College education comes after compulsory education, which consists of elementary and secondary school, and precedes university education. In Québec, college is the first level of education at which schooling is not compulsory and students choose their own programs.
Colleges offer pre-university and technical programs, which prepare students for university studies or the job market, respectively. Some technical programs may also lead to university studies, provided that the students meet the requirements of the university program in question.
Only colleges established under the General and Vocational Colleges Act (CEGEPs), colleges holding a permit under the Act respecting private education and a few affiliated public institutions under the jurisdiction of another Ministère are authorized to offer college education in Québec.
48 CEGEPs (public colleges), five of which are English-language institutions
About 70 private colleges, more than a third of which are subsidized
4 affiliated public institutions
A Rewarding Environment
In addition to being institutions of learning, colleges also offer a rewarding environment. They provide students with socio-cultural, artistic, athletic and community activities that foster their intellectual, emotional, social and physical development. They also offer a variety of services, such as:
- counselling services
- academic and career guidance
- placement services
- socio-cultural animation
- individual pedagogical support
These activities and services enable colleges to meet students’ individual and group needs and to facilitate their academic progress.
Students also have access to a wide range of services that encourage participation. For example, they can become involved in:
- student associations
- radio stations
- various clubs (science, eco-friendly, etc.)
Colleges have eliminated the architectural barriers of their buildings and made them accessible to students with a mobility impairment. In addition, colleges also offer pedagogical and para-pedagogical services for individuals with a hearing, visual or motor impairment.
Various colleges provide residences for their students. However, it is necessary to check with the college to see if the residence is open to students of either gender.