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University of Waterloo DIRECTIONS

Two high school Directions students

University of Waterloo DIRECTIONS is a post-secondary information and careers readiness conference for Aboriginal youth from First Nations and urban communities across Ontario.

Our theme is Education, Skills, Technology, Engineering, Environment, and Mathematics (ESTEEM).



Attention all Aboriginal students in Grades 10, 11, and 12: We have a program designed especially for you!

Our University of Waterloo DIRECTIONS program invites you to spend four days living in a St. Paul's residence at the University of Waterloo while attending a science-and-technology themed conference focused on the medicine wheel teachings of spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical. Get a first-hand glimpse of what post-secondary education consists of and has to offer you. During each conference, you will attend various hands-on workshops, sit in on special university-level lectures, and tour related faculties.

Come discover a wide range of post-secondary opportunities available to you in university, college, skilled trades and apprenticeship programs.

Our mission

The mission of this program is three-fold, including:

  • Increased motivation to complete high school;
  • Enhanced self-confidence of participants for post-secondary success through increased awareness and familiarity of post-secondary institutions; and lastly,
  • Consideration of a post-secondary program of study.

A group photo of students and staff from our Grade 12 program.

Student & Staff from our Grade 12 University of Waterloo DIRECTIONS program.

What we do

University of Waterloo DIRECTIONS brings together status, non-status, Métis, and Inuit high school students from across Ontario for four action-packed days.

During their time here, students will be immersed in a complete post-secondary experience which includes: living in residence; selecting and attending university lectures of interest; learning how to access on-campus resources; participation in hands-on workshops; plus much more.

Our program nurtures a love of learning and offers its participants a positive and supportive experience that not only helps to prepare them for what they might encounter in a post-secondary institution, it does so using an Aboriginal world view and the teachings of the medicine wheel.

After all, how can you choose which direction to take in life until you've glimpsed some of the many paths available?

A group photo of students participating in an activity.A group photo of Grade 11 students at the Earth Science Museum.

Left image: Hands-on participation is key. Right image: Grade 11 students in photo op.

View a sample itinerary (XLSX).

Who is involved?


There are many people involved in the successful operation of University of Waterloo DIRECTIONS, the most important of which are the students themselves, who are the leaders of our program. We are currently looking for creative, diverse, self-motivated go-getters who are passionate about learning and wiling to dedicate themselves to trying the new experiences our program has to offer. We have been fortunate in the past to have had wonderful students coming from Cape Croker, Walpole Island, Sault Ste.Marie, Thunder Bay, Kenora, Christian Island, Toronto, Wallaceburg, Hagersville, and Six Nations and look forward to meeting the new students. So come out and be a University of Waterloo delegate!


Many individuals are involved in the program, including Lu Lentz, the Aboriginal Education Centre Coordinator. Other team members consist of Aboriginal elders (Dan & Mary Lou Smoke and Lois MacDonald), university faculty, guest lecturers including Mary Simon, the Yellow Ribbon Dancers and Darren Thomas, community organizations such as Anishnabeg Outreach and the Multicultural Cinema Club, and our many volunteers who contribute their time and knowledge to the success of the program.

Students jumping to pose for the camera.Two students being taught how to drum by a community member.

Left image: Grade 10 students on a scavenger hunt. Right image: Community member teaching drumming.

Why should you register?

Everyone here shares the belief that education is a powerful, versatile tool for finding one's purpose in the world. By participating in University of Waterloo DIRECTIONS, you will gain valuable post-secondary awareness and a better understanding of careers in the ESTEEM fields.


Our program is sponsored by the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre, located at St. Paul's University College at the University of Waterloo. 

See the directions and location at Google Map or Map Quest.


Students arrive at 10:30 am on a Monday and depart at 7:30 pm on a Thursday.

Early arrivals and late departures must be arranged in advance with the Aboriginal Centre Coordinator.


Download the uWaterloo Directions Application, which you can find in the sidebar on the top right-hand side of this page.

Or contact our University of Waterloo DIRECTIONS Program Director at 519-885-1460 x220 to let us know if you're interested in coming or recommending someone else.

We can visit your school to answer any questions about the conference or nomination process, or to help you fill out and return the application package.

Please return your completed application package by mail to:

Program Coordinator, University of Waterloo DIRECTIONS
Room 228, St. Paul's University College
190 Westmount Rd. N, Waterloo, Ontario
N2L 3G5, Canada

Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre logo.

Next Grade 11 program:

February 24-27, 2014

Download the Application Form [PDF]

Next Grade 9/10 program:

May 5-8, 2014

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