As of writing this review, I am currently a grade 10 student at Pickering College. I began my journey with Pickering College in grade 9 as my parents and I wanted to shift to an educational path that would help best prepare me for university. From my first day to now, the student experience has been great. The school is filled to the brim with opportunities for any interest, from sports teams to math club there truly is something for everyone. The students were extremely welcoming and I had no trouble making new friends. The teachers are extremely helpful and it is very clearly evident that they enjoy teaching and working with the students. When I first came to the school, I wasn't sure about the concept of uniform. I love sneakers and clothes and I thought I would hate them. It took a little getting used to, but I am now thankful for the lack of thought required in the morning to get ready. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Pickering College thus far and I look forward to continuing my high school journey.
I believe that the teaching at Pickering College is one of the strongest features of the school. All the teachers are extremely helpful in terms of teaching and seeking extra help. They are also very receptive to any feedback. The workload is very dependent on course, but in a broad stance, the teachers offer ample time for projects in class and with due dates. Outlines and expectations are always clearly explicated. The teachers really want to see you succeed, their vision for the student is truly for each and everyone to achieve mastery in the subject matter. Across the various departments, teachers are extremely educated on their courses and will work with students to help each achieve their notion of success in the course in terms of grades, learning skills as well as general understanding.
The school leadership is very strong and I think the reason for this stems from their personalization. Pickering College is a smaller school and everybody knows everybody, the tightly knit community allows the school leadership to be incredibly accessible and personalized. All faculty apart of the school leadership are extremely friendly and care to hear the voice of the students and represent that through the mode of administration. The greatest feature regarding the leadership in the school is that it doesn't resemble the typical school power structure and is more closely alike to that of a family where all voices are valued and heard.
Pickering College has a wide selection of courses across various fields, throughout the 4 years of senior school, they incorporate their own GLP's(Global Leadership Project) which are infused with the subject and coursework respective to the grade. Pickering College focuses on helping teach the student not only what it takes to succeed as an academic but also as a person. Skills such as leadership, initiative and stewardship are placed in high regard. All courses are at a high academic level and there are many individualized paths for different students. One such example is the accelerated math where students can opt for a challenging and faster course load. I hope that Pickering College will begin to offer more selection in terms of AP courses as the years come as it would increase school support for students interested in a future in the US.
Pickering College has a great selection for extracurriculars, I am part of many clubs such as initiatives such as the Green Team, Debate Club, Math Club, Youth Activism Organization (YAO), and Diversity Club. Pickering College also has many other opportunities such as leadership conferences as well as multiple sports teams. During the last year, I was apart of both the Junior Soccer and Basketball team. Everyone has something that suits their interests, I do wish that Pickering College offered DECA and Model UN.
The ability for students to go off-campus during the lunch break is given during the 11th and 12th year, however, even with this privilege, many students tend to remain on campus. The location of the school is near many local food establishments and the mall is nearby as well for any afterschool trips. The school is a boarding/day school and prior to COVID-19, day and boarding students could visit each other in the main room where students can play video games and hang out after school.
I was in the 7th grade when I began my application. The process was relatively simple and came with little stress. It followed the standard process of submitting supplementaries and transcripts along with the final interview. Pickering College was extremely supportive throughout the process and ensured that all possible applicants were well prepared and informed. The admissions office was extremely helpful and the programs such as the tours or half-days offered a personalized experience of what school would resemble if one chose to attend. If I were to offer advice for a future applicant, I would advise them to take time with their application and ensure that they are content and fully prepared. The earlier one starts, the better. In a broad spectrum, the application process was simple and easy.
The school is like a tightly knit community, similar to a small town. The students are all incredibly friendly and welcoming towards new students. For myself and many other new students, I went into Pickering College knowing nobody and by the end of the first week, I had made many new friendships. From my experience, there is no lack of inclusivity. For a student to truly succeed in this school, it is important that they start their day with the attitude to do their best and learn. Pickering College has many different systems and opportunities to help the student achieve and become their best version, all it takes from the side of the student is the mindset to learn. The overall environment of Pickering College is very student-friendly.
I am actually a Student Ambassador and one of my responsibilities is delivering tours to new families explaining the school. If I were to lead a group of visitors, without any hesitation, I would begin with the Meeting Room. The Meeting Room represents the core values of our school and metaphorically speaking is the heart of Pickering College. Every day during a regular year, all senior school students would arrive to the meeting room to listen to the morning meeting where the Head Master would deliver a speech regarding values entrenched in current events. Announcements, as well as presentations, would take place in these morning meetings. The importance of this meeting hall truly comes from the sense of unity and collectivism that is found within the walls. All students sit together as equals and listen together.
The school definitely feels like home. One of the core values of Pickering College is the foundation and importance of community. Everyone is extremely inclusive and welcoming towards one another. The school echoes a sense of familiarity and comfort, this is done through the morning meetings all students attend as well as the family-style lunches found in our advisor groups, which are incorporated to help foster good friendships across grades. Furthermore, the classrooms have very small sizes which allow for close-knit development through group projects. The school very nicely blends the lifestyle of the day and boarding students through extracurriculars which allows for students to participate in active learning. Pickering College offers the students a sense of agency through the independence provided. The recognition given to students for their achievements allows them to feel apart of a community.