A few weeks ago Ontario’s 20 universities reported an overall increase of 2% in high school applications. The 2010 entry year also saw a similar increase of 3%. According to the Council of Ontario Universities this parallels a trend of higher demand for university graduates in the workforce. Two out of three new jobs require post-secondary education. If you’re a glass-is-have-empty person, you are already predicting an increase in the 2012 applications and 2-3% unhappy high school students and parents.
If you simply look at the statistics reported by the Ontario University Application Centre it appears that this conclusion is incorrect because the number of confirmations or acceptances of admission offers also increased by 2%.
But it’s not that simple. Some programs had a higher number of applicants while others saw a decrease. The big winners were Social Work (16%), Mathematics (9%) and Engineering (8%). Those programs which saw a significant decrease were Journalism (-5%), Fine and Applied Arts (-5%) and Landscape Architecture (-4%). Likewise, not every university experienced an increase in applications. Nor does lower applications numbers, lead to a corresponding decrease in students.
As a former director of admissions I know that the numbers published by the Ontario University Application Centre do not tell the whole story. Although the number of confirmations or acceptances of admission offers are published, what’s needed to better analyze the data is the number of admission offers that were made; especially to those who selected a program as their first choice. All applicants are not created equally. Are the additional applications coming from excellent students or are they from below average, but ambitious students? Many applicants simply do not have the required Grade 12 courses or averages and are automatically not admitted.
As a high school student or the parent of one, the numbers you should focus on are the minimum Grade 12 averages for the program in the universities of your choice. These minimums are usually published on the university’s website. If it’s not, just ask an admission representative. But be careful, the pool of the current year’s applicants determines the admission cut-off, so aim to be comfortably above the average.
So relax. Don’t over analyze the increase in applications. The number one thing to do in Grade 12 is to study hard, get good grades and you’ll get good news from the university of your choice.
|Cheryl Millington a former University of Toronto senior administrator with over 25 years experience in recruitment and admissions. She is also the mother of an 18 year old who has just started his undergraduate degree.|