BACK TO SCHOOL
All good things must come to an end. In the Northern Hemisphere, summer is officially over. That can only mean one thing: It’s back to school we go. The first few days of school are exciting. It’s time to catch up with old friends and to make new ones. While it’s tempting to stretch out the holidays just a bit longer, don’t delay too much, especially if you’re entering your senior year.
Depending on where you’re applying, admission application deadlines may come as early as November 1. Preparing a strong application requires planning, focus and lots of effort. At the same time, you’re likely tackling the most difficult set of courses of your high school career. You’re also expected to perform at a high level. If you haven’t already started working on applications, you can avoid the stress of deadlines by getting started as soon as possible.
ADMISSION APPLICATION MILESTONES
The following graphic shows some general milestones in the application processes for Canadian, American and British universities. In the case of Canada, you’ll notice there are two timelines: one for Ontario students, and another for students outside of Ontario.
Two key differences among the admission processes are the dates on which applications open and close. In general, applications to American universities are submitted earlier, particularly if the student is applying under an early application plan. As a result, our students applying to American universities, and a few of our keen applicants to Canadian and British universities, worked on personal statements and essays throughout the summer.
UNITED STATES AND UNITED KINGDOM
Our goal is to have personal and supplemental statements for American universities completed by mid-October at the latest. Activities listings should be completed by this time too. If the student is not applying under an early application plan, we have more time and use timelines similar to those applying to British universities. In the case of students applying to British universities, our aim is to have personal statements ready well before the January 15 application deadline, ideally by November.
Applicants to Canadian universities have a little more time. The reason being that most universities generally have a two-step admission application process. The first step requires students to submit an application containing bio-demographic information and identifying preferred universities and/or programs. Universities then invite students to provide supplemental information. While we encourage our students to complete the first step of the application in early to mid November, personal statements and interviews are generally not completed until early in the new year.
A note on interviews. We find that the self-evaluation and preparation required for personal statements is excellent preparation for interviews. We will, of course, also prepare our students for interviews on a one-on-one basis.
Why is it possible to complete the American essays so much earlier?
The answer is simple. American portals, like the Common and Coalition applications, release personal statement prompt in the spring. Therefore, students have the summer to work on these. UCAS , the application used for British universities, does not provide a prompt, so students can write on their interest but are encouraged to link it to their preferred program of study. And finally, as noted earlier, Canadian universities generally provide their prompts after the student submits an application. British Columbia, McGill and Concordia are notable outliers. So, depending on where the student is applying, students tend to first focus on American applications, and then turn their attention to those for Canadian and British universities.