College admissions can be an extremely anxious and nerve-wracking process. I'm Derek Song, a grade 12 student at Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute, and I know firsthand how stressful this process can be. However, after attending Jodi Buckley’s Think Tank on “The World of University Admissions” as a part of the Associate National Lead program, I learnt many things that would be useful for me and my peers in the future!
As I plan to apply to Ontario universities only, I would assume that I would just have to apply on the OUAC website by January 12th, 2022. However, for some programs, it might not be that simple. Jodi emphasized the importance of doing your research for your program to ensure that the program has a supplementary application requirement or not, as well as to find the due date of it if applicable. One of the schools I planned to apply to was Toronto Metropolitan University, and the website didn't make it clear if there was a supplementary application. As I did my research, I learnt that there wasn't any additional work required (as my specific program admits grade-only), therefore reducing some stress and giving me the peace of mind that I'll be considered!
Additionally, if you are applying to out-of-province schools, it is important to check their respective application process, too! Some provinces, like BC, have a semi-centralized application centre, but if you want to apply to a school like the University of British Columbia, they have their internal process. Likewise, in a Quebec school like McGill, some programs may require proficiency in the French language. You definitely don't want to waste your time or money applying to a school if you will not be considered at all, so do your research!
I also really enjoyed how Jodi talked about the STAR method. I had heard of that term while doing interviews back in the summer, but this method can really be applied not just in university interviews, but in marketing, resumes, and English classes too! In this method, firstly you describe the setting of your story (e.g. a company in financial trouble), then your task (e.g. financial offer in that company). After, you state what actions you did (e.g. reducing expenses) and state what results you achieved because of your actions (e.g. company improved revenue by 40%). This method helps you summarize the key points of your actions and help gives you an edge in behaviour interview questions!
Finally, we had the opportunity to test our interview skills in breakout rooms. We had a handbook to solve questions, and though I answered most of them well, I learnt that I need to prepare my career goals for the future as right now I don't have much of a concrete plan. I also had the opportunity to learn more about a classmate and we discussed topics like school and interests after!
Ultimately, this workshop was a fantastic opportunity not just to learn more about university applications, but to gain skills such as the STAR method that I can use to apply in the future. I really liked Jodi's tips, especially regarding researching your programs, as the application process might not be straightforward as you may think. It was also a great way to introduce ourselves to the Associate National Lead program and to bond with the class cohort!