Trying to understand the Admissions process and procedure for each school you are applying to can be extremely difficult, confusing and frustrating. Applying to post-secondary is stressful, it can be expensive and you don’t want to make mistakes. We understand. In fact, I remember when I applied to OCAD U and was completely overwhelmed. It’s almost as if the process alone is a test, it certainly can feel that way!

Here are some tips for making things a little bit easier. A lot of it will seem like common sense, but we see it everyday:

Take responsibility. As you move from a high school student to a post-secondary student, you’re going to find that things are left up to you more and more. We consider you as an adult. You’re not going to be able to depend on your teachers, guidance councilors and parents forever. Post-secondary institutions, OCAD U included, must abide by FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) which means we are not allowed to share any personal information about you or your application with anyone other than you.  Take action and speak up on your own behalf. I know it might seem scary, but we’re here to help and it’ll make things easier down the road too!

Check your email. Like a lot. Everyday. As we move into a digital era, email becomes the main way to communicate with students, and you need to keep on top of it, so that you are not missing important information, dates, deadlines or opportunities.  The excuse of “I didn’t get the email” won’t fly with a post-secondary institution. Also, be sure to check your junk/spam file from time to time. You might consider making folders for each school you’ve applied to, to help save and organize all of the emails you are going to get. We know it’s going to be a lot.

Communicate properly.  Remember that an email is a letter, not a text message. It should include a Dear _____, and should be signed with your full name. If you have questions, be sure to word them in a way we will understand, and in complete sentences. Remember that Admissions offices receive hundreds of emails everyday, so if you make it easier to respond to your request, you’ll get all the answers you need, and faster. Same goes for voice mail messages – make sure you leave your full name and phone number. We want to be able to help you – help us answer all of your questions.

Read the website carefully. Same thing goes for emailed responses, offer letters and any other communication. We want everything served to us in a quick and easy way these days. I get it, I’m the same way. But when it comes to choosing and understanding the post-secondary school you want to apply to, you have to really understand it. This means reading all of the information provided on the website, and reading it carefully. It might require a bit of research. If you have a question, look for the answer on the website. Usually, it’s there. If you have questions, ask.

Keep Notes/Make a checklist. It doesn’t matter how you go about it, but it’s a good idea to keep track of everything. You could make yourself a check list for each school. Write down the important dates and deadlines for each school you are applying to. Maybe it’s a binder with all the information you need, or a folder on your computer. Maybe it’s a bulletin board in your bedroom, or a whiteboard you have in your locker at school. Keep track. When is your application due? How can you submit your application? What other documents do they need? When are they due?  Keep track, it’ll make your life easier.

Ask Questions. If you are confused or unsure about something in any post-secondary schools admissions process, ask! Ask a teacher or parent to read the information on the website you are unsure about. Contact the admissions office to be certain. It would be a pity to make a mistake that would leave you disqualified from the admissions process, when it could have been avoided.

Let us know. If you have a disability, let us know so we can provide the necessary support. If you require extra financial assistance, ask if there are any programs in place to help you out. Family emergency or medical situation cause you to miss a deadline, let us know so we can see if there is anything we can do. If you’re not going to meet the requirements, ask if there are exceptions, bridging programs and other alternatives. Realize that no matter your situation, an exception cannot always be made because post-secondary institutions have rules, policies and standards –  but it doesn’t hurt to self advocate and ask. What’s the worst that can happen? You never know what kind of systems of support exist.


Remember, if you want to become an OCAD U student, it’s my job to help you get here. get in touch!