Remember in grade.9 how much your teachers talked about post secondary education and asked what you wanted to do for the rest of your life? In grade 9 it seems crazy to think about that so you do not worry about it too much and typically push it to the side. When you reach grade 11 you look back and wonder where those past 2 years went because now you actually do have to start thinking about it. Grade 12 finally comes around and it is time to apply. You think to yourself how quickly time went by and how now is the time that you do need to have an idea of the path that you wish to take next. Although this can be an exciting time in your life, it can also be a stressful one. You will most likely have a million questions running through your head; will I get in, will my grades be high enough, what if I don’t get in, what if my friends get accepted before I do, etc. This guide will help to answer some of these questions, provide tips, and hopefully help you stress a little less.
How to make the process easier
Only check the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre website once a week
Many of you already know ouac.on.ca is the website that you use to apply for post secondary education. It is also the website that tells you whether or not you have been accepted into the college or university that you applied for. You will most likely want to check this website everyday. However, this will only stress you out more waiting for replies from the schools on a daily basis. Limit yourself to only checking the website one time per week. It takes time for Universities and Colleges to send out acceptances, so do not stress yourself out more by checking the website everyday!
Do not compare your number of acceptances to Your friends
It is important to remember that when going through this process, you do not want to compare yourself to your friends. If anything, you want to support each other as much as possible. It is important to remember that each University and College has a different acceptance process and some take longer than others. It is important to remember these factors in-case a friend does get accepted to one of their schools earlier than you. For example the University of Guelph typically has a late acceptance process compared to other universities/colleges.
Tour the university or college In person: does It feel “right”?
It can be hard to know which university or college to pick. You will constantly have the thought running through your mind, “Is this the right one for me?”. If you feel this way, you should go to a few different open houses that the Universities or Colleges have. Walk around on campus, tour the buildings, tour the residences, and even try eating the food at a cafe. While you do this, ask yourself these questions:
- Does this feel like a place I can live for the next 2-4 years?
- Do I like the atmosphere?
- Do I like the campus, food, and living accommodations?
- Does this feel like home? This is important to ask yourself because this will be your new “home” for the next 2-4 years of your life.
Talk to students who are In the program you are looking at
While doing your university or college tour, it is important to talk to someone who is currently in the program. Ask them about their courses, volunteer opportunities, and work opportunities. You should also ask them about what the workload is like. Does this sound like something that intrigues you? Does the workload sound manageable and do the courses sound like ones you will enjoy? These are all important questions to ask yourself. Current students will be very honest with you about the program and will be willing to answer any questions you have so don’t be nervous to ask them questions!
Look at residence housing
It is important to look at residence housing if you are considering staying on campus for your first year. Residence is a great way to get involved and meet people but you also want to make sure you feel comfortable with where you are living. Remember to have an open mind. These are not going to be as nice or as big as your bedroom at home. It is all about the residence life and experience. Do you enjoy the overall environment?
Explore the city off campus that you will be living in for the next 2-4 years of your life. Will you feel comfortable leaving campus at night? Will you feel comfortable living off campus eventually in an apartment or a house. What else does the city/town have to offer you that might be of interest?
Make a Pros and Cons list
If after doing all of these things, you still feel unsure as to which school you should choose or which one would be the best option for you, make a pros and cons list. Items that could be included on these lists include;
- Campus life
- Overall feeling
- City where the school is located
- Potential career/lifestyle when finished school
Important to remember
Enjoy this process, do as much research as you can, involve family and friends, and have fun while doing this! This is an exciting time in your life and a big step in your life! YOU CAN DO IT!