Non-Traditional Educational Paths

There are many students who don’t follow a “standard” educational path. This could mean graduating early or late, taking a year off during high school, being home schooled, completing courses online, or any other variation on the above. Many students come to us with somewhat circuitous paths, worried about how they will be perceived and concerned about the impact of these circumstances on their post-secondary admissions.

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that no two students are exactly alike. The diversity among applicants is what makes this process interesting and fun for admissions officers. Just because you took math online or transferred schools three times or took two months off in 9th grade for whatever reason, it doesn’t mean that universities will hold that against you or look at you in a negative light.

In talking to students who are worried about how they will be viewed considering their educational situations or decisions, never is the topic of fit more relevant. While every student can benefit from the conversation about fit, this word is particularly important to students whose circumstances might require a more tailored course of action to explain their stories effectively. For example, if you have taken a year’s worth of high school courses in distance education format and want to apply to a Canadian university that only accepts a maximum of two online courses for admission, that school is not going to be a fit for you. Less obviously, if you have done poorly in junior year math and want to apply for a potential business major, you should seek out the schools that will give you more opportunities to explain this mark, and will weigh other aspects of your academics and activities highly instead.

It isn’t always clear what school is a good fit and why, but through research, conversations, reaching out to colleges and universities (and many times, finding a good educational consultant), you will be able to establish fit. Non-traditional educational paths can lead to greater opportunities for autonomy, introspection, and self-awareness. They might make approaching the university process more difficult, but with the right advice and guidance, anything is possible.