Commencement is a term traditionally used at university graduations to talk about a new beginning and what lies ahead for the university’s graduates.
Yesterday was the day when old and new students returned to our school community and we celebrated the end of the day with an opening chapel service. At the service, new students received their school ties and the chaplain encouraged students to develop character. This morning was the first day of classes. The year has begun- full of hope, promise and new beginnings.
For our Grade 12 students, it will be a year of exploring options and thinking about where they will go next. Let us commence the journey, September has arrived.
It is that time of year. Transcripts are being sent to universities along with resumes and you can start applying for scholarships.
If you have not yet submitted a resume or have not submitted corrections to your resume, please do so as soon as possible.
If you are interested in applying for scholarships, there are lots of opportunities out there. I will be sending around a list of common scholarships and their due dates next week. In the meantime, you can check out www.ScholarshipsCanada.com and www.studentawards.com . If you are interested in applying and would like some help, please make an appointment to come and see me in the next couple of weeks.
I know it is a busy time of year but stay on top of things – stay organized. The countdown is on and you want to put yourselves in the best possible position to give yourselves the best possible future.
Applications have been submitted. Now what?
Universities will communicate with applicants by mail and by email. Students must read all communication carefully and meet their deadlines. If asked, students must create a university email account and check the university email site on a regular basis.
Some university programs may have supplementary forms and strict deadlines. Students need to be working on any supplementary forms or essays required by some competitive programs and if necessary, complete and submit – art portfolios. Some universities may ask students to submit documents and self report IB Predicted Grades or mid-term marks. International students may need to submit TOEFL scores or copies of documents such as Permanent Resident cards. Students must see this information is completed.
There is work to be done by students before admission decisions can be reached by many universities.
In early November, Rothesay Netherwood School was delighted to host Dr. Dawn Russell, the President and Vice Chancellor of St. Thomas University, on campus. She attended lunch, personally delivered a letter of acceptance to an RNS graduate and attended an IB Theory of Knowledge class. After lunch, she addressed the entire student body in Heritage Hall.
Her career stared with a BA from St. Thomas University and she went on to study law at Dalhousie and to complete her Masters in International Law at Cambridge. She was a law professor at Dalhousie and was the Dean of the law school there for ten years.
In her address, she encouraged students to keep the study of the humanities open because they foster social justice and humanity and help develop empathy by allowing us to understand people through their language, culture and history. It allows students to develop creative problem solving skills, analyze information, write well and learn how be critical readers and thinkers. All of these skills are in high demand in the work place. She indicated that during the recession in Canada in 2008 that 95-91% of the people with degrees in engineering, health care, fine art, applied arts, the humanities and social sciences had jobs.
She encouraged students not to be dismissive when it comes to the study of the humanities and to keep it as an option for possible post secondary studies. Check out The Humanities Matter site for more information.
Earlier this week, one of our RNS parents forwarded me a copy of a letter and I am delighted to share it. The letter was written by an Economist in Alberta, Todd Hirsch. His letter was originally published in The Globe and Mail on September 27, 2013.
In his letter, Mr. Hirsch apologizes to a recent Economics graduate because he does not have a job available. He encourages the applicant to look for a variety of jobs, not just jobs that are looking for candidates with an Economics background. He suggests that looking only for Economics jobs would be very limiting.
A Bachelor of Arts degree teaches one to be well-rounded, a problem solver and a “complete thinker”. Because one does a major in Film Studies or Biology does not magically prepare one for a career in that area. He suggests that by getting some work experience, a BA graduate will use the skills they learned while doing an arts degree. Through experience and trial and error, graduates will begin to see what they are good at and really enjoy doing.
Read Hirsch’s letter of advice on his blog at http://www.toddhirsch.com/todds-blog.html.
A great week. We have had two RNS students receive offers of admission from two different Atlantic Canadian universities. Two very proud and excited students are leaving today for their November Break knowing that they can study Psychology and business next fall!
To write a really strong letter of reference takes time. Students need to know that teachers, students and coaches all have busy lives and demands on their time both at work and in their personal lives. Letter writers need time to reflect on what they would like to say about the student and think about how to craft a letter that meets the specific needs of the applicant. Referees need to think about the purpose of the letter and determine if it is being used for a scholarship, for admission, for a bursary or for a contest and take that into consideration when writing.
Students should take note and plan accordingly. It is polite to give those who are writing letters of reference at least three weeks notice. Like a great cup of tea, great letters are crafted when the ideas have had time to steep.