Concurrent Education applicants directed to study at the BISC

Prospective students told no space on main campus, offered spot at the BISC despite not applying

The Bader International Study Centre located in Herstmonceux, England.

“Because of the high quality of your application, you are eligible to receive an offer to our Concurrent Education (Arts) program, or to the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) program, at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) in East Sussex, UK. We no longer have space in Con-Ed (Arts) on our Kingston campus, and we hope you will seriously consider this option.”

Several prospective Queen’s students who applied only to the main Kingston campus received emails this spring from the University claiming there’s no space on main campus for them. As an alternative option, the university has offered them a spot at the BISC for their first year. 

In an email to the Journal, University Communications explained that this is the first year that incoming Con-Ed students have the option of studying at the BISC in their first year of the program.

Carly Silverberg, a prospective Queen’s student, received an email from the University in May stating that they no longer had space to accept her to Con-Ed on main campus, but that she could opt to enroll in her first year of Con-Ed at the BISC.

“I was initially upset that I didn’t get into Con-Ed [on main campus] and a little confused because [the email] gave very minimal detail and I wasn’t sure if I was on some type of waiting list,” Silverberg told The Journal via email.

“I think it’s a cool opportunity for maybe later on but I don’t feel ready to go all the way to England for my first year. I’d rather just do BA than go away first year and come back and be in Con-Ed.”

University Communications told the Journal that “the response has been very positive” and that they “anticipate a good number of these students will be attending the castle this September in either the Arts or Con–Ed Arts program, and will continue at the Kingston campus for the start of their second year.”

This isn’t the first time these kinds of emails have been distributed. Katie Sherriff-Scott, a former Queen’s applicant, received a similar email regarding her application to the Faculty of Arts and Science back in 2015.

“When I received the email offering a position at the Bader institution I was initially disappointed that there was no room available on the Kingston campus,” Sherriff-Scott wrote. 

“I was a little surprised by the alternate offer because of how expensive going for just first year would be having not even having a major yet, or having the first year university campus experience. If offered the chance to go once I had chosen my area of study, it would be much more intriguing and I’d probably learn a lot more.”  

The BISC has been available to Queen’s student for over 20 years. In recent years, tuition for the BISC has steadily increased while demand has been declining.

According to the university’s budget reports, in 2010, a semester at the BISC cost students $14,465, contrasted to 2016, a semester cost $19,569 and by the end of 2019, prices are projected to increase further to $20,959. 

The BISC’s enrollment target of 120 full-time undergraduate students was set by Queen’s in 2013. Since then, they have failed to reach that target once. In 2014-15, the BISC hosted 117 full-time undergrads, and in 2015-16 that number dropped to 101.

With the addition of the BISC Con-Ed program, the university is steadily increasing its planned enrolment predictions in the 2017-18 budget report. The university is now planning for the enrolment of 115 students at the BISC in 2016-17, increasing to 120 in 2017-18 and 125 in 2018-19.


Carly Silverberg and Katie Sherriff-Scott are siblings of Max Silverberg and Iain Sherriff-Scott, members of The Journal's Editorial Board. The conflict of interest was declared prior to the interview.

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