If you’re a current Ontario secondary school student or international student looking to apply to an Ontario university for the September 2020 semester, you know the Ontario University Application Centre (OUAC) deadline is too real. With only a few days left, there’s definitely a need for some urgency if you haven’t gotten all your applications in yet.
If you’re a planner and you read one of our December blog posts then we hope our advice was helpful and you set some priorities to get your applications in early. If you still have some work to do on your applications, don’t worry; there’s still a week left to get them in, but consider a few things as you finish that submission. Have you applied to all your first choice schools? What about some backups? Do you have all the credits you need to graduate or fulfil the prerequisites for your future university studies? Do you need to upgrade any previous courses in order to get in? Are you an international student looking to study at university in Ontario and need some credits that you can’t get at home?
With the deadline of January 15 coming soon, we wanted to provide some guidance on the application process and shed some light on how Ontario eSecondary School can help you get those much needed credits and upgrades at any time in the year.
How do I know if university is right for me?
We know it’s challenging just to try and pick the right classes in high school, but how do you know if university is the right path for you?
By now you’ve probably done some research on post-secondary institutions but you’re still having trouble deciding if you should go to college or university. First, we highly recommend talking with family, friends, teachers and of course guidance counsellors to ensure you’re getting the right advice from people who know you best. Once you’ve done that, think about a number of different things that may seem obvious, but worth considering.
What’s your end goal?
Do you want to get a job straight out of school, or are you interested in studying more? Many people start their university studies not knowing what they’d like to do as a career. They may also decide to go to university to study a certain subject but learn that what they are studying may not be right for them. Others may wish to pursue learning as far as a Master’s degree or PhD. All of these are viable paths, but consider a plan from a high-level before you apply.
Do you need a degree for the career you want?
There are a number of different options available for post-secondary school beyond university. College programs or apprenticeship programs offer practical, hands-on experience for many careers you may wish to pursue. University will provide more theoretical training, however still offer hands-on training depending on your career path.
If you’re not sure if university is right for you or if you even qualify to apply, the OUAC website has a helpful list you can double check. This is great if you’re an international student or don’t have access to a guidance counsellor. You can also take this helpful quiz on the OUAC site if you’re not sure. Of course we always recommend speaking to someone who knows how to provide you with the right information based on your needs. Speak to your guidance counsellor if you’re currently in an Ontario secondary school, or contact OUAC application assistance if you need to learn more about how to apply.
How do I know which university and program is right for me?
Let’s assume you’ve decided that you for sure are going to attend university. How do you know what program is right for you? You may have an idea of career you want or what you like to study. If you do, that’s great! Stick to the plan if you think it’s right for you and you enjoy it. For some people though, it may be hard to decide. This blog writer for example attended university and got a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education, however while in school I decided to take up writing and marketing as a career.
So, what if you still haven’t decided. The University of Waterloo put together a helpful guide for any student (not just students applying to UofW).
- Think about your favourite subjects and choose a program of study that touches on those.
- What are your strengths and what do you enjoy doing outside of school?
- Are there career opportunities or earning potential in a career you may get outside of your studies?
- Try using your first year to explore different subjects.
You may not know what you want to do for a career, or you may think you know and change your mind as you go through school. Its ok to change paths!
Ok, so you know what you want to study, but how do you know where to study? Picking a university is tough. You’re going to spend the next four years there, so you’ve got to get it right. Right?
First, does the school you want to attend offer the program you want? If yes, great! Does the school align with your values or your interests? Check! Is it a location you’re interested in? You’re going to live in the city, you should make sure you’d like it. Any or all of these questions could be a factor in your decision. If you want to learn more about different universities, check out McLean’s yearly ranking of every institution in Canada.
Talk to someone
It may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re currently studying at an Ontario secondary school, it is very important to take advantage of the services offered to you through your guidance counsellors when making this decision.
Have I taken the right prerequisites?
Knowing if you’ve taken the right prerequisites is challenging, however many university programs require the same general credits to get into their programs. If you’re looking to take chemistry for example, compare what your first choice school requires, and ensure you get those credits while in secondary school. Compare those credits to those of your second or third choice school. Chances are they’ll be similar.
Since Ontario has a centralized education system, all students are required to get certain credits in order to graduate from secondary school. The benefit to this is that this ensures that many courses are available to students. However, what happens if your school doesn’t offer a course you need to get into university? This could happen for any number of reasons. Perhaps not enough students are enrolled at your school to offer it? Alternatively, maybe you’re not currently enrolled in secondary school and need to upgrade a course to get into a program you’re interested in pursuing.
If you’re currently attending high school Ontario, or if you’re looking to upgrade your marks, OES has a wide range of courses available. From English (ENG4U) to Advanced Functions (MHF4U), OES instructors are ready to support you and help you meet your goals.
The Ontario eSecondary School has been inspected and accredited by the Ontario Ministry of Education. What does this mean? As a virtual school, all of our courses are recognized by and can be used toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and are also recognized as part of your OUAC application.
This makes OES a great partner for mature students who are looking to upgrade courses or for homeschool students who may need specific ministry accredited courses to get into the post secondary institution of their dreams! Good luck on your applications!