Student responsibilities in the university selection process
Last week, I outlined some of the support services offered by the University Counselling Office. This week, I shall focus on some of your responsibilities in the process of selecting and applying for universities:
1. Take charge! As we have stressed in our meetings with you and with your parents, choosing and applying to universities is an important aspect of your transition to adulthood. In just over a year from now, you will be in a university environment in which you will be treated as an autonomous and mature individual. You will not be ready for that experience unless you begin the move towards a more independent outlook during your Leaving Class year. Some students complain that their parents are overly involved in the process of selecting and applying to universities. The best way to avoid what you may perceive to be interference or nagging (and what is, in reality, usually just loving concern) is to demonstrate to your parents that, while you welcome their advice and support, you are capable of organizing and managing much of the process yourself. Get on those websites; read your newsletters and the handouts we provide; attend relevant workshops; make sure you know about and meet deadlines; make a point of initiating conversations with your parents about what you are thinking and feeling. Both you and they will feel better if you do!
2. Pay attention! Based on my experience with this year’s Leaving Class, it was evident that some students did not make a practice of reading their newsletters regularly and carefully. Remember all those times your teachers pointed out that attention to detail was crucial for academic success? This strategy is as important for the university application process as it is for exams, essays, and lab reports. Read your school e-mail regularly: we may send updated information between newsletters. Enable the University Counselling Office (UCO) calendar in your Google Calendar so you don’t miss upcoming events. Remember that dates and locations of events or appointments may change: always check for the most recent information.
3. Book appointments! As I mentioned in the last newsletter, you should book in person, by email, or, in the case of parents, by phone, through Ms. Berndsen. We schedule appointments in your spares, before and after school and at lunch or recess.
4. Complete your Career Studies assignments! The various assignments built into the Career Studies courses are intended not only to ensure that you earn your mandatory credit in the OSSD, but also to support you in the application process and in the transition to post-secondary study. Students who have already earned the credit in their previous school or who came to UCC in IB1 do not need to submit assignments for grading, but we encourage these boys to complete the activities as they will benefit from doing so.
5. Get organized! Essentially, the task ahead requires the same kind of research, analytical, and organizational skills that you learned (we hope!) during the Extended Essay process. The end product is the sum of a number of smaller steps, and it is essential to make a list of tasks to be completed and a schedule to enable you to meet the deadlines. Breaking a big project down into manageable stages makes it much less intimidating. Put all the information related to your research, reflections, and applications in one place — a file box with dividers is a good idea or a folder on your laptop. Save each newsletter to a folder in your Gmail.
6. Respect deadlines! Some UCC students tend to be a bit lax about deadlines. In the university application process, however, you cannot afford to ignore due dates as in many cases, they are non-negotiable. Universities often will not accept applications after the stated due dates and there is little our office can do to help you. Because our office often has a great deal of paperwork to process on your behalf when you are applying for admission or for scholarships, we must set deadlines that are earlier than those stated on the applications you may be reading. Please pay careful attention to the University Counselling Office deadlines as published in the newsletter; missing those deadlines may jeopardize your application.