Recruitment officers Ayelen (A) and Jake (J) have spent this fall traveling across Ontario meeting students from all over the province. We have officers who travel Canada as well as countries across the world to meet YOU and talk about why Ryerson might be the perfect fit. So what’s life on the road like? Find out in their interview below.
Introduce yourselves! Are you Ryerson alumni?
A: Hi! I’m Ayelen (pronounced Ash-lynn, it’s a long story). I completed my master’s in Media Production at Ryerson, where I was actually able to create a web series called Nottingham as a part of my studies. I’m still writing and creating, but love talking to students everyday to talk about all things Ryerson!
J: I’m an alumnus of the Sociology program at Ryerson! I graduated this spring with my BA in Sociology and a minor in English. I’m planning on going to teachers’ college in the next couple of years, and am hoping to be a force for positive change in Ontario’s education system.
What is your favourite part about being a recruitment officer?
A: The moment you are able to suggest a program a student didn’t know existed and is a perfect fit is so exciting, for both the student and myself (and sometimes their parent(s)/guardian(s) too). I love that no two days are the same when you’re in this role. Everyday, I’m going to be speaking to a new student, with a new program in mind and I’m able to talk about some of the cool things that happen at Ryerson. I’ve spoken to students who thought they didn’t want to go to university and students who have had their mind set on Ryerson since they were kids. Both are equally as exciting to speak to, and each in different ways. I make it my personal mission to make sure we’re both leaving the conversation having learned something new.
J: I love travelling around and meeting students from all over Ontario. There are so many different types of schools, and different types of students, who are interested in different programs. I love having conversations with students and seeing them get really excited about their education. Sometimes they come to me with a vague idea of what they want to do and I am able to recommend a program to them that makes their eyes light up, and I can tell that they’ve found something they’re willing to put their heart and soul into. I get to watch pieces of the puzzle fall into place for these students right in front of me as they realize they know what their next move is in their career, and they are one step closer to achieving their goals. It’s really humbling to get to be a small part of that process for them, and those types of interactions always feel really special.
What is the most challenging part of the job?
A: Stairs! Every school is different, and some are older than others, which means they sometimes don’t have elevators or ramps. It’s always an unhappy surprise when you see a large set of stairs and you have a number of boxes that you now have to carry. On a more serious note, when students don’t have the prerequisites for the programs they are looking into because it’s sad for both of us. They can take a course online in order to be eligible, but it just goes to show that it’s never too early to do your research, especially if you’re passionate about pursuing a certain program.
J: Facing the unexpected. Sometimes there’s unforeseen traffic on the way to your visit. Sometimes you get there with plenty of time to spare and find that the school doesn’t have a parking lot and you’re scrambling to find a spot. Sometimes you’re expecting 30 students, and 120 show up instead and you have to run out to your car for more viewbooks. Plan ahead, over-prepare, and be up to the challenge of every wonderful curveball the week will throw at you.
What are the top three questions you received during your travels?
- What scholarships does Ryerson offer?
Last year alone, Ryerson gave $34 million in scholarships! There is a lot of money to go around for future (and current) Rams. Coming into the school, we offer guaranteed and renewable scholarships (that you don’t even have to apply for) for those with an 80% average or higher. If you’d like some more free money, you can apply to countless other scholarships. For example, the President’s Entrance Scholarship is worth $40,000 ($10,000 per year), and is definitely worth applying to!
- What grade do I need to get into ________ (program)?
There are a few ways to find out what grades you should be aiming for. One is through Ontario Universities Info and another is through the Ryerson website itself that posts averages from previous years. What I always like to note when I get asked this question is that these numbers fluctuate every year. Also, try not to stress about a particular number. Students can only control their own grades, so focus on getting the best marks you can and hopefully everything will fall into place.
- What are the prerequisites for ________ (program)?
Obviously the answer is different for each program, but all this information can be found online. What is important to note is that at Ryerson, your prerequisites don’t necessarily need to be a part of your top 6 U/M courses when we calculate a student’s average (students still need to take their prerequisites and have at least a 70% in them to be considered). We do this to give students the best chance to get into the university! Also note that we have two types of programs: Grades Only and Grades Plus. For Grades Only we are only going to be looking at the student’s grades, for Grades Plus, we will be looking at grade plus non-academic requirements. It is never too early to get started on those non-academic requirements, so make sure you know if the program you are looking at is a Grades Only or a Grades Plus program and what the non-academic requirements are.
- “Do you have a _________ program?”
Sometimes students come to my presentations or my booth knowing what they’re interested in, but they have trouble actualizing the reality of a university program and how it operates. This question usually means something to the effect of “tell me everything about this program and how I get there and what the experience will be like and what I can do with this degree and which programs are similar.” At first I found this question kind of arresting because it seems so broad, and I learned to have an elevator pitch on hand for each program so I have a “yes, and… “ response ready for them.
- “How do I become a doctor/teacher/lawyer/nurse/etc?”
Many students will come to visits without a real idea of the structuring of post-secondary education; words like ‘undergrad,’ ‘major,’ ‘minor,’ ‘grad school,’ et cetera will be alien to these students. They will sometimes be surprised and disappointed that they can’t go to law school, med school, or teachers’ college right out of high school. Sometimes we need to step outside the world of post-secondary education we have been steeped in, and be prepared to explain not just which programs we have to offer, but the dynamics and qualification systems of various professions and the differences between college and university education.
- “How are the parties?”
This isn’t necessarily one of the most common questions, but I do get this at least a few times per week. Students have all sorts of priorities, especially when it comes to leaving home and finding their first taste of independence. The truth is, wherever they go to school, they’re going to find a vibrant social scene and take on whichever extracurricular endeavours are most compelling to them. I usually tell them that we have a great community and they’re not going to have any trouble making friends, shout out some of our student support systems and extracurricular activities, and steer the conversation back to the topic at hand.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to prospective students?
A: Do your research! Make sure you’ve asked the questions about the program you are interested in and don’t be shy, we love answering questions. Make sure you’ve been to the school itself to see if it’s going to be a good fit for you. I do think that there is a perfect university for every student. Don’t settle; make sure you’re choosing the right one for you.
J: Don’t count yourself out! There’s always going to be a voice in your head that tells you not to make a leap, and tries to convince you that challenges (such as a four-year degree program) are not worth taking on or that you’re not good enough to see them through. Look past your doubts and try to visualize your potential. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you put yourself in a position to test your abilities!