Admission deadlines bumped: High schoolers must apply to U's earlier
By Becky Somerville
Ontario secondary school students applying for university acceptance for the 1998/99 school year will be filling out application forms with a quicker hand after a new date for applications and offers of acceptance was implemented by the Council of Ontario Universities.
The new policy imposes a Dec. 1st deadline for university applications and students will be notified of their acceptance in March roughly three months earlier than the current date offers are sent out.
The earliest a response from a student can be required by a university is June 1. The COU, which has two representatives from each Ontario university, passed the unanimous decision by a full board of 34 members on Dec. 12 and the change will be presented to Western's Senate for information on Friday.
Complaints from students and parents concerning the lack of planning time during the course of university admissions prompted the COU to take action, said David Scott, senior advisor of government and community relations for the COU. "The planning process was hampered by a short time frame."
Earlier dates will allow students a longer time to reflect on their decisions and give them more time to visit their schools of choice. As well, universities will know final enrollment numbers earlier and will be able to consider such things as class size at an earlier date, Scott said.
"Both the students and the institutions are in a better position," said Greg Moran, Western's VP-academic. Changes to application dates will afford Western a greater opportunity to answer questions and provide information to students especially those from out of town, he said.
"The more information you give to students, the more [students] you'll get." Moran added that Western will move back offers of scholarships and residence to coincide with offers of admission.
"[These changes] are advantageous for students as they will have lots of time to consider their options and financial, academic and educational consequences," Moran added.
Scott added that although the new dates mean offers will be sent out long before the school term is over, students must complete their studies with the required academic standards. "Acceptances may be sent out early but this doesn't allow OACs to coast it will still be a conditional acceptance."
The Ontario Universities' Applications Centre, responsible for processing applications for all Ontario universities, recognized the changes as contributing to greater flexibility within the university system. Inevitably, however, the adjustment of admission dates will have an exhausting affect on OUAC's resources since a completely separate data collection system will be required, said Gregory Marcotte, executive director of OUAC.
"Processing applications earlier is more costly to us," Marcotte explained. "Whether that cost will be passed on to the client we don't know yet."
He added no immediate fee increase has been applied at this time but it may be a necessity in the future. Currently, OUAC's application fee is $80 and approximately 55,000 Ontario secondary students apply to university per year.