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5th Year Brock BBA/BAcc Co-op student, ask me anything! (IB and Big 4 Co-op)


I'm basically always on here so figured might as well make one of these and help out any prospective students.

Background:
- First 2 years spent as BBA Co-op student, secured first coop term through BBA
- Transferred into BAcc Co-op after 2 years
- Currently doing a spring semester

You kinda get the best of both worlds since I have been in all (both) the programs offered at the Goodman School of Business!

And since I know these are gonna be popular Qs:

WHEN SEARCHING FOR 1ST CO-OP:
- Avg (both major and overall) ~80%
- ECs: Leadership position in a club, some entrepreneurial stuff, sports stuff
- Work XP: General accounting internship at no-name organization doing very basic stuff, manual labour

INTERVIEWS:
Since attending Brock, I have received interview requests from:

Company / Quantity / (Co-op vs summer intern, Location) 

RBC x 3 (Various positions, co-op x2 and summer intern x1, Toronto)
Big 4 Audit x3 (1x Co-op and 1x Summer intern, Toronto...1 x Co-op in Calgary)
Big 4 Summer Leadership Conferences x2 (Toronto)
CPP Investment Board x2 (Summer Analyst, Toronto)
Scotiabank (Co-op, Toronto)
Grant Thornton Audit (Co-op, Toronto)
Canadian Tire (Co-op, GTA)
Ontario Securities Commission (CPA position, summer intern, Toronto)
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (Co-op, GTA)
TeamBuy .ca (Summer intern, Toronto)
Imperial Oil (Co-op, Calgary)
Suncor (Co-op, Calgary)
Regional CPA firm (Co-op, Hamilton area)
Small CPA firm (Co-op, Niagara region)
Publicly traded minerals company (Co-op, Toronto)
OMERS Pension Fund (Co-op, Toronto)
Big 5 Canadian Bank Capital Markets x2 (Co-op, Toronto)
Husky Energy (Summer intern, Calgary)
Accenture Consulting (Full time, Toronto)
McKinsey Consulting (Full time, Eastern Europe)

AT TIME OF APPLYING TO UNIVERSITY (September 2012 Entry):
- Rejected from BAcc Co-op
- Accepted to BBA Co-op with 83.5% top 6

WHEN LANDING BIG 4 AUDIT CO-OP:
- Joined B4 Audit in January 2016
- Done 8 months of co-op, not at an accounting firm
- Major average ~85, overall ~80+
- ECs, unchanged from when applying to first co-op
- Completed a couple certificates in excel

ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS WHO WANT TO GET INTO B4 BUT DIDN'T/WON'T FOR THEIR FIRST COOP:
- Get public accounting experience somewhere else. This is basically a must. I believe I was the only upper year hired from my school into B4 this past term without prior public experience. It's something I noticed during recruiting
- If you have the above, grades matter a bit less. Yes you still want to do as best as you can, but a high 70 is OK enough if you have prior XP. An 80+ is still ideal though
- Be prepared to explain why you left your previous employer (and don't speak poorly about them)

That's basically it. So feel free to ask me anything and I'll try to answer your Qs as best as I can!

*Even if nobody has posted in this topic for a while, feel free to do so, chances are I'm still lurking on here


The Value of High School Co-op
For all of you choosing your courses right now, have you considered taking co-op? 

To begin, I want to share my own co-op experience. Back in grade 11 second semester, I joined our high school's co-op program with a particular interest in working in a hospital environment/ a lab environment. Luckily for me, my school had a long list of connections with big hospitals in downtown Toronto (all of which were teaching hospitals). Specifically, I was paired with the pathology and laboratory department at one of the hospitals and worked on staining lab samples so our team could screen for different cancers. 

The great thing about co-op is that you can get a placement almost anywhere you want. Many of my classmates were able to get placements at pharmacies, bakeries, small tech start-ups, design studies, etc. Co-op is more than just a learning experience, but also a chance for you to potential get a job, or lead to more competitive volunteer opportunities. For me, even though I didn't get hired by my co-op placement, my time in the lab proved invaluable as I was able to land a research position at an affiliate downtown hospital. 

Now before you go sign yourself up, you should be aware of the pros and cons of co-op learning.

Pros: 
- Gain an experiential learning experience 
-Schools have connections with placements that are equipped to teach co-op students.
-Possibly get hired/ Use your co-op skills to land another placement 
-Develop a strong network of supportive supervisors 
-Develops maturity and a sense of working in the 'real world' 
-Earn 2,3, or 4 high school credits (90 hours/credit)
-Easy workload, no homework/exam, just a final project
-If assigned as a U/M course, it  can be used as your top 6 (varies from school to school)
-Get a chance at placements (e.g. labs) during the school year that would otherwise be saturated with competitive university students during the summer. 

Cons: 
-Distance from your high school/home means the commute everyday may take 1-2 hours.
-Travel fees not subsidized in most cases 
-Long and lengthy process of screening  
-Repetitive duties with many placements. 

What did you think about my list of pros and cons? Have you had a co-op experience before? Tell me about it in the comments below. 

Benson Law 
-Yconic Student Ambassador

University or Trades route? Which will be better for the future?
Hi everyone. I am currently a grade 10 student and I have just begun second semester. I finished last semester with an 89% average, which I personally think was a success as I had Math, Science and English in the same semester. 
  
I truly think I can achieve the marks necessary to get into good university programs, as I will put more effort in my grade 11 and 12 years. I am interested in taking business/finance, and I've thought about accounting as something I'd like to do in the future. However, I have seen many posts in which people are saying to not go into business/accounting, as the pay coming out of uni is terrible,  and some people are apparently not even getting jobs. 

On the other hand, the trades have been said to have massive job openings in the future, the pay is decent, and there are plenty of opportunities within it. Personally, I could see myself going to university and working an "office job", however I am also quite interested in the trades (plumbing to be exact).

I know some might say that I am too young to be worrying about this right now, but this has me very concerned, because I have to select my courses very soon, and these courses will determine essentially what I will be pursuing after highschool and eventually, determining my career.  Any insight or help would be appreciated, thanks.

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Should parents have a say in their kids major?
I'd like to hear your opinions on this!! For my personal situation, my parents and I decided the best thing for me to do would be to double major in something practical and in something that I am passionate about (I agree with this compromise). 

So, if a child's parents are paying a large portion of their tuition, should they have a say in their kid's major? 

Just really curious about the topic ~ 

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University Applications
Hi, I'm in grade 10 right now. I've taken all three sciences for next year (I'm fast tracking bio). I'm also in the extended french program. My grades for first semester were :  
Science- 93  
Math- 91  
Business- 90  
History- 82  

As for extracurriculars, I've been on the swim team for both years (won ropssaa this year!) and i'm joining rugby this year; I've never played before but I thought it'll be a good sport to help me get out of my comfort zone. I also have about 200 hours of volunteer work, and I have a part time job at a grocery store and currently getting my qualifications for NLS to be a lifeguard during the summer. What do you think I could do to increase my chances of getting into university? Do universities care that I work (especially as a first aid/cpr certified lifegurard)?

 I want to be a physician and will probably be doing a med sci undergrad.  
I've  also been on honor roll all 3 semesters so far and have been invited to 4 principal receptions (an award for students nominated by their teachers for something they've done that fits the theme of each month; honesty, responsibility etc..).

So I just wanna know what I could do to increase my chances of getting into university and please recommend me the best university to do well in for a science undergrad. Thanks in advance!
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Is potential salary an important consideration when picking your program?
Absolutely not. Before you jump to conclusions, let me begin by saying that I chose my program based on my passions, but also on how transferrable the knowledge I obtained during my undergrad would be. I've studied Journalism for the last four years - and in case you don't know how much they make ... Put it this way, if I were asked to furnish an apartment with high-end furniture with a Journalist's wage, it'd be equivalent to a fishtank without pebbles, and the cute little plastic coral pieces, and the little stone castle. They don't make a lot - and most jobs are hard to come by too. There are a lot of J-school students, and not quite so many jobs in traditional media anymore. I chose Journalism for my love of writing and sharing stories. I chose my marketing program for my love of creative thinking and problem-solving. Both of my programs will not lead to amazing paying jobs. I will not be the next Meredith Grey with an enormous house built custom for me (this is Pre-Derek's death, Grey's fans) but I can say that I enjoy my programs. What I am learning is transferrable, so I don't have to stay in just one field, and I'm okay with that. Why limit your opportunities? Not everyone in the world is going to have a doctor or lawyer salary, and I'm OK with that.

What program are you in/did you apply for? Was potential salary an important consideration when you were picking your program? Tell me about it!
Med School in the USA
Hi. I'm currently in high school, grade 10 and I want to pursue a career in medicine. I wanted to do my undergrad here in Canada at UTM, UoftT, Western, etc. However, I know med school here is VERY competitive and my chances aren't as good. So I was wondering if I could do med school in the US with my Canadian undergrad. Is competition there a bit easier? Is this a good idea? Any advice would be appreciated.Thanks!
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Advice for medical undergrad programs!
Hi, I am a grade 10 student looking to pursue a career in the medical field. I am not sure exactly what type of doctor I would like to be yet. I know it’s a bit early but I’d like to have as much information as possible to be well prepared when the time comes to apply to universities. I have a few questions and any information will be much appreciated. Not all questions have to be answered, but the more the better. 

1) What are the best life science/ health science universities in Ontario? 
2) In your opinion, what average do you think I would need to attain to be considered as a competitive applicant for those universities? 
3) What are these universities looking for in terms of great ECs and leadership roles? 
4) I’m interested in Life Science and Health Science but what are the main differences between the two? What career paths could they lead me to? 
5) How would you rank these universities in terms of workload?
6) Overall, what university would you recommend and how would you rank them from best to worst? 
7) Any other good Universities in Ontario? 
8) Any general tips for someone wanted to be very successful in the medical field. I know it’s early and I have no clue where specifically I’m headed, but I’m trying to figure things out. 

Thank you!
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Course selection for Grade 12; going into accounting
Do you think this a good set of courses for a Grade 12 student going into accounting, what would you possibly change and why?

ENG4U - in summer school
MHF4U
MCV4U
MDM4U
BAT4M
BOH4M
CIA4U (if it isn't available, then I'll replace it with BBB4M)

EDIT: The program I want to get into is Waterloo AFM, so I also wanna ask if these courses would be optimal for that program.
Med School Undergrad
Currently in high school looking to pursue a career in medicine, maybe a physician. I got an 88% average on my midterm. My work ethic and extracurricular's are good. What undergrad is the safest and best to go to med school or maybe pursue another career in medicine? What universities do you recommend ?
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First Year Ontario Med Student, AMA
I started a thread about UWO Med Sci that people found pretty helpful, so I figured I'd start one for med school too. I'd imagine a decent number of you are considering medicine as a career and it can be a road full of questions, unknowns, and generally misleading information, so I thought I could be a source of accurate info and advice.

My Story: I was a Med Sci student at Western and got into multiple Ontario med schools after my third year. I'm currently in my first year at one of the med schools. Feel free to ask whatever you want, I'm here to help out! :)
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Are internships a waste of time?

In short, no – they are not.


Internships are a great way to see if you actually like a particular field. During university, I have found that studying a particular subject and working in it are two different things. Having completed co-ops in accounting, I know that I enjoy the work. After coming back to university, however, there were some accounting classes that I truly hated. What got me through them is realizing that accounting in the real world isn’t as bad as those classes were.


For some people, it’s the opposite. I know people who have loved their finance classes, for example, done finance co-ops, and realized that they absolutely hated it. So, internships are a great way to experiment.


Internships are also a great way to land a full-time job – and hasten your career progression. In accounting, for example, most employers will hire their co-op students for full-time roles. Because these co-op students have several months of experience with their employer, they start full-time at higher rates of pay than those who are starting fresh.


Oh, and you will most likely (but not always) get paid. That’s always a plus.


NOTE: There is a very nitpicky difference between doing a “co-op” and an “internship”. Co-op students have their salaries almost wholly subsidized by the government, while interns do not. As such, many firms prefer hiring co-op students instead of interns.


Have you done an internship? If so, how was your experience? Thinking about doing an internships? What's your dream internship/employer? Post below!

What do you do when you lose motivation?
I'm a 17, almost 18 year old girl in my senior year of high school, and I know I need to be working super hard right now to get into a good school, but I get hit so hard by spells of loss of motivation and depression. I'm taking a Literature course in a non-termed school (did English over summer, got 86) and am realizing how much I hate Literature and don't vibe with any classmates or my teacher. I have no motivation to do the coursework and I'm so anxious that I've fallen into a pattern of making bad schedule choices, ever since grade 9, and this will only persist into uni.

In addition, I don't meet the math prerequisites to apply to a BComm/BBA (no calculus or functions since I came from applied and mixed in earlier years. I got 90's in applied math grade 9&10 and a 68 in mixed-level math last year). I can't imagine what else I would want to study besides business and I would most likely end up in one of the most unemployable majors everyone looks down on, like humanities or social sciences. I want a career that's fairly creative and involves a mix of presenting and working with other people and independent work so some fields in business apply to me. However in order to succeed you have to have internships and connections which are largely made through good programs like Ivey, Queen's, other Commerce co-ops, so I'd have a disadvantage in that field.

I feel like my social life has been lacking too since I'm extroverted by nature for sure but have been feeling really lonely. In part I'm really excited for uni because of the social life, I want to be in a typical dorm surrounded by people with lots of opportunities for both partying and just bonding. But the other aspects of uni life have me really anxious.

What do you do when depression/anxiety/motivation-loss hits? Everyone on this forum tries to convey a perfect image of themselves with EC's and grades and superior majors and all, so I think this whole confession is out of the norm. How do you continue to achieve your goals and stay clear headed, even if all you can think about is regrets in life, inadequacy, and wishing you were either dead, never born, or just have a perfect easy life? :/
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Have you visited your University Career Center?
Looking back on my undergrad experience, the answer to this question is pretty straightforward: the most common mistake first year students make is not visiting their university (or departmental) career centre.  

We all know that university career centres can help us refine our resumes and cover letters. Some of us know that career centres also offer mock interview services – if you have a big interview and want to practice with a seasoned professional beforehand, your career centre can help you out.  

But, believe me – connecting with your university’s Career Consultants early on can make all the difference.

Why?  

#1 Recommendations  
Sometimes, employers contact Career Consultants and ask them to recommend students for openings. If your Career Consultants don’t know you, it’s pretty difficult for them to sell you to employers. 

#2 Informational Interviews 
A few years ago, I thought I wanted to begin my career working in industry rather than public accounting. In fact, there was one specific company that I wanted to work for. I approached a Career Consultant I had met during my first year of university, and told her. She was able to connect me with Finance Director (who is also a CPA) at my target company who was a Brock alumnus. While I eventually changed my mind about working in industry, I still have that Brock alumnus in my professional network. 

 So, go and visit your university’s career centre today! 

 Do you have any career centre success stories? Do you know of any other valuable services career centres can provide? Comment below! 

 -Neal, yconic Student Ambassador  
How are you prepping for life after graduation?
For me, graduation is around four months away. I find this super intimidating, but I'm convinced it's just a lot of anxious energy of being so close to a finish line that's taken four years in the making. I took two "gap years" where I worked full-time and contributed to the "real world" so I know that the real world isn't really as scary as it sounds. If 18 year-old me can face it, guaranteed we can all face it together this upcoming April or May. These are some things that I've start doing leading up to graduation to start preparing, and I'd highly recommend for you as well:

Create and Upkeep a LinkedIN account
Imagine LinkedIN as being a professional Facebook, without all the weird selfies and status'. It's a place to network with professionals, and search for jobs. Last year, my professor at my post-graduate certificate program continuously drilled the importance of having a LinkedIN account. I've been offered internships because of my LinkedIN. 

Use your school's career services 
All schools have career services. Leading up to graduation, start utilizing them! Wilfrid Laurier University for example, offers resume workshops, mock interviews, seminars, and job fairs. It's free to use as a student or alumni, so use them!

Applying for Jobs
Even though I'm in my last semester of university, I'm already starting to apply for jobs. I realize this seems absurd to start applying this soon, but it's a personal goal to be employed upon graduation. I've began applying and writing in my cover letter when I'll be done. This is another tip I got from my professor last year on finding a new job. She really pushed us to start applying earlier rather than later. She said "beat the rush. Start applying early, and you can beat out someone else for that position before it's even posted." Genius.

The transition may not be as smooth as we hope, but give it some time. The transition to post-secondary wasn't easy either, was it? What I can tell you is that we will get through it. Start planning for life after graduation now! You have nothing to worry about!

Soon to be graduates, how are you prepping for life after graduation?

Kathleen,
yconic Brand Ambassador
Career Opportunities
Hello,
What careers are the most prospective for towards the future?
What research options are out there that is prospective for the future?
Can also somebody provide me with a list of unique careers out there apart from the normal engineer, doctor, nurse, welder, etc...

Thank you so much
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Will all of my applications be changed if I make one small change?
I have submitted my applications but I made a slight change. No program changes have been made. The slight change was a major subject of interest which was at only one university. Do all of my other applications suffer too?
Why Making Goals for the New Year Might be a Good Idea
Life gets hectic, especially for students. Sometimes it feels like we can get stuck in a hectic cycle of never-ending work, sleep, and classes. It’s important to establish a few goals to fully understand what you want to accomplish on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. The new year is right around the corner, so it’s about time to pull out that new calendar and mark a few things into your schedule. 

1. Daily Goals: Setting a goal for your daily life is a big undertaking. It takes determination and perseverance to stick to a daily goal. I would recommend that if you do make a daily goal for the new year, don’t make it too big. For example, maybe you want to start keeping a daily journal. Even just spending 10 minutes doing this each day is an accomplishment.

2. Weekly Goals: Dedicate a bit of time each week, whether it be on the weekend or mid-week, on relaxing or doing something you enjoy. Even if you’re stressed and have lots to do, your mental health is important! Block off a special hour or two every week to curl up with a book, take a nap, listen to music, or another relaxing activity. (I would recommend staying away from your phone and have more of an inward focus during this time.)

3. Monthly Goals: These goals can be a bit larger. What’s something you want to accomplish by the end of one month? Maybe you want to write a song. Maybe you want to complete a new piece of art. Maybe you want to learn origami, or write some letters for relatives or friends. It could be anything. You can work on your monthly goal whenever you have some spare time. 

4. A Goal For the Year: This could be a large-scale goal. It could even be related to your monthly goals. (For example, if you write a song every month, you could have an album by the end of the year.) Maybe your annual goal is to learn a new language. It could also be a more simple goal, like meeting 10 new people, or doing 10 random acts of kindness for strangers.

Personally, I’ve found that making goals and following through with them has been a very enriching experience, as it gives you a feeling of accomplishment and it gives your days more meaning. In fact, having things to work towards has pushed me to get my schoolwork done more efficiently too.

Let us know what goals you’re setting for the New Year in the comments below!


 -Rachel H, yconic student ambassador
Neal's Top 3 Tips for Landing An Accounting Internship

During my co-op orientation in first year, my classmates and I were told that the overwhelming majority of us would have one co-op employer during our undergraduate studies, and that we would likely work for them after we graduated. While this was true for several of my classmates, it couldn’t be further from reality for me.


For various reasons (for the record: I was never fired), I went through the recruiting cycle numerous times. When I first started out, I had an inaccurate perception of the recruitment ins and outs for public accounting. By the time I went through my last recruiting cycle, I’d like to think that I gained a solid grasp on what accounting recruiters look for. So here are my top 3 tips to securing an accounting internship!


Tip 1: Grades Aren’t Everything

As a Brock student, I went through my first co-op recruiting process in the first semester of my second year. Throughout my first year, I studied hard and ultimately ended up with a high GPA – all because I assumed that the Big 4 only hired the smartest students. This is not the case; Big 4 recruiters place an emphasis on the “overall package”: someone who not only has decent enough grades (this a good indicator that you will pass the CFE), but who is also personable, outgoing, and involved in extracurricular activities/hobbies.


Tip 2: Target Your Firms and Network Hard

Before recruiting season, make a list of 2-4 firms that you really want to target. Read their campus career websites in detail and look up LinkedIn profiles of people who work there in co-op/entry-level roles to get an idea of what type of work you will be doing. Don’t be afraid to reach out to recruiters or other employees via email or LinkedIn to ask for a coffee meeting. Use this meeting time to not only learn more about firm opportunities (try to avoid questions which can be easily answered by logging onto the company’s website though), but to also highlight any memorable facts about you. A good time to do this is the early summer (May – June), when recruiters (and most other employees) are not too busy.


Tip 3: Get Involved ASAP

Getting involved with extracurricular activities is a great way to not only build your resume, but to also give you “material” for behavioural questions in interviews. Getting involved with your university’s Accounting Students’ Association, in particular, is a great way to demonstrate you have the “overall package” (see Tip 1). Apart from the transferrable skills you will pick up, being an executive on an accounting society can bring informal networking opportunities – many firms sponsor accounting associations, and as an executive, you will likely have the opportunity to interact with them in capacities that regular students will not. For example, you may be communicating with recruiters to coordinate sponsorship funds. Accounting society executives typically do not have difficulties in landing internships or full-time opportunities.


I’d like to end off with an overarching tip: make sure you’re aware of the covert “Client Test”. At the end of the day, accounting firms are profit-oriented businesses which are driven by client relationships. As a client-serving professional, you will not only be a face for your firm, but also a potential relationship builder. Therefore, one of the first things that goes through a recruiter’s head when they meet you is “Would a Partner at my firm be comfortable putting this person in front of their most important client?”


Good luck with the job hunt! If you have any questions or tips of your own, please post them below or in my AMA (https://yconic.com/discussion/ama-brock-bacc-grad-carleton-macc-student-big-4-employee/kfgfkIHxNHJJsXygG3zHvgLKhvu8QqS7).


-Neal, yconic Digital Brand Ambassador

So you want to work in Finance or Banking...
For new B.Comm graduates, the first few years out of university should be seen as another educational opportunity rather than a source of income. Here's a brief outline of what your life will entail, if you have a passion for Finance and Banking.

Finance Careers 

Careers in finance are divided into the sell-side and the buy-side. 

The sell-side focuses on client service by acting as intermediaries between those who need financing and those with the capital to provide it. It is the most common entry point into finance, as the largest Canadian banks (BMO, RBC, TD, Scotia Capital, CIBC, and National Bank Financial) all hire on campus for summer internships and full time positions in sales and trading and investment banking. Many global banks with satellite offices in Canada, such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, UBS, Citi, and Barclays Capital hire for investment banking positions and the occasional sales and trading positions as well. A career as an investment banking analyst is well-known for the stress and long hours, often in excess of 100 hours per week. 

The buy-side categorizes companies with the capital looking to make investments, because they buy securities from dealers on sell-side. It includes private equity, with firms such as Onex and CPPIB, that seeks to take outright controlling stakes in companies with the intention of selling them later for a large profit. Mutual funds and hedge funds are also active in Canada, such as Fidelity Investments that seek to invest in common stocks and other securities. Unlike the sell-side, the buy-side often hires those with previous industry experience, especially from the sell-side since the large banks provide excellent training to their employees. For the buy side, a Chartered Financial Analyst designation is often required and lets employers know that the applicant has the necessary theoretical knowledge.
University Programs
Im in grade 12 getting ready to apply for universities but I'm a little lost on what I want to go into. I'm looking into Lakehead University, StFX, Dalhousie and UBC.

If anyone has any information on the Human Kinetics/Kinesiology programs or psychology programs I would greatly appreciate it! Or if anyone has information on Lakehead's Outdoor Recreation program or Dalhousies recreation program, I would greatly appreciate it!
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HELP I dont know If I will get accepted to U of C
What I plan as a career for myself is to become a registered nurse, I'm going to apply at U of C this week but I know that I don't have the average to go directly into nursing. So I was thinking that I take one year of sociology to boost my GPA and then transfer into nursing. The problem I have is that I'm not sure if I will get accepted for standard admission,  here are my marks for gr. 11 and what I have so far for gr. 12 
Can anyone tell me what they think?
Math 20-1--->54%
ELA 20-1--->68%
Bio 20--->83%
Chem 20--->84%
Social studies 20-1--->81%
French 30--->85
Chem 30--->66%
Bio 30--->86%
ELA 30-1--->68%