Many Virtual High School students in Grade 12 are currently in the process of applying to colleges and universities for fall 2023 admission. If you’re looking for a place to start your research on post-secondary institutions and the programs they offer, check out VHS alum Lilly Sato’s story about her journey to the University of Toronto!

Swimming off the coast of Japan

Originally from Sapporo in northern Japan, Lilly grew up with winters filled with snow so she’s no stranger to the temperatures she’ll experience in Canada over the next four years. She just so happens to love winter sports too, so she’s ready to break out the ice skates and snowboard at a moment’s notice! Besides outdoor activities, Lilly loves making and listening to music, working out, and experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lilly was unable to participate in most of the volunteer work that she had planned to do. However, she did find a job teaching children with special needs which helped her to grow into the empathetic and compassionate person we know her to be.

With lengthy lockdown periods in place during the pandemic, Lilly spent a lot of time binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. The love of the show is actually what made Lilly want to become a neurosurgeon in the first place! After a lot of hard work and dedication to her studies, she graduated from Virtual High School in the summer of 2022 with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma and Ontario Scholar Certificate. Now, Lilly is in her first semester at the University of Toronto where she hopes to earn her Honours Bachelor of Science degree by specializing in neuroscience!

University of Toronto Scarborough Campus

The Neuroscience Program at the University of Toronto (Scarborough Campus) aims to provide students with plenty of research opportunities and hands-on activities so that they’re prepared for both academic and clinical settings. With courses on molecular biology, biochemistry, anatomy, and physiology, Lilly can expect to become a master in all things regarding the human nervous system. She’ll even get to complete a co-op placement in the third year of the program so that she can participate in a supervised research project!

Surprisingly, Lilly’s favourite subject at Virtual High School was actually English and not science! She liked having the chance to be creative and expressive with her assignments in contrast with the more technical and formal assessments associated with science courses. Now that she’ll be heavily focused on science at university, she’s looking forward to finding creative outlets through the new people that she’ll meet and the new activities that they may introduce her to!

Since Lilly sought balance between school, work, and life early on in her high school years, we have no doubt that her transition to university has been beautifully organized. She initially chose Virtual High School because it allowed her to create a sense of structure that worked for her lifestyle:

Wildlife on the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus

“I wanted to get a high school education while living life and learning social skills. I feel that I have greatly benefited from the flexibility that VHS has to offer as I have been able to balance full-time jobs with schoolwork. Furthermore, I feel that the independence and self-discipline that came with completing courses with VHS will greatly help me with university schoolwork as well.”

Although this isn’t Lilly’s first time living in Canada, it will be her first time making Toronto her home so she’s excited to spend the next four years exploring the city. We’re excited to say “We knew her when…” after she becomes the spiffy neurosurgeon of her dreams!

Do you have questions about your own college or university applications after reading this blog? We’ve got you covered! Contact our guidance team at guidance2@vhs.ucourses.com to get started today.