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AMA: Brock BAcc Graduate, Carleton MAcc Graduate, Big 4 Employee
My name is Neal, and I graduated from Brock's Bachelor of Accounting Co-op program in 2016 and Carleton's Master of Accounting program in 2017. I was a yconic Student Ambassador for 2016-17. Although I work full-time at PwC now, I'm still around answering questions about accounting as a career and universities. 

My co-op work experience includes:
-Corporate Accounting, Henkel (Germany)
-Assurance and Tax, Collins Barrow
-Risk Assurance, Ernst and Young

I currently work at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Assurance. . 

A snapshot of my time at Brock:  
-Served as an executive for several clubs  
-Participated in numerous internal/external case competitions and conferences  
-Served as a Tutorial Leader for Brock's first-year Macroeconomics course  
-Inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma (the top 10% of Goodman get invited)  
-Did co-ops and internships with 3 different companies in corporate accounting, assurance, tax and risk assurance located in Germany and Canada  
-Participated in a short-term exchange to France  
-Volunteered for the business school's Career Services office, where I critiqued students' resumes  
-Lived in residence (first-year) and off campus

A snapshot of my time at Carleton:  
-President of the Sprott MAcc Society  

Feel free to ask me questions below! Or you can add me on LinkedIn if you'd like to send a private message (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nsengupta).
Which extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
Whether you may be in high school or university, there are many clubs, sports, and student groups that you can participate in. Being involved helps you gain leadership skills, network, and build your resume.

Which extra-curricular activities are/were you involved in?
Has your involvement impacted and helped you decide on a career path in some way?

yconic Student Ambassador
Do University's really care about how many volunteer hours you have?
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AMA: Student Council President, Rowing Coxswain, High School Senior, UVic Applicant
Hi! I'm Chanel, one of the Yconic Student Ambassadors for 2017-2018. As a student in high school, I can easily relate to any questions you may have and am readily available to help you. So feel free to ask me anything and I answer back speedily! 

About me:
- Student Athlete: joined many sports from basketball to volleyball but transited onto the water for rowing 
- On Student Council for two years as Fine Arts Rep and School President 
- AP English Student with courses aimed towards the Sciences (Bio, Physics, Chem) 
- Arts Student in Visual Arts (published illustrator), Choir and Drama 
- Guide International Students from numerous countries like Japan, China, Korea, Brazil, Spain, etc. 
- Volunteer at Women In Need, aiding women in transition homes
- Attended Private school and Catholic school
-  Applying at the University of Victoria in British Columbia in the Faculty of Science
AMA: First-Year Business Management Student, Creator & SHSM Graduate
Hi everyone!

My name is Alyssa and I am a yconic Student Ambassador for the 2017-2018 school year. I am currently a first-year Business Management student at Ryerson University. I'm here to answer any questions you may have. If you just want to chat, that works too. Haha!

Here are some things about me: 
- Attended 9 different schools before university, including 1 private school, 3 international schools, and 5 public schools
- Worked several part-time jobs in high school
- Was a high school co-op student
- Completed Leadership Pathway high school specialized program
- Graduated with a Specialist High Skills Major in Arts and Culture
- Ontario Scholar
- A 2017 #RoadToRyerson Storyteller

Please don't hesitate to ask me anything, whether it may be about community involvement or university applications. I will answer them to the best of my ability and respond as quickly as I can.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Alyssa Vidal
yconic Student Ambassador
Should I stay Home or Live on Res?
So Im from Scarborough and will be attending York University this fall. I consider myself as an outgoing person and fun to be with and I will be commuting from home in about 1 hour and 20 mins. Do you think I should commute or live on res?
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Are my EC's relatively good for U of T & U of Waterloo
Here are my EC's-

-Kid's Camp Volunteer
-FITC 2017 Volunteer
-Digifest 2017 Volunteer
-Hackernest Volunteer

Some other stuff:
-Created my own website
- Developed 2 Android Apps

I am planning to do some other stuff this year like joining clubs and student council, but as for now are they good or bad?

If you guys know any good places to volunteer in Toronto feel free to tell me.
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Is volunteering aboard helpful for university application?
I'm planning to teach elementary school students English in Costa Rica for 2 weeks. Does it help? Or is it too short that will make my application weaker?
U of Guelph or Ryerson for nutrition?
Hey guys, I need help! I am currently stuck between whether I should accept my offer to Guelph's applied human nutrition or Ryerson's nutrition and food program. I visited both campuses and I have pros and cons for both. I love Guelph's campus but at the same time I love the city since I'm from Toronto and I'm scared that I'll be bored in a small town like Guelph. Is there anyone from either program who can offer some advice about the program, professors, campus, student life or any other pros and cons? Also, which one would have more volunteer opportunities or ways to get involved to put on my resume? Thank you!!
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University of Guelph: Non-academic requirements for Ontario Veterinary College
Hello everyone,
I am a Gr.11 student in Ontario and I am extremely interested in becoming a veterinarian. However, what causes me some concern is the amount of experience I will need to get into OVC. I understand that both animal experience and veterinary experience are necessary to get in. This is where my questions come into play. Firstly, do you need to log the total number of experience hours that you have completed when you apply? Secondly, how many hours for each would be reasonable for acceptance? Thirdly, are there going to be many opportunities at Guelph for acquiring volunteer hours (this is significant because I am trying to decide whether to go to a more local university or Guelph for my undergrad)? Lastly, how many different places should I try to volunteer, in my local area there is potential to volunteer/shadow at LA and SA clinics (the latter which I currently do), work in pet stores, and work in animal shelters, would a decent amount of experience from all of these combined be enough variety? 

Thanks for reading, I am trying to get a good understanding of what I would have to do to make the requirements for this part of the program.
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Terry Fox Scholarship 2017
Have any applicants for the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award heard back about the interview? According to their timeline, interviews will be conducted in April/May, so how much notice do shortlisted candidates get?
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The Controversy of Voluntourism
For-profit trips to impoverished countries have become increasingly popular for students these past couple of years. Usually, companies advertise themselves with trips costing $7000-15,000 where you visit villages and build schools or participate other philanthropic activities.

The argument around 'Voluntourism' has been growing and I would like to your opinion. Have you gone on one of these trips? Would you be willing to go on one of these trips?

Consider these pros and cons and join the argument!

-Gain in-person insight on the struggles that these people are facing. 
-Offer students an alternative way to spend their spring break or summer break
-A new and refreshing volunteering experience outside of what student's normally do
-Offer an opprotunity to travel to places with many traditional travel agencies do not advertise going for students. 

-These volunteers are not forming true interpersonal relationships with children or villagers in the 7 to 10 days they spend on the trip
-By outsourcing work of building schools to students who have no construction experience whatsoever, they are actually hurting the economy by outsourcing work that would otherwise go to local contractors and subsequently, hurting their economy. 
-Students who are building houses and schools have no trade skills, meaning that their work is actually counter-productive as the quality is low.
-Many of these tourism agencies are treating these trips as an adventure where students stay in comfortable accommodations, go sightseeing in African safaris, and act as the suffering of these people are only a part of the trip, rather than the sole purpose of the trip.
-Have little to no understanding and training in local cultures prior to participating in these trips. 
-The money used to go on these trips would better be used to used in other humanitarian endeavors such as aid relief or supporting organizations that provide services that the local population cannot provide for themselves (e.g. Doctors without borders, teachers without borders, engineers without borders). 
-Many, if not all of these students come back home with pictures they have with village kids on their backs thinking that their trip genuinely helped the community.
-Many, if not all of these tourist agencies profit off the suffering of third world countries by treating them as a target of sightseeing. 

Do you have your own opinion on voluntourism? Got some of your own pros and cons? Comment and discuss below!

-Benson Law 
Yconic Student Ambassador.
Backpacking on a Student Budget (Read: No Money)
Backpacking is something that is on the bucket list of most students. While you technically can’t do it with “no” money, it is possible to do on a student budget. Having backpacked to over 40 countries as a student, here are some of my tips for maximizing your travel dollar:

#1 – Student Discounts  
Make sure you pack an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) before departing. Depending on your university, it is either free or $20 – either way, you’re eligible for some unreal discounts at major attractions like the Colosseum, Acropolis, and Louvre.  

#2 – Intern Abroad
In second year, I worked at Henkel in Düsseldorf, Germany for 6 months. Every weekend, I was off to a new place. By booking my travel weeks/months ahead, I was able to take advantage of cheap bus/train/plane tickets for travel throughout Europe; I don't think I paid more than 45 Euros round-trip per weekend, and I went to places like France, Poland and Scandinavia. Interning abroad is a win-win because you require little savings to actually do it – your salary is your travel money.  

#3 – Volunteer At A Youth Hostel   
Since youth hostels are cheap, most require on volunteers/cheap labour to function. Many have volunteer programs where people can do different things (reception work, cleaning, bartending) in exchange for a bed (and sometimes meals). Each hostel has its own unique volunteer rules.  

I volunteered at a hostel in Tallinn, Estonia for 4 weeks. For 7-14 hours of reception work per week, I had a bed to sleep in every night. Apart from making lifelong friends, I also backpacked to Sweden, Lithuania and Russia. Also, living in picturesque Tallinn for a month was incredible (Google it).  

Have any budget travel tips? Would you do any of the above? Comment below!  

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador
How do you get your community service hours?

While some students have gotten more than enough community service hours by Grade 12, most students save those hours for their last year of high school – which can already be a stressful time because of university applications and (potentially) preparing to leave home for the first time.

So, what are some easy ways to get you volunteer hours?

#1 – Help Out Your Teachers

My friends and I got all of our hours by helping out our school’s science department teachers. For a month or so, they were in the midst of an internal move so we helped out with sorting textbooks and equipment. One of my other friends – who wanted to go to teacher’s college – got her volunteer hours (and a reference letter, I’m sure) by helping mark tests/assignments for Grade 9 students and being an in-class tutor.

#2 – Help Out At Your Religious Institution

If your family goes to church/synagogue/mosque/temple on a regular basis, ask if the staff there if they need help with anything. Helping for 1-3 hours per week could help you get your hours really fast.

#3 – Help Out A Neighbour With Outdoor Work

If you have elderly neighbours, offer to cut their grass and/or shovel their driveways. They will definitely appreciate it, and you won’t have to go far from home to volunteer. It’s a great workout as well!

Have any other tips for getting your hours easily? Post them below!

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassdor

Graduating University with a lack of job skills
Check out the following article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/01/26/why-are-so-many-college-students-failing-to-gain-job-skills-before-graduation/?tid=ss_tw-amp&utm_term=.c8ff4c759522  

Being a student myself, these are pretty shocking numbers, but I definitely think that it stresses the important of getting “real world” experience alongside one’s focus on academics. Yes, having a high GPA can help you find employment, but if the stats are true, employers may begin to shift their employment criteria away from academics. Here are some things that you can do to take advantage of this:  

1. Internships and Coops: Not only do you get that direct exposure to work but you also get to network with companies, allowing you to have that immediate connection for a job once you graduate.
2. Working during the summer: Internships are sometimes difficult to come by, but having a summer job allows you to build those skills and get that experience as well.
3. Getting involved with clubs/committees and volunteer: This does not only allow you to build a diverse amount of job skills but also show that you are committed to a cause.  

Moral of the story? Get Involved with activities you are passionate about! They will inevitably lead you to new opportunities and give you the necessary skills moving forward.  

yconic Student Ambassador
Volunteering vs Work
Often times, the struggle to building one’s resume revolves around the types of experiences that we should do. This debate commonly revolves around doing volunteer and/or work experience. What do you feel is more valuable moving forward? Here are my thoughts:

Benefits of Volunteering:  
- More Opportunities: Often, these positions are usually more easy to gain and come by, after all, you don’t get paid! This allows you to get experience more easily in a field if you don’t have any previous background.  
- Gives Back to Community: Unlike work, you are doing this not necessarily for the money, but because you are passionate for the cause and program.  
- Flexible Hours: When you are running on a busy schedule, these opportunites only require a couple hours of work each week!  

Benefits of Working:  
- You Make Money: Being a student, we are usually looking for a couple of coins here and there, and work is definitely a great way to make a little on the side.  
- More Commitment: Because they are paid positions, you tend to have a stronger commitment to your role, such as working longer hours and having additional roles.  
- “Prestige” Outlook: For most positions, work positions are competitive to receive, often requiring an interview. Receiving a position can be beneficial to show that you were selected amongst your peers.  

yconic Student Ambassador
Extracurriculars: Quantity and Quality
Quantity vs quality is an age-old question for students everywhere trying to find a balance for their student portfolio. This isn't a post about how passionately you should invest yourself in your extra-curriculars but rather how you should allocate your time so that when application season comes for scholarships/programs, you will find that you have no problem filling out your supplementary applications

Before I share my own method of approaching ec's, it's important to understand how they are often structured. More of than not, major supplementary applications ask for 1-3 essays with questions like "Describe what you consider to be your most significant volunteer contribution to date in terms of its value to your school or larger community. Why was it important to you and to others (word limit:300)?"-(Loran Scholarship 2016). In addition to essays, supplementary applications may ask for a list commitments ranging from school activities, sports, artistic pursuits, awards, employment etc

The goal is to strike a balance between your extracurriculars so that you maximize your ability to apply for every scholarship/program without having to invest an unreasonable time on extracurriculars at the expense of a social and academic life. 

Over the last four years, I have taken an approach that my mentor shared with me. It encompasses how you should differentiate between major and minor commitments as well as how varied each should be.  By no means is this an exhaustive or foolproof equation but I have found success, having been invited for interviews with major scholarships as well as winning several smaller scholarships. 

Major and Minor Commitments

Major Commitments (Have 2-3)
-Hours Committed for each: 100-300+
-Should be used for the major essays
-Should be a major part of your student journey (e.g. entrepreneurship, volunteering at a hospital weekly, etc)
-Demonstrate commitment, other important qualities, etc 
-References from major commitments tend to be stronger

Minor Commitments (Have 8-15)
-Hours Committed for each: 5-10+
-Should be used for the lists (Refer above)
-Can be a one-time thing (e.x volunteering at a parade)
-Will not be discussed in detail so time commitment it is not a big issue 
-Should be varied

-Should not only be school activities. Extra-curriculars should encompass commitments with out of school organizations as well. 
-Having employment/entrepreneurship experience demonstrates time commitment, maturity, amongst other things
-Artistic Endeavors: Whether this might be being part of band, art club, etc. Artistic endeavors can usually help demonstrate that you are passionate about something beyond the usual scope of extra-curriculars that other students may have, therefore setting you apart. 
-Physical/Team Involvement: Being part of the school team or something as simply as a playing  badminton as a hobby can show that you are invested in working well with a partner, or a team trying to achieve a common goal. 

By no means is what I shared going to guarantee you admission to a program or acceptance for scholarships. At the end of the day, having a variety of major and minor commitments is important. But equally as important is how well you portray yourself in your supplementary application so that you will distinguish yourself from all the thousands of other applications.

What did you think about my list? Do you agree or disagree? Have your own approach that you have found success? Share in the comments below!

-Benson Law 
Yconic Student Ambassador
Summer Research Programs for High School Students
For those of you who are interested in getting a research position over the summer, there are plenty of places that you might want to consider applying to! The benefit of doing research in these summer research programs is that you get to get hands-on experience working with experienced faculty that will supervise and guide you every step of the way. 

Check out...

Hamilton Health Science Summer Research (http://bit.ly/2nXi6TH)
Deadline: April 3rd
Benefits: This program allows grade 11 and 12's to spend a 7-week internship with research teams at  Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University or St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. This opportunity allows students to conduct clinical or basic research as well as gain valuable lab skills and establish networking relationships that will carry you throughout your academic studies. 

University of Toronto Youth Summer Program (http://bit.ly/2mIYMZc)
Deadline: Ongoing waitlist as all modules are full
Benefits: The unique 4 week program is aimed towards grade 10 and 11 students interested in learn more about a major medical discipline. During those 4 weeks, students can spend time in lectures taught by world-class faculty members, hands-on experimentation as well as gain unparalleled access to advanced laboratory facilities. Modules include Physiology, Molecular Biology & Genetics, Pharmacology & Toxicology, and Microbiology.

Ontario On-Line Co-op (http://bit.ly/2nXje9T)
Deadline: Ongoing throughout the school year 
Benefits: Allows students in high school to get a better understanding of what research entails with the guidance of industry professionals as well as faculty in academia. Due to the nature of it being online, students are able to work in remote areas or during a busy school year/summer. 

Mount Sinai Samuel Lunenfeld research institute Summer Research(http://bit.ly/2nfxhuq)
Deadline: Not yet disclosed (Released by end of March)
Benefits: Located in the heart of Toronto, the Samuel Lunenfeld summer research program allows select high-achieving student to participate in biomedical research under the guidance of experienced scientists studying areas from osteoporosis to populations. 

Focused Ultrasound High School Summer Research (http://bit.ly/2mIYBgO)
Deadline: February 10; Interviews March 13-24 
Benefits: The program takes on students under the direct supervision of Sunny Brook Hospital staff. During the summer, students will gain enriched, hands-on knowledge in the fields of physics, engineering and biology that would be difficult to attain elsewhere.

It's important to remember that all of these programs are highly competitive. If you don't get in, try again the following year with an even stronger application. Just do you best to showcase who you really are in the application and show a desire to learn!

Do you have some summer research programs that I haven't listed? Comment below!
compsci volunteering
I can't find any volunteering opportunities for computer science. I was wondering if anyone knew any good places to volunteer where I can also get volunteer hours. Also, is volunteering useful to have on a university application for someone interested in computer science/computer engineering? I'm only in grade 10 and I'm not really sure what kind of stuff looks good on applications, if there are any uni students that can tell me what stuff (other than good grades) helped them get into uni and gain experience outside of school, that would be great.
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Volunteering in high school... is it worth it?
I basically took a year off but I am continuing to do courses in high school for some extra credits and raising my average. I have not finished one of the prerequisites, so I have not gained any offers. I have 40 hours completed, but I'm wondering what amount I would need to look impressive on my "resume" and potentially gain acceptance or acknowledgment of the hours and for it to be considered in accepting my application with haste. 

If I tried reallyyy hard, I could potentially get from 40 hours to maybe 200? Will this do any benefit? 
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Calling all yconic members!
We know it’s hard to think about but it’s almost that time of year again. Tell us your top 3 “Must Haves” for back to school and you could be featured in yconic's newest article.

Example:              1. My trusty Herschel backpack
                               2. Red TOMS shoes
                               3. My lucky pen
                              ~Jon, first year Queen’s student in Economics

Reply to this thread now for your chance to be featured!
How to get a Volunteer Placement at a Hospital
High School students, are you thinking about getting a meaningful volunteering experience at a hospital? Well, for many of you who have tried, you'll know that it's extremely competitive and here are some tips on who to better your chances. 

1. Go the distance: Most of the time, major downtown teaching hospitals are flooded with volunteers and the chances of you getting in are very slim. Consider traveling a bit further to some hospitals in the outskirts of the city that are smaller in size and are less competitive. 

2. Timing: Consider volunteering during the school year rather than the summer time because that's when all the university students are looking for volunteer placements themselves. Not to mention, university students get 4 months of summer so they start much earlier than high school students. Try applying in September when all the summer volunteers leave and they are looking for a fresh group. Apply as early as possible during these times to better your chances!

3. Through Co-op: If you are really looking to volunteer at a major hospital but you just can't in, try going through your school's co-op department. Many of these major hospitals have established co-op programs for high school students so if you want to beat the summer rush, consider doing co-op during the school year.

Have you had a hard time getting a placement? Got some more tips? Comment below!

Benson Law 
Yconic Student Ambassador 
Considering a Summer Job? Where, When, and How to Look
It's that time of year again! Many of you are looking into getting summer jobs! Luckily for you, our team here at Yconic is dedicated to making sure that you know exactly where, when, and how to look. 

Government of Ontario
The government of Ontario has recently opened the "Ontario Public Service Careers" website to allow students (high-school and university) a chance to become a public servant. Jobs range from working at the Ontario Science Center, Ontario Parks, being a research assistant, laboratory jobs, working for various ministries, etc. Many of these jobs begin in May for university students but are also open for students to begin in late June/early July.  Please be aware that many of these jobs will require previous volunteer/co-op experience as they are not entry level jobs. For the application process, you will only need to submit your resume and a cover letter expressing your intent. 

Deadlines are broken down based on ministry/department. 

January 17: Administration Information, Management Agriculture, and Livestock
January 31: Business, Technology, Language
February 14th: Policy, Engineering, Enforcement, Ontario Place, Parks (1st posting)
February 28th: Environment,  Science
March 14th: Social Services, Maintenance
March 28th: Customer Service, Clerical, Parks (2nd posting)


Food Service/Retail
For food service and retail, summer is a great time for them to recruit students like yourself! Jobs with Tims/McDonalds (food service in general) are great for students as they are super flexible with work hours both during the summer and during school. Many of these companies hold hiring days where managers are available to accept your resume, personal information, and help you fill out an application. Those that don't have specified hiring days (retail, other fast food places)  have job posting on their careers website where you can choose your restaurant location closest to your home. 

McDonalds Hiring Day: Early-Mid April 

Research Positions 
For science (and research intensive) undergrad students out there, there are tons of opportunities where universities and affiliate research (hospital) labs are hiring summer students. During this time, your application (gpa, resume, cover letters, etc) will be screened by individual principal investigators who will then invite you to their office for an interview. Go and check out university, hospital, and research website for updates! 


Mount Sinai Hospital (RTC Summer Research Program for Undergraduates ): Deadline is Feb. 28th

What did you think of my suggestions?

if you have any other suggestions, feel free to comment and post below! 

-Benson Law
Yconic Student Ambassador 

How to find volunteer opportunities on campus?
Volunteering is probably one of the most important things to do while in post-secondary, in my opinion. Most universities and colleges have something called a “CCR” or something similar, which is also known as the co-curricular record. This is an amazing piece of paper that will accumulate all of your experience over your three or four, or five years of university or college. It sounds silly, but it’s a certified document from the school that says “yes! He/She did volunteer, and here are some skills they’ve acquired from doing so.” I don’t think I have to tell you that this is fantastic to include in your portfolio or with your resume when it comes to applying for jobs. Here are some places/ways to find volunteer opportunities on campus:

Bulletin Boards
Go to any bulletin board on campus, and you’ll likely see countless posters, especially in September, and January.

Volunteer/Club Fairs
Usually in September, and in January, there are volunteer and club fairs to entice students to join organizations and volunteer. Go! Guaranteed there will be one in September if anything (usually during orientation week for first years) where they’ll try to reach our to the hundreds of new students becoming a member of their school community!

Social Media
Watch your social media. Join Accepted groups on Facebook, and follow your university’s Students Union, Student Publications pages on Facebook, and twitter. They always post about hiring, and how to get involved.

Contact Organizations on Campus
If all else fails, look at your school’s website. Chances are there are contact emails for each club and organization that you have on campus. Email the coordinators, and ask them how to get involved. They want you, just me!

Are you planning on volunteering while in post-secondary school? Or do you volunteer on campus? If you do, how did you find the opportunities on your campus?