Applying to universities can be a very tedious process.
Many of us know what it takes to be a good student, but we don’t always know what it takes to be a good applicant.
Lots of students rely heavily on school provided resources (career services, teachers, and academic mentors) to help polish applications before sending them off. But with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing schools to go online, the accessibility of these resources have been severely reduced. It has been notably disproportionately reduced further for lower-income, first generation university, and QTBIPOC students.
Recognizing this problem, a few Canadian postgraduate students have collaborated to help create this university application guidebook: a compilation of tips, tricks, advice, and a few embarrassing stories of how we survived applying to university.
For those who are feeling intimidated and confused with applications, we hear and see you!
In addition to helpful examples, pre-made templates and in-depth explanations of everything you need to know, we have also included our personal contact information in our biographies if you are looking for answers to further questions. We hope this guide can be a valuable ressource for many students for years to come 💕
Everything You Need to Know About Applying to University…
Note: This guide was written by Canadian university students speaking on their personal experiences applying both domestically and internationally. Despite our efforts to give some international examples, most of the content is based on a Canadian/American perspective.
Useful Documents and Resources
About the Authors:
Alice Y. Kim (She/Her)
Alice Y. Kim is a recent BScH Life Sciences graduate from Queen’s University with a certificate in Chinese Language. She has accepted an offer to complete a MSc Control of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, one of the world’s leading public health institutions. Alice’s main research interests are related to analyzing healthcare issues under a cross-cultural lens, examining intersections of systemic oppression and healthy populations.
Being fluent in her native Korean, Alice has served as an academic mentor for many Korean immigrant families in her community. Coming from a first-generation Korean immigrant family of non-English speakers, Alice heavily relied on school provided resources to succeed in academia and find ways to self-fund her education. Her mentor, Liz Favot of the PEARL lab, was an immense support to her studies, helping not only her research work but her struggles with postgraduate applications. She created this guide with the hope that the collective knowledge she has gained as a mentor and a mentee can support other students who wish to pursue exciting academic opportunities, particularly those coming from marginalized and oppressed groups.
If you have any questions about university or would fancy a chat about Global Health, feel free to get in touch.
David J. Westcott (He/Him)
David is a second-year J.D. student at the University of Ottawa. He graduated from Queen’s University in 2018 with a B.A. in psychology. After working in student affairs as a full-time Residence Community Advisor, he decided it was time to make a career change, and jumped into the legal profession.
David is a Canadian of British and Irish descent. The son of two teachers, he often found that despite his socioeconomic and racial privilege, the world of Canadian law and the Canadian legal profession can be difficult to navigate. He is the first person from his mother’s family to attend law school, and only the second from his father’s family.
Like many of his colleagues, David remains unsure where his legal career will take him. He has used his time at law school to learn about Indigenous legal orders and critical Indigenous legal theory, completed an internship in employment law and civil litigation, and completed a Public Interest Lawyering Fellowship in labour relations. David hopes to complete a semester exchange in his 3L year, though this will perhaps be dictated more by the pandemic than his grades.
David is always happy to lend a helping hand to aspiring law students and anyone else who would like some advice/general chit chat. Please feel free to reach out if you have questions or would like to chat.
📩 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
👩🏻💼 LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/davidjwestcott/
📷 Instagram @therawestdave
Zoe Abraham (She/Her)
Zoe is a recent graduate from Queen’s University with a BScH in Life Sciences. She has been accepted into the Class of 2024 at Dalhousie Medical School. Driven by her passion for global health and advocacy, Zoe has spent several years leading organizations that work to benefit vulnerable populations such as the elderly, individuals facing housing insecurity, and those experiencing mental distress. Through her various research endeavors and volunteer work, Zoe continues to strive for a more sustainable, equitable, and ethical future.
Zoe recognizes that she has not directly experienced the challenges of being a part of an immigrant family. She also acknowledges her white-passing privilege. Zoe has contributed to this guide with the hope that it will help individuals in similar circumstances as her father, QTBIPOC in her community, and others that wish to pursue medicine, but have not experienced the same opportunities, connections, and privileges as her.
Zoe is a Canadian of mixed descent. Her father is Indian but was born and raised in Ethiopia. As a result of the Ethiopian Civil War, her father’s family became first-generation immigrants in Canada. Her mother’s family is from rural Newfoundland and New Brunswick.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions! Zoe is more than happy to help.
Anjolaoluwa Ogunsina (She/Her)
Anjolaoluwa Ogunsina is a recent graduate from Queen’s University with a BScH in Life Sciences and a Business Certificate from the Smith School of Business. Anjola has been accepted to complete an International Medical Sciences postgraduate Diploma at the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine in Preston, UK. Her current research interests are in the field of tropical medicine and infectious disease, particularly the use of ethnopharmaceuticals to treat tropical diseases such as Leishmaniasis.
Anjola was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and immigrated to Canada when she was 12 years old. As a new and young immigrant to Canada, Anjola quickly learned how to live in an entirely different culture and adapt without completely assimilating and keeping her essential cultural roots—making her very different from her peers from elementary school to even university. This distinction only motivated her to support marginalized students. With her interest in health care, she formed many groups that helped marginalized students regardless of their background thrive academically, grow professionally, and build a foundation for their future careers. This meant acknowledging barriers, systemic injustice, and overall a lot of hard work.
Anjola is an emerging health leader with enthusiasm for serving those in need. As a Black female in the Science field, she hopes to transform healthcare through equitable and inclusive innovation. If you have any questions or just want to chat, please do not hesitate to get in touch.