As the assistant principal at Centennial High School entered Julia’s sociology class, she didn’t know that her entire career was about to take shape.

With the assistant principal standing in front of the class, Julia could not believe the opportunity in front of her. The dual-credit psychology program was being offered to students in Calgary and she would be able to earn both high school credit and credit towards her first year of post-secondary studies by participating.

The timing was perfect. Julia had already been considering a career in psychology but hadn’t made her decision yet. She had a passion for helping people with their problems, so psychology seemed like a natural fit. However, there are so many different career paths, how could she possibly be expected to choose one with such limited experience and information?

The dual-credit program seemed like the perfect chance to see what a career in psychology might actually look like and she eagerly enrolled.

Thanks to EducationMatters donors, she was able to enroll in the program at no cost. EducationMatters works with the community and the Calgary Board of Education to support a broad range of career programming, allowing students in Calgary to begin post-secondary studies while still in high school, gain career experience, and develop connections between their education and the working world.

Julia thinks any student who is given the opportunity should jump at the chance to participate in these programs, which is exactly why she hopped on public transit every second Wednesday after to school to make the trip to the University of Calgary.

“It definitely gave me a leg up on the start of university,” says Julia.

“It was a shock walking into the U of C during the program and seeing the lecture hall style classroom and the professor speaking with a microphone. It was nice to experience that for the first time with other high school students.”

Julia is also quick to point out that the program prepared her for the demands of university coursework, such as APA formatting and an increased workload.

More than anything though, Julia says the program “Was a great chance to see if psychology was actually a good fit for me before enrolling in university.”

It looks like it was.

Julia is now in her first year at Mount Royal University as a psychology major and plans to pursue a masters degree afterward.

“My end goal is to work in child psychology because a lot of what happens to us once we grow up begins when we are younger.”

This seems fitting since dual-credit programming allowed Julia’s budding psychology career to begin at a young age.