Volume 91, Issue 93
Wednesday, March 25, 1998
Western's entrance criteria to change
By Brendan Howe
Depending on what high school a student is from could help or hinder their chance of getting into Western next year as a result of a new admissions policy document approved by Senate Friday.
The new policy will not affect regular admissions to the university but could help students who fall a little below the cut-off point to be considered for entrance if they ask for special consideration.
Western's Registrar Roma Harris said the university has been looking into the average drop in grades from students' last year of high school to first year in university for students around the province.
She said they noticed there was a substantial difference in results depending on what school a student was from. "The goal is to give students an opportunity to be admitted to Western."
The new policy also states the admissions office could take into account a student's accomplishment in academics or leadership. Harris said the reasoning behind this was to consider if a student is involved in other things in their community that could account for a decrease in grades.
"I think that's long overdue," said Paul Digby, principal of Regina Mundi College, a high school in south London. "Marks to me are only one indication of success."
Universities and high schools need to have more communication on admissions requirements, Digby added. "What needs to happen is that the university and the secondary schools have an open dialogue." He said right now high schools only receive information on how much the grades of their students drop in first-year.
Sam Castiglione, University Students' Council VP-student issues, said he thinks the changes are a good idea but judging which high schools are better than others would be hard to qualify. He added when a student participates in a lot of extra-curricular activities it often takes a toll on high school grades.
"I think the additional information will be valuable for those students who offer a lot to the community," he said.
The goal for the size of the first-year class was also increased to 4,250 for next year. It had originally been recommended in the university's strategic plan to be 3,750 but Harris said since that plan was developed the overall pattern of enrollment has changed.
She said a certain number of students are needed to support academic programs and the university is also in a different funding environment.
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