Picking a university can be a stressful event for the applicant and the family. Much of the stress and fear can be reduced, however, if you prepare and gather timely and accurate information. Here are some considerations to keep in mind to help your application process go a little smoother.
1. University or College: Where do you really want to go, university or college? What is your intuition telling you? Is there parental pressure to attend one over the other? Consider your goals and learning style. What do you hope to gain from post-secondary institution? Be honest with yourself, otherwise you may find yourself wasting time money and losing a bit of your confidence and self-esteem.
2. Research potential institutions: Do some research on the school’s geographical location, campus, programs offered. International or outside of province students may need to fill out additional paperwork. Get familiar with each of the institutions you are seriously considering.
3. Research the offered programs: Not all schools offer the same programs. If you know you want to go into sciences, research which schools offer strong programs in that area. This is finally your time to choose your area of study. Make an informed decision.
4. Find out admission requirements: Some school may have different admission requirements. Before you apply and set your heart on a particular school be sure you meet admission requirements otherwise you may be wasting your time, money, and letting yourself unnecessarily down.
5. Research tuition fees and loan options: If money is an important factor to you, research the tuition fees at each school. Be sure to do research on where you can get a loan. In Ontario, Ontario Student Assistant Program (OSAP), is a popular choice because there are no interest fees until the student graduates from the postsecondary institution. Inquire if your province or state offers a similar service.
6. Further guidance: Talk to your school counsellor or better yet go speak to someone at the admissions office at the potential school for more info (if it is within your driving range...if not, than call them up). No one can offer better info than the people who work there.
7. Speak to your family: Share your fears, concerns, and excitement with your family. They would love for you to communicate with them and let them know what is going on in your mind. Support is an important part of decision making.
8. Be proactive: Do not procrastinate with the application process—don’t leave anything to the last minute. Attend all post-secondary information presentations. Be aware of deadlines. Talk to people who are currently at university. Take their advice into consideration but don’t let it sway your opinion.
Ivana Pejakovic, Life Coach in Toronto