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Exploring My Way – Grades 9 and 10

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Education and career/life planning helps students develop the knowledge and skills they need to make informed choices for their education, career and life outside school. Students get a chance to learn more about themselves and their opportunities, set goals and make plans to achieve them.

HWDSB schools provide opportunities and supports for all students to plan their individual pathways and make a successful transition to their initial post-secondary destination. The five pathways are: Apprenticeship, College, Community, University and Workplace. Click here to learn more about post-secondary pathways.

Types of Courses in Grades 11 and 12

As you progress to Grade 11 and 12, the range of course options grows from Academic (D), Applied (P), and De-streamed (W) to also include College (C), Workplace (E), College/University (M), and University (U). You should try to keep your opportunities open by taking university and/or college level classes in Grade 11 and 12.

Take the following steps before your second semester of Grade 10:

  • Have a discussion with your family and teachers about your interests and aspirations.
  • Begin brainstorming activities and subjects that interest you.
  • Schedule an appointment with your Guidance Counsellor to explore course options.
  • Job shadow to gain valuable insights and knowledge about a particular job or industry.
  • Conduct thorough research into various fields and professions.
  • Visit Xello to review, explore and continue to develop your Individual Pathways Plan.
  • Take a closer look at potential post-secondary destinations by exploring apprenticeship. opportunities, meeting with potential employers, or visiting university or college campuses.

Which Courses do I take in Grades 11 and 12?

College (C)
Courses in this category provide students with the knowledge and competencies they need to satisfy the prerequisites for the majority of college programs or secure entry into specific apprenticeships or other training programs.

Open (O)
Open courses, featuring a set of expectations suitable for all students, are designed to broaden expertise and abilities in subjects that match their interests and prepare them for active and fulfilling participation in society. These courses are not intended to meet the specific requirements of university, college or the workplace.

University/College (M)
These courses equip students with the knowledge and proficiencies needed to meet the entry requirements for specific programs offered at universities and colleges.

University (U)
Courses in this category provide students with the expertise and abilities they need to fulfill the entry requirements for university programs.

Workplace (E)
These courses provide knowledge and skills that prepare students for direct entry into the workforce after graduation or for admission to specific apprenticeships or training programs.

Discovering my Pathway

All HWDSB schools provide opportunities and supports for you to plan your individual pathway through secondary school and make a successful progression to your post-secondary destination.

Exploring, revisiting, and modifying the Individual Pathway Plan (IPP) to reflect objectives and interests is critical as you continue your journey and make pathway choices and informed decisions about your future. Click here to learn more about the post-secondary pathways listed below.


Apprenticeship is a post-secondary pathway that combines on-the-job training, work experience and technical training that leads to certification in over 150 trades. Employers provide most of the apprenticeship training in the workplace. The remaining training involves in-school sessions offered by approved training delivery agents. Once both school and on-the-job components have been satisfied, you can receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship.


There are 27 colleges in Ontario, located throughout the province. Colleges offer a variety of diploma, certificate and applied degree programs. The basic admission requirement for postsecondary programs in the Ontario college system is either an OSSD or any lesser minimum admission requirement as established by a college on a program-specific basis. Programs are career-oriented and geared toward marketable skills.


Community living involves looking ahead to the future and preparing for adulthood. This pathway includes programming, education opportunities, recreation and social activities. Transition planning for post-secondary options will continue at the school level.


There are 21 universities across Ontario, offering professional programs in a variety of fields. To attend university, you must attain your Ontario Secondary School Diploma and six of your Grade 12 courses must be completed at the University or University/ College Level. Students need to ensure that they meet the admission requirements for the programs they are interested in taking. Some programs have specific requirements like course pre-requisites, portfolios, interviews or admission tests.


You should consider direct entry to the workplace if you have developed practical and essential workplace skills that have prepared you for a specific career without needing to pursue college, university or an apprenticeship first. Workplace is also an ideal pathway for those who want to gain work experience and/or earn money before continuing post-secondary education.

Explore Your Way

Check out the following links to learn more about the programs, supports and resources available at HWDSB secondary schools.

Programs Supports  Resources
Programs in Secondary School

Experiential Learning

Specialized Programs

Intervention and Support Programs

Supports in Secondary School

Tips for Secondary School

Plan for Secondary School

Resources in Secondary School

Pathways Guide for Grades 7 to 12

Post-Secondary Pathways 

Secondary Learning Resources


Updated on Thursday, November 23, 2023.
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