'Survival' Tips for University Race

'Survival' Tips for University Race

By Ivy Nguyen – Vice-president of CIS Alumni Association, first year student of University of Ottawa (Canada)

First of all, you should be thinking about your goal during your grade 11, or as early as you’re in grade 12. Researching about the program and universities you’re interested is definitely a good start! Talking to teachers, senior students or your school advisor to make a list of possible programs. Review your criteria and qualifications to fulfill the admission requirements. And don’t be afraid to contact the university for any questions or just to find out more!

Ivy Nguyen – Vice-president of CIS Alumni Association, first year student of University of Ottawa (Canada)

Secondly, you should start early and take your time. The application process is stressful and time-consuming. You will have to fill application form, writing essays while studying for exams! Therefore, it’s absolutely a good idea to not wait until a month before deadline. You want your application to be well-prepared!

Thirdly: your application. Universities usually take the three following into consideration when assessing application: your academic profile (grade), essays (personal statement), and extra co-curricular activities. References are also required, especially when applying for scholarship.

For this issue, I want to put a special emphasis on the essay. Once you meet the cut-off range (admission average grade), your essays will be the weapon to differentiate yourself from other applicants. Remember that the person reading your application form will want to know in what ways you ‘connect’ with your chosen subject and the university environment. They will look for motivated students who can articulate their aims and have the potential to succeed on the course.

Tip: Proofread your essays before you submit them! Unique and well-structured essays are the ones that will have the most attention.

Last but not least, always have a back-up plan! This is not negative—it’s realistic. Didn’t get in? Money fell through? What’s your plan B? Let’s understand that plan B does not mean the worse one; it’s the safer one!

Beside good grades, keep in mind that university takes a great interest in students who:

  • Have leadership experience
  • Participate in interesting extra co-curricular activities
  • Have sportsmanship
  • Active in their community
  • Do great volunteer works

The race to university is a competitive one! It is good to get ahead the race and be unique! Relax, believe in yourself and you can do it!

Ivy Nguyen – Vice-president of CIS Alumni Association, first year student of University of Ottawa (Canada)