Laurier top in first choice applications

Wilfrid Laurier University saw an 11.3 per cent increase in applications from high school students

Photo by Daniella Okezie
Photo by Daniella Okezie

The release of the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre numbers comes with cause for celebration at Wilfrid Laurier University as the school saw an 11.3 per cent increase in total application numbers from Ontario high school students.

However, the real achievement according to Jennifer Casey, assistant vice president of enrolment services and registrar, is the increase in first choice applications. These increased by 25.2 per cent from last year and was the second-largest growth among all 20 Ontario universities.

“That wholeheartedly speaks to the reputation of the institution and how strongly students want to attend Laurier,” said Casey.

So what is the cause for the rapid increase in students selecting Laurier as their number one choice?

According to Casey, the focus on innovative programs, such as the bachelor of arts in community health, management option for arts students and bachelor of science in environmental science, have set Laurier apart.

“We know that the number one reason students come to Laurier is academic excellence”, said Casey.

On top of that, Laurier continuously focuses on engaging career development partners to help students understand what skills they will acquire from their programs and how they can apply it to situations outside the classroom.

“There are so many opportunities to develop skills to compliment what [students] are learning in the classroom,” Casey explained.

This includes the co-op program, entrepreneurship opportunities, community service learning, student unions and volunteer opportunities, among others.

After conducting market research from last year’s class, Casey learned how students who accepted their offer of admission had very high participation rates in terms of campus tours, or open houses or visiting faculty members.

“Laurier students love Laurier and that comes through when you’re on campus,” Casey said. “That’s why I’m so adamant that everyone has a role to play in this because our current students are our best ambassadors.”

Looking towards the future, universities recognize the demographic trends in Ontario show a decrease in the number of 17 and 18-year olds.

Casey expressed how even though the numbers are declining, the fact that Laurier’s market share continues to grow is very encouraging.

However to combat the demographic trends, the need to come up with strategies and programming that resonates with these groups will continue to be a focus for the university.

“We need to be looking at all the other kinds of learners that want to come to Laurier whether that’s international learners, aboriginal learners, career transitioners or transfer students,” said Casey.

As high school students will be selecting which offer of admission to accept in the next couple of months, Casey stressed, “Our current student body has a huge role to play in all of this and we welcome their engagement.”

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