As the post-secondary counsellor for AGS, I get asked a lot of questions about studies after high school. Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How do I pick the school that is right for me?
There are a lot of factors that play into your choice of institution. The top 8 are typically:
Location, Size, Quality of Academics, Lifestyle, Support System, Co-op Opportunities, Cost & Admission Requirements
You can ask yourself the following questions:
- Would I rather be in a busy city centre, or more of a relaxed, natural setting?
- Am I comfortable being in a large class of 300 students, or would I prefer smaller classes where the professors know me by name?
- Is the school known to deliver a strong program in my area of study? Do they have professors that are experts and leaders in their fields?
- Can I pursue activities I love close to campus? (For instance, going snowboarding or hanging out at the beach?)
- Am I okay with my family/support system being a plane ride away? Am I ready to live on my own?
- Does the school have relationships with companies so I can pursue Co-op jobs?
- How much does tuition cost and does the school offer scholarships?
And, most importantly:
Do I meet the requirements to get into the program? (Do I have the right courses, grades & experiences?)
Once you consider these questions, it will help you narrow down the universities that will work for you.
2. What if I’m not exactly sure what I want to study after high school?
If you’re uncertain about what program or career you are interested in, there are a few options:
- You could apply to a “Generalist” program (Arts or Sciences) where you will be able to take a variety of courses in first year to get a better idea of what you want to pursue.
- You could take a “gap” year. This could involve taking a year to work and gain more experience, travel the world, or possibly study or work abroad.
3. How does being an IB student affect my university applications?
There are a few key benefits to taking IB when it comes to university. Firstly, you will have a strong skill set that you can take with you. The skills you acquire during your MYP/DP journey (note-taking, studying, essay writing, time-management, researching, critical thinking, etc) are all transferable skills you will need to succeed at university.
Secondly, most universities recognize IB courses as university equivalents. So, depending on your final score in your IB subjects, you can claim credit for first year university courses.
4. When do I need to start thinking about applying to university?
If you are planning to stay within Canada, the fall of your Grade 12 year will be “application season.” That is when you will be writing and submitting most of your university applications.
For those students interested in applying abroad (such as the US and UK) you will need to start working on applications in Grade 11. The admissions process for countries outside of Canada is often intensive and requires more writing and preparation. You may also need to write a standardized test, like the SAT or ACT.
Remember, many schools that require essays for their applications want to know WHO you are and WHAT you have accomplished! So, you can always start early! Lead an environmental initiative at AGS in Grade 9; or start a new club in the community in Grade 10. There are many things you can do prior to Grade 11 to show leadership and involvement. (These just happen to be criteria for big scholarships as well!)
Hopefully, the FAQs helped you learn something about the University process. If you have any questions, you can always stop by my classroom!