University acceptance relies on more than just grades


UBC possesses one of the nicest in the country.

For the graduates of St. George’s, university applications are a major part of any student’s final year of school, and can be hard to handle alongside school work and extracurricular activities. Since the beginning of the year, many Canadian schools have opened their applications, including the University of British Columbia. The St. George’s university counselling team helps students in many ways; students are often notified of scholarships, application deadlines, and necessary pre-requisites. The counselling team also constantly reminds kids in all grades that grades are no longer the only significant prerequisite to getting into university; universities are starting to look more into a student’s personality, and extra-curricular work alongside academic performance.

The start of September marked the opening of applications for many schools including local institution UBC. One of the major parts of applications are scholarships, and all schools offer in-school sponsored tuition money to meriting students or those in need in a variety of ways. For example, The University of Western Ontario offers a $10,000 scholarship to anyone that has a 95 average and over, with no strings attached. Moreover, the Book Prize at University of Toronto is given out to one St. George’s student, and they must submit written pieces in their application. Those applying for scholarships often have an earlier deadline than those applying for regular admissions. UBC’s major scholarship deadline is nearly two months earlier than the regular admissions deadline. Scholarships are important because “it rewards those who stand out, as well as those who need the financial means to go to post-secondary,” said Sasha Tswardowski.

Students at St. George’s have more opportunities to learn about universities than those specifically at public schools. Personal and university counsellors are separate at Saints, and the university counselling team is extremely dedicated, constantly putting out email reminders, and having continuous meetings with each individual. At public schools, one counsellor handles an entire grade, which usually outnumbers the grad body at St. George’s. Tom Sun, a grade 12 Saints student who used to attend public school, states that “the resources at St George’s are so much more accessible than at public school.” Counsellors at public schools “have too many things to handle.”

One of the most important parts of the current application process is the significance of personal character. In the past, schools used to focus on the grades of the student. McGill University is currently one of the only schools that still embodies this philosophy, as only submission of marks are necessary for entry. However, at many other schools, personal character and statements are becoming equally if not more important than marks. According to the UBC website, personal character is important because it helps “determine whether [one] will flourish” at the school, as “experiences and ambitions” of one’s character should future enrich the school’s community. Schools nowadays want much more than the intelligence of a student, but also the experiences and impact that a student will bring to a institutional environment.

No matter what happens to those applying to university, one thing is for certain: as Lauren Shuchmacher claims, grades “don’t really matter because they don’t define us. What defines us is the changes education makes within us.”