Making sure you are prepared for university

Posted by Lori Goldman on Saturday, March 24, 2012 Under: University
Many students come to Vancouver in their teenage years.  They arrive with little or no English and hope to gain English skills very quickly.  Their parents expect the students to graduate at the same time and with the same abilities and competence as students who have lived in and spoken English all their lives.

This idea, although admirable, puts a great deal of stress on the teenagers who are already going through many life changes: moving to a new country, separation from family and friends, challenges of a new school system and life-style, hormonal changes, and loneliness.

It is certainly desirable to go to university with other 17- or 18-year-olds, but even Harvard gives one year off before the students begin if they want to gain life experiences. That college knows that younger students are not often really ready for the demands of university.  And Harvard accepts the 'pick of the crop'. 

So let's be realistic about language learning and make sure that students are properly prepared for the rigours of higher education.
This is from the Lord Byng Secondary School ESL information for parents:

Students typically spend 2-3 years in ESL + 1-2 years in transitional. It is not unusual for students who come in with very limited English to spend an additional 1-2 years in ESL. A new language takes students up to 7 years to attain fluency. Grade twelve students who do not have enough reading and writing ability to enter Social Studies or English Language Arts may opt to enter Adult Education in order to finish their high school credits and receive the Dogwood diploma from the Ministry of Education which will enable him/her to gain access to post-secondary colleges and universities.

Going to university at 18, 19 or even 20 is not embarrassing or a disaster.  Being kicked out of university or put on probation is.  So is not understanding the university course material or being able to speak in the class without making oneself understood.
We all need to have compassion for the teenagers who come so late to English and support them in this very difficult task.

In : University 

Tags: university 

About Me

Lori in I got my Bachelor of Education degree in the USA but was born and raised in Canada. Working in Asia and with immigrant adults and children for 26 years has given me insights into the difficulties they face in a new country and school system. I like to help adults adjust to and explore the rich and diverse opportunities in Canada while also supporting them in their challenge of parenting in a new culture. I love to help children learn English, develop skills, and gain confidence to succeed in school and life.


“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning A lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on my part. "Most people don't plan to fail; they fail to plan." ~~John L. Beckley

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