Volume 96, Issue 58
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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Admission averages on the rise

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

Think getting into university was difficult five years ago? Many of Western's current students would not make the grade today with their old high school marks.

Universities across the country have slowly been increasing the minimum admission average for first-year students coming out of high school.

At Western, the minimum admission average in 1998 was 75 per cent. By 2002, the minimum average had increased to 79.5 per cent.

Total enrollment is also up at Western, said President Paul Davenport. "We have worked hard at Western to be more attractive to students of Ontario and Canada," he said.

"Faculty speak all the time about the well-prepared students in class," Davenport said, adding that raising the minimum average has been a good news story for the school.

However, there is the concern that the current trend may lead to some quality students being denied admittance. "It is certainly a concern, because high school averages do not tell the whole story," Davenport said.

"The number of applicants are going up, and the overall grades [of students entering] are going up," said Rossalie Phillips, assistant registrar at the University of British Columbia.

The admission average for the university's faculty of science was 82 per cent in 2001, and increased to 85 per cent in 2002, she said.

The number of government-funded student positions has seen no growth, Phillips explained. As a result, UBC has had to keep increasing their minimum admission average, she said.

The University of Alberta has seen their minimum admission average increase over the last five years, agreed Carole Byrne, Alberta's acting registrar.

"The largest increase has been in engineering," Byrne said, adding the faculty's average has gone up from 70 per cent in 1999, to 80 per cent in 2002.

"Right now, for early admissions in 2003, we are looking at increases in the arts and sciences," she said, noting their admission average has increased from 67 per cent in 1999 to 73 per cent for this coming September.

The trend continues at Ryerson University in Toronto, where the mean entering average has risen from 76.3 per cent in 1996 to 79.1 per cent this year, confirmed Keith Alnwick, Ryerson's registrar.

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2002 THE GAZETTE