Aboriginal Students: Here’s A Checklist For Your Transition Year Program Application

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Now that you’ve decided that a Transition Year Program (TYP) is right for you and have carefully selected which Public Post-Secondary Institution (PPSI) to attend, it’s time to put those thoughts into motion and start your application! This checklist for your TYP application will ensure you’ve met the criteria to be eligible for the program without missing anything, so you can start your new post-secondary academic journey with confidence.

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1. Connect with Aboriginal Post-Secondary Coordinators (PSC)

Your PSC is your ultimate resource for application guidance. They will answer any questions you have about the registration process, help you narrow down program choices, and offer you emotional and academic support. The PPSI that you are applying to will have a list of aboriginal contacts on their website available to you, so you can get in touch with your PSC or a Transition Coordinator before you apply to see what kind of resources and guidance they can offer

2. Choose Your TYP Academic Route

As you know, the TYP is a full-time university program designed for first-year Aboriginal students who do not meet the direct-entry requirements into a university program. Students admitted to the TYP may take a combination of degree credit courses, tutorials, and academic workshops in a supportive community environment. After you’ve completed the year-long TYP, the doors are open for you to be admitted into a degree program!

Think about your academic route and what faculty you’d like to work towards: is there a specific career path you want to take? What TYP routes are offered at your PPSI?

A Note on Core Courses
In general, to be considered for admission into a faculty program, you’ll need to check which ‘core courses’ (prerequisite subjects) and minimum grades are required for your specific faculty route. Core courses are Grade 12-level courses, including Maths, English, and Sciences (Chemistry, Biology, and Physics). Don’t forget to check your PPSI’s specific GPA performance requirements for each route.

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If you’re not sure which route you want to take, you are not alone – it’s a common concern for many people. The TYP program will allow you to identify your strengths and skills, and perhaps realize which type of career suits you best.

3. Prove Your Aboriginal Ancestry

If your program is specific to Aboriginal students, the application will likely require proof of your status. If there is no Self-Identification Questionnaire included in the application form, make sure you have one of these as proof of your Aboriginal Ancestry. Here’s a sample of what you can expect on the University of Alberta’s Admission of Aboriginal Applicant page:

  • Certified copy of a Status or Treaty card
  • A certified copy of a Métis membership card
  • A certified copy of a Nunavut Trust Certificate card
  • Roll number or any other proof accepted by Inuit communities
  • Proof that an ancestor’s name has been entered in the Indian Register according to the Indian Act; or on the band list of an individual band; or on the Inuit roll.

4. Request Transcript from Previous Education

Depending on your PPSI, you will likely need to provide official academic transcript copies from previous education sent directly to the university’s Registrar’s Office as part of your application. This includes high school and any post-secondary courses, including GED and college courses.

5. Write Your Personal Statement

Some PPSI’s require a personal statement, or a Letter of Intent. This is usually a short essay outlining why you would like to join the program. The personal statement gives the faculty a good idea of how serious you are about the program and your post-secondary education. Introduce yourself; tell them what goals you want to achieve throughout the TYP year, what cultural or academic resources you are looking forward to participating in, and about your long term career goals. Some universities require you to handwrite the letter and send it separately, so you should read your institution’s instructions carefully.

6. Contact Your References

Depending on your institution’s requirements, these references can be past teachers, employers, or volunteer organization coordinators. Let these individuals know your plans for applying to the TYP, and ask them if they can provide a reference for you prior to listing them as a reference. They will have to fill out a form as part of the application to assess your strengths and work efficacy.

7. Know Your Funding and Sponsorship Options

Tuition, living expenses, and application fees are all expenses that can discourage students to apply without the proper financial aid. If you are a First Nations or registered Métis Nation student, check with your band or agency for sponsorship information to see what expenses are covered, and what documents are required to get funded. Make sure to apply as early as you can when you get accepted into the program, as they require a couple months’ notice before official registration. For more info, First Nation and eligible Inuit students can look into the Post-Secondary Student Support Program.

If you don’t qualify for funding or need additional financial aid, there are many scholarships, bursaries, and awards offered by your PPSI. Make sure to check their financial aid page and talk with your PSC for more information on school-specific awards that you may be eligible to apply for.

Lastly, there is Canada’s Government Student Aid and Loans program, which is province specific, so you can talk with your PSC about your options.
For more information on Aboriginal student funding programs and external scholarships, check out the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) website.

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8. Prepare for the Next Steps

Once you’ve sent off your application and paid the application fee, your institution will send you your Student ID number. Keep this number safe, since it’s your key to check your application status, register for courses in the future, and applying for on-campus housing if you are an out-of-town student.

Depending on the PPSI, be prepared for a possible preliminary interview with a TYP Coordinator. They will contact you to set up the interview either in person, or for out-of-town students, over the phone. The interview is to determine your academic goals and to access your program choice or area of interest after the application process.

Once you’ve completed all these steps, you’ll be ready to start an incredible academic journey. Good luck!

Learn more about opportunities for Aboriginal professionals with our Aboriginal Career Guide!

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