Hi everyone! My name is Krishantini and I am a Grade 11 student at Glenforest Secondary School. Today, I had the pleasure to attend Jodi Buckley’s Think Tank on “The World of University Admissions” as a part of the Associate National Lead program where I get to build and host my own conference!
Transitioning from a teen to a young adult is one of the most vital and daunting changes that one experiences. From being a carefree kid to one that shoulders more responsibilities such as making career decisions, it can be quite challenging to navigate this path without assistance. Thus, as a student who is fast-approaching this dreaded task of applying to universities, Jodi’s guidance at this Think Tank was priceless!
Being oblivious to the application process, I learned about the steps and requirements that a university admission entails. Firstly, I gained a better understanding about centralized systems like OUAC and EducationPlannerBC from which applications can be facilitated. Though initially I believed all universities were part of a centralized platform, Jodi helped me realize that some universities prefer otherwise, and a direct application via their website would be necessary. Subsequently, an initial application is required by all universities which comprises our personal details, grades, transcripts and as such.
However, a key takeaway was the requirement of a supplementary application by some universities - especially for those competitive programs. As a high school student, this requirement is the most daunting as it expects creativity, critical thinking and logical abilities. Nevertheless, Jodi was able to make this process less daunting by outlining what it is, how to be successful, myths to avoid, and some tips to follow.
Firstly, Jodi outlined the different forms a supplementary application can take. Initially, I believed that a supplementary application was synonymous with an essay. However, I learnt that it can be in many forms such as an interview, short/long answers, audition, portfolio, tests/assessments, and a resume. One of my key takeaways to be successful in this application was to prepare ahead of time, follow all the required guidelines and to do your best. Although this sounds simple, they are key to your success as time management allows you to present your best work.
On the other hand, one of the things that I enjoyed the most about this Think Tank was the interactive section during which we practiced attending an interview with our peers with commonly asked questions. This was tremendously helpful in assessing my own interview skills as well as gaining knowledge into it. For example, I learnt about the STAR method to answer situational based questions. The STAR method is as follows:
Situation: introduce the situation and set the scene
Task: describe the task/issue; what needed to be done and why?
Action: speak about the actions you took (solutions)
Results: What was the result of your action (positive impact)
This advice from Jodi is beyond helpful as it provides a concrete form to the fluid, unpredictable nature of an interview. Thus, today’s Think Tank was able to boost my confidence regarding interview skills for not only university applications but for any other as well. Additionally, this interactive session also helped me to make a new friend and establish a relationship with my partner to get to know my Illuminate cohort a little better!
Lastly, upon asking a question to Jodi regarding how to choose the programs to apply to, I received wonderful advice being to first brainstorm the fields of study that you absolutely don’t want to do. This will help narrow the options for me and will be easier than thinking of the programs that I do like. Subsequently, she advised me to reflect over my high school classes regarding which I enjoyed the most and the least. This was amazing guidance and I will be definitely using this to help me pick my programs of choice.
Overall, this Think Tank was a wonderful opportunity for me to enhance my understanding of university admissions to better prepare me for next year when I have to undergo this process.