There are many ways to make the decision to apply for post-secondary studies. You may choose to base it on:
- Disability services and access (e.g. Will you receive the accommodations and supports you need?)
- Location (e.g. Are you prepared to move away to study?)
- Funding (e.g. Can you afford to pay for a 4-year program, while living away from home?)
- Type of institution (e.g. Do you prefer college or university?)
- Quality and reputation of post-secondary institution or program (e.g. Is it important to you that your degree comes from a well-recognized program at a prestigious university?
You may also decide to base your decision on the choice that feels right. However, don’t pick a school simply because it offers a specific major, as you may change your major at least once during your post-secondary education.
All Canadian provinces and territories now process applications on-line. Work with your high school counsellor to understand the process and the necessary information needed to complete the on-line application form. High school counsellors are very knowledgeable in this area, so take advantage of their expertise.
Dates and Deadlines for most Post-secondary Institutions
Be sure to go on-line and make careful note of the dates and deadlines for your chosen college or university. You are expected to meet important deadlines for the following:
- Admission requirements and deadlines.
- Responding to an offer of admission.
- Responding to an offer of residence accommodation.
- Registration for courses.
- Fee payment.
- Documentation requirements for the program.
- Documentation and assessment requirements for requesting accommodations or assistive technology.
Not everyone takes the same educational path. You may be coming back to school after several years away due to illness or family commitments. Or you may be returning to school to upgrade your skills in order to make a job or career change. Many colleges and universities have procedures in place to encourage mature students to re-enter educational institutions. You are considered a mature if you have been out of high school for more than 2 to 3 years and are over a certain age. You may or may not have a high school diploma.
As a mature student you may be:
- Exempt from some admission requirements.
- Encouraged or required to take non-credit preparation courses to help upgrade your skills (e.g. writing skills).
- Required to write tests as part of the admission process, particularly if you did not complete a high school diploma or your marks were low.
- Required to write placement tests once you are admitted to determine what courses you must take in your first year.
Contact the college or university's admissions office, or visit their website, to find out about the specific admission requirements for mature students.
If you need academic accommodations to write admission or placement tests, you can arrange them with the college or university's Disability Services Office or the organization administering the test.
Transition Planning Guide for Students with Disabilities and Their Families, Alberta Learning. Your Education-Your Future, Canadian Mental Heath Association, www.cmha.ca/youreducation.