The University of Alberta consistently ranks among the top 5 universities in Canada and top 150 in the world. It has a notable reputation for excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, business, engineering, and health sciences. Along with all of these outstanding attributes, it is also one of the few universities in Canada to offer combined degree programs. This allows students to obtain two bachelor degrees in five years. As someone who wanted to study both Education and Theatre this placed the University of Alberta at the top of my list when choosing post secondary studies
However as a first generation university student I was unsure of what the steps would be to get into such an institution. I knew it required good grades, which I lacked at the time. Before attending high school I asked my teachers for advice. They drilled the importance of improving my grades which confirmed what I already knew. If I wanted to get into a university such as the University of Alberta I would have to work harder than ever.
I set my mindset and prioritised my studying, earning grades that secured me a spot in my high school's International Baccalaureate program. The next three years altered my trajectory and by the time I was in my final year of high school I was well on track to apply for university. I was committed to a full IB course load and even took an additional class to prove I was dedicated to my academics. I was heavily involved on my school's student council as well, attending both provincial and federal leadership conferences. I also participated in our schools competitive swim club and took on a heavy role within our theatre department. I wanted to ensure that I remained diverse in my interests to showcase myself as a well rounded applicant. When the time came I sat down with my teachers, who had seen my growth and commitment over the past three years, and with their guidance I applied for the University of Alberta. Based off of my predicted grades from the International Baccalaureate program I got offered guaranteed early admission.
When I first started dreaming of university I could have never imagined such an outcome. I learnt that it is integral to academic success to clearly communicate with your teachers and work together to meet your goals. They want you to succeed and they know how to help you on your path. It also makes learning a lot more enjoyable when you build a good rapport with your professors. This is something I still ensure I do whenever I take a new class. Not only does it create a dialogue where you can ask for help when you need it, but it also opens the door to networking which will open doors for internships, career development or recommendations when applying for masters programs.
I am endlessly proud of all the hard work I put in while I was attending high school. It helped pave a smooth path into university for me. I highly recommend anyone looking to apply for a post secondary to sit down with your teachers and make a plan together. With a plan and hard work, anything is possible.