Applying to Colleges: Where do I begin?

If you recently completed high school or are in the process of finishing up your final year, you may be considering applying to college. If you’re not sure where to start with applications, you should begin by speaking with the guidance counsellors at your school. They will provide you with materials and resources, and they will also answer questions and steer you in the right direction. Most likely, your guidance counsellors will advise you to explore the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) (http://bit.ly/Hywra), a website that processes all of the applications for college in Ontario. This is the site that you will use to apply to (up to five) Ontario colleges.

If you’re thinking of applying to college, you should do so as soon as the application is available in October. Although there aren’t any deadlines to apply to a college in Ontario, all applications received on or before February 1st will be given equal consideration for programs starting in September.

The OCAS website is easy to navigate and very informative. It is divided into four sections:
• Plan
• Find
• Apply
• Confirm

In the “Plan’ section, students can find information about money matters (budgeting, grants, scholarships, bursaries etc) as well as the various programs and locations of Colleges across Ontario. By clicking on the “Find” link, students can search according to program category, program availability, program start date, program length, and language of instruction. Once you’ve found a program that you are interested in, you can apply online. In February, Colleges will begin to inform all applicants of their admission decisions for fall programs. Applicants must confirm acceptance before May 3rd. Currently, OCAS is advertising a contest on their website. They want to help pay for your college education. According to the site, if you apply online before January 14, 2011, you are eligible to win one of three cash prizes ($2000, $1000 and $500)…a little incentive to submit your application! If you think that college is right for you, apply today!

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