Volume 96, Issue 60
Thursday, January 16, 2003

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SATIRE: Students may lose out on sex and education

By Shannon Proudfoot
Gazette Staff

Ontario universities are facing an even higher number of applications than originally predicted for the coming double cohort.

In spite of this pressure, officials remained publicly confident that the massive slew of high school students could be accommodated by post-secondary institutions.

That optimistic position was abandoned today.

"Quite frankly, there is no way this is going to work," stated the Minister of Learning Stuff, Michelle Sobrinski.

"Pretty much only the brown-nosers and teachers' pets in each graduating class are going to get in," Sobrinski continued. "About a quarter of those lucky ones can expect to spend the duration of their first year living in hallways, offices or campus gym locker rooms."

With poor prospects of being admitted – even to universities such as Brock and Nipissing – high school guidance counsellors are urging many students to consider alternatives.

"I keep asking them, 'What's wrong with a nice local trade school?'" explained Larry Watson, a guidance counsellor with the Barrie District School Board.

"Barrie Tech has some wonderful programs," Watson contended. "You can be a plumber or a retirement home caregiver. You don't need to go to university!"

Watson had some suggestions for ways students can take advantage of non-traditional learning opportunities, in case they are unable to register in an accredited program.

"I tell them to watch The Learning Channel and A&E, with all those nature and art shows. Crossword puzzles are a great way to expand your vocabulary and students can try erasing all the answers on their math tests and doing them over again," he explained.

Karen McDonald, a Grade 12 student from Ottawa, expressed concern over the increased competition she faces for an admission spot.

"If I don't get in somewhere, I'll die," McDonald stated. "I mean, how am I supposed to get drunk and laid all the time if I don't get out of my parents' house and live with hundreds of other students hell-bent on doing the same thing? You're not going to tell them I said that, are you?"

McDonald's father Roger expressed confidence that his daughter would be able to secure a space in a good university.

"Karen Anne is so hard working and successful – what university wouldn't want her? She's never been distracted by hormones and partying like the rest of those heathens she goes to school with," he said.

University officials also have begun to employ alternative approaches in dealing with the overwhelming numbers of applications.

The presidents of Ontario's top six universities jointly released a statement yesterday, which read: "We will now be accepting 'gifts' to aid in the admission process. Please forward cash, jewelry and other valuables to our admissions offices clearly marked with your child's name, and we'll see what we can do for you."

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