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Which Canadian university programs are most selective?

Because the admission statistics for highly selective US universities and colleges grab lots of headlines in US media, we sometimes forget that many Canadian post-secondary programs are equally challenging in terms of admission. A recent article from Yahoo News highlights that fact.

With an admission rate of 4.5% (lower than either Stanford or Harvard), McMaster University’s Health Sciences is rated as the most competitive program in Canada. A complex supplemental application (and only 180 spots) means many students with averages over the required minimum average of 90% will not receive offers.

In terms of engineering programs, the toughest nut to crack is the University of Waterloo’s Software Engineering: students with a 90-95% average have only a 10% chance of being admitted (although 70% of students with an average above 95% do receive admission offers). Evaluating both grades and extracurricular leadership, Engineering Science at the University of Toronto is considered the second most competitive engineering program in Canada, with McGill’s Mechanical or Chemical Engineering (minimum admission average of 95%) close behind.

With an admission rate of only 6%, the Bachelor of Commerce stream at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School is the most selective undergraduate business program in the country. Queen’s Commerce is slightly more accommodating, accepting 9% of its applicants.

While it is always hard to receive disappointing news in the admission process, it is important to understand that highly selective programs in Canada and elsewhere are forced to reject many highly deserving and clearly qualified candidates.  Based on past experience, however, we know that such students will shine at whichever school they ultimately enrol and enjoy a very successful future.