U.S. schools doing better?
By Marshall Bellamy
Eva Vertes is an 18 year-old Canadian student whose research
has won her academic acclaim — she can now be found studying
at Princeton University, rather than at a university in Canada.
Vertes’ overall high school average was 91 per cent and
she had received international attention for her research on
Alzheimer’s disease, however the University of Toronto,
McMaster University and Western all turned down her application
because her mid-term marks could not be submitted on time and
she did not complete some of her required courses because she
was doing her research at an Italian university.
“I guess a computer just read [my application] and threw
it away,” Vertes said, adding despite the fact the director
of the neuro-science department at U of T wrote a letter to
the U of T admissions office to notify officials that some
of her admission requirements would not be completed promptly.
head of U of T neuro-science was referred to Vertes by the
Alzheimer’s Society, which had also promised her
a sizable grant to assist her with her research while attending
classes in Toronto, if she had been accepted.
university has autonomy in its [admission process],” stated
George Granger, executive director of the Ontario University
According to Granger, admissions, general
framework and other undergraduate admission issues are handled
by the universities themselves, while the OUAC acts as a
conduit between the students and all of the Ontario universities
to pass admissions information to and from the two groups.
Swift, registrar and director of admissions and rewards at
U of T, pointed out admission to U of T is based on academic
achievements such as marks and not always on special considerations
such as research or an applicant’s overall achievements.
applicants to U of T send word to the admissions office well
ahead of the application deadline, it might allow some time
for the university to consider the circumstances, Swift noted. “We
were not aware of anything unusual, which is unfortunate — we
would have considered her,” she
“We don’t have a system of points for
extra-curricular activities,” said Lori Gribbon,
manager of undergraduate recruitment and admissions at
According to Gribbon, admissions at Western does
take special circumstances into account such as family
death and sickness with proper notification, but cases
such as Vertes do not usually occur.
When special cases
are taken under consideration, they are done so on an individual
basis and when they do reach this stage there are certain criteria,
such as finishing the requirements, Gribbon explained, noting
generally Western reviews 300 to 400 special consideration
cases a year.
“We had no information in her case,” Gribbon
noted when asked concerning the issue with Vertes, adding if
there was information, the admissions office could have considered
In mid-May, Princeton University sent Vertes an offer
of admission and a $30,000 grant that would cover her tuition
at the Ivy League school, Vertes said. “I wanted to keep my options
open — I wanted to work at U of T.”
at the University of Michigan stated the requirements for
the Big 10 university and most American universities is
a favourable SAT mark and extra-curricular activities.
All of the applicant’s achievements are considered
in the American university admission process.
universities accept applications from prospective students
right up until the end of the summer, just before classes
commence, the spokesperson noted.
wonderful. I love it so much,” Vertes
said, adding that after her stint at Princeton she intends
to attend Harvard University or Stanford University and get her
medical doctorate and her Ph.D., so she can research and