University Application Important Dates
As I start my first day of university tomorrow, I’d like to share with you grade 12’s the process of applying to university. This post will be a brief timeline and will only contain information about Ontario universities. I didn’t apply to Out of Province universities so I’m not knowledgable about that. By the way, I went to a semestered school in Ontario.
Ontario University Fair (OUF): The OUF is running from September 19th to 21st this year at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. All universities in Ontario will be there! They typically will bring admission officers, recruitment/marketing officers, undergrad students and professors. Make sure you come prepared with questions. If not, don’t worry because they’re all really friendly people.
Parent-Teacher night: To be honest, this night isn’t very important. However, by this date, your teachers should provide you with a mark update. If you’re doing well, keep up the good work! Make sure you don’t lose momentum and slack off. If you’re doing “meh”, then this is the time you have to start working even harder. If you’re doing poorly, this is your wake up call. These next few months determine the rest of your life. So why waste this opportunity?
Halloween: HAVE FUN! Remember grade 12 is supposed to be the fun year!
University fall open house: These typically run in late October and early November. You can drive to your desired school and check out their campus. This is very useful for checking the culture, both academic and social.
Pro tip: If you’re interested in Waterloo Engineering, definitely apply for a shadow day. I participated in one last year and I really enjoyed it. It’s basically a one-on-one tour with a Waterloo Engineering student!
Semester 1 midterm marks: You’re getting closer and closer to the end of Semester 1 (or midterms for those non-semesters kids). Basically follow the same advice I gave for Parent-Teacher night. This set of marks are NOT reported to Ontario universities. So you have some breathing room, if your marks aren’t what you’d like to them to be.
OUAC Pins handed out: Around mid-late November (sometimes even early December), your school will hand out your Ontario University Application Centre pins. Now you can start applying to University! YAY! You can browse through your programs and then apply. Applying is very simple. All you have to do is choose your programs and then pay. You have to pay $130 for your first 3 programs, and then additional $44 for each program beyond the initial 3. Note: You must pay $130, even if you apply to one university. You will be able to see all of you grade 11 courses under academic information.
Week before Winter break: For some reason, everyone tends to slack off this time of year. (I did too) Make sure you keep doing your homework and maintain your work ethic, otherwise it’ll cost you a couple of % on your final mark. Just hang in there for a bit!
Winter break: During the break, I would strongly recommend to work on your supplementary application. Most competitive programs require a supplementary application. Generally, you have to write a few short essay responses and list your extracurricular activities. At Waterloo, if you don’t fill out the AIF, you may not be considered for admission. Make sure when you’re done to have a peer or teacher edit it. The supplementary is important for both admission and scholarship purposes. I will cover this in another post.
Back from break: So you’re back from the break. You have about 3-4 weeks, until semester one is done. Keep on working hard and prepare well for the exams. If it comes down to a shortage of time, focus on your program’s required courses.
Super-early admission offers: Some universities will hand out super-early admission offers to students with amazing grade 11 marks (or grade 12 if they fast tracked) in December/January. Don’t be concerned if you don’t receive an offer at this time. Some programs don’t even hand out offers during this time.
Supplementary application deadlines: Most apps are due in February, some are due a bit later. Submit them! Don’t wait until the last minute to do them. Please, I can’t stress this enough.
Semester 1 final marks uploaded on OUAC: Your school will report your marks to OUAC and universities will be able to see them.
Early admission offers: Many programs will hand out offers during late February/early March based on your Semester 1 final marks. They typically hand out a small portion of their offers. For example, Waterloo Engineering only handed out roughly a quarter to a third of their offers during the early round.
March open house: Same thing as above, check them out if you’re interested.
Continuous round of offers: Some programs hand out continuous offers throughout March and April. Waterloo Engineering does this for out of province students. If you’re an Ontario student, don’t expect an offer during this time span.
Semester 2 midterm marks: In mid-late April, semester 2 midterm marks will be up on OUAC. By this point, you’ve done all you could to help your cause. Now, your fate is in the hands of the admission officers.
Huge round of offers (“regular admission”): This is pretty much the final and largest round of offers. Universities will hand out the offers they have left. If you received an offer, CONGRATULATIONS! If not, then oh well, you tried your best right? If you still want to get in the program, I suggest you apply to be on the wait list. There’s also another type of offer- alternate offer. If your application was not strong enough for the program you applied to, universities sometimes give you an alternate offer to a less competitive program.
Prom: Have fun. You’ve waited the whole year for this.
Deadline to accept your offer on OUAC: Last year was June 2nd, this year I think it’s June 1st. Accept your offer! It might be hard choosing between two or more programs, but follow your heart. Don’t make anyone else make that decision for you. Speak to your teachers, family, university alumni, and etc.
Apply to OSAP: If you require funding for your studies, definitely apply to OSAP. I might post a detailed guide on this some other day. Listen to me when I say this: don’t procrastinate on this. It might seem like work, but remember, this is money you’re dealing with. I recommend you guys to apply before June 15th. You’ll get funding estimates earlier and if you made a mistake, you can fix it earlier.
Maintain your conditional offer: All universities hand out conditional offers. This means that you have to keep a specific mark in your pre-req’s and top 6 average, or some variant of this. Usually the conditional averages they require are tens of % below your admission average. However, make sure you don’t cross below the threshold. Your offer may be at risk.
Wait list: Sometimes, if you’re in the right place at the right time, you can get off the wait list and receive a late offer to your desired university program! Don’t bank on this though. I’m just throwing the idea out there.
I guess I have covered the basics of the university application timeline. If you prepare well, it won’t be that stressful. Anyways, good luck on your grade 12 year!