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!
In order to fully complete my online courses, I had to take final exams.
The experience & what was required
I had never taken an official exam before this, besides the SATs but it turns out those were different. The SATs had set studying (Khan Academy SAT Practice) so I didn’t have to figure out how to study. All I needed to do was go through the SAT Practice. This time I was rather unprepared even though they provided a practice exam. The stress to finish fast and effectively took over in the first exam. Luckily by the last exam, it was not half as nervewracking.
The exam took place at a library with a proctor. Some online school exams can be proctored through a program and completed online, or with an in-person proctor you provide but still taken online. There were other students there taking other exams. You had to show photo ID to ensure you didn’t just get someone else to write the test (a very smart identical twin would be handy) and sign that you had taken the test. Each test was 2 hours. After the tests were completed they were sent to the ILC’s main office and it took about a week until I got my grades back.
Eventually, after several of the tests, I figured out a study method that seemed to work well.
If the practice exam is given, go through the questions and the answers to figure out what kind of questions are going to be asked and where you may struggle.
Review every lesson, concept, practice questions in the lesson and assignments. Especially the questions that are similar to the practice exam ones.
Ask yourself questions, Google to find extra questions on those topics, do questions out of the textbook. This ensures you know the topics. You could also teach concepts to someone else.
Take the practice exam mimicking the conditions you’ll be taking the real exam in.
Final review of everything before taking the test. Plus remain calm before the test, you’re almost finished!
I have learnt exam taking is not my strongest skill and I am working to get better at it! Do you have any study method that works best for you?
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!
A little while ago I mentioned that I started online public school (read the post here!). At first, I was very unsure as to how I would find public school courses since I’ve never taken any before.
The online school curriculum
I enrolled in the four courses required for my application to the university, advanced functions, biology, chemistry and physics. Previously, I had just finished the homeschool chemistry course I was taking, had completed a bio course 2 years ago and taken similar math last year. This definitely helped out in the public school courses for 2 reasons. One – I still had my notes from previous courses and two – the concepts weren’t foreign to me. It was basically review for a lot of topics.
To be completely honest, I don’t know how people who hadn’t had previous experience in the same topics would get through the course. The textbooks were not always as informative as I would have liked, but luckily there are opportunities to research elsewhere.
Grading and assignments
The biggest things I’ve gotten out of this experience is that showing your work with attention to detail while making the assignments look clean and easy to read are very important! This allows teachers to see where you have gone wrong if there is a mistake and also overall makes it easier to grade. Being homeschooled, sometimes that attention to detail can be overlooked. I’m glad that I’ve learnt this now before entering university.
Receiving feedback and actual number grades were quite satisfying. Usually, in my homeschool curriculum, I learn subjects until I am confident in my knowledge and until mastery. Because of this, I didn’t really have any number grades. If it wasn’t 100%, I didn’t move on. So, it was interesting first, to see where I compared to public school kids (homeschool problems, always afraid you have completely messed up and can’t compare to public school courses!) and to receive quantitative grades. Thankfully, I have done quite well and was told that the grades I was receiving were above provincial average. I’m very relieved!
There are two different deadline topics to talk about, one having deadlines for turning work in and two, having an overall coursework deadline.
Being homeschooled, there hasn’t been many deadlines to get assignments and things finished. The online school I have been using does not impose deadlines either, besides the overall course deadline of 10 months. In order to complete all four courses in time, I had to set my own deadlines. I completed a few units and figured out about how much time it took me, then made a very fancy (not at all!) schedule to check off which lessons and units had been completed.
I also put the predicted days of when I would submit work into my phone calendar to ensure I was on track.
Without the short deadline for having mid-terms and final marks in, I would never be motivated enough to actually finish these courses. With the deadlines, it has taken me 9 weeks to complete all the coursework (should be finished all courses by tomorrow). The deadlines have been a great source of motivation and it hasn’t felt terribly overworked.
Since I am about to finish all of the coursework, I will have more posts on taking the final exam and other school things coming up soon!
Also be sure to vote on my Instagram story (link to my Instagram here!) about future post topics you would like to see! Voting only lasts for 24 hours.
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.
Tomorrow is my 18th birthday (the Internet keeps pointing out how it’s Aries season, also my fourth Friday The 13th birthday) since that is often considered the start of adulthood this post will be on a note to my future self going through adult life, mixed with “things I’ve learnt so far”.
Be friendly! People are always way less friendly than you’re expecting and it’s nice to see people who are genuinely friendly.
Consistently doing things to work towards goals is key and makes them easier to achieve. Make working towards goals part of your everyday habits.
Tea solves all problems, also smoothies.
And good music. Even if it’s what might be considered weird.
Hard workouts are satisfying and it also correlates with doing small steps towards goals everyday.
Always push yourself because you’re always better than you think.
And take picture to savour every beautiful things in the moment.
Pet cuddles are great but cats might try to kill you haha.
Fairy lights need to be everywhere possible.
Reading isn’t too bad if you’re reading something you enjoy.
Drink lots of water then drink even more because you’re probably not hydrated enough.
To pre-teen Peri, you didn’t make it through without acting like a teenager at all.
But also, 18 doesn’t magically make you an adult.
Doing schoolwork is better than being bored. And nothing good comes from procrastinating.
The outdoors is your friend but mosquitoes aren’t. Otherwise it’s fine.
Good clothes make you very happy.
And always do your best.
This post felt very cheesy. 😂 I’m curious, do you all like having big birthday celebrations or do you keep it lowkey? What kinda of things do you do for your birthday?
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?