Applying for admission or funding generally requires submitting official, legal documents and fulfilling other requirements, as well as completing an application form. It all takes time—usually a lot longer than you expect.
- Applying for admission to a post-secondary program may involve arranging to have an official transcript from your high school sent directly to a post-secondary institution (see Need a School Transcript? for Alberta-specific instructions). Some programs require that applicants pass a writing competency exam and/or attend a personal interview as part of the admissions and selection procedure. Admission to a training program in the health care field may require a completed medical form, medical history or physician's report.
- Applying for scholarships, grants and bursaries often involves asking people to write letters of reference for you, and researching available funding through a variety of websites, including the school of your choice.
- Applying for a student loan requires submitting a signed declaration. If you are a person with a permanent disability, check with the school’s disability or counselling office for assistance, usually listed on the school’s website. Unless you can deliver your declaration in person, you will have to mail it.
Every year, people miss application deadlines because they wait too long and can't get all of the required documentation together fast enough. Then they have to change their plans or wait until next year. Start the application process early. In some cases, a year ahead is not too soon!
If you need a student loan to start school in September, it's a good idea to submit a student loan application to studentaid.alberta.ca early. Applications are processed year round, but the approval process may take more than the usual six weeks while large numbers of applications are being processed during the summer months.
Application deadlines and procedures for scholarships, bursaries, grants and other awards are set by the organizations that offer the awards. Even if you don't have the best marks in your class, check out possible grants, bursaries and scholarships or check with the Financial Aid Office of the school you are planning to attend. Lesser known awards sometimes go unclaimed because nobody has applied by the application due date!
Meeting application deadlines for programs and housing
Here are some suggestions to help you meet application deadlines for admission to post-secondary programs and student housing:
- Read the admission and student housing information on the post-secondary institution's website or in the school's print materials (calendars, brochures). It may not be the most interesting reading material, but it is crucial that you understand and follow the required procedures. Note application deadlines and whether or not applying early would give you an advantage. Applications for some programs and student housing spaces are accepted on a first come, first served basis.
- If you don't understand something after you have read the institution's information, contact the Registrar's office or student housing office in person or by telephone. Ask questions until you get an answer you understand. Be polite but persistent.
- Make a list of application requirements. Gather the information required on the application form, request an official transcript and submit the application fee. Estimate how long each requirement will take to complete and set short-term deadlines for yourself. Don't expect to contact people and get quick responses during holiday periods.
- Be honest and supply all of the information requested. You can be refused admission or expelled from an educational institution if your application form is inaccurate or incomplete.
- Find out when you can expect to hear from the Registrar's office and/or student housing office. If you have not been contacted by then, contact them to check the status of your application.