Friday, October 29th, 2010

Applying to University: Paperwork and the Waiting Game, Part 1

Applying to University

Applying to university can be a frightening process.

It was September of twelfth grade, and I had ten months left in high school.

…I hadn’t applied to university yet. Uh oh. I really ought to do that. (Moment of abject terror. Why? Why was I procrastinating? Was it the mound of paperwork? No, I don’t mind paperwork in and of itself. Was it possibly the feeling of teetering on the brink of independence and feeling like instead of jumping, I was about to trip over it? Maybe, but that’s another blog.)

I’ve counted myself lucky among my peers for a long time in that I’ve known for several years where I wanted to go to university, and in what program – so my application hunt was pretty simple as they go, but no less stressful. Actually, the fact that I was only applying to one university was fairly stressful on its own, sort of like I had no safety net. What if I didn’t get in – then what would I do? Oh dear.

Applying to university is a frightening process in and of itself. Once you get in, registration is a whole other process that’s just as frightening. Applying for scholarships. Applying for residence, and then registering formally. And of course, after every step in the process, there comes a period of waiting. Waiting can be a horrible, horrible thing.

So here’s how it all went down.

I’d picked my university. Time to start hunting down forms. I wanted to get my application done quickly, because I knew that my twelfth-grade year was going to be packed with work, and stress about university was something I wanted to avoid (to the extent that I could, anyway).

The university I chose has a decent website, although it can be a bit of a maze. I’d gone hunting through it already a couple times in previous years to find out more information about the program I wanted and what the requirements were. Once I found the form I needed, I saved it to my hard drive.

The application form itself was fairly standard and not too scary. (The scary part was thinking that I was actually filling it out and was going to university next year.) Name, social insurance number, marital status, home and permanent address, other various personal information. I was doing fine so far.

The first slightly-intimidating question was the question of admission routes. There were a couple handfuls of options and it took up half a page. For me, though, it was still pretty simple: I was going to university straight out of high school, so I was a standard applicant. I was applying for Advanced Early Admission (apply by December 1). I had completed and was completing International Baccalaureate courses. None of the other boxes on that question concerned me. The box I had checked off about Advanced Early Admission, however, noted that I needed a transcript. I marked that detail down and went onward in the application.

Previous and current education. That was easy – just fill in my high school’s details. Provincial school number. I had that one already, thankfully – otherwise that would have been a hunt all on its own (probably solved by a trip to the school office, or finding an old report card).

What term was I applying for? Fall/Winter 2010. What program? Checked off the program I want. Did I need a residence application? Yes. Other various identification bits. Signed and sent. (Figuratively, though, since I applied online.)

I still had to get and send the transcript, plus two letters of reference since I was applying to a specialized music program. I didn’t like the idea of sending things separately, but figured it would all be okay in the end (or so I tried to convince myself). The next Monday I went down to the school office and asked for a copy of my transcript. They said they’d call when it was ready. They did, I got it, I read it, and I sent it off to the university. The letters of reference I got from my band teacher and from a piano teacher of mine, and they both sent them straight to the university.

One step down, who knows how many more to go. And then the waiting. I tried to be as distracted as much as possible by schoolwork, but it was still there, in the back of my head, gnawing away at my brain… Would I get in?

Read part two of Applying to University: Paperwork and the Waiting Game.

How did your application process go? Let us know in the comments.

Emily Diehl
Author: Emily Diehl
Emily Diehl is currently attending the Brandon University School of Music as a voice major.
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