Student voice 8 Jun 2020

Grade 12 student wins scholarship to attend University of Toronto

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

Congratulations to Yui Y (Class of 2020) on being awarded a UTSC (University of Toronto, Scarborough campus) scholarship. Applying for the university of your choice can be a long and  involved process, but with the help of our university advisors at CIS, our grade 12s have been offered some prestigious scholarships. Read on as we chat with Yui to find out more how she achieved a place and scholarship of $107,500 at her university of choice. 

Why did you choose UTSC?
Back when I was in Japan, I really only had a vague idea about applying to universities overseas. During my final two years in secondary school at CIS, I decided to explore my university options more closely. I’m actually interested in data processing so it meant that my options were in the areas of computer or data science. But this area of study covers many topics such as cyber security so it was important for me to find the right university that provides courses related to my interest. 

After much research, I discovered that UTSC had the course I wanted to take. It also had a co-op programme where I could gain work experience. I found this very attractive so I decided to enrol at the university. 

What do you plan to study there? 
The faculty I am going to study at is “Co-op Computer Science, Mathematics, and Statistics”, and I have chosen machine learning and data mining as my main areas of focus. I am planning to study how systems handle data, and how these systems are created and altered to gain the desired output. The co-op programme will help me decide what area I want to focus on in my career after university. 

What was the application process like?
Applying to universities in Ontario is quite straightforward.. There is an application website called OUAC (Ontario Universities' Application Centre), where I chose several universities (and faculties) to apply for. UTSC did not ask for any essay in the application for my course; the decision is pretty much academics-based. My predicted grades and past transcripts were the only documents I had to submit. 

What were some challenges and what did you do to overcome them?
Although the application process was not too complicated, maintaining my grades over the two years of IB (International Baccalaureate) programme was challenging for me. As I mentioned previously, predicted grades and final IB diploma grades are very significant factors in admission decisions. I didn’t have any experience studying overseas before enrolling in the IB programme. The assignments were very different from what I was used to so I struggled with them. However, I was able to overcome this difficulty with the support of many teachers at CIS and my peers who supported me when I was going through hard times. 

How did Mr Kemal/Mr Yanez (CIS university advisors) help you navigate the application process?
Deadlines are very important in the process of submitting the application. Although I tried to keep track of them, I sometimes did not notice that the deadline was getting close. The university advisors kept notifying students about important deadlines, which helped me a lot. Furthermore, they spent a significant amount of time discussing university choices and application processes with us. They not only arranged for regular mandatory meetings, they also allowed me to visit their office many times to make sure that I was on the right track. When I could not find the information online or figure out the best decision for myself, they were the best people to ask for advice. 

What do you think is the one unique thing about your application that enabled you to win the scholarship?
I didn’t have any experience studying in an English-speaking country before I enrolled for the IB programme at CIS. Despite my lack of experience in using English as a medium of instruction, I was able to get decent grades, thanks to the strong support from teachers and peers. I believe that this reflected my flexibility and ability to perform well academically in my application, which in turn enabled me to secure a scholarship.