Columbia International College
Students attending Columbia International College learn in more ways than in the classroom.
Students attend Columbia International College as boarding students, and become encompassed with the school’s rich environment, from its engaging classroom experiences, to its interaction in social activities at the school. At Columbia International College, students learn to be not only students, but wellrounded adults, preparing to move on to post-secondary learning.
It is a key message coming from Columbia International College. Over the past 20 years, Columbia International College proudly boasts that 100 per cent of its enrollment moves on to university after spending time at Columbia International College. Annual enrollment reaches 1,500, with five times a year student intake. Of those students, about 1,200 will board in the three onsite residences. Additionally, several graduates each year receive scholarships, while last year saw more than 600 graduates receive a combined $2 million in scholarship funding.
Among the many elements that have made Columbia International College so successful are the values instilled by Ron Rambarran, Principal at Columbia International College.
As Rambarran told The Canadian Business Journal, being a student at Columbia International College is about more than an education. Students learn not only classroom knowledge, but how to better themselves as a whole.
System of excellence
Rambarran spoke about Columbia International College’s unique ‘Total Care’ education system, which strives to passionately deliver a world class, student-focused education and living experience.
“We aim to create responsible global citizens. We prepare our students for not only successful entry into university, but to also make sure that they are successful [once they get into university],” Rambarran explained. “We also try to teach under our ASEP total care system, not only academic skill, but self-awareness of social, emotional, and physical strengths and needs.”
The ASEP plan is based on developing a personalized success plan for each and every student, built on the four pillars of: Academic Strengths and Needs, a focus on classroom learning; Social, by putting students into clubs after school, engaging these students; Emotional Strengths and Needs, helping students adjust to a new life in Canada, and Physical Needs.
With this, Columbia International College has incorporated its three levels of care. Beginning with its youngest students, these students receive the most supervision, similar to parental guidance and support. As students become older, they are given more freedom and the responsibility that comes with making the right choices and decisions.
Away from the classroom
For the part of the day that doesn’t include the classrooms and textbooks, the Student Development Office at Columbia International College takes charge. Brandon Lewis, Student Development Coordinator, has been a key part of this segment.
The objective of the Student Development Office is to provide the students of Columbia International College with extracurricular and other opportunities outside of the regular class schedule. It’s a system that has allowed students to learn, develop and grow outside of the classroom. Lewis said, “We run more than 80 clubs at Columbia International College and we get feedback from our students to know what they want to do. For example, if students want to do Zumba, we’ll get an expert in here and we’ll run a Zumba club.
“We also have many leadership programs, giving students opportunities to have a voice in the school contributing to some decisions. It is a very rewarding process to see the students grow. We also have the fun stuff, like the trips. We represent 70 countries here and these students want to see Ontario, so we see Niagara Falls, Canada’s Wonderland, the CN Tower, and more.”
Not your typical school
Among the many areas where Columbia International College differs from other schools is truly in its recognition that a student must develop in more areas than classroom academics.
“This isn’t an educational system which simply promotes learning by memorizing information and spitting it on an exam, and not preparing students for the current world,” Rambarran said. “Columbia International College offers the promotion of character development and ethical standards.”
Embracing a system that encompasses total care of its students, Columbia International College has been successful in living by its values of communication, whereby the school has put the infrastructure in place to help students communicate, offering the highest of academic excellence. Additionally, Columbia International College offers excellence learning facilities and dedicated teaching staff, as well as a system of internalized discipline, teaching its students to establish and follow good routines on a day-to-day basis, and encouraging students to attend after-school activities.
Identifying 10 key characteristics—respect, honesty and integrity, responsibility, peaceful and positive conflict resolution, inclusiveness, fairness, caring, optimism, self-confidence and self-advocacy, and perseverance—that represent the core learning values of the school, Columbia International College believes it has best prepared itself in moving forward.