"If you take that instead of the full program you can take a step back and evaluate whether you think you’ll need the full program," said Aidan McCulloch, a graduate of the intro music industry arts program at Algonquin College. Photo credit: Ethan Grove

Pre-programs offer Algonquin College students insight and experience in multiple different fields within a faculty to give students the opportunity to try out different programs at the college.

Algonquin College offers pre-programs in health and science, art and entertainment, music and media and more.

“I honestly found the program amazing, all the knowledge I gained would be considered base-level knowledge, but I feel like it was a bit more than that,” said Aidan McCulloch, a graduate of the general arts and science, intro to music industry arts pre-program. “It gave a good base to go off in almost everything that comes with being an artist, but it gave you more than just that. I learnt how to manage a social media platform, how to run different ads and how each would work in my favour, I learnt how to fully read and understand contracts, learnt how I could get the most out of a manager or just being a manager myself.”

Some students find great success and interest in the topics they’ve learnt and continue to the full-term diploma programs that their intro program has prepared them for.

“Many of our students get employed into a variety of animation studios in Ottawa and in other cities after taking the advance course of Animation at Algonquin college of which we prepare them to take,” said Rich Lauzon coordinator and professor of drawing foundations for animation and illustration.

Pre-programs also offers students, who are returning to school, a chance to become acclimated to college life with professors who are in place to help them do so before entering the full program.

“Most students find it initially hard to acclimate to college life, juggling multiple assignments at the same time, but they do find their teachers engaging, patent and encouraging and knowledgeable. Most students do walk away with a better foundation of drawing to help them get to the next level of their education,” Lauzon continued.

Pre-programs also offer students a chance to meet requirements for jobs and other programs, either at the college or university level.

“The pre-health sciences pathway programs often help students meet the admission requirements to continue their studies in other vocational programs,” said Myriam Thanasse, coordinator of the pre-health sciences pathway programs. “Students complete the program with a stronger set of study skills and the motivation that they can be successful in their next program.”

Some students even find the intro programs enough to continue to their careers without having to go back and continue into the bigger programs.

“Honestly, it was worth taking the intro, not only do you get a taste of what’s to come if you take the full program, but the knowledge you gain just off the intro course is enough for you to start building yourself as a musician or artist,” said McCulloch.