entry into cégep as a new life with new freedoms (reduced course hours, apartment living, more frequent outings) but that impression is misleading.

Even if the class hours are less imposing, the studying and homework load is greater, and the schedules are more varied. Structure is a lot less present and independence is valued and encouraged. Also, for some students, apartment living presents many responsibilities that they may have not anticipated, or at least did not plan for in such a big way (cohabitation, cleaning, meals, expenses, etc.). It is therefore important that they are well supported during this time.

  • Discuss with them what they think of the transition to post-secondary studies.
  • Visit the cégep with them and try to meet with student service representatives.
  • Inform your child about assistance services generally present in cégep.
  • Be on the lookout for changes in their behavior (loss of interest, fatigue, absenteeism), and discuss it with them without judging (or punishing), while always demonstrating openness.
  • Encourage casual discussions (e.g., in the car they will feel less like they are being interrogated than in formal face-to-face discussions).
  • Even if you no longer have access to their school record, you can still stay informed by showing sincere interest in their progress and study choices.
  • Show openness to their chosen field of study. It often happens that it doesn’t really correspond to their interests and abilities, and it is important and even justified to reconsider their choice. A guidance counsellor and individual pedagogical assistance available at cégep can help.

School transition web tool

  • A unique digital resource developed to better equip youth and their families during a transition. View the tool (in French)

New views on the transition from high school to college

Conseil supérieur de l’Éducation, May 2010. Download the publication (in French)

Video – Secondary to College Transition

Une question d’articulation, d’arrimage et d’intégration, presented by Nicole Boutin, présidente du Conseil supérieur de l’éducation. View the video (in French)