Over 400 grade 10-12 students from high schools in Trail, Castlegar, Grand Forks, Midway, Nakusp, Rossland, and Nelson traveled to Selkirk College to learn about the programs, meet faculty and get a real taste of student life.
Fun was the order of the day for the Kootenay-Boundary Grade 10-12 high school students who attended the annual Experience Selkirk Day on Thursday, April 4th. Experience Selkirk Day is an annual event at Selkirk College, where students are invited to come to Selkirk to experience what it's like to be a college student and learn some hands-on skills in a program of their choice.
Student life activities are a big part of the experience
“You’re not just coming here to study, you’re coming to Selkirk College to have some fun,” said Kim Verigin, Selkirk College Athletics and Recreation Coordinator, at the Student Life Activities at Castlegar Campus.
Verigin along with the Selkirk Saints Hockey Team gave the students a warm welcome with an afternoon of fun skill-testing competitions after a delicious barbeque lunch on the lawns of the Castlegar Campus.
Students earned points for their schools as they tested their team’s strength in a school against school game of tug of war, reacquainted themselves with their early childhood in the parachute drop and pedaled their way to victory in the beer goggle tricycle race. The 35 Grade 10 Grand Forks Secondary School students who attended took home the house trophy for top participation.
Local high school students pedaling their way to victory in the beer google tricycle race.
This year was the first time Student Life Activities have been offered at the event. Modeled after the annual ”Get Connected” student orientation events, experienced by all Selkirk College students, there were a variety of skill-testing races and games.
Local students enjoying the chance to get to know other high school students.
Valuable connections were made and future students got one step closer to choosing their career path. Many took the opportunity to chat with Selkirk faculty and students about our programs and how they can open career doors.
“I truly enjoy how much conversation and enthusiasm this event brings forth,” said Terry-Ann Webster, a counselor from Grand Forks Secondary School who has been taking students to the Experience Selkirk Day for the past six years. “And this year, the spirit events were great - the students immediately started texting on the bus to let others know how much fun they had!”
Experiential learning helps students choose their path
First-hand knowledge of what the programs are like and giving students a feel for life at Selkirk is a great way to get excited about the opportunities at Selkirk College. Besides having a blast with the games, students had an opportunity to sample a variety of program offerings including University Arts and Sciences, Health and Human Services, Aviation, Business and Environment and Geomatics programs to name a few.
They flew a plane in the state-of-the-art flight simulators, made candy in the chemistry lab, punched metal, made jewelry and molded hot iron, went on a GIS treasure hunt and tested their memory skills with a psychology instructor, among other activities.
Instructor Rob McCrae leads a candy making demonstration for student
"The best way to introduce future students to Selkirk is to provide them with a real experience on campus,” said Selkirk College Educational Recruitment Specialist, Amy Kinakin. "The day provides great experiential learning opportunities that engage the students and help them learn more about what they want to pursue in their careers.”
Future aviation students testing out the flight simulator.
Selkirk's Recruitment Team connected high school teachers, counselors and students with Selkirk faculty and staff, and gave the students a chance to participate in aspects of college life and explore their field of interest. They used equipment, toured various campuses, enjoyed a BBQ and mingled with students in their classes. Some great prizes were also handed out, including tuition credits, Apple iPods and Selkirk gear.
“As a counselor, Experience Selkirk Day is a great exposure to what a college feels like for Grade 10 students as well as what is available to take at post-secondary,” said Webster. “Students come away with a sense of community and comfort because the college becomes more friendly and less scary. It helps them to start thinking about what they may or may not want to do after graduation … A little bit of thought in Grade 10 just starts them down the path to the future - I often tell students that knowing what you do not want to do is just as important as know what you do want to do.”
To top off all the fun, two lucky students from from J.L. Crowe Secondary School in Trail – took home the $500 Selkirk College Scholarship grand prizes for the day.
Education Recruitment Coordinator, Amy Kinakin presenting Katelyn Kurulok with a $500 Scholarship to Selkirk College.
“It was a good day, “said Katelyn Kurulok, one of the scholarship winners, who found Experience Selkirk Day helpful in making a decision about her future. “The nursing program was really interesting.”
Building on strategic directions and addressing the skills gap
As one of BC Colleges initiatives, Selkirk College is helping students gain the essential and advanced skills needed to fill that gap and evolve with an ever-changing workplace. Experience Selkirk Day exposes future students to an excellent close-to-home education that is directly linked to the labour market.
According to Director of Student and Enrolment Services, Cathy Mercer, "At Selkirk, we know that campus visits are an important part of a high school student picturing themselves in post-secondary. With 77% of new job openings requiring a post-secondary education, it is important that Selkirk do our part to encourage to high school students to make this transition. While they are with us at Experience Selkirk Day, high school students become aware of many post-secondary opportunities that they have close to home. It also addresses the 'Skills Gap' that exists in British Columbia by introducing students to programs where they can acquire the advanced skills needed to fill the estimated 1.1 million new job openings that will be available by 2020."
Graduating high school students in the Selkirk College region make the transition directly to BC post-secondary institutions at the 4th highest rate in the province. Almost 70% of these students, including 46% of the “high acheivers”, head to Selkirk College and when they arrive here they tend to study in the Arts and Science, Trades and Academic Upgrading programs.
Experience Selkirk Day also builds on a number of Selkirk's recently announced strategic directions, including increasing enrolments, better communicating with prospective students, engaging the wider community in learning and developing innovative programs and services.