Tips on Putting Together an Application Package
Career Path : Career Tips
When you’re taking that big leap in the next stage of your life and looking at pursuing post-secondary education, an application package is one of the most important tools that you’ll create to put your best foot forward. By this point, you’ve most likely been endlessly told about the impact that your choice of post-secondary education will have on your long term career and overall life plans.
However, before you start referring to Canadian college directories or start writing that short list of schools that you would like to attend as the first step in creating your application package, you should decide what you would like as a career. Do you want to work in the trades and attend a technical school? Or are you more creative and would you feel more at home at a fine arts school? Once you have decided on your options, it is recommended that you tailor your application to each school that interests you. Take the time to read school news to find information that relates directly to the schools where you are applying to give you that competitive edge.
Here is a list of areas that should be considered when putting together your application package:
1. Academic Focus
This is the most important factor to consider when applying to post-secondary institutions. Some questions that you should be considering when deciding are:
- What am I good at?
- Which courses did I enjoy the most in high school?
- What do I like doing in my free time?
- What type of job can I picture myself doing in the future?
Once you’ve done some soul searching and have thought about the answers to all of these questions, you should have a good idea of what you want to study. If you hated every minute of math class, then becoming an engineer probably isn’t the best idea. Alternatively, if your favorite class was English, you enjoy reading novels and writing short stories, journalism might be a natural fit. These are questions that only you can answer. Educational articles are a great way to learn more about what the schools that you are considering applying to.
For those of you who are interested in working in the creative industry, this section will be very important as schools will be deciding your acceptance partly based on your natural ability. For example, if you are interested in a journalism program, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t have writing samples. It’s very easy to create your own personal blog or to contribute articles to a local newspaper to gain some real world experience for your portfolio and give potential schools an idea of your ability and creativity.
3. Volunteer Experience
At this point in your career, depending on provincial requirements, you have most likely accumulated a certain amount of hours of volunteer experience. For many students, this volunteer experience may have been their first experience working and becoming familiar with an industry that they may want to work in, in the future.
Be sure to detail your volunteer experience in your application package when you are writing your statement of intent or personal statement of experience to create a clear link demonstrating how volunteering directly relates to your long term academic goals. For example, if you spent your time volunteering working on an organic farm and are interested in a career as a landscape architect, then try to relate the two areas in your application. Schools are interested in students who will make the best use of their education in the long term.
Although working on your application might feel stressful now, ultimately you will get into a post-secondary institution and putting together an application package will feel like a thing of the past!