New post-secondary website helps students

Applying to university can be a pain. It involves filling out the same information over and over again. Why not have a common application system that allows students to fill out their information once and then use it for all the schools they want to apply to? Ontario and British Columbia have been using such a system for years and, now, Alberta has joined them.

Alberta has started, a website allowing students to apply to multiple Alberta post-secondary institutions through a single application process. The website is now up and running and being used by current applicants.

“Students can provide all their personal, demographic and educational history information in one place and then have that information transfer to whatever institution they’re applying to so that they don’t have to repeat that information over and over again for each institution that they apply to,” said Elaine Wong, director of undergraduate admissions for the University of Calgary.

The U of C and a number of other Alberta institutions including Athabasca University, Mount Royal University, SAIT Polytechnic and the University of Alberta, have joined forces to make a success.

“There are 18 [institutions] in total that are online right now and our goal is to have all 26 publicly funded post-secondary institutions online late spring or early fall,” said Rachel Bouska of Communications Alberta Advanced Education and Technology.

The website also acts as an electronic transcript service. Normally students would be responsible for requesting transcripts and having them sent to the institutions to which they are applying. There is a $10 transcript fee in Alberta.

“When students apply to institutions they’re giving the authority to the institutions to request the transcripts on their behalf,” said Wong. “That essentially saves the student the transcript fee for all the institutions that they’ve attended and it takes the burden off of them of having to request the transcript.”

The process was spurred by the Access to the Future Act passed by the Government of Alberta in 2005. The act required that all Alberta post-secondary institutions have online application systems.

“It was quite a large undertaking by all the post-secondary institutions,” said Bouska. “It was a good example of them working together to improve the accessibility of education.”

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