Student Services

Student Handbook

Student Services/Counsellor Information

Welcome to the VCHS Student Services/Counsellor Section. 

Please consult the below Table of Contents to search for the information that you are looking for:

  1. Staff Contact Information
  2. Purpose of a School Counsellor
  3. Upcoming Events
  4. Post-Secondary News
  5. Career Opportunities
  6. Scholarships
  7. Diploma Exam Preparation and Re-writes
  8. Exchange, Summer, and Volunteer Programs
  9. SATs


1. Staff Contact Information - 780-632-3341

    School Counsellor: Kelly Sawatzky - Alternative Delivery Format (ADLC) - registration

    Assistant Principal: Kelly Sawatzky

2. Purpose of a School Counsellor

To provide comprehensive counselling support for students from early childhood to high school in the following domains:

  1. Educational Counselling
  • Selection of courses
  • Program planning
  • Graduation requirements
  • Support for students with special needs
  • Planning for post-secondary requirements
  1. Career Counselling
  • Establishing career goals
  • Calendars and website information for universities, colleges and technical schools
  • Exploration of related occupations
  1. Personal Counselling
  • Confidential discussion of personal concerns or problems which may interfere with school performance and personal well-being
  • Issues may include self-esteem, grief and loss, substance abuse, personal health and safety, family and peer relationships, sexuality, stress and conflict management
  • Counsellors will act as a liaison with parents, students and community agencies.

3. Upcoming Events

Post-Secondary Institutions are accepting applications.

4. Post-secondary News

The most comprehensive source for all things related to attending post-secondary institutions is the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) which can be accessed here

Apply Alberta

ApplyAlberta is the online application system that allows students to apply to one or more post-secondary institutions and authorize transcript transfers between participating institutions in the province. You only need to enter your personal and academic information once - it is transferred automatically to each institution; you choose authorizing institutions to request transcript transfers, and you will not be charged a fee for transcripts transferred through ApplyAlberta. For more information, please visit or see Mrs. Hansen.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts can only be obtained from the Government of Alberta but the Counsellors can provide records for early acceptance and other needs. 

If you apply to post-secondary institutions outside the province or to a college that is not part of the ApplyAlberta system, you must send a form to Alberta Education asking them to forward your transcript. Request for Official Transcript forms are available with Mrs. Cartier or on-line at Students must send these forms to Alberta Education along with $10 for each transcript. There is a time code, 2nd, which means you are asking that the transcript be issued after the June diploma examinations are marked. If you are applying to post-secondary institutions that are not a part of Apply Alberta, do not forget to request an official transcript be sent to the institutions for which you are applying. NOTE: It is recommended that students also request a copy of their official transcripts to keep for themselves and their own personal records as well!

Unofficial Transcripts

Most post-secondary institutions allow students to self-report their marks when they apply. If you get conditional acceptance based on first semester marks, you can then register for your courses. To get final acceptance, the post-secondary institution must have received an official transcript before you will be admitted. Official transcripts are ready in mid-July after diploma exams have been marked.

U of A News

Cost Calculator - The University of Albert Recruitment Team has created an easy way for you to help students determine the cost of their first year.  Simply visit the tuition & scholarships page at and click on the Cost Calculator.  Note, estimations are based on current academic year assessments for an Undergraduate.

Most programs at the U of A require English 30-1 and 4 more 30-level courses. It is important to note that Math 30-2 is now accepted for some faculties. Check for current course requirements for each program and for current admission averages. In September, 2017, averages were as follows.

Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry & Home Economics: 83%

Faculty of Arts: 82%

Faculty of Augustana: 80%

Faculty of Engineering: 90%

Faculty of Native Studies: 75%

Faculty of Nursing: 87%

Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation: 84%

Faculté St Jean: 81% depending on program

Faculty of Science: 88%

General & Specialization Programs: 75.0%

Honors Programs: 80.0%

Have questions regarding Post Secondary? An excellent website that covers several issues is

5. Career Opportunities

 Government of Alberta Page Program

The Legislative Assembly of Alberta Page Programme provides part-time employment to high school students. If you are interested in applying to be a Page, check the website at application deadline is May 31, 2018.

The Agriculture & Food Council has developed a website which brings together career profiles, education, industry links and job information. Students can learn about exciting careers in crops, livestock, horticulture, environment, agri-business, food processing and many more sectors of the industry. Check it out at

Community Disability Services employs 17 000 people across the province in careers that support people with developmental disabilities. For more information, check out their website at

6. Scholarships

The ALIS website has an entire section devoted to scholarships here:

RAP Scholarship - The RAP Scholarships were created to recognize the accomplishments of Alberta high school students participating in the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP), and to encourage them to continue their apprenticeship training after completing high school. 500 RAP Scholarships of $1,000 each are available annually. Any student who was registered as a RAP student, is graduating from high school (or who has graduated high school and who has NOT YET received a RAP scholarship) is invited to apply. For more information and to download an application, check or Deadline is June 30, 2018.

Education for Life Bursary - The Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD), the grassroots provincial organization of people with disabilities in Alberta, presents this bursary to further our goal to improve the living standards of people with disabilities in Alberta. This bursary is to assist post-secondary, first-time learners in overcoming the financial barriers that they may encounter when taking on new challenges. The bursaries are awarded to people with disabilities at the entry level or those attempting one course to begin their post-secondary level of education. Applicants must be 17 years or older, a resident of Alberta living with a disability, a member of ACCD before the application deadline, and must use the bursary within the province of Alberta for course materials and/or tuition fees. Check the website at

Another great website where students can create profiles is Once you have registered, this site will search its database and match your profile to scholarships for which you might be eligible.

Alberta Rutherford Scholarship - Grade 12 students who had a 75% or higher average for any year of grade 10, 11 and/or 12 and who are entering a post-secondary program in fall 2014 (including apprenticeship) can apply for an Alexander Rutherford Scholarship. Information and application forms are available at student services or online by at the ALIS web site ( 

Interac Association awards the Retail as a Career Scholarship - A $5,000 Scholarship will be awarded to the top applicant. Who can apply? Students entering or currently in a retail or business-related program at college or university who are working at least part-time in retail. What you'll need: Proof of enrolment to post secondary program; Reference letter from current retail employer; Typed essay; Official student transcript for last two semesters; Completed Application and Release form. Application & release forms along with complete application details can be found at or call 1-888-373-8245 ext. 320. Deadline for applications Friday March 31, 2018.

Farmhouse Men’s Fraternity is agriculture fraternity that promotes the appreciation and the traditional values of the rural lifestyle. They are offering the Trent S. Bouchard Memorial Scholarship of $500 to one male student enrolling in their first year of studies at the U of A. Deadline to apply is April 1, 2018. See Student Services for an application.

The Job Safety Skills Society (JSSS) has established a new Occupational Health and Safety Scholarship in memory of James Rintoul who died as a result of a work place incident. This scholarship will support the completion of an Occupational Health and Safety Certificate taken through the Faculty of Extension, U of A.See the website or contact the JSSS at 866-513-6876. Deadline is May 1, 2018.

Alberta Children and Youth Services is accepting applications for the Metis and Non-Status Bursary Program. This program assists eligible Metis and Non-Status Indian students who wish to pursue post-secondary education in the field of social services. For information, visit Closing date is May 31, 2018.

The Turk Mahan Memorial Scholarship provides $500 to a Grade 12 graduate who is enrolled in a post secondary or apprenticeship program and is actively involed in school and/or community activities. Please click here to download the application form.

7. Diploma Exams Preparation and Rewrites

Diploma Exams - Students who are rewriting a diploma exam in January (whether they are retaking the course or not) are required to register with Alberta Education and pay a rewrite fee of $26.25 to the Provincial Treasurer. If you are registered in the course, you must submit a re-write fee form. If you wish to retake an examination, but are not retaking the course, you must submit two forms: a Diploma Examination Registration Form and a Diploma Examination Rewrite Fee Form. More information and payment can be done through the student mypass account. 

Diploma Exam Prep Classes

In Alberta, students' final marks in diploma examination courses are weighted 50% school awarded mark and 50% diploma examination mark. Students must write exams on the day scheduled by Alberta Education. For January and June 2018 diploma examination schedules, visit Students can choose from a variety of options to prepare and review for diploma examination subjects:

Continuing Education (Elk Island Public Schools) at Salisbury Composite High School offers prep courses. Register through or phone 780-993-5136.

Apex Diploma Preparation at the U. of A. Campus Vanvliet Center offers prep courses for most subjects. For more information, check the website at

Rock the Diploma offers prep courses. For more information check

Diploma Rewrites

If you were disappointed with a diploma result and plan to rewrite, you MUST complete a rewrite fee form and send $26.25 to Alberta Education in order to do so even if you are retaking the course. If you are enrolled in the course for a second time, you will be automatically registered to re-write the diploma examination, but you must pay the fee before Alberta Education will release your results. If you are not retaking the course, two forms must be filled out - Diploma Examination Registration Form 2018 and Diploma Examination Rewrite Fee Form 2018. These can be accessed through the student mypass account. 

8. Exchange, Summer and Volunteer Programs

WISEST Summer Research Program is now accepting applications for this interactive research program which encourages exceptional grade 11 students to explore careers in science, engineering and technology through a six-week hands-on research experience in a University of Alberta lab. For more information, and to download an application form, visit Deadline is usually in April.

Pearson College United World College (UWC), located on Vancouver Island brings together students from all over the world - selected on personal merit, irrespective of race, religion, politics, and the ability to pay - with the explicit aim of fostering peace and international understanding. You are ideally in grade 11 when you apply as their IB program suits students in grade 12 and gap year best. A limited number of scholarships are reserved each year for Canadian students to enroll. Visit and click under Admissions for the application form.

EF is an established organization that offers programs for students who are interested in doing a year of high school overseas. Locations include France, Germany, Spain, Great Britain/U.K., Ireland, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Pamphlets are available from Mrs. Cartier or at the EF web site

Global Journeys offers secondary school credit courses to students interested in learning and travel. Destinations include Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Tunisia, Malta, Ecuador, Southeast Asia, Costa Rica, and Bermuda. For more information, see Student Services or visit the website at

Agriventure Programs give young people, aged 18 to 30, the opportunity to travel the world and combine this with working in agriculture or horticulture. Placements are available in UK, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia or Europe and programs run for a minimum of 4 months up to 12 months in one country. For more information, see Mrs. Cartier or check the website at

AFS Interculture Canada is an international, voluntary, non-profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. whether you're in high school, at university or jump-starting your career, AFS gives your the opportunity to go to school or learn another language. For more information, check the website at

Encounters with Canada - Interested in spending a week in Ottawa? EWC is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Canadian teens to meet young people from across the country. Take part in exciting adventures, explore future career options, learn more about your country, and share your hopes and dreams - all through exclusive hands-on workshops, presentations, and excursions. Check out the website or see Student Services for details.

Forum for Young Canadians - Forum is an amazing experience to develop your leadership skills, to learn about democracy, how government works and how you can make a difference. Come join hundreds of high school students for a week on Parliament Hill. Your Forum experience will include sitting in the House of Commons and the Senate, meeting the Speakers of the Houses, taking on the role of national politicians during simulations such as Question Period, and forging new friendships with other young Canadians from across the country while learning about the social, cultural and political issues that shape your country today. If you are interested, check the Forum Website at Applications for Spring 2017 are now available. Some costs are provided by Exchanges Canada. See Student Services for details.

The Heritage Youth Researcher (HYRS) Summer program is accepting applications from exceptional grade 11 science students. Check the website at for more information and to download the application.

The Alberta Junior Forest Rangers (JFR) offers an amazing career building opportunity for students, aged 16 – 18 to prepare for their future in a challenging environment with other students from across Alberta. Crew members can expect paid summer employment ($2700 salary), free accommodation and board, exposure to a broad array of natural resource and science based hands-on work and educational opportunities, training and certifications related to natural resource management careers, and immersion in an outdoor setting for 7 weeks. Applications are available on the website at

The University of Toronto’s Youth Summer Programs (YSP) offers a summer program for high school students to experience what it is like to be a student in Canada’s Law or Medical Schools. The YSP are held in July and August on the University of Toronto’s campus and range in length from one to five weeks. For more information about content, dates and fees, visit

9. SATs - The Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT is a standardized examination that most American post-secondary institutions require as part of their admission process. There are 6 writing dates between now and June all requiring early registration. See Mrs. Hansen for dates. Students who are planning to attend university or college in the US should plan to write the SAT in the spring of grade 11 so their results are available in the fall of grade 12 when they begin the application process. For more information, check out the website at

Learning Resources Directory

Discovery Education  Students will find hundreds of instant-answer, self-help, math solvers, providing instant help on math problems.

EIPS Academy Elk Island teachers have created an electronic database of specific High School courses. Students are able to preview or review course concepts at their convenience.

 Khan Academy   With a library of over 2600 videos, covering everything from Arithmetic to Physics, Finance and History, as well as 207 practice exercises, Kahn Academy is on a mission to help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace.

NAIT Online The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) provides an excellent toolkit for student use. Following this link provides learning strategies suited to various learning styles, as well as course specific (English, ESL, Math, Chemistry, Physics and Biology) materials.

Quest A+   Alberta Education has created this website providing practice exams in Social Studies 30-1, 30-2; Math 30 Applied, Pure; Biology 30; Chemistry 30; Physics 30 & Science 30.

University of Alberta Tutor Registry
The University maintains a listing of students ready, willing and highly qualified to tutor High School subjects! 

Study Skills

The Real Deal

The learning equation states 2 factors interact to determine student performance:



Geoffrey Colvin summarizes scientific research to explain that Tiger Woods, Warren Buffett and Winston Churchill do/did not possess a natural gift for their greatness; their greatness is from years of painful and demanding practice and hard work.

There truly is no substitute for hard work. Practice does make perfect, but not just any practice - deliberate practice is "activity that's explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one's level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition." (Colvin, Fortune Magazine, October 19, 2006). More deliberate practice equals better performance.

Preparation in the learning equation means Practice-Specifically & Regularly.


Managing emotions on a test means bringing your best to the test. Your best is somewhere between disregard and overconfidence towards the test - your comfort zone. Through deliberate practice, emotions can be controlled such that individual performance is enhanced.

Managing anxiety on a test requires changing the learner's learning attitude-while practicing at home, at school and in the classroom. Instead of going to class, doing homework, reviewing and studying simply to get it done, the goal must be to get better at what you are doing; to intentionally improve at learning! Learning is a combination of time management, material management, questioning, concentration/organization, and memorization... all individual, improvable skills. The more you work at the specific skills and fitting the specific learning skills together, the bigger your mental learning picture becomes and the better your learning performance measures. The attitude to improve is fundamental to emotional control. An attitude towards improvement provides a new way of doing the job of learning; better mental processing and longer retention occurs, more feedback is sought and a larger, longer-term point of view is adopted as the idea of continual improvement becomes personal.

 An Attitude of Learning to Improve, increases Success, which Diminishes Anxiety.

Following is a presentation on specific strategies to support effective test taking. The video is hosted by Concordia University of Alberta's Counselling Psychologist, Barbara VanIngen:


Study Links:

Self-Assessment Tools.

Study Guides and Strategies.

Test Anxiety.

Anxiety Information

Strategies for Test Anxiety.