This post was written by recent graduate, Alex Little.
It took me four years to complete my disability studies degree, and for most of that time I was planning on applying to a bachelor of education program following graduation. Since I knew this ahead of time, in my third year I enrolled in a Chang Certificate of English literature to give me the option of having a teachable and one day applying to a junior/intermediate program.
Primary/Junior – No teachables necessary, but use your liberals to cover an array of topics (Ex. Take an English, Art/Music, Science, Social Science) These programs like you to be well-rounded, because the reality is, you could be expected to teach all of these subjects.
Junior/Intermediate – One teachable necessary. This varies from school to school, so make sure you check out which school you are most interested in. Most require 6-8 courses in a specific subject. Special Education is not an eligible teachable in obtaining a bachelor of education.
Intermediate/Senior – Two teachables necessary (Almost impossible in our program).
Entering into my fourth year, I knew it was going to be a challenge, because this is when you are working on your independent research project, and if you’re like me, another course or two. However, while doing all of this I also was applying to bachelor of education programs. So, at the end of September, when each university releases their bachelor of education applications, I got to work immediately. I even completed my first application by September 28.
Each university has a separate application. Some of them will ask similar questions, but you will need to treat each application as its own entity. In order to access these applications, you need to make an OUAC (Ontario Universities’ Application Centre: ouac.on.ca) account. Once you have that account number, you can start searching each university website for their specific application and begin filling them out.
I decided to apply to six universities, but since I had an English teachable, I applied to eight programs. This is because I applied to primary/junior programs and junior/intermediate programs within the same school. This requires two different applications and two different application fees. In all honesty, this process took me about sixteen days spread out over two months. All applications were due on or around the first of December.
Applications are expensive. I spent just over $1000 on them, but I applied to more schools than was probably necessary. There is a fee to apply to each school, the fees differ between schools based on the popularity of a school, for example, the University of Toronto fee is very high, whereas Lakehead University is rather low. There is a fee for each transcript you send. You need to send your college and university transcript to each school, which means two transcript fees per school you apply to.
So, I paid my fees and sent in my applications and had reached the point of waiting for the first of April, when all acceptance letters are released, or so I thought. Then, near the beginning of January, I received an email from one of the universities asking me for a Transfer Credit Equivalency Letter. I had no idea what this was, but every university needed it, and I only had a week to figure it out. I emailed and called everyone I knew at Ryerson.
Transfer Credit Equivalency Letter
This is a letter that explains why your transcript looks like it does not have enough credits to graduate (which is because you transferred college credits) and contains proof of this transfer. It turns out that you should be applying for this letter(s) in September. This way they are ready and mailed to you by the time you apply. And of course, there is a fee for this. Per letter, which you need one of for each university you apply to, with a Ryerson seal.
To Request this Letter:
Log into RAMSS
Click “Request a Letter”
Click “Transfer Credit Equivalency”
And go from there…
I managed to get these letters submitted on the final day of application acceptance thanks to all of the help and support of our wonderful faculty of Disability Studies, but learn from my mistakes and save them and yourself the hassle! Now it really was time to wait. This is an excruciating long three months. Take this time to research the program, their website, their campus. Each school has a different set-up, a different practicum, different connections to school boards, and different focuses. You will have less than two weeks to decide which school you are going to go to after acceptances are released, this is not a lot of time, especially if you want to visit the campuses or attend orientation days. If you do plan to attend orientation days, remember to save a few sick days or vacation days, because they are rarely on a weekend. However, the first of April came. My friends and I stayed up until midnight, constantly refreshing our OUAC profile page until the acceptances starting showing up. With my experience, my disability studies degree, and my passion for education, I was accepted into every school.
In the end I chose Wilfred Laurier University, not because it is better, but because it was better for me. It is located in Waterloo and is connected to the Waterloo District School Board and the Upper Grand District School Board, which are two boards I would not mind working for. It was very small classes, since it only accepts just over 100 people, and it has mandatory practicum days twice a week, on top of three separate block practicum’s. This is why I suggest researching each program very carefully before making your choice. Some of us will have to make our decision based on location, but if you have the ability to shift around, take advantage of the type of learn experience you want have. Note that most universities have more than one campus location to choose from, but you have to choose when you apply. Do your research and you will not be disappointed.
I wish you all the best in your future endeavours. This is not impossible; it is simply another system full of red tape that needs maneuvering.