Thinking about joining Concordia as an Undergraduate Independent Student? If so, let’s take a few moments to cover some important information you should consider to ensure Independent Status is right for you. Independent status at Concordia is essentially permission to take a few university courses, for credit, without officially being admitted to a bachelor’s degree or certificate program. Independent studies can be used as a stepping-stone to something else. You would not normally want to remain an Independent Student for longer than needed. In fact, there’s a limit to the number of credits that can be transferred from Independent Studies to a degree program, and it’s important to know that you can’t graduate with any sort of university credential as an Independent Student. Becoming an Independent Student can be very helpful for students in a few specific situations, but is not the best option for everyone. Here are the most common reasons to pursue Independent Studies: 1. You’d like to take some courses purely out of interest, with no intention of completing a full undergraduate certificate or degree program. 2. You don’t meet the admission requirements for the university program you would like to enter, or any other Concordia undergraduate certificate or degree programs, but would like to build up your academic profile to one day be admitted into your desired program. In this situation, the grades you get in the courses you take as an Independent Student are very important. Even though you’re not in a program yet, those grades will appear on your transcript and be used as the primary basis for admission into your desired program. If you’re looking to complete prerequisite courses or to improve your grade point average – GPA for short – in preparation for a bachelor’s degree, you should consider a certificate program instead of Independent Studies. Many of these programs are specifically meant for students who wish to prepare for admission into a desired degree program. If you meet the admission requirements, it’s definitely in your best interest to be in a certificate program since you would have better access to courses and to the services that could help you succeed. Plus you would belong to a Faculty, meaning you’d have access to a Faculty advisor too. Which brings me to my next point… 1. Firstly, Independent Students are limited to studying part-time, which means less than 12 credits per term, so generally 3 courses or less. Studying on a part-time basis could affect important things like your eligibility for loans and bursaries, so be sure to look into the details of how it would affect you. 2. Also, there are many courses that Independent Students are not allowed to take because they are reserved exclusively for students in a degree program. For example, most Fine Arts and John Molson School of Business courses are only accessible to students already admitted to a degree program in those faculties. 3. Lastly, Independent students can only select and register for courses after students in certificate and degree programs have done so. Therefore, the registration period for Independent students only opens 1 month before classes begin, whereas other students can start registering 4 months in advance. This sometimes results in the classes you want to take being full. As I mentioned before, you could avoid these limitations by applying into a certificate program instead, as long as you meet the admission requirements. Admission criteria for all certificates is posted online in the Undergraduate Admissions section of Concordia’s website. If you are unsure whether Independent Studies is the best way for you to enter university and would like to discuss your options, you can always book an appointment to meet with an Admissions Information Officer at Concordia’s Welcome Centre, or a Recruiter in the Faculty you’re interested in joining. If after exploring all of your options, you think Independent Studies are right for your current situation, then your next step is to submit an application for admission. You may apply to join Concordia as an Undergraduate Independent Student if you are 21 years of age or older and you are Canadian or a permanent resident. Alternative admission criteria may apply if you are not Canadian or under 21, so for more details please visit the Independent Student website. It’s best to submit an application at least 6 weeks before the term begins to give yourself enough time to select, register and prepare for your courses.