While the pandemic means prospective students can’t stop by to explore campuses physically this fall, Okanagan College is pulling out all the stops to host an interactive virtual open house to ensure students can still get questions answered.
On Sunday, Nov. 8, from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., future students, parents, high school counsellors and anyone looking to learn more about the College and its programs will have a chance to experience OC from the comfort of home.
All those interested can find details and register in advance at okanagan.bc.ca/openhouse.
On the day of the event, the page will transform into an array of Zoom presentations during which attendees will have a chance to speak with advisors, hear from professors and instructors, and learn about all the services and supports available to them at OC.
The event is also a chance to take in OC’s 15 First-Year FAQs presentation. The presentation covers many common, incoming student questions about Okanagan College and the post-secondary system in BC, including how the application process works at OC, how to access scholarships and bursaries, and financial aid information including the Canada Student Loan program.
“It’s never been easier to explore OC virtually on our website, but events like these provide a wonderful opportunity to interact directly with our advisors and speak with the brilliant professors and instructors you’ll be learning from at OC. You can get those burning questions answered that are specific to you, your life and your educational goals,” explains Vice President Students, Meri Kim Oliver.
While many of the College’s programs have transitioned to online or alternative delivery during the pandemic, Oliver points out that the College has adapted to be able to still safely provide students with opportunities for practical, hands-on training in science, technology, health, trades and other areas during the pandemic.
“We recognize that there are programs where in-person lab and shop experiences are critical to the learning experience and training path for students. We continue to offer practical training following our College COVID-19 protocols, which we update following the guidance of Interior Health and the latest information from the Provincial Health Officer.”
In addition to getting a jump on their post-secondary planning, there’s an added incentive for anyone who attends the virtual open house: they will be entered into a draw for a $5,000 tuition giveaway. Full details and conditions for the giveaway are available online at okanagan.bc.ca/tuitiongiveaway.
“I was absolutely stunned,” says Taegan Larvin from the Salmon Arm campus, after receiving the 2020 tuition giveaway. Studying in the Associate of Arts Degree program she says, “I’m super excited about having the opportunity to be in smaller classes and having professors who care about the success of their students. Plus, attending OC gives me the opportunity to save money through my first year as I can study from home.”
The virtual open house is standing in for the College’s Annual Career Fair, the longest running event of its kind in the region. This year would have marked the 38th iteration of the event. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, it was not possible to host it in its usual on-campus fashion. The College will re-assess the format for the event next fall, in the hopes that on campus tours and employers can once again be part of the mix if pandemic conditions allow.
Recognizing that prospective students are needing to make decisions through their screens more so than ever, the College continues to enhance the digital opportunities to explore OC.
The College launched a new and enhanced website at okanagan.bc.ca earlier this summer to help future students explore programs and access help easily.
The College’s viewbook is also now available online here and includes newly updated programs and courses for the 2021-22 school year.
The viewbook is a visual roadmap to the OC experience and with a comprehensive overview of the College’s offerings; readers also get a taste of what’s available at each campus and centre. The book also gives students a forum to share their perspectives on their time spent learning at OC.
One of those students profiled in the book who is continuing their practical training throughout the pandemic is Ruby Pahtayken, who is studying Culinary Arts at the College’s Kelowna campus. Pahtayken began her studies at the College in March of 2019, in the inaugural Indigenous Culinary Arts program. Now well into the second year of her certificate, she reflects on her time at OC:
“My purpose here is to become an inspiration for all youth and my community to pursue their own dreams,” says Pahtayken. “It’s by far been the best decision I have ever made.”
Another is 2019 graduate Mariah Perry, who finished her Practical Nursing diploma in 2019. Perry began her studies at the College in 2017 and landed her dream job at Kelowna General Hospital immediately upon graduation.
“I loved the amazing instructors at OC who were so supportive, helpful and kind throughout the whole program,” said Perry. “What was so very valuable to me was what I learned about myself and how I grew as a person. The Practical Nursing program enabled me to find out who I am and who I wanted to be.”