The Ideal Time to Start Preparing for University (And How to Catch Up if You’re Behind)

Parents, it’s normal to think that your ninth-grader has all the time in the world to prepare for university.

“She’s just a kid” you might say. “Four years is a long way away.”

We hear you. As the leading education consulting company in Canada, we’ve heard this from plenty of other parents, too – parents who had the same gut reaction.

But we’ll let you in on a little secret, one only a select minority of parents have come to understand:

95% of students who win admission to Canada’s top universities and competitive scholarships laid the groundwork years in advance.

That’s right, years, not months.

Just look at Ravjot, who received over $177,000 in funding for her dream school by kick starting her initiator role in grade 9. Or Paige, who secured a coveted spot at UBC and received an $85,000 scholarship, all thanks to the foundation she laid when he was 16.

As a parent, your guidance and support plays a crucial role in empowering your child to win these coveted spots and forge their own unique path.

That’s why we’re here to ensure your child doesn’t miss out on their dreams because you waited too long to take action.

Let’s uncover why grade 9 is the ideal time to start planning for university – and reveal those hidden opportunities that can open doors for your child along the way.

Why Grade 9 is the Starting Point

University degrees are a dime a dozen these days. Simply having one doesn’t cut it anymore – you need a degree that opens doors.

Even a Master’s degree doesn’t guarantee a job in today’s climate. We’ve seen too many grads with advanced degrees struggling to find meaningful work.

But the top programs at prestigious universities—the not-so-secret track to the best opportunities—are extremely selective. And for good reason. Every year, thousands of students compete for just a handful of spots.

To set yourself apart, you need to be able to demonstrate a track record of passion, growth and commitment over the course of several years.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

But don’t worry, GrantMe has cracked the code. Our students earn on average $11,700 in funding and are five times more likely to win a major entrance award.

We know what it takes. 

To help students and parents have a clear roadmap, we developed the 2-2-1 formula.

This is our proven strategy that helps students build up the kind of profile that captures the attention of admissions committees.

Here are the roles you should aim to demonstrate:

  • 2 Initiator roles: These are the passion projects, clubs or initiatives your child spearheads themselves. These roles showcase their proactive nature and initiative, making it clear they’re a trailblazer and not just another student following the crowd.
  • 2 Leadership roles: These roles are about stepping up and taking the reins of already-existing teams, clubs or organizations. They demonstrate the ability to lead, inspire and motivate others.
  • 1 Member role: This role is about being a team player, and contributing to a community, club or sport. It demonstrates commitment and a willingness to be part of something bigger.

Grade 9 is the time to start.

It gives your child enough time to lay a solid foundation, explore their unique interests, talents and passions, and create something that’s truly meaningful to them.

GrantMe is here to guide your child throughout the process. We’ll help them identify their unique strengths, get clear on their vision, and create a personalized plan to get in and get funded.

Take our free admissions eligibility quiz as a first step to see how we can help your student build a standout university application profile and create a future that excites them.

Initiator Roles: GrantMe’s Secret Sauce

To compete for these top university programs and scholarships, your child’s application needs to be unforgettable.

The initiator role is the key ingredient that makes an application truly stand out. It’s the secret sauce that allows admissions officers to clearly see a child’s unique potential.

But what is an initiator role, exactly?

It’s more than just joining the debate team, or volunteering at the local hospital. It’s about creating something entirely new and unique – something that fulfills a real need in the world. 

Take these initiatives, for example:

  • A podcast that gives a platform to unheard voices in the local community
  • A social enterprise to tackle food waste problems
  • A coding bootcamp for underprivileged kids

Think about the lasting impression these initiatives would make on university admissions officers compared to overused essay phrases like “I’m passionate about helping people” that they’ve read countless times.

Show, don’t tell.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet to helping uncover a unique and meaningful initiative:

  • Discover Your Drive: What are you passionate about? What problems in the world concern you? What would you like to change in society?
  • Connect the Dots: Read over the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Do any of them have overlap with your passions and drives? University admissions committees love applicants who think globally and take action at a local level. 
  • Create a Roadmap: Is there a clear problem in your community or school? What steps will you need to take to solve it? Who can you partner with? Which resources or assets will you need?
  • Implement Your Vision: Carry out your plan. Every little detail counts here – it all starts to snowball as you continue building.
  • Document the Journey: Be sure to document not only your achievements but also the impact they’re making. The better you organize, the easier it will be when it’s time to send in your applications.

Following this process ensures your child not only stands out in the admissions process, but also develops real-world skills that leave a lasting impact on the community, the world, and their own personal growth.

And if they need some guidance, our GrantMe mentors are here to assist. We’ll help them brainstorm and refine their ideas, fulfill all of their initiator roles and implement the 2-2-1 formula. Take the eligibility quiz to get started.

Why Grades 10 and 11 Are Your Second Chance

If your child isn’t a freshman anymore, don’t go waving the white flag yet.

It’s not too late to craft that university application that makes an impression.

While Grade 9 is the ideal starting point, you still have time to make up ground in grades 10 and 11 with the right strategy.

We’ve helped countless students in their junior and senior years to secure spots in their dream university programs and win scholarships.

A focused plan and dedicated effort will help you make the most of the time left.

This is where GrantMe mentorship can add tremendous value. Our education consultants will work with your child to assess their strengths, pinpoint areas for improvement, and develop a personalized plan with their timeline in mind.

Procrastination Costs More Than Just Money

It’s only human to avoid or delay large tasks that feel overwhelming (yes, Parkinson’s Law is a real thing).

But when it comes to preparing for university, procrastination has serious repercussions – and it goes much deeper than money.

Four years is a long time to spend studying a subject that doesn’t light you up inside. We’ve seen the aftermath, and it’s not pretty. It can have a long-lasting impact on students who end up in the wrong program or university.

It’s not just about getting into any program, it’s about finding the right fit that’s the starting point for a lifetime of success and happiness.

Set your child up for a fulfilling future.

The Smartest Choice You Could Make

Don’t let your child miss out on their dream school because you underestimated the importance of starting early.

The sooner you take action, the better equipped your child will be to get into their dream program and unlock the financial aid they deserve.

Remember, it’s about so much more than just finances – it’s about helping your child unlock their full potential. It’s about setting them up for a fulfilling life and career.

Your insights, support, and subtle guidance mean the world to them (and their potential).

Take the first step by filling out our free eligibility quiz today. We’ll work with your child to discover what truly excites them, plan their own initiatives, and get the acceptance letter, scholarship funding, and future they deserve.

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