University Admissions: How to Improve Your Chances with a Top School

high school students sitting in front of their school - University Admissions: How to Improve Your Chances with a Top School

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Summer has finally arrived and for most Canadian teens, that means a welcome respite from the workaday grind of attending classes but looming the near distance is applying for University so it’s important to how to How to Improve Your Chances with a Top School. 

For others, however, it marks the beginning of a lengthy, thoughtful process toward post-secondary education.

Students who just wrapped up grade 11, and who have their sights set on a top university, may find a portion of their summer consumed with admissions considerations.

What courses do you need to get into your preferred program?

Are your marks good enough to get into your top school? What should you put on your application to stand out?

 Sure, the deadline may still be a few months away, but it’s natural for kids (and parents) to have questions.

In this post, let’s explore a few ways to improve your chances of getting into a top Canadian post-secondary school.

Repeat Courses to Improve Your Average

When considering applications, universities look at your overall grades.

Some universities set their minimums at a strict, competitive high, while others intake students with more modest grades. In this MacLean’s article, titled “What grades do I need to get into Canadian universities?”, they list the overall grade averages of incoming first-year students at different institutions.

As you can see, averages vary from 80% (UOIT) to 90.4 (Waterloo).

If your marks don’t quite match the grade averages for your preferred school, don’t worry.

You can enroll in repeat classes (or upgrade courses) at an online high school in Ontario this summer.

These condensed courses allow students the opportunity to retry for a higher grade (with the higher of the two attempts appearing on your transcript).

Start the Admissions Process Early

As the adage goes, the early bird gets the worm.

Although the application deadline for the fall following grade 12 may still be months away, it’s still a wise idea to get your ducks in a row.

Make a longlist of preferred universities and research their individual requirements.

Give thought to their application processes; if possible, research past applications to get a sense of what you are up against.

And try to finish as much of the application as possible in advance.

young man in high school working on a paper - University Admissions: How to Improve Your Chances with a Top School

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Cast a Wide Net

Notice that the section above mentioned a “longlist” of schools.

While you or your teen might be singularly focused on one institution, you should always have backup plans.

This Forbes article recommends applying to between 10 and 15 schools, but note that they are speaking from an American perspective (the country has orders of magnitude more colleges and universities).

Anywhere from five to ten applications should suffice for Canadian students.

Craft a Standout Application

What are you passionate about, and how can you demonstrate those passions?

Have you volunteered, spearheaded activities, led committees or organized fundraisers?

And, importantly, what did you learn from your interests and achievements.

While it’s true that universities look for a well-rounded student with enriching interests and impressive achievements, they also want to know about your journey.

Practice writing an application that highlights what you have learned throughout high school (not just in school) and how you plan to apply that education to your post-secondary career.

To recap, upgrade courses at an online high school, start applying early, create a longlist and practice a standout application.

Using these tips on How to Improve Your Chances with a Top School and with any luck, you’ll be throwing your graduation cap in the air, acceptance letter in hand!

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