I was wary about wanting to go to university initially because it can cost so. Much. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to start your adult life in debt or with very little money in general. But, often what you get out of university you can’t get anywhere else. In my case of wanting to be in healthcare, it is hard to get a job where you haven’t been to post-secondary school.
Because of this, I have made it my goal to get through debt-free. This will encourage me to get real-life work experience, allow me to justify school more, begin adult life more financially stable and be able to also afford graduate studies if that’s the path I choose.
How I’m working on getting through school debt free
Currently, I have implemented a few plans.
Scholarships – I talked about scholarships in a previous post. I have also read that it’s a good idea to apply for at least 3 a year. So, in future years I will continue to apply for more scholarships.
The blog – I have set up ads on the blog which provide a small income. Every little thing helps! And as the blog grows, so does the income.
Staying at home – Instead of moving out for school, I will be staying at home. Then I don’t have to buy food, furniture or anything for decorating, or pay rent or extra fees for residence.
Choosing a school near home – This way I can bike or take public transportation into school as opposed to getting a car.
A cheaper school program – Completely accidental, but I chose one of the cheapest programs that the university offers.
Working part-time during school – I work when school is out to make more money to pay for school and save for the future.
More work experience – In the school program there are terms special for just working and getting experience. This will help in the future for getting a better job as well as bring in extra income.
Saving money is definitely key and lots of opportunities for a little income all add up.
After starting online school courses, I found out that made me eligible for automatic entrance scholarships at schools. These are awarded upon admission when your average grade is 85% or higher. Usually, they are one time awards that will be taken off of tuition pricing. At the school I applied for, they range from $1,000 to $2,000 plus money off if you do a semester abroad. These awards are great because you don’t have to do anything extra to apply for them.
Thankfully, my grades were high enough to qualify for one of these entrance scholarships! I still haven’t found any others to apply to but that’s not going to stop me in future years.
Coming up soon will be a post on how I am trying to get through university debt free!
After a few setbacks and much work, I was accepted into my top choice university!!
University Number 1 only did admissions throughout the month of May. So, I was expecting to have to wait towards the end of the month or at least later on to hear back from the school. The first day of May I didn’t even check the application centre. But, the next morning I did and it read that there was an offer of admission! I thought that the school would have emailed right away, but they ended up sending an email more than a week later so I was glad I checked the application centre. Later on, the sent a letter in the mail letting me know as well as a handwritten letter from the academic advisor welcoming me to the school.
I revoked my applications to the other two schools and accepted this offer. Along with the offer of admission I was also awarded a scholarship for high marks, which will further help my goal of I debt free.
I’m so relieved that the school accepted and that they accepted early on so the suspense was finally over. Also, that I get a backpack for school for the first time.
Just because I was accepted it does not mean I’m done! The first step is to finish the coursework with marks that align with the admission offer conditions. Step 2, write the final exams for the courses. More on the experience of this later, after I actually take the exams! Exams will have to be graded and sent back to me before the school’s document deadline. Currently, I am working on studying and preparing for the finals, then I will be done!
Because of choosing to live at home during university there is less to prepare for, which is also much less stressful!
My school of choice starts admissions in May (fingers crossed for acceptance!!) so in mid-March, just before spring break, I emailed the admissions office to double check that everything was OK for applying. I highly recommend doing this, especially if you’re homeschooled, to ensure you have everything you need for the application process. Admissions wrote back and said that I would need to take the required courses for Kinesiology through an Ontario high school in order to be considered for admissions. In retrospect, this makes complete sense and they had said that in the requirements, but I assumed that it was just the school saying it was easier for them if you go to public school for grade 12. They want everyone to be evaluated as fairly as possible, so having homeschool applicants take at least the required courses through a public school takes everyone to a level playing field.
In order to be considered for Fall 2018, I had to submit progress grades within 2 weeks (hence the short hiatus) of having emailed the school. This meant that taking these required courses at a public school was not an option for the time crunch. So, I enrolled in an online public school that allows students to work at their own pace. In future posts, I will talk more about the experience of switching to an online public school. Progress grades were submitted within the short time limits and currently, I’m working on fully finishing the courses!
Some points if I were to do this again/tips
Email admissions early! About as soon as you apply, that way you have plenty of time to do whatever else may be required.
They only required 4 courses in the final year to be taken with a public school, so you do not need a whole year’s course load at a public school. Other schools may be different, though. I only double checked with my #1 school choice.
It was actually a benefit having a time crunch because it forced me to get lots of schoolwork done. Good motivation.
The first term of grade 12 can be homeschool courses (I would take things relating to the required public school courses because there would be less pressure initially and more time to fully learn concepts) and the second term can be public school courses.
Even though it’s been stressful, overall it’s not too bad. The more I work for this the better it will feel once it’s over and hopefully once they accept.
As I’m working to get optimum mid-term marks to send into universities I will not be blogging as much, for a bit. Once the marks are in I will be back with lots more new content! Thank you for your patience, everyone. 😊
Last weekend was the start of March Break here, most universities have open houses and it’s a great time to check out schools either before you apply or after.
Last year’s tour VS this year
The mission of the tour last year was to see the buildings I would spend most of my time in and check out some of the residences on campus. Over the course of the year, I decided that residence was not a good idea for me, mostly to save money and because I live close to the school that I want to go to so it would be easier to live at home. This year’s tour mission was much more specific in what I was looking for since everything has been sorted out and I know this is my school of choice. I went to find updated brochures for 2018 admission, to check out the gyms because I didn’t get to last time and look for a locker as a place to keep things on campus.
The open house
I went to a sample lecture as soon as I got to the school. It was pretty interesting and good to see one of the bigger classrooms and what that experience would be like.
After the lecture ended it was very cold and I was hungry so I just went to one of the gyms, took a tour around, saw lockers for rent and then went home, but all in all saw everything that I wanted to and it made me very excited for hearing back from the schools soon!
Scholarships have been a bit of a struggle in the journey to university. They either require you to have done something very extraordinary ( which is definitely justifiable! ) or it seems like the places are just getting you to do their work for them. It’s been overwhelming with the amounts of scholarships available and trying to figure out what ones are actually worth pursuing.
Scholarships in Canada and some websites to find them
It’s worth looking around as early as possible for scholarships. I started looking into them last fall and most of the smaller ( about $1000 and under ) scholarships required it to be the year in which you’d be attending university. I would thoroughly check out the major scholarships but if you haven’t done anything too crazy it’s not worth spending a lot of time trying to find huge scholarships. Apply instead for as many smaller ones as possible! When you apply to universities and if you meet the scholarship requirements, schools will automatically consider you for some of their scholarships.
Scholarship sites for Canada
I’ve been using yconic.com which I like because they send emails with contests in which you can win money for university. Contests are a good, easy and a generally pretty hassle-free way to try and get some school money. I also use scholarshipscanada.com. They do not send email updates of scholarships I qualify for, which would be nice. Generally, you fill out a very detailed profile and they match you to any available scholarships. It’s not too overwhelming and there are quite a few options out there.
Not finding any
I haven’t actually applied for any yet! There doesn’t seem to be a lot of Applied Health specific ones, nor has there been any school-specific ones. The only scholarships I have found so far have been things like “design 3 T-shirts and you can win $25” ( that was legit one of them! ), or a lot of work for very little money. Once I have finished my schoolwork I will spend a lot more time on scholarships, though, because offsetting costs will be worth it!
Are there any fellow Canadians out there looking for scholarships, what sites do you use? Any other homeschoolers struggling with finding good scholarships?
It can be a little nerve-wracking to be waiting for the responses on university applications. To try to calm myself, I decided to come up with several backup plans depending on what situation might happen, especially if I do not -for some reason- get accepted into any of the schools.
Why it’s a good idea to come up with backup plans
It’s like a security net if you don’t get accepted, no worries, you’ve got a plan on what to do from here on out. I would think that I would feel a little defeated, but with some backup plans, I know that I’ll just take another route to get to where I want to be, which brings us to the next point.
Figure out where you want to be
This can be really hard but doesn’t have to be. Where do you want to be in 5 or even 10 years? What do you want to be doing? How are you going to get there? I already know that I want to be doing something in health and fitness, so I made a list of the possible careers that I’m interested in, ranking them from the ones that require the most education to the very least. Some of the ones with little education I can start on as soon as possible to try to get me to the careers that require more advanced education. I would like to do physiotherapy so something related to that would be a fitness instructor. I researched and found out that courses in fitness instruction don’t take terribly long so I can become certified and reapply to school the next year while working as an instructor.
Make a flow chart
“If this then that” can pretty much organize all different situations. If I’m accepted to the school of choice then go to the school of choice. If I’m not accepted then go to the backup plans. It’s also a good spot to keep all of your ideas for other plans so they’re not forgotten at all.
I’m confident that I will not need the backup plans but it makes me feel a lot more comfortable knowing that the world won’t end if things don’t work out with the exact plan I had in mind!
The motivation for doing schoolwork can be so hard, especially during the winter when the days a dreary and the last thing you want to do is school.
Grade 11 vs 12 motivation
Last year, motivation was pretty low around this time of year since it was post-winter break and everything seems dull until spring starts to pop up. This year, I feel pretty highly motivated to get school done, so much so I’ve been getting done a week’s worth of work in a couple days.
Highly motivated in grade 12
I think the motivation to get schoolwork done gets easier when there’s an end in sight and once I’m done this grade it’ll be done for high school. In previous years I have not taken summers off, instead, I took off a few days here and there when I felt like it. That can be very good for when you feel like you really can’t do schoolwork and need a break. But, having a set “I will be done school” point helps to motivate to get to that point. I’m trying to have a combination of both, do as much school as I can while I’m feeling super motivated then taking a few days off ( weekends or days when I’m busy doing other things ) with the end point of whenever all of my courses are finished. The end feels close enough that I’m trying my best to get to that point as soon as I can with still learning everything. The downside of the days when I get lots of schoolwork done is there is sometimes a “crash” day where my brain is mush, that’s when it should be a break or an easier work day. Overall, I’m just looking forward to having all of the work done and that’s motivation enough to keep going.
How do you keep motivated during these dull months?
I was originally nervous about writing the cover letter because it’s basically the first impression of yourself to the schools and it should be really good. I find I also overthink things and that I didn’t have to worry about the letters, I just needed to get down to business ( like in the Mulan song ) and write them.
Formatting the letter
After googling around to try to read up on cover letter writing I found this method that I most liked.
This paragraph should be who you are and why you’re writing. In this case, I included what program I was applying to and what my goal of going into this Kinesiology is.
This is where you tell them about yourself and why you’re a good fit for them. The one school had required I give a history of why I chose to homeschool and what curriculum I followed so this is where I added those things.
The experience you’ve previously had that would add to your value for applying goes here. I put in my volunteer experience and things that have lead me to the path of Kin. Also, where you brag about yourself a little!
The closing paragraph should tell them why that school is special and why you want to go there as opposed to other schools. Brag about them here!
Sending the application off!
I thought that the whole application would be able to be uploaded online but that is not the case. The official transcripts must be mailed in with the course description and cover letter. My mom and I finally finished up the descriptions, printed off everything, then went to the post office to send everything off! It was exciting since it meant mostly everything for the applications are done and now it’s a lot of waiting for the schools to confirm that they’ve received the paperwork and more waiting until they’ve hopefully accepted me!
Are there more aspects to homeschooling high school you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments!