It’s one thing to have a goal in life. It’s another to know how you plan to get there.
In Alberta, we refer to our learning process as a pathway. Everyone’s pathway is different, as they’re developed based on:
- who you are now
- who you want to be
- how you plan to get there
Your pathway doesn’t end when you finish your post-secondary education and start a new career. Instead, your plan continues to evolve as you do. Alberta’s adult learning system is designed to help you make changes to your learning path without having to start from scratch. Credits you’ve already earned may be transferable to a new program, saving you valuable time and money.
Going back to school can be difficult, especially if you already have a job. If you’re not sure which direction is right for you, think about your future. Ask yourself if going back to school will help you find a better job or pursue the career you’ve always dreamed about. If you’re considering taking on loans to pay for your education, is the cost worth it?
The Alberta Learning Information System (ALIS) and Learning Clicks offer a number of resources to learn more about yourself;
Every learner pathway starts with research. Before you can start working towards a goal, it’s important to know what your options are.
ALIS planning resources
- Explore your options explains career research and how to get experience
- CAREERinsite gives you career planning tools and assessments
- Plan Your Career: a 4-step plan to find work
- Educational Programs in Alberta: a search of more than 2,600 Alberta programs
- Planning for post-secondary checklist
- budget for student life and student spending plan
International student and trade resources
A credential is confirmation of your learning achievement. When you finish your post-secondary program, you receive an official document from your institution to certify that you’ve completed your diploma, certificate or degree.
When you’re researching learning options, it’s important to know the post-secondary credential types you can earn, and if it’s transferable to another program.
Learn more about Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees with Study Alberta or learn how to transfer or get credit for work experience with Transfer Alberta.
Ask friends and family to find someone who has the career you're interested in, get direct advice about the job and requirements.
- Job shadow
Follow a professional in your field of interest to see if job is what you expect.
- Student for a day
See if your post-secondary institution offers a student shadow opportunity to learn what you can expect from the program.
Find out if your chosen career has volunteer opportunities to build your knowledge, resume and network.
- Work experience
High school students can talk to school counsellors to see what opportunities might be available. If you’re interested in a trade, the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is a way to start early.
- Open house or facility tour
Your institution may offer an open house that typically happens in the spring to allow time for you to register in the fall. Your program may also offer a tour, contact the admissions office to see what the institution can offer you.
Choose a direction
Use your research to narrow down your options, consider the following:
Choose a direction: learn how Learning Clicks ambassadors made their choice
Admission requirements and deadlines
- If upgrading is required to qualify for your program, see finishing high school and academic upgrading or high school transitions and upgrading with Study Alberta.
- Determine how to pay for your post-secondary education, learn how to budget for student life with ALIS or check if you are eligible for student aid. If you’re an Alberta student, you could be eligible to receive loans and grants provided by both the Alberta and Canada governments:
- loans and grants are available for both full and part time post-secondary students
- loans are interest and payment-free while you study
- Alberta and Canada grants are funds that don’t need to be repaid, and are available to:
- low-income students
- those caring for young children
- students with disabilities
Applying for student aid assesses you for Alberta and Canada student loans and grants. Many of these grants are only accessible through Alberta student aid.
- Learn which institutions place the most graduates in your chosen career. The following reports list success rates for programs and institutions:
Contact your institution’s student services office to see what supports might be available for housing, childcare or other services. See on campus student resources, off campus student resources or student supports for more information.
Make it happen
When to apply
Most institutions accept applications in May for the fall semester, then in October for a January start.
Some institutions have several intakes, visit your institution’s website for deadlines and start dates. Post-secondary programs in Alberta are in high demand. Apply early to increase your acceptance chances.
What you need to apply
Each program and institution has specific criteria, confirm admission requirements before you start your application.
You can find out by calling the institution’s admissions office, or visiting the admissions section of their website, normally you will need:
- your Alberta Student Number (ASN)
- your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- your Alberta high school transcripts
- any post-secondary transcripts
- your ability to pay the institution’s application fee
- proof you meet language proficiency requirements (for international students)
- any other supporting information your institution requires
- see Alison, a Learning clicks advisor, for how to produce a portfolio
How to apply
Using this online system to apply allows you to:
- apply to multiple institutions without having to re-enter your personal and academic history
- authorize several high school and post-secondary transcript transfers at once, free of charge
If you don’t see your institution on ApplyAlberta, you must apply directly to your institution (most are online). Check Post-secondary options (ALIS) to reach your institute.
If you’re not accepted into the program or institution you want, find out why. Then use those reasons to strengthen your application for next time.
- academic upgrading if you need to increase your grades
- taking open studies courses in the area you’re interested in learning to beef up your application
- taking other programs with less stringent admissions criteria, after exploring its transferability to the program or institution you want
- applying for volunteer opportunities in your field of choice to strengthen your related experience
Above all, don’t give up. You may not reach your goal as quickly as you planned, but it’s still within your reach.
Connect with the Public Awareness Branch:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Email: [email protected]
Was this page helpful?
Your submissions are monitored by our web team and are used to help improve the experience on Alberta.ca.