PSE: Does it make a difference?

The Personal Statement of Experience (PSE) is unique to Queen’s and is also vital to the application process, according to Stuart Pinchin, associate university registrar of undergraduate admissions.

In a few exceptional cases, it’s possible that one student’s PSE will put them ahead of another student in gaining admission to Queen’s.

“If their PSE was stronger, then that’s what the admission decision is based on. We recognize that a student might have sacrificed a few grade points in order to contribute to the community at large,” he said.

The PSE is an application process unique to Queen’s. Applicants give a brief description of themselves and why they are right for the University’s community in the space of 300 words.

According to the Registrar, the PSE is mandatory for all students.

For the Queen’s Commerce program, the threshold grade is 87 per cent and the program receives over 5,000 applicants.

“3,000 of those students submitted their PSE and their supplementary Commerce essay and achieved the 87 per cent threshold,” Pinchin said. “The PSEs and essays are then taken to the Queen’s School of Business where they are read by a minimum of two readers and an admission decision is made.”

Pinchin added that PSEs are graded on a scale of one to three.

“When the deans and associate deans are reading the PSEs, they already know that these students are academically admissible, but we only have so many spaces available.”

—Savoula Stylianou

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