You've Applied: Now What?
Campus tours and other things to do after you've sent your applications.
First off, congratulations! You've done your research, chosen your universities, and submitted your applications. That's nothing to sneeze at, so take a moment to acknowledge your hard work!
Now that you've applied, you have the time to explore your choices more thoroughly and begin preparing for your university life.
Get the lay of the land
If you didn't get the chance to walk around, see inside, and take pictures of your chosen university campuses before applying, now's the time. Get a better sense of the facilities, residences, study spaces, and overall campuses while visiting your chosen universities. You may find you have a soft spot for paths that weave across rivers and through patches of trees, or love the idea that you can stay warm in the winter by using tunnels and skybridges that connect your classes. You can also see how long it takes to get from one side of campus to the other, just in case you find you've slept through your alarm and have 10 minutes to get to your midterm.
Visiting is also a great way to get a feel for residences. The University of Waterloo has various campus residences, and guarantees residence for all first-year students who want it. Because of the various options available in terms of buildings, room types, and locations on campus, you may want to tour the residences at your universities to see which ones you like best.
Submit required documents
After applying, universities may require you to submit additional documents or forms. Many universities have forms to help them get to know you, your circumstances, and what factors may have influenced your grades. Be sure to check university websites for important deadlines. And if you're applying to residence, some universities allow you to take a questionnaire to match you up with a roommate!
If you're applying to universities outside your home province, you may be required to submit additional documents. At Waterloo, we have guides to help you figure out what required documents you need to submit and how you can submit them.
Other things to research
Athletics and recreation
If you've got some time after submitting your documents, you can also do some more research into what extra-curriculars your chosen universities offer. Is ball life? Check out their varsity basketball team — or the recreational games that anyone can join. Maybe you're most interested in tea, creative writing, or quidditch. Universities have clubs where you can apply your passions, learn something new, and make some great friends and memories.
Student life is important. So is funding your university career. If your university choices offer scholarships that you're not automatically considered for, take the time to look through them and see which ones work for you. Most provinces offer financial aid, like OSAP for Ontario residents. To find more ways to pay for university, check out these tips on how to finance your education.
If you're not planning to live in residence, it's a good idea to start looking at housing. You'll want to consider price, proximity to things like your university, grocery stores, and restaurants; whether you'll be leasing, subletting, or buying a place; and whether you want roommates. Some places go quick, so the sooner you start looking, the better!
If you're commuting from home, you'll also want to research transportation to and from university. What does it cost? How long will you spend commuting each day? Will you still be able to join clubs and teams?
As you wait for acceptances and prepare for the future, keep learning about the universities that you applied to. Talk to family, teachers, and university representatives. Take campus tours or attend open houses. Ask what it's like to be a student, and what co-op programs or international exchanges are available. University is a big commitment, so doing your research now will pay off in the end.
Best of luck!