I'm going to tell you a little story... It'll be short and sweet and full of joy and wonder, and will leave you in a state of pure happiness.
And by joy, wonder, and happiness I, of course, mean anger, confusion and frustration. It'll be as long as the process.
It's the story of my getting into the University of Victoria.
A long, long time ago, in a country very far away, I began homeschooling: grade 7, Chile. I was homeschooled throughout my high school years, and certainly faced a number of challenges, but ultimately knew that I did what was right for me. When I decided to go to UVic, I started taking distance ed. courses to meet the admission requirements: Socials 11, Math 11, etc. That was until I learned that if I was 19, I could get into Camosun, and I was only a few months away from my 19th birthday. Even so, I had to speak with the registrar to be granted early admission, but everything ran smoothly after that. I was going to take 8 university-transferable courses at Camosun and then transfer to UVic when it was possible to do so. I took the English upgrading courses that were the grade 12 equivalent that I needed over Spring/Summer 2010 (not university-transferable), took three courses in the Fall, another three in the Winter, and I planned to get into UVic after one more Fall semester at Camosun.
In order to get into UVic, as was explained on the UVic Website of Chaos and Doom, I needed a math. No problem. After the Winter 2011 semester, I was going to relearn some math at home, take the assessment at Camosun, and take the upgrading math courses if I needed to, just like I did with English, all before I was admitted to UVic in Winter 2012. In order to make sure I was on the right track, because as brilliant as I thought my plan was (including my backup ones), I went to an Academic Advisor at Camosun to check.
I began, "I'm looking to transfer from Camosun to UVic, and I understand that I am required to have a Math..."
"I'ma let you finish, but..." she Kanye'd me. "... you don't need a math."
"But the website says..."
"The website isn't clear. You don't need a math because you're a Camosun student now. You can probably even apply right now. In fact, I recommend you apply as soon as possible, because with this GPA, they might even let you in with 6 courses for this September."
I was thrilled. I rushed home, turned on my computer, opened the UVic Website of Chaos and Doom, searched for the page that told me when my application deadline would be, and was thoroughly disappointed. It was March 31st. I missed it by a week or two. I never thought I could get in, so I never checked. It was never a possibility, in my mind. This is when I discovered that the Writing Program's only entry point is in September because it's a two-parter. So, I either get in this September, which seemed less and less likely, or I'd have to wait another year before getting into my program. I really didn't want to wait a whole year.
So, I went to the Fine Arts department at UVic to discuss my options with an advisor there. After telling her my story, she suggested coming in as a Visiting Student from Camosun.
"A Visiting Student from Camosun."
"A Visiting Stud- where Camosun gives you a letter permitting you to take the one course you need at UVic while still taking courses at Camosun. A letter of concurrent enrolment. You bypass a number of the requirements to get in, and get priority seating over non-majors."
"Sweet. Let's do it."
You have to know what a Visiting Student is before you can consider it as an option, because if you don't know to look for it, you will never find it.
I actually tried looking for the page it's on without entering it in the search, and while I'm sure it's possible to find it like that, I had 10 pages open in my browser and was madly scanning through them to find a link that just might take me there. I didn't find it, but I thoroughly acquainted myself with the "Chaos and Doom" part of their website. So many links take you to pages you're not actually trying to get to, and if you want to go back and find that page that actually had useful information, GOOD LUCK. They link back and forth, and they lead you through loops of the same three pages that tell you the same thing, and if only they combined them! I felt like I was running around in circles. Do they not have a graphic design program? They should, and it should be taken by UVic website creators. Because if you are actually able to find information that answers your questions, you still have to wonder if there is more to them than what you see.
There was more to the Visiting Student option than I was told.
Still in April, I believe, I went back to Camosun to ask for that letter. The advisor told me I couldn't get it until I registered for my Fall courses. My registration date was June 7th. June 7th I registered, and June 8th I was at Camosun picking up my letter, ready to take it to UVic that same day. Unfortunately, the UVic Undergrad Admissions lady wasn't there, but I left the documents there for her, and e-mailed her when I got home. I explained I wanted Visiting Student status for September and Transfer Student status for January.
"Why don't you just come to UVic in September as a transfer student?" she replied.
"WHAT. WHAT. WHAT. Well, if I could, that would be mighty swell."
"Except you'll have to come into the Faculty of Social Sciences because you can't get into the Writing Program."
"Yeah. But you can probably get into WRIT100."
"I just checked with the Writing Department, and if I do that I will get last priority, whereas as a Visiting Student I will be guaranteed a seat after writing majors register." (Plus, this way I'll be saving a bit of money for another semester.)
"FINE. KEEP YO MONAY. I will continue with your visiting student application for September but you should be aware of the processing."
(Real quote from her now.) "You will need to submit a new application for September 2011 as a visiting student to the Faculty of Social Sciences. The application online is not available as the deadline was May 15th to submit an application. That means that you will have to fill out the attached paper application and pay a $60 application fee and a $35 late fee."
May 15th? MAY 15TH?! Do you know what I was doing on May 15th? NOTHING! I was waiting for my fall registration date at Camosun: JUNE 7TH.
And I responded, "WHAT DO YOU MEEEAAAN APPLICATION AND LATE FEE YOU GODDAMN O7YUGBSTGY4GOTEYG3WOOBJB765?!?!" Or perhaps it was more like, "Neither the UVic nor Camosun advisor ever told me ANYTHING about this, and neither did the UVic website [of Chaos and Doom]. If I had known, I most certainly would have submitted the documents on time IF YOU PEOPLE WERE CAPABLE OF COMMUNICATING WITH EACH OTHER. FUCKING APES!" Maybe I'm getting carried away again. Nowhere does it say you have to belong to a faculty as a Visiting Student. (Nowhere obvious anyway.) I politely asked for the late fee to be waived seeing as there was no possible way for me to know a Visiting Student application or application deadline even existed.
"LOL NO," responded the Admissions Officer. "They wouldn't have known! They're not part of admissions! Sucks to be you."
"Fuck you," I said. "Here. Take the money. Just let me into this fucking course."
"CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT! We are excited to tell you that an admission offer is on the way. Check your mailbox, as your letter should arrive soon."
Mailbox? Letter? Canada Post is on strike. THANKS, though!
I got them to e-mail copies of the September and January admission offers.
So, after all this, I suppose I've gotten in. My brother described their give-students-hope-then-destroy-hopes-then-give-hope-again-then-destroy-a-little-more tactics "trolling." I tend to agree. It was all because I could not access the information I needed in full. I had to beg for it and scan through countless pages of the UVic Website of Chaos and Doom, to which I've given up hours of my life and gained little to nothing in return.
This process has felt like an obstacle course. I've been running towards a goal in the distance, and all of a sudden a wall pops up out of the ground suddenly, and I'm like, "AH! SHIT!" but find a way to climb it. Then a row of spiky pillars appear and begin falling near me and I have to run mighty fast while dodging them to prevent getting squished. And after each obstacle I overcome, I have to stop at a toll booth and dish out a wad of cash.
I'll be able to register for WRIT100 on June 28th, and I will have to wait until late December when I get my final Camosun transcript before I can be fully accepted. If everyone else has to do that, though, I'm sure I'll be fine.
That is, of course, if they've told me everything I need to know! And let's hope they have. I don't want to have spent more hours researching UVic information than inside the actual UVic classes.