Improve Your Chances of Being Admitted

Apply As Early As You Can

Applying early is especially important when programs such as law and business administration use rolling admissions, i.e., make decisions on applicants’ files as soon as they are complete (the application form has been filled out and signed, the application fee paid, the admissions test score submitted, and official transcripts have been received). In addition, some schools require reference letters, personal statements, and medical documentation if illness has affected your performance.

For average or slightly below average applicants, applying early is especially advisable. At the beginning of the admissions cycle, the academic profile of the applicant pool is still unknown. The admissions committee has not had enough applications to be able to determine what the average grade point average (GPA) or admissions test score cut-off is for that year. Therefore, each file is assessed on a more individual basis. As the number of places become fewer, the admissions committee becomes progressively more selective.


Apply To As Many Schools As You Can

Initially, applying to a number of schools might seem too costly, and you may not want to move outside your home province. However, the fact is that if you want to be a doctor, teacher, speech pathologist, etc., you have to have that degree. Don’t give up the chance to be admitted (the first step in your career) because you only wanted to live in Ontario, or you wanted to save $500 in application fees. Limiting the number of schools you apply to also limits your chance of acceptance. Think of the expense as a long-term investment in your future.


Fill Out Application Forms Carefully

Neatness counts when you are filling out application forms. It helps to photocopy the application form first and then make your first attempt on the copy. If you think of how many application forms the admissions committee has to read, you can imagine how frustrated they become when the form is illegible, not complete, or marred by spelling or grammatical errors. You are making a first impression - having a neat, complete application form with perfect spelling and grammar counts.

Also, pay attention to directions that specify how long your personal statement can be. Part of the assessment is often how succinct and precise you can be. For more information on personal statements, please refer to the section on “Pitfalls of Admission.”


Apply Under As Many Admissions Categories As You Can

The most competitive category for admission is the Regular Category, i.e. you are applying directly after you have completed your university or high school program and have no extenuating circumstances. Other categories of admission such as Mature, Aboriginal, or Special Categories in which illness, culture, or language has been a barrier are also available at many professional programs.

Increase your chances of admission by investigating whether you are eligible to apply under more than one category. Find out how each school defines a mature student, since it often varies with the school. Perhaps your ancestry allows you to apply under a minority classification. A priority of some programs, such as law, is to promote the diversification of the student body to better reflect the people they serve.

Many students have a shaky beginning to their university careers due to illness or because they have selected a program for which they are not suited or are not interested in. Some programs take this into consideration. Some even allow these courses to be omitted from the calculation of the cumulative GPA.


Submit Your Application In Person

Not many programs grant interviews as part of their admissions process. However, delivering your application in person, taking a tour of the school, or briefly talking to someone who is on the admissions committee can help them put a face to the name on the application form. People make up the admissions committee, and although the admissions process can seem quite mechanical, whenever there are people involved it is a subjective process. When you fall in the grey zone - not a clear admit or reject - the objective criteria of grades and admissions test scores were not information enough to base a decision on. Other more subjective factors come into play. When it comes to deciding who will fill the last few places, admissions committees are usually choosing applicants whose qualifications are very similar. It is harder to say no to someone you have met than to just a piece of paper.


Remember This

Do not be intimidated by the high application-to-acceptance ratios that are quoted in the program descriptions. A more realistic overall ratio is 4:1. The ratios are inflated by people applying who do not meet the minimum requirements. Also, many applicants have applied to other professional schools to increase their options - but they can only accept one, leaving other spaces open.

If you are not accepted, but you really want to pursue that program, find out what the problem is and take steps to rectify it. Strong motivation and perseverance can overcome obstacles.

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