Community and closeness are two features of the Georgian College Orillia campus that attract many students to the city this weekend.
“It just feel like it’s a real close-knit community,” said Dylan Fisher, who was at the college’s open house Saturday to find out more about the Child and Youth Care (CYC) program. “Everybody is so nice to everybody. And the small community means you get to know everyone.”
The 17-year-old from Brooklin said college can be stressful for those who are coming straight from high school and have to stay away from family for the first time in their lives.
“When you go to college, you can get stressed out a bit,” she said. “So that support is important for better grades and good education.”
Talking to current students in the program, Dylan said, she was glad to hear that professors strived so much for student success. She was happy she’d put Georgian College at the top of her list.
“It’s a gorgeous campus and warming and welcoming,” Dylan said.
For her father, Steve Fisher, the Orillia campus was also his first choice for Dylan because it’s close enough to home and the Greater Toronto Area.
“I’d rather this than George Brown right downtown,” he said, adding, “Orillia is cheaper and the college offers everything other colleges seem to offer.”
The campus and community support were also features that made Orillia home for Alasoba Kelsy-Braide.
“I’m an international student,” said the 38-year-old from Nigeria. “Georgian College looks like a small college, but everybody is so nice that it’s home away from home.”
Kelsy-Braide, who is a second-year student in the CYC program, said the curriculum is excellent and the best part is that the college helps finds internships for students, especially international students who don’t know anyone in the area.
Students can also get hands-on research experience, said Stephanie Dimech, dean of Human Services and Community Safety.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for all programs to be together in one place and showcase themselves,” she said. “People come here for one program, but then they’re also exposed to information about other programs.”
Dimech said sometimes students come in only aware of one program, but if they’re undecided, learning about other programs available at the campus can help them make a decision about their future.
Students also took campus tours, talked to staff members and current students to get insight into what their chosen programs contain. The visiting students were also given a chance to learn more about the support services available at the campus, such as help with finding suitable accommodations in the city.
“And that’s your best advertisement — students talking to prospective students,” said Dimech, adding that even though students can learn almost everything about a college online, traditional open house events add a human element to the college experience.
The compactness of the campus was also a selling point for Nicole Moriarty, who was interested in getting more information about the Social Service Worker program.
“I love how small the campus is,” said the 22-year-old from Barrie. “It’s going to be easy to find the classes and go around.”