More students confirm

OUAC reports increase in number of students accepting admission

Undergraduate confirmation has increased at Queen’s while falling provincially.
Undergraduate confirmation has increased at Queen’s while falling provincially.

The number of students accepting admission to Queen’s has increased significantly since July 2013, according to undergraduate confirmation statistics released on July 9 by the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC).

July 2014 data from Queen’s shows that confirmations have increased in both categories since July 2013 — by 5.9 per cent, from 3,169 to 3,357 confirmations, in the secondary school category, which refers to those who graduated from an Ontario high school last year, and 17.8 per cent, from 1,024 to 1,206 confirmations, in the non-secondary category, which consists of other domestic or foreign students applying to first-year university in Ontario.

The increase comes in light of a 2.8 per cent overall decrease in the number of confirmations to Ontario universities in the secondary school category.

This is the first time this category has seen a decline since the 1990s.

In the non-secondary category, total confirmations have increased by 5.2 per cent.

The July data from OUAC shows that the total number of confirmations to Ontario universities, relative to last year, has decreased by 977 students.

Updates to the confirmation statistics are scheduled for release on August 13 and September 17.

George Granger, executive director at the OUAC, said despite the past decade’s increase in the participation rate — the students in a cohort applying to post-secondary institutions — demographers have predicted that in the last couple of years there would be fewer 17-20 year olds.

“If you have fewer students applying, it’s logical that you will have fewer accepting offers,” he said.

Applications from gap year students, international students and greater collaboration between colleges and universities could account for growth in the non-secondary category, he added.

“We’ve got a good university sector, and people in other provinces and other countries see Ontario as a good place to consider,” Granger said.

AMS Academic Affairs Commissioner Colin Zarzour said that the money a university receives is often linked to enrolment numbers — a motivating factor for them to increase their enrolment.

Enrolment funding is determined based on the number of students enrolled at a university on Nov. 1.

“What we’re seeing is other universities implementing strategies to try to get more students to move and enroll,” he said.

“So, maybe that will affect things, maybe it won’t, but I have no idea.”

Zarzour added that a greater effort by the University to attract international students could account for the increase in the number of non-secondary confirmations at Queen’s.

“There’s a more concentrated effort on the part of the University to increase Queen’s’ international profile,” he said.

Ann Tierney, vice-provost and dean of student affairs, told the Journal via email that Principal Daniel Woolf aims to increase the proportion of international undergraduate degree students to 10 per cent of the total undergraduate population.

This year, the University saw a 79 per cent increase in the number of international students accepting offers to Queen’s, compared to last year.

International students are expected to comprise 6.3 per cent of the incoming class.

The quality of academic programs and overall student learning experience is what attracts students to Queen’s, Tierney said.

“We offer the benefits of a mid-sized, residential university focused on an exceptional undergraduate education, within the context of an innovative research-intensive institution,” she said.

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