For many, the last year of high school is filled with stressors that include getting good grades while juggling a part-time job, volunteer commitments and a social life. The sooner they begin researching university programs that interest them the better.
“Trying to research universities while juggling all those responsibilities compounds those stressors,” says Marisa Modeski, manager of national recruitment at Ryerson University in Toronto.
“Many universities have similar programs so choice is definitely available,” she says. But entrance requirements may differ from one university to another and finding that out just before submitting your application may be too late.
Beginning your research early allows you to take advantage of programs like the University of Guelph’s Interaction program. The full-day conference invites Grades 10 and 11 to explore their interests through such sessions as A Career in Veterinary Medicine.
“Some know they want engineering and attend all engineering sessions,” says university spokesperson Effie Gastinos. “Others may love both arts and sciences so they may take an arts session and a science session and explore the different areas they’re considering.”
Doing your research early also allows you to prepare for non-academic requirements. “Many institutions look for examples of leadership or volunteer experience, which can also be transferred onto a lot of scholarship applications,” Modeski says. “It’s important to give yourself time to gain that experience.”
In addition to your high school guidance department, Modeski recommends the following research resources:
Common University Data Ontario (CUDO)
A central source of comprehensive information about Ontario’s universities, including student enrolment and entering averages by program. www.cou.on.ca/Statistics/CUDO.aspx
A guide to Ontario’s universities for secondary school students. Select “Find a program” to search for programs, prerequisites and grade requirements using the Program Wizard or Areas of Study Chart. www.electronicinfo.ca/
Ontario Universities’ Fair
Every Ontario university attends and visitors can interact with faculty, professors, current students and admission personnel. It will be held October 14-16 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. www.ouf.ca
University Information Program
Each fall, Ontario’s 21 universities travel across the province together, offering fair-style events in most regions. Learn about what each has to offer. www.ouf.ca
Finally, don’t wait until the last minute to apply. “Applying early gives students a chance to make amendments to their application if they change their mind or learn about a new program of interest,” Modeski says. “They always want to be one step ahead of the actual deadline.”
University bound: Choosing a program