If you're starting to think about your post-secondary options early, lots of universities offer programs for elementary and middle school students during the March Break and Summer. At Queen's, the SEEDS program gives younger students a chance to experience a subject at the university.
During your first couple years of high school, think about the kinds of subjects you enjoy and take the opportunity to explore different areas. Remember than many university programs require specific high school prerequisite courses*. Be sure you have a general idea of what you need to take in Grades 11 and 12 to get into the program of your choice.
At Queen's, the E=MC² program also gives high school students an opportunity to experience a subject at the university.
Choosing the right university for you can be based on any number of criteria, from size to academic reputation to campus spirit and sense of community. Start by visiting university websites, talking to your guidance counsellor, reading viewbooks and speaking to the university admissions representatives who visit your school. Another great place to find out about a lot of different schools at once is a general college or university fair, such as the Ontario University Fair.
If you can, try and visit the campuses of schools you're applying to, and get a sense of how they feel. Most universities will offer daily tours and many have general academic fairs where you can speak to program representatives from your area of interest.
Applications are normally due just after the winter break. Universities will usually look at marks from Grade 11 and 12 as well as other supplementary information such as a personal statement of experience. Your high school will submit your grades, but you're responsible for submitting any supplementary documentation. Offers of admission are made in the spring, usually from March until May. You'll be asked to reply by a certain date with your decision. Make sure you check deadlines and submit all your required documentation on time!
Check for special admission policies at different universities, such as the Admission Policy for Aboriginal Students at Queen’s.
*Prerequisites: Not all high school credits will count as prerequisites to university. Most universities require the completion of at least six Grade 12 Academic courses, and in Ontario these are courses at the "U" (university prep) or "M" (university/college prep) levels. Courses with a "C" (college prep) or "O" (open) will not be considered.