Heads Up

Welcome to Heads Up, your one-stop source for news about your son’s upcoming activities and events.

The importance of winter term for university admissions

As the new term begins, students have been asking questions about what impact the fall term grades (submitted by UCC to Canadian, US, and UK schools) will have on their post-secondary admission prospects.

They also want to know the role played by the winter term grades reported to Canadian and US universities in April. Certainly, students with grades in the “plus” range hope that they will be able to raise these grades by the end of the winter term; however, they worry that may be too late to make a difference.

Some universities in Canada have adopted the practice of making conditional offers to a small number of students based on their Year 10 grades. Some of you, therefore, have received offers already and more will hear good news over the next month. Do not panic if you do not receive an offer this early. Many of the more competitive programs will wait for additional academic information before making any offers.

As soon as Ontario universities receive the January grades, many admission offices will begin to make conditional offers to applicants they perceive to be the most highly qualified. These offers are usually extended between late January and early April.

Remember in cases where a supplemental application is required for admission, you will not be considered until that information has been submitted, so the earlier the supplement goes in the better.

In some instances, however, Ontario universities will wait until they see the April grades before they make a decision about your admissibility, either because your standing wasn’t quite high enough in January or because you have applied for a highly selective program such as Queen’s Commerce, U of T or Waterloo Engineering, or the Arts and Science program at McMaster. These conditional offers will often be made in April or May.

Universities in other provinces take a similar approach, although there are significant differences in timing. All students will have heard from Canadian universities (one way or another) by late May.

The winter term grades are used by some universities to determine the level of scholarship they offer to a student, while other universities will wait to decide on scholarship offers until they see the final grades in July. Either way, April grades can have a significant impact on your financial future!

April grades also come into play if you are placed on a wait-list for a US university. An increase in marks in the winter term can strengthen your case for a late offer of admission.

In many disciplines, important pieces of internal assessment are submitted this term and these will have a significant impact on your final IB grades as well as the final Ontario grades (the April marks count as 70% of that Ontario grade). All university offers in Canada, the US, and the UK are conditional on final grades and offers of admission can be withdrawn if the final grades in July are not satisfactory.

The current weighting of the winter term helps many students raise their point totals in time for the final submission of marks to universities. Those who do not maintain a consistent level of effort in the final term (attending class, submitting assignments on time, preparing for tests) may well see their point totals decline, in some cases significantly.