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Academic career entrance program helps students’ dreams come true

Not everyone gets a chance to pursue their dream education. But professional guidance can be a step towards that dream.

Chad Bouthillier, 35, took that step.

When his counsellor suggested he start with the academic career program, looking at his age and the need to connect to a college, he took the program.

The result? He is now a second-year, social service worker student at Algonquin.

After working on his sobriety after a 7-years struggle against drug addiction, he decided to start his education.

“What I found the most helpful besides the amazing work the professors did was the weekly deadlines. It kept me accountable for the work that was due and showed that I was on track,” Bouthillier said.

Limin Liu, 38, completed ACE program in February 2018. When she came to Canada, she couldn’t figure out what to do. The education of her country, China, didn’t match the prerequisites of the education system in Canada.

With her friend’s suggestion, she talked to an academic upgrading counsellor who suggested she spend one year to improve her English, math and computer skills to be able to pursue her studies in a particular program.

She felt the need to upgrade her education.

“Everybody sits in the class and works according to the schedule. Everything is step-by-step and a small class size is an opportunity to have access to the professor most of the time,” she said. “ACE was a great program to start with when I thought I wasn’t ready.”

She will now start her studies in computer programming this September.

To the newcomers in ACE, she suggested to be on a routine schedule, go to school regularly and finish on time to make the best of this program.

Joan Bailey, an academic trades graduate from Algonquin, was able to start her education in the program after completing ACE.

“Algonquin’s academic upgrading is by far the best place to start, not only when you want to change careers but regain some of the confidence society may have knocked out of us on our journey to higher education,” she said.

“I learned that in order to enter the program I wanted, I needed to upgrade my English and math. So I showed up at the Academic Upgrading administration office and confessed I have no idea what I need to start this process. I was met with such patience and assistance that before I knew it I was enrolled in evening math upgrading where I was very fortunate to have knowledgeable and helpful professors.”

To get into a right program, there is a need for people in Canada to upgrade their education and pursue their required studies. The hope of the academic upgrading faculty is to build up students for future accomplishments.

Its logo describes it very well: “I want. I can. I will.”

The award ceremony on April 10 was a tribute to the hard work of students who achieved academic upgrading awards for their hard work in the ACE program. The 2018 spring ceremony started with videos of the past accomplishments of students. After honourable mentions of the honoured guests, guest speakers shared their success stories with ACE.

“I absolutely believe I would not have been able to succeed in my program without the help and guidance that the academic department gave me,” Bouthillier said. “If you are here to upgrade your education for work or to get in a program you are in the right place. Take class time to have one on one with the professor.”

Bouthillier wasn’t able to continue his studies after eighth grade due to his family problems but after completing ACE program he could choose a career for himself. He has already received the dean’s honour call in his first term of the social service worker program.

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