Getting Accepted to a Canadian University – How to Distinguish Yourself

Applying for university requires a few prerequisites; for example, filling out an application for admittance.   Not only are university recruiters looking for applicants who have good grades, they are also searching for someone who has been committed to an activity or club for a long period of time and who has distinct passions and interests.  Students typically aren’t accepted to university on academic strength alone, they are accepted for being a well-rounded person and who are likely to contribute to society after graduation.  

Admissions coordinator at Mount Allison University, Curtis Michaelis says, “We always like to see the type of student who’s very well rounded. Exposure to a wide range of activities and people makes you more dynamic and helps you stand out.”

If your high school student is starting to think about their future education, here are some steps to ensure that they stand out on their applications.

Follow your passions

If recruiters are looking for applicants who are well-rounded, then it is best your student participates in an extracurricular activity that they feel passionately about.  Regardless if the activity is playing a musical instrument, volunteering at a shelter or playing a sport, joining outside activities allows students to develop their skills and shine on university applications. 

Show what makes you unique

Universities look to attract a diverse student body, so tell your student to set themselves apart from the crowd.  Is there something they participate in that is unique to them, or that many other students don’t participate in? Be sure to play up their strengths and differences on the application so that they will stand out.

Job shadow

Taking a part-time job during the high school years shows that your student is committed to responsibility.  It also shows that they know how to manage their time, especially when outside activities are thrown into the mix.  Even more appealing to university admission recruiters; seeing an applicant who has job shadowed or interned with a professional or business.  This shows that your student is eager to put the time and effort into learning about their career of choice, or what they might pursue at university.  

Despite good grades and extracurricular activities, the cost of university tuition and its related expenses can add up quickly.  That’s why it’s best to invest in your child’s post-secondary education as early as possible so that when the time comes, you will be able to support them financially.  In Canada, Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) through providers like Children’s Education Funds Inc. (CEFI) are a helpful way to set money aside for higher education.  The money you put into an RESP grows tax-deferred and can be used towards your student’s tuition, books, transportation, etc. when the time comes.  

Lastly, be sure your student adheres to university application deadlines, and follow up with the admissions office to learn whether they’re in the running.  Students who focus on the journey instead of waiting until the last minute to boost their applications will be far better off.