Hemophilia and school

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Teens living with hemophilia can learn helpful tips on post-secondary school, including how to budget.

Deciding what you want to do after high school can be challenging. You may not have your sights set on a specific career yet.


There are a number of options you may be considering, such as:

  • University or college
  • Learning a trade through an apprenticeship
  • Entering the workforce.

The first step is to explore your interests and look for related careers. When thinking about a future career, you may want to ask yourself:

  • Am I really interested in this field of work?
  • What do I like about this job? What do I dislike?
  • Could I see myself doing this for many years?
  • Does this job pose a high risk of bleeds?
  • Will my hemophilia prevent me from fulfilling my duties?

Once you have a goal in mind, you can explore what type of school you would like to attend. The best advice we can give you is to do your research.

  • Looking into a variety of different schools and programs can help you appreciate what is out there.
  • Talk to people who are studying and working in the areas that interest you. They will have valuable insights on what it’s “really like” to work in that area – the type of information typically not found in any school or program materials.
  • Create lists of questions for people and see if they know others who may be useful for you to talk to.
  • Always show up prepared and open minded. It’s easy to make assumptions about a particular career. You may learn about the less glorious parts of a career that interests you.

Do not worry if you don’t know exactly what you want to do. The majority of students change their major after the first year of university. Explore your interests and try different options. Eventually, you’ll find a career that fits your interests and personality.

Where can I find information on post-secondary schools?

  • Your academic counselor at school can help you research different options and point you in the direction of helpful resources, like pamphlets or school websites. Schoolfinder is a website that allows you to search for information on schools or programs in Canada and the U.S.A.
  • Often high schools arrange to have college panels or representatives from different schools come and speak. These sessions are a great way for you to hear about various programs and ask questions. Speak with your academic counselor or student development centre to find out when these presentations are being held at your school.
  • If you are seriously considering a particular school or program, it is also a good idea to book a tour. This can be done online on most schools’ websites or over the phone.
  • You do not have to make the choice about post-secondary education alone. Your parents are there to give helpful advice, but it's your decision in the end. Even if conversations get overly passionate try to appreciate that they want to set you up for success.

Admission requirements

When applying for any school, make sure you have all the prerequisite courses to be eligible for your program of interest. Some schools may require a minimum grade average or standardized test scores. Most schools provide admission requirement information on their website.

Talk to your academic counselor at school. They can give you information on admission and help you plan your future educational path. Visit your academic counselor in grade 10 or 11, but it is never too late to seek advice and plan for your future. As long as you meet all the requirements, you should have a good chance of getting accepted into the school of your choice.

What happens if you don’t get into the school of your choice?

If you don’t get in the first time, try again. Many schools have waiting lists and supplementary applications that you can fill out to strengthen your admission package.

Consider your hemophilia in the decision

Growing up with hemophilia adds extra responsibility to your life and can be time consuming. As you transition and take full control of all aspects of your care it’s important to select a school that allows you to handle your health needs much easier.

When starting university or college, here are a few important points to keep in mind.

  • Ask about health services available on campus or near school. Your comprehensive care team (CCT) will help you find a hemophilia clinic closer to your new school. You can also ask to be put in a residence building close to a health clinic.
  • Register with your on-campus health clinic. Make sure they are aware of the type and the severity of your hemophilia.
  • Speak with health services or set up an appointment to visit before school starts. This way you can discuss your hemophilia and the accommodations that you may need.
  • While at school it is likely that you may have to give yourself regular infusions. Consider keeping a small refrigerator in your room or nearby for your supplies.
  • When choosing accommodation, consider a room on the ground floor, or a floor that has an elevator.

Missing class because of your hemophilia

Occasionally, you may have to miss a lecture because of a bleed or other hemophilia complications.

  • If you are having trouble keeping up with the workload in a class because of your hemophilia, let your professor know as soon as possible. Set up a time and meet them in their office privately and confidentially. Giving them that early notice will show them that you are responsible and care about succeeding in their class. If you wait too long they may be less understanding and unable to provide you with appropriate accommodations.
  • Most schools will need you to show documentation when you miss class and assignment deadlines. Your treatment centre will only be able to give you the right documentation if they are aware of what is going on. So it is a good idea to call them when you are starting to miss classes because of your hemophilia to keep them in the loop.
  • We also recommend you keep track of dates, details of conversations, school accommodation forms, and any additional written agreements.

Financing your education

Attending a post-secondary institution is expensive. Every year you pay tuition, a fee that covers the cost of the courses you enroll in as well as maintenance of facilities and services. In addition, you purchase books or other supplies needed for your studies. If you are moving away from home you also have to consider living expenses, like residence or off-campus housing, groceries, and utilities.

  • Sometimes your parents or other relatives may help you cover costs for school. But often you may need to rely on other sources to help pay for education. There are a number of resources you can access to help you pay for school.
  • In Canada, most provinces have a student-loan program. You submit an application online or in the mail that tells the government how much financial aid you need. The government then assesses your need and can award you an interest-free loan each year.
  • You can also apply for grants, bursaries, or scholarships. These are monetary awards that you do not have to pay back. You can create an account on this website and search for available scholarships and awards.
  • The Canadian Hemophilia Society has a scholarship program, just for people with hemophilia.

We’d like you to consider the geography of where you live because it can have a big impact on your health. When choosing an apartment, ask yourself which floor will work best for you. If the elevator is often out of order you’ll have to use the stairs. This can be a challenge, especially when carrying groceries or laundry up the stairs. Also, in an emergency situation the elevators won’t work. You’ll have to use the stairs which can be a challenge if you have a bleed in your lower body.

Also, when choosing a place to live, try to consider how far you are to the places you visit often, such as school, work, grocery store, laundry, movies, places of family and friends.

Last updated: March 13th 2019