It can be an exciting time for you when you have finally decided to make that step into the world of post-secondary education (further education after high school such as: college and university). There are a lot of interesting and challenging courses and subjects that you can take, however you should know that certain courses have prerequisites.
What is a prerequisite?
A prerequisite is a specific course or subject that you must complete before you can take another course at the next grade level. To be accepted into some courses, you will have to prove that you have completed a similar course in the same or a related subject, at a lower grade level. Prerequisites are usually in the same or a related subject, at a lower grade level.
To be accepted into some courses, you will have to prove that you have a certain amount of knowledge about the subject already. For example:
The prerequisite for a first year university-level science course might require that you have already taken a grade 12 Chemistry or Biology class.
The prerequisite for a third year university-level Spanish course might require that you have already taken a first and second year level Spanish course.
Why are prerequisites important?
Prerequisites are a way of making sure that students, like you, enter into a course or subject with some prior knowledge. This, not only helps the professor to teach at a certain academic level, but it also helps you to feel more comfortable and confident with the subject matter.
How do I know if a course I want to take has a prerequisite?
Look at the college or university website for the list of academic courses or enquire at the Office of Admissions for a course catalogue. The prerequisites for each course are usually listed in the course description.
What to think about before applying to College or University:
What is also important for you to understand is that the Canadian High School system has four post-secondary preparation levels. The four course levels are:
- University Preparation (U) courses meet the entrance requirements of university programs.
- University / College Preparation (M) courses meet the entrance requirements for some universities and most community college programs.
- College Preparation (C) courses meet the entrance requirements for most community college programs.
- Workplace Preparation (E) courses prepare students for starting work or for entering some apprenticeships or other training programs.
By grades 11 or 12, students are encouraged to think about, and to choose from, courses from these different course levels as they will help prepare you for college or university entry requirements and prerequisites. For example:
- The prerequisite to study Music at a Community College may require that you have already completed grade 12 University/College (M) level music in order to qualify.
You should discuss your options with your teacher and your guidance counsellor at school. They will be able to help you choose the right classes and level for your post-secondary plan. Many students end up returning to school for an extra semester or year so that they can take the appropriate courses and get the required prerequisites. If you have already finished high school, make an appointment with the college or university academic counsellor. They will be able to suggest how you can get those required prerequisite courses (e.g.; summer school, night school).