Post-Secondary Guidance and Career Education

Our post-secondary guidance and career education program ensures each student at Southridge receives well informed support for researching both university or college programs of interest as well as understanding pathways for career options. Each student receives individual counselling and guidance to prepare for applications to their post-secondary institutions of choice.

We emphasize a healthy approach to post-secondary planning.

Year after year, Southridge students are successful in receiving offers of admission to selective programs spanning the globe. In a growing competitive university admissions landscape, many parents are asking the question “When should we begin planning for university and college admission?” It is important to dispel the myth that any university process has to start before Grade 10. Increased pressure on children in every aspect in their lives both through formal educational settings and extra curricular endeavours is taking a toll on the mental health of high school students. Recommendations from the Harvard “Making Caring Common” Project suggests five important recommendations for reducing stress associated with college preparation and admissions: 1. Prioritizing Quality not Quantity of Activities. 2. Awareness of overloading AP Courses. 3. Discouraging over-coaching 4. Options for reducing ACT and SAT test pressures and 5. Expanding perceptions about what constitutes a good university
Through the delivery of the Career Education curriculum and in collaboration with the socio/emotional learning support program at Southridge, this is how students are supported in their journey through Senior School:

Grade 8 & 9 – Focus on Self Discovery

Students receive support to figure out what makes them tick. They are encouraged to try many different things. This is an opportunity for students to take electives because they are interested in them, not because they think they are going to necessarily lead to an elite program. Students should focus on refining work habits and establishing healthy living patterns (eating, sleeping, activity). It is important for students at this stage to fuel their emotional well-being by making friends, pursuing interests and getting involved in school or community.

Grade 10 – Explore

Grade 10 should be a focus on exploration of potential careers and educational pathways. For students interested in looking at the U.S. or U.K., there are opportunities to learn about professional programs and the testing that may be required. With the support of their Guidance Counsellor this is the time when students start developing a plan in terms of their course selection. The summer after Grade 10 is a perfect time to visit university campuses if you are on a family vacation. This is not about visiting specific schools, but instead exploring a diverse range of campuses in terms of size, location, and programs offered.

Grade 11 – Refine

This is the year when some students may choose to focus their course selections based on an area of interest. They may choose to take Honours level classes in preparation for Advanced Placement courses. If students are thinking about international applications they should be registering for any standardized tests that may be required. We recommend writing these tests in the spring of Grade 11. Writing standardized tests in the first term of Grade 12 is perfectly acceptable as well. Mr. Smith & Ms. Livingston will meet with each family to ensure that students are on track with university choices, research and preliminary tasks. The summer after Grade 11 is the optimum time for touring university campuses of choice.

Grade 12 – Further Refine and Action

This is an important year of decision making. Students are supported with many different post-secondary options, some that are conventional and some that are not. If students are choosing the university path, application deadlines range from October 15th to February 1st with the majority being completed before the Christmas holidays. Continued regular meetings with Ms. Livingston & Mr. Smith as well as University Admissions Reps is essential this year. Our school is fortunate to have visits from over 50 universities representatives each year. This process is not an exact science but is merely a guideline that will vary from student to student.
Our students are prepared for and admitted to, a wide range of post-secondary academic programs including Liberal Arts, Visual and Fine Arts, Health and Physical Sciences, Business, Engineering and Applied Sciences in Canada and the United States. They are also assisted in the process of gaining admission to direct entry programs for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Law in the United Kingdom.

Our extensive resource centre features:
  • University and College Viewbooks
  • Application preparation workshops
    • Writing personal statements
    • Video submission coaching
    • Resume and cover letter writing
    • Test preparation materials (SAT, ACT)
  • Career and industry information, internship and volunteer job postings
  • Information sessions hosted by admissions representatives
  • University and College Fairs (Canadian University Fair hosted by Southridge)
  • Coffee mornings for parents
  • Scholarship listings
  • Career Day (a full day of speakers/presenters from a variety of professions)
  • GAP year information
  • Individual and family counselling appointments

The success of our Post-secondary Guidance & Career Education Program is evident in our results. All of our graduates receive offers of admission to 4-year (bachelor’s degree) programs at universities across Canada, the United States and internationally in countries such as United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. Each year our graduates are recipients of university and college major entrance scholarships as well as finalists for national scholarships such as the Loran Award and the TD Scholarships for Community Leadership.

Meet the Team

Ms. Yvette Livingston, BA CCDP
Post-Secondary Guidance & Career Education Director
With over 20 years of experience in career and education guidance, Ms. Livingston brings a wealth of knowledge in supporting students in their journey to discern a plan for life after high school. She has worked in university and college program admissions as well as career and cooperative education services. She has also worked with youth and young adults in federal and provincial government employment assistance services. As a Certified Career Development Practitioner, her practice ensures that students approach this important life transition with confidence and well-defined realistic goals.

Mr. James Smith
Post-Secondary Guidance & Career Education Counsellor
Mr. Smith comes to Southridge after six years at Simon Fraser University supporting prospective and enrolled students in post-secondary transition and academic success. A lifelong learner, he has studied at SFU, Queen’s University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

We look forward to working with students to assist them on their journey to their post-secondary plan!