Fingers dog ear pages of an academic calendar. Eyes squint at the computer screen as the mouse clicks, scrolling through program choices and admission requirements. Deadlines are scratched on calendars while calculators crunch tuition and travels costs.
These are but a few of the activities you might see our Grade 12 students undertaking, at home or at school, as November rests upon our doorstep. Yes, it’s that time of year again – university application season has arrived!
For some, the process of researching and selecting a college or university began years ago as they imagined becoming a stock broker, botanist, cinematographer, or archaeologist. Banners were pinned up on walls and fervent conversations took place around the dinner table as family and friends shared their school experiences. Feelings of excitement and anticipation fill the air as students click “submit” on an application to a first-choice university.
For others, these are days of tentative first steps. Where to begin exploring options? What questions to ask? What grades are competitive? And, ultimately, will I get in? The coming weeks may feel ambiguous, even daunting, for students who do not yet have a clear sense of a future pathway. Not only are they considering which schools to choose, but there are scholarships to research, deadlines to manage, and portfolios and auditions to put together – all while prioritizing daily tests and assignments to complete their Grade 12 courses. The list is long – but fear not, we are here to help!
We are fortunate to have online, paper, and, most importantly, human resources to assist students as they prepare for the next phase of their education and life journey. Whether seeking guidance in how to compare styles of residence accommodation or feedback from alumni on their university experience, the supports are plentiful as Grade 12s navigate this busy time of year. Coaching students to ask the right questions, of both the institutions they are researching and of themselves to ensure they understand their needs and priorities, and encouraging campus visits where time and geography permit are important steps in helping them to discover the best pathway and destination for each of them as individuals.
The coming weeks may involve submitting Early Decision or Early Action applications (deadline November 1st) to US colleges, requesting teacher reference letters, or writing and revising personal statements. To support the latter, the University Counselling Centre is offering a US Personal Statement Writing Workshop this Sunday, October 25th from 5:30-7:30pm in the South Computer Lab (Crothall). Pizza and snacks will be provided! Day and boarding students are welcome to join our University Counsellors for assistance in getting started, editing, and understanding the fundamentals of crafting a quality US personal statement.
In summary, these are hectic days for Grade 12 students. So if you see a few of them hunched over a book, huddled around a screen, or comparing the relative merits of meal plans on a scratch pad, toss them a look of encouragement and offer your congratulations as they prepare for exciting days ahead!