APPLYING TO NURSING AND ALLIED HEALTH SCHOOL

Health care professionals have a great deal of responsibility for people's lives; therefore, getting their credentials takes a lot of hard work and discipline.

Admission to university degree programs in nursing and allied health is quite competitive: these are generally quota programs, where the pool of applicants exceeds the number of available spaces. Some of these undergraduate degrees require one or two years of university study, while others allow direct-entry from high school. Admission is granted based on both academic requirements and personal qualities. Academically, students must have a certain grade (generally around 65-70%) in each of the required courses, which typically include English, math, chemistry and biology. A student's overall academic average or Grade Point Average (GPA) is also considered. The competitive GPA can change from year to year depending on the quality of the applicant pool and the number of places available.

Academic potential is one aspect of the admission process to nursing and allied health programs, but an interview is also often required in order to assess a student's motivation, skills and aptitude. Health-related criteria--such as proof of current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) level and immunization documentation--may also be requested. Applicants with previous related work experience or documented formal learning may be eligible for advance credit as determined through Prior Learning Assessment. Intake is normally in September and January, but students are advised to apply early given the competition for these programs. Students can either apply online using their respective provincial application centres or directly to the institution, and should expect to pay a non-refundable application fee of anywhere between $25-$100 as specified by the institution.

Community colleges generally have open admission in which students are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. However, admission to community college programs in nursing and allied health can also be competitive, requiring Grade 12 completion with satisfactory standing in specific courses such as English, math and biology. Because graduates often end up working with vulnerable groups and individuals, an interview, TB test and criminal record check are often compulsory. In order to make sure that students are choosing the right program for them, attendance at an information session is strongly recommended.

While requirements vary between institutions, most career college allied health programs admit applicants based on Grade 12 marks, an interview, English proficiency, TB test results and criminal record check. Career colleges differ from community colleges in that some offer continuous enrolment with programs starting every month; others operate on a more traditional semester system with a fall and/ or winter intake. Many career colleges therefore have no cut-off dates for admission and instead process applications all year round. Others have specific deadlines after which applications are no longer considered. Both community colleges and career colleges with internal scholarships and bursaries may encourage early application in order to qualify for these awards and financial assistance. At this level as well, application consists of an official application form (usually downloaded), a fee, transcripts, and any of the additional requirements mentioned above.