Applying to University or College: What you should consider before you start
Choosing a program or school can be difficult, especially when you have no idea what you are looking for. Check out these tips to help you get through the application process.
Applying for post-secondary education can be challenging, especially when you have no idea what you want to do for the rest of your life. Before we get into some tips on how to manage your applications, I think it is important to point out that your degree does not dictate your career. It gives you a head start in a certain field, but it by no means locks you in on a certain career path.
Here are a few tips that I wish I had known when I was applying to university or college:
Apply to programs that interest you
This is the most important thing about applying to schools, this is your opportunity to study something that interests you. What did you enjoy studying in high school? What do you enjoy outside of high school? Think about how you can study something in university or college that will allow you to explore your passions.
Have a plan B
You should be applying to your dream school, but you should also be applying to a school that is a little easier to get in to. This will ensure that no matter what happens, you won't be stuck without an offer in the fall. Research programs that have lower entry requirements, they will be there in the case you don't get into your top choice.
Take a risk
Many people think they can’t get into their dream school and don’t even bother applying. Take that risk! There is nothing to lose, especially if you have a plan B.
Talk to people who have graduated
Talking to the people around you is a great way to get some insight into different programs and schools. It can be difficult to really understand some of the differences between certain programs and schools, but by talking to people who have experienced them, you will learn what you should be focusing on.
There are many websites like SchoolFinder that allow students to reach out to schools and ask questions. It is an easy way for you to get more information about the school, both in terms of academics and extracurricular activities. Some schools will even send you a viewbook in the mail with all the information on their programs.
When you are not familiar with the schools you are interested in, it is easy to get lost. I would recommend keeping a word document with a section for each school and program you are researching. This will make it easy to compare courses and even prices (which can be a big factor in making your decision).
Read the requirements carefully
This is extremely important when applying to a school that requires you to submit a portfolio. Read the requirements! It is very easy for you to miss something in your application and limit your chances of being accepted.
Yes, it is important where you go to school and what you study, but I would argue that it is more important to learn soft skills throughout your education. They are things like time management, teamwork, communication, researching, etc. These are skills will be transferable between any job.
I hope these tips will help you navigate the stressful world of applying for your post-secondary education. If you have any questions about applying to university, or if you just want to talk more about finding the right program, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to answer your questions.