Teachers college dream comes true for ESP student

Erin MacLachlan always dreamed of going to university.

But when she realized that her strength was in teaching rather than engineering as she originally thought, it was too late to switch high school courses.

As a result, her grade average was one per cent shy of the BA program’s admission cut-off.

“I’ve always liked working with kids, teaching them and helping them,” says MacLachlan, who graduates with a BA in history and a minor in French. “When I didn’t want to be an engineer anymore, I was still very university-focused.”

So when she heard about Carleton’s Enrichment Support Program (ESP) before she graduated from high school, MacLachlan jumped at the chance to apply. The ESP is an academic support that offers potential students an opportunity to come to Carleton when their grades and performance don’t represent their true academic potential.

“The program looks at everything you do and not just grades,” MacLachlan adds.

MacLachlan got accepted into the program at Carleton in September 2004, but admits she was nervous and didn’t know what to expect.

“In my eyes, I hadn’t really done well in my Grade 12 year and you go from being in a small high school to coming to a big university.”

Despite her fears, MacLachlan was successful in the program and says it provided her with the tools to apply to the BA program and continue in university. Plus, she says, the small class size helped her meet new people.

“Right off the bat, I knew 20 people in my first-year class,” she says. “ESP really helped me get to know people in the same situation, (who were there) for all different reasons.”

Shortly after her first year, MacLachlan got a head start in teaching when she worked as a peer mentor with the ESP. She also got more experience in working with children when she spent three years as a counselor at Tim Hortons camps.

In addition to her school work, MacLachlan kept busy playing field hockey on the Carleton women’s varsity team, playing forward and goalie for three seasons.

“Field hockey’s a great, great way to meet people on campus,” she says. “They become your best friends.”

She’s excited to be graduating and says she owes her success to both Carleton University and the extraordinary opportunity she was offered through its ESP.

In September, MacLachlan is moving from her hometown of Ottawa to St. Catharines, Ont., where she will be attending teachers college at Brock University. While she is modest about her accomplishments, her supporters are quick to point out that she was accepted to each of the four teachers colleges to which she applied.

“I feel like I learned a lot about myself and a lot from all my courses. And it really helped me realize what I wanted to do,” she says. “But at the same time, there’s that tiny bit of sadness that I’m leaving.”

This entry was written by Kristy Strauss and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: , . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media: http://carletonnow.carleton.ca/?p=583

Kristy Strauss

By Kristy Strauss

Kristy Strauss graduated from Carleton's journalism program in 2009. She is a regular contributor to Carleton Now. She has worked as a reporter for the Kemptville Advance. She currently reports for EMC Ottawa South.

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