Tips & Other Notes

Prerequisites and admission requirements - what are they and how do they affect you?

by Rob Taylor (from myschool101)

Before you can get onto the roof, you need to get a ladder to climb up to the roof with. Prerequisites and admission requirements are life's ladders. You use them to advance upwards towards your goal. Currently, most of the prerequisites you are encountering are related to school.

You've probably encountered them already, even if you haven't graduated from high school yet. You can’t take Grade 12 English unless you've taken – and passed – Grade 11 English.

The same situation exists in college and university, but in a bit more of a complicated manner. You may not be able to take a particular second-year English course unless you have taken three particular first-year courses, and, to make it more interesting, not all of those courses will necessarily from the same discipline.

Going from high school to university or college carries its own set of challenges.

Prerequisites and admission requirements to get into university or college

In general, schools require that students entering their first year at that institution have taken certain courses, based on what province the students come from. For example, a student from Ontario may have to take Grade 12 science while a student from Alberta may have had to take Grade 11 science and a Grade 12 science to gain admittance.

Most schools require that students have at least Grade 12 English or the provincial equivalent. A school may also require a minimum grade average to be accepted to any program, but this is more rare.

Some specialized schools, like a school for the performing arts or an art school, may require that you submit a portfolio or examples of work you have done that relates to the program or school that you are applying to.

Prerequisites and admission requirements to get into a specific program at a school

It's entirely possible for a student to have the prerequisites and other admission requirements to get into a school but not get into a program at that school. Many programs have their own specific requirements and prerequisites. This is especially true of programs that are not in the general arts or sciences. For example, an engineering program may require a science course, multiple mathematics courses and a high academic average to enter the program.

Non-academic requirements

As mentioned previously, some specialized schools or programs may require that you submit work related to the program or school as part of their entrance requirements. This might be a sample of your writing for a journalism or creative writing program, or photographs for a photography program. You may even be required to go in for an interview to talk about the work you have submitted.

Other programs might look for your experience in relation to a program. A teaching program might be interested in volunteer work at a local school or with a youth group while a medical program might be interested in volunteer work at the local hospital.

Beyond first year

You might think that you’d get away from all of these prerequisites and requirements after you finish your college diploma or university degree. This is not the case. If you want to go to graduate school or take a post-diploma, you’ll probably encounter requirements like these. And even if you don’t go back to school, you’ll have requirements to deal with the rest of your life. A job description is made up of prerequisites and requirements.

But don’t panic. All you need is planning and foresight and you will meet those requirements with ease and efficiency.

It is very important that you talk with your parents and your High School Guidance Counsellor when you are making your course selections each year. This may not seem as important right now, but you need to start planning now for your college/university years, and ultimately, "what you want to be when you grow up".

If you have any questions, concerns or need some assistance mapping out your course selections, please make an appointment with either your High School Guidance Counsellor or call your Garden River High School Liaison Worker - Phil Jones or myself, Anne Marie Jones, the Post-Secondary Counsellor at our office, 946-3933.

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