What are you doing after high school?

Do I need more school after high school?

Photo of teacher with students looking at a computer screen

Stay in school! Go to college! Go to university! Pick a career! You hear that from your teachers and your family so we don't want to repeat them. We'll let these facts speak for themselves:

  • The average pay for people in Ontario who have graduated college or an apprenticeship is
    25 PER CENT HIGHER than people who only went to high school.
  • If you go to university, it's over 60% higher.
  • Unemployment rates for people with only a high school diploma are higher than rates for people who went to college or did an apprenticeship.

The best thing about school after high school is that you're in control. You can pick the program you want to learn, decide how you want to learn it (in a class or on the job site) and where you want to study. It's like a great big buffet - there's something for everyone.

A Message for You

Phymean Noun

Photo of Phymean Noun

Phymean Noun (pictured centre in green) works tirelessly to provide education and new opportunities to hundreds of Cambodia's poorest children.

"Everyone has the power to change their world and give hope to others.

Youth should never be afraid or feel intimidated to pursue a good cause that may raise awareness and solve problems in their local communities. Youth are the future of any nation and they have an important role to play.

I believe that education is the most important thing for anyone. When you are educated you have the power to make choices in your life and to be in a position to help others. In my home country, Cambodia, we are not as lucky to have great teachers and schools like in Canada. Canadian youth have access to such great education that it gives them the freedom to make a real difference in their communities."

Growing up in Cambodia, Phymean Noun was only 15 years old when she lost her mother to cancer. She did not forget her mother's greatest lesson: the importance of getting an education. With that in mind, she fought to support herself and her two-year-old niece, and to finish high school.

In 2002, she set up the People Improvement Organization to help reduce child poverty in Cambodia. It offers free education and job training to hundreds of impoverished children in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. She was the only Canadian in CNN's top ten Heroes list for 2008.

Success Story

Photo of Dan Hammond

Dan Hammond
18 years old, from London Ontario

My story: "I went to a small French high school - so small that it didn't have a recycling program. After watching a caretaker toss a bag of aluminium cans into the trash, I knew I had to get involved. I organized my fellow students and we took the initiative to start a recycling program for our school. We also organized weekly learning sessions about the environment, media outreach on the web, and an Eco-Fair at our high school during Earth Day 2008.

Then, while I was researching different scholarships for university, I discovered Students On Ice. This organization offers high school and university students an opportunity to travel to Antarctica and the Arctic to learn about environmental issues inside the world's most isolated ecosystems. I applied and was accepted to go on the International Polar Antarctic Expedition."

Learning experience: "It's been a huge challenge to participate in the expedition because each student has to raise $10,000 to be able to go. A positive aspect of that challenge has been reaching out to the community and educating people about the environment.

One of the ways I tried to raise money was through a fundraising dinner and silent auction. I partnered with a local restaurant to offer a three-course vegetarian meal for donors. We gave presentations about the environment and the purpose of my trip. We even made sure to use all renewable energy to power the event."

Get inspired: "Once you find an issue and get involved, it's addictive. It drives your passion. We were just ordinary kids, and we were able to convince our school to start recycling and stop selling bottled water. You can do that too."

Dan is in his first year at the University of Western Ontario. He is one of only 70 post-secondary students from around the world accepted to participate in a climate change learning expedition to Antarctica in February 2009. Check out this video to see Dan talk about the trip.

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