Applying to Post-Secondary Programs
Universities and colleges offer great programs that prepare you for rewarding careers. But, you have to find and get into a program first! Read this section for advice on selecting and applying to post-secondary programs.
APPLYING TO POST SECONDARY PROGRAMS
Once you have an idea of the career you want to pursue, the first step is to apply for the program(s) that will get you there. Search academic and trades programs on the websites of institutes, colleges or universities and make a list of the ones you are interested in. Start by searching academic and trades programs on the websites of institutes, colleges, or universities and mae a list of the ones you are interested in. Talk to your school counsellor or career advisor if you want advice on choosing a program. You can find a map of all the programs in BC here. Explore the options while you’re still in high school to make sure you have the courses you need.
Selecting a program
When you look at post-secondary school programs, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Admission requirements: Before you apply for any program, look at the admission requirements. Some programs require that you have taken certain classes, have a certain GPA, have volunteer experience or other requirements. If you don’t meet the requirements that does not mean you will never get into the program. You might have to upgrade your courses or spend some time volunteering.
- Finances: Schooling is often expensive, but don’t let that discourage you. The school you choose will often have a section on their website estimating your costs as a student. Make sure you have a plan in place to pay for tuition fees and costs of living as a student. Some options are:
- work while you are in school,
- take out student loans,
- apply for scholarships or bursaries. If you are a former foster youth, you could be eligible for programs like the the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program. To be eligible, students must:
- be studying full or part time at an undergraduate level at a B.C. public post-secondary institution, the Native Education College or one of 10 approved union-based trades-training providers; and
- have been in any legal care status for a minimum of 24 months (cumulative), or turned 19 in any legal care status, or been adopted, or formerly in the Child in Home of a Relative program.
- ask for support from family
- Co-op, work placement and opportunities for international exchange: Many post-secondary schools offer opportunities to get work or other important experiences. If this is something you are interested in, make sure the programs you are considering have options for you.
Tips for applying to post-secondary programs:
There are several things you need to consider when you apply for a post-secondary program. Schools are usually very strict about their admission process. Below are a few tips to remember when applying to programs:
- Deadlines: Look into when applications for post-secondary schools are due. Deadlines are usually very strict and programs may only admit students once per year. Take the time to consider what documents and information you will need for your application and when you need to submit it to meet the deadline. This can vary based on the program and school but you should know the dates and have a plan.
- Back-up options: Some schools and programs are difficult to get into because students are competing for a limited number of spots. It is good to apply to multiple schools and programs in case you don’t get into a particular program.
- Finances: It often costs money to apply to post-secondary programs. Have a plan in place for how to pay for each application fee.
- Take time preparing your application: Before you start your application, make sure you read what the specific program is looking for and keep it in mind. For some programs, you will need to write a statement of intent to explain why you want to complete the program. Other programs may want you to answer questions prepared by the school. Help your application stand out by filling up your resume with volunteer/work opportunities. Have a friend or adult read over your application to make sure it’s complete and doesn’t have any errors.
- Ask an older friend/sibling/relative about their experience: It can be helpful to speak with someone who may have recently gone through the application process to share their experience, and talk about lessons learned.
Want to explore and learn more? Here are a couple options that will help you.