Choosing a university program can be one of the most exciting opportunities for students to start making decisions about their future. Here is some information that you can share with your children about university admissions and suggestions on how to approach the university exploration and application process.
The importance of starting early
Students should begin investigating programs and universities in their first year of college. Applying to multiple programs at different universities, each with its own set of admission requirements, requires a lot of organization and planning. The work students devote now to understanding options and admission requirements will significantly minimize stress next year when they apply. Some university application deadlines are as early as October of the year preceding the start date, and scholarship application deadlines are often earlier than program application deadlines.
How universities assess applications
University entrance requirements vary widely by school and program. For some programs, the only criteria used for admissions is academic performance. Other programs require a personal statement, a CV, samples of written work, proof of proficiency in English or French, an audition or interview, a portfolio, admission tests or recommendation letters.
The R-Score (cote R) is a calculation of Quebec college students’ grades used by the province’s universities when they consider applicants for admissions. You can learn more about our students’ R-Scores here.
How to obtain information about university
Academic Advisors help students explore university programs and provide guidance on the application process. They can clarify procedures, discuss the various components of their application and help students plan a timeline to gather all required material in time for the various deadlines. Together with the Writing Centre professionals, Academic Advisors can also provide feedback on application essays and résumés.
Academic Advisors meet one-on-one with students during scheduled meetings and drop-in hours, and host webinars and workshops throughout the year, covering various university programs and application procedures. For example, students can attend info sessions about applying to Medicine programs, Law school, and universities in Ontario and the United States. Information sessions are posted to students in Omnivox under “Documents and Messages.” Information on how students can meet with an Academic Advisor is available here.
Students can also meet with one of our Counsellors, who help students explore career pathways and provide guidance to students who are unsure of what they might like to study in university. Counsellors meet one-on-one with students during scheduled meetings, and organize workshops on skills and interests assessment and career exploration. A good place to begin the career exploration process is on myblueprint.ca, a platform that students can use to find out more about themselves and their interests and explore university programs and careers. Students can find information on how to access the platform in Omnivox. Information on how students can meet with a Counsellor is available here.
We also encourage students to begin the university exploration process early by attending university Open Houses in their first year at Marianopolis. Most Open Houses take place in October and November. You can find the days, times, and registration information on each university’s website. The dates for the main universities in Montreal will also be shared with students through Omnivox.
Supporting students in their university planning
One of the biggest challenges students face when it comes to planning for university is choosing what they will study. As parents, you can encourage them to start learning about different universities and potential fields of study early on. University websites are comprehensive and it takes time and patience to research all the options. Attending Open Houses is a good way to learn more about the schools that interest them. Virtual or in-person campus tours are often available as well. Encourage them to seek the help of an Academic Advisor in understanding university terminology, program options and admission requirements. Academic Advisors can also help them find out how to navigate university websites to find information that will help them in their research and exploration.
It is also important to remind them to stay open-minded and to avoid an all-or-nothing approach to choosing a program or university. Some students feel responsible for making the “right decision” about what to study and where. In reality, there are multiple paths they can take to achieve their educational and career goals. At the same time, if a student is applying to a highly selective university program, or if they are unsure that they will meet the minimum entrance requirements, they must remain flexible so they can reorient and explore parallel options. You can help them navigate this process and formulate contingency plans in order to minimize stress.
Students also rely on you and their close family members and friends to gain a better understanding of the different paths available to them and how to navigate the decisions they have to make. They may be curious as to how people in their close circle chose the paths they followed and what attracted them to their current careers. Be open to discussions around university and career exploration and, where possible, expose them to the variety of careers and paths that people in your network have followed. These conversations can be very informative and allow them to open their minds to opportunities that they may not have thought of exploring.