By: Zachary Rankin

Guidance counsellors from the Ottawa area high schools converged at Algonquin Oct. 11 to get the goods they need to help their students.

“I am here to get the information I need to do my job” said Rosina Avella, guidance counsellor at Immaculata High School.

She was one of the 100 high school guidance counsellors from Ottawa and the surrounding area that attended the college’s annual forum in the T-building. “Forum keeps high school guidance counsellors and others informed about what Algonquin College has to offer,” said event organizer, Anne Kalil.

Guidance counsellor Tracey Friendship from Nepean High School told the Times, “I come here to see the facilities and report back to the students.”

“There is a particular interest among my students around the police foundation program; I hope to learn more about that,” said Julie Hollingsworth, a guidance counsellor from the Upper Canada District School Board.

In the opening address President Kent MacDonald spoke about the advantages of community colleges over universities. He argued that a bachelor’s degree no longer guarantees a good job in the modern economy.

“A bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma,” said MacDonald “The number one priority of students pursuing post-secondary education is getting a job… and that’s what we do best – we get them jobs.”

This sentiment resonated with Friendship who said, “Too many students are reluctant to consider community colleges; they are still stuck on the university brainwave.”

This year’s forum included a presentation by Algonquin professor, Farbod Karimi about integrating technology into the student learning experience including the college’s plan to become a digital college by 2014.

According to Algonquin’s website most students work more than 15 hours a week. They often miss class because of work demands, fall behind and eventually drop out. The digital college allows for more flexible class schedules and is expected to decrease the dropout rate and attract even more students.