Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > Canada
Reload this Page >

Mature students ...

Mature students ...

Old Aug 17th 2009, 1:20 am
  #1  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
Thread Starter
 
ann m's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Cochrane, Alberta
Posts: 7,851
ann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond repute
Default Mature students ...

I'll keep this thread as simple as possible (initially).

Could any teachers, professors, or parents of kids in high school please explain to me, in simple language, the following terms:

GPA (Grade Point Average) - I mean I can guess what it means but what is the definition - average of what or how many subjects?

English 30, or Physics 20, or Maths 10. What do the numbers actually mean? Presumably is the level achieved but which way round, what Grade at school, etc, etc?

If one wanted to enter further education in Canada, how easy or practical is it to achieve minimum entry qualifications? What costs, or time duration might one require?

I am not a stupid person (!) - I have a couple of UK "A" levels - I am literate and have a brain that is happy with language and hates numbers - so I find myself at this mature age distinctly lacking in the Maths and Sciences departments (read crap), but perhaps more fundamentally, I am also lacking in my knowledge and understanding of how universities and colleges work. The websites alone are daunting.

I may get more specific with more questions after you good people have explained the basics to me. I thank you.
ann m is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 1:38 am
  #2  
Banned
 
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: In Limbo
Posts: 15,706
Butch Cassidy has a reputation beyond reputeButch Cassidy has a reputation beyond reputeButch Cassidy has a reputation beyond reputeButch Cassidy has a reputation beyond reputeButch Cassidy has a reputation beyond reputeButch Cassidy has a reputation beyond reputeButch Cassidy has a reputation beyond reputeButch Cassidy has a reputation beyond reputeButch Cassidy has a reputation beyond reputeButch Cassidy has a reputation beyond reputeButch Cassidy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Mature students ...

Originally Posted by ann m View Post
I'll keep this thread as simple as possible (initially).

Could any teachers, professors, or parents of kids in high school please explain to me, in simple language, the following terms:

GPA (Grade Point Average) - I mean I can guess what it means but what is the definition - average of what or how many subjects?

English 30, or Physics 20, or Maths 10. What do the numbers actually mean? Presumably is the level achieved but which way round, what Grade at school, etc, etc?

If one wanted to enter further education in Canada, how easy or practical is it to achieve minimum entry qualifications? What costs, or time duration might one require?

I am not a stupid person (!) - I have a couple of UK "A" levels - I am literate and have a brain that is happy with language and hates numbers - so I find myself at this mature age distinctly lacking in the Maths and Sciences departments (read crap), but perhaps more fundamentally, I am also lacking in my knowledge and understanding of how universities and colleges work. The websites alone are daunting.

I may get more specific with more questions after you good people have explained the basics to me. I thank you.
Well I answer two parts of your post
30 is highest 10 is lowest
Basically a 'normal' student (if I understand it correctly) take Math 10* in Grade 10 Math 20* in grade 11 and Math 30* in Grade 12.

A levels would NORMALLY be considered as equivalent to 30* classes.
Butch Cassidy is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 1:41 am
  #3  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Almost Canadian's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: South of Calgary
Posts: 13,331
Almost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Mature students ...

Originally Posted by ann m View Post
I'll keep this thread as simple as possible (initially).

Could any teachers, professors, or parents of kids in high school please explain to me, in simple language, the following terms:

GPA (Grade Point Average) - I mean I can guess what it means but what is the definition - average of what or how many subjects?
I only really know how this works for degrees. In North America, each student sits a test and is given a mark (let's assume out of a hundred). Unlike in the UK where 70% would represent a first, 60-70 a 2:1 etc) here all the marks are looked at and the highest 5 (let's say) are given A+, the next 10 are given A, the next 10 A- etc. So each student's grade depends upon how they compared to each other, rather than an objective criteria. It's referred to as the "Bell Curve" I assume that each mark is given a point, and the average of those points becomes the GPA. A certain level of GPA will be required to progress to the next level of education. For example, I understand that a GPA of at least 3.7 is required for the holder of bachelors degree to be considered for law school. I have no idea how the calculation is made.


Originally Posted by ann m View Post
English 30, or Physics 20, or Maths 10. What do the numbers actually mean? Presumably is the level achieved but which way round, what Grade at school, etc, etc?
30 is higher, 10 is lower. For those wishing to attend Uni, the 30 subject is preferred.
Almost Canadian is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 1:43 am
  #4  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
Thread Starter
 
ann m's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Cochrane, Alberta
Posts: 7,851
ann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Mature students ...

OK - got that - many thanks Butch

So if a course required Chemistry 30, then I could assume it might be similar to A level Chemistry in the UK - but Grade 12 here?

(In which case, I'm probably buggered from the outset )
ann m is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 1:49 am
  #5  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
Thread Starter
 
ann m's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Cochrane, Alberta
Posts: 7,851
ann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Mature students ...

Originally Posted by Almost Canadian View Post
here all the marks are looked at and the highest 5 (let's say) are given A+, the next 10 are given A, the next 10 A- etc. So each student's grade depends upon how they compared to each other, rather than an objective criteria. It's referred to as the "Bell Curve" I assume that each mark is given a point, and the average of those points becomes the GPA. A certain level of GPA will be required to progress to the next level of education. For example, I understand that a GPA of at least 3.7 is required for the holder of bachelors degree to be considered for law school. I have no idea how the calculation is made.


OK - I think I understand that now too - thank you very much AC.

But if I have understood it, is it not quite an unfair system? What if you happened to be studying in a year full of boffins, or a year with below average students. Surely your own score could be vastly different? Or maybe I didn't understand that at all (you can tell - I'd be great in a Statistics Class )
ann m is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 1:55 am
  #6  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Almost Canadian's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: South of Calgary
Posts: 13,331
Almost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond reputeAlmost Canadian has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Mature students ...

Originally Posted by ann m View Post


OK - I think I understand that now too - thank you very much AC.

But if I have understood it, is it not quite an unfair system? What if you happened to be studying in a year full of boffins, or a year with below average students. Surely your own score could be vastly different? Or maybe I didn't understand that at all (you can tell - I'd be great in a Statistics Class )
You've got it and this is the perennial argument I have with those I work for. They simply cannot understand the English way of doing things. I informed them that, in theory, a 2:1 from a University today is the same as a 2:1 from the same University 5 years ago (and it could be argued that it is the equivalent to a 2:1 from a different University as well. I know the Law Society assess all law grades to ensure consistency between institutions, I don't know about other courses).

This came about with me as I stated that it was ridiculous that all law exams over here are open book. None of my LL.B. exams were open book. When I explained to them how strange this was to me, their answer was that, if they were closed book over here, the assumption would be that the average mark would go down, but, by applying the Bell Curve, the students would likely finish in the same order and so nothing much would be affected.

I assume that this is the reason why transcripts are so important over here. I was never asked to supply a transcript in England, being told that I had a 2:1 was sufficient to all my employers. Here, transcripts are routinely asked for at job interviews, although why an employer wants to know what marks were achieved for which subjects baffles me. Surely the GPA provides the same information as the First, 2:1, 2:2, etc, provides in England.

The top overall mark at the end of each course is given the Gold Medal, the second the Silver Medal, and top achievers in individual subjects are placed on the Dean's List - this is very prestigous. I do not know of any equivalent in the English system. The student with the highest score in my course was given a fifty quid Waterstones gift card

Last edited by Almost Canadian; Aug 17th 2009 at 2:01 am.
Almost Canadian is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 2:00 am
  #7  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
Thread Starter
 
ann m's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Cochrane, Alberta
Posts: 7,851
ann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Mature students ...

OK - next questions - Transcripts ...

Canadian High Schools must provide this service for newly graduated students who wish to enter uni - as far as I am aware, I cannot obtain "transcripts" for UK A levels from my old high school or a transcript for a two-year college course completed many moons ago? No such animal exists? (I'm aware you can obtain transcripts from unis for your degrees.)

I could have my measly qualifications assessed by the Alberta agency that does such a thing - but would this prove I have a High School education to the satisfaction of a Canadian College admissions board? (The reason I ask is that I am going round in circles on websites as I have no Canadian qualifications to wave around, but neither am I an International Student)
ann m is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 2:12 am
  #8  
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,986
lmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Mature students ...

Originally Posted by Almost Canadian View Post
I only really know how this works for degrees. In North America, each student sits a test and is given a mark (let's assume out of a hundred). Unlike in the UK where 70% would represent a first, 60-70 a 2:1 etc) here all the marks are looked at and the highest 5 (let's say) are given A+, the next 10 are given A, the next 10 A- etc. So each student's grade depends upon how they compared to each other, rather than an objective criteria. It's referred to as the "Bell Curve" I assume that each mark is given a point, and the average of those points becomes the GPA.
This may be the case for law, but is not the case in all subjects. From my own experience, the situation here is generally that grade inflation is more likely to be the norm in universities, with many students achieving A or A+. Criteria referencing is used, though not always applied with rigour.

Many universities here also do have special criteria for mature students. One piece of advice I might offer is to look at the community colleges - an example in Vancouver would be Langara, where accesibility is generally higher and one can later transfer and complete a degree at a university if desired.
lmartin999 is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 2:12 am
  #9  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 42
SCORPION is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Mature students ...

Originally Posted by ann m View Post
OK - next questions - Transcripts ...

Canadian High Schools must provide this service for newly graduated students who wish to enter uni - as far as I am aware, I cannot obtain "transcripts" for UK A levels from my old high school or a transcript for a two-year college course completed many moons ago? No such animal exists? (I'm aware you can obtain transcripts from unis for your degrees.)

I could have my measly qualifications assessed by the Alberta agency that does such a thing - but would this prove I have a High School education to the satisfaction of a Canadian College admissions board? (The reason I ask is that I am going round in circles on websites as I have no Canadian qualifications to wave around, but neither am I an International Student)
you might need to send certified copies or the original result sheets from your a'levels if u can get your hands on them. re your college transcripts, u can request a sheet documenting the units u completed...

it is a minefield but it is also a start
SCORPION is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 2:19 am
  #10  
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,986
lmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond reputelmartin999 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Mature students ...

Although you will not be an international student for fee assesment, you should look at the international student section of the college website. Most will have one, and this shoudl give you some idea of what would be required for admission. Again, I quote from Langara (not an institution I am affiliated with, but one I have dealt with).

"United Kingdom
Completion of O levels plus one year of A level studies with eligibility to continue; completion of four AS levels; completion of one A level and two AS levels; or Completion of two A levels"

So, pretty much 2 A levels would get you in on the university transfer program.

Most places will have someone who knows their way around international qualifications and their equivalency.
lmartin999 is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 2:22 am
  #11  
Just Joined
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 23
ks65 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Mature students ...

If you are applying as a mature student then generally life experience is taken into account along with High School results. If you can write a killer covering letter stating why you should be allowed on a course then that will be taken into consideration. Most (if not all) universities will accept UK exam qualifications. You may have to dig deep on the Admissions website to find the equivalencies, but they should be there.

Also, if you find you are lacking a course or two, then it is possible to take these as modules to make the entrance requirements. In general university entrance is more flexible than in the UK, if there is a course you like - talk to the Admissions department, they will advise you on what you need.
ks65 is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 2:28 am
  #12  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
Thread Starter
 
ann m's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Cochrane, Alberta
Posts: 7,851
ann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Mature students ...

Thank you very much everyone for your replies so far (keep 'em coming if you have more to add, or experience of this subject)

Originally Posted by ks65 View Post
talk to the Admissions department, they will advise you on what you need.
This would be on my agenda, but I thought I ought to get a little more acquainted with basic language and etiquette first
ann m is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 3:10 am
  #13  
Just Joined
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 23
ks65 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Mature students ...

Your question on how Universities work, from my experience - very different from the UK model (Although I am now many years out of the UK system so perhaps they are not too different now).

In Canada, in general, you apply to a program. Once you are accepted you can then register for courses that will earn you credits towards your degree. For those more used to the UK system the Canadian system it is a bit more Pick and Mix. You can change programs, minors and majors as you go along. You can register for any number of courses so long as you meet the pre-requisites, even if they go against what has been advised for your degree path. The onus is on the student to select the appropriate class mix to achieve their degree. As a result degrees can be compressed if you overload on classes and take summer school, or can drag out if you take one course per term.

This is my observations on general degrees. Medicine and Law may have a different set of rules.
ks65 is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 3:30 am
  #14  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
Thread Starter
 
ann m's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Cochrane, Alberta
Posts: 7,851
ann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond reputeann m has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Mature students ...

Originally Posted by ks65 View Post
In Canada, in general, you apply to a program. Once you are accepted you can then register for courses that will earn you credits towards your degree. For those more used to the UK system the Canadian system it is a bit more Pick and Mix. You can change programs, minors and majors as you go along. You can register for any number of courses so long as you meet the pre-requisites ... As a result degrees can be compressed if you overload on classes and take summer school, or can drag out if you take one course per term.
Pick and Mix - that's a good analogy - the Woolies Degree

I have friends here of varying 'mature' ages (32 to 43) all studying locally for their degrees - Accounting, Law, Nursing and Business - and they confuse me a little. One guy aims to have his Law degree in time for retirement from the police - he's in no rush and just completes a subject here and there as his budget allows. Another friend doing Accounting thinks she will 'cut back' this year and just do two courses. The lady doing Nursing is going into her third year of full-time study (whilst being a mum and working odd ward shifts, with hubby supporting the home financially), and finally the lady doing the Business Degree works full time, and studies too much and has no life but wants to just get it done !

The costs are not small.

Two things slow my enthusiasm a little, and it's potentially a confidence issue:

i) having to study for a year or two just to qualify to enter a course - but then logically, I've missed admissions for this Autumn anyway so why not just knuckle down to Chemistry 30 or whatever, (which may as well be Russian to me) and get it done.

ii) I don't think I can write essays. I've had a mental block since Eng Lit A level and I quit that one. Again, logically, it's just another skill to learn and I can reed and ryte pritty well, innit.

iii) Am I still going to be here in two or four years to complete a course anyway? Would half a course be transferrable?

No-one can address those issues except me!

Thanks again for your input ks65
ann m is offline  
Old Aug 17th 2009, 4:10 am
  #15  
Just Joined
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 23
ks65 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Mature students ...

Course credits can be transferable - but it is very much at a course by course level.

Don't worry too much about the confidence thing, most universities offer help in the areas you have mentioned, and your life experience will count for so much when you actually take classes. Have you really missed the boat for Sept? Late registration is a possibility for many courses.

I have found this life long learning thing a bit strange too, I was done and dusted with my undergrdaute and postgraduate in my early twenties. I now work with people in their mid forties where it seems the norm to be thinking about Masters and PhD's!

If you feel the course is right for you then go for it.
ks65 is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.