WLU deals with grade inflation

“We do not let students in without a 70 per cent. No faculty or program will admit a student below the cut-off,” said Amanda Gulka, national recruitment coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University, clarifying the issue of Laurier’s cutoff policy. “While there are always exceptions, in this case it would have to be exceptionally unique in order for an out-of-province to miss the cutoff.”

Last month, recruitment officers from Laurier and other Canadian universities met in Calgary to discuss the issue of adjusting grades to account for the tougher standards faced by Alberta students.

A study published by the University of Saskatchewan showed that while other provinces were inflating grades of high school students, Alberta students showed lower averages due to provincial standardized diploma examinations.
Gulka added that out-of-province students, namely those from Alberta and
British Columbia, tend to have higher in-class grades than those from Ontario, largely due to a more rigorous curriculum and provincial examinations, which are taken into account throughout the admissions process.

Conditional offers are extended to in-class marks as well.

This meeting fuelled the debate about adding three per cent to Alberta students’ grades, but Gulka insisted that policies have not changed. She explained that students from other provinces face a similar policy to students from Ontario when it comes to conditional acceptance.

“Instead of having the Applicant Background Summary (ABS) form which is for Ontario students, we let them submit a resume or a letter, whichever is more suited to the situation,” she continued.

Gulka added that these situations are exceptionally rare, and that Laurier has not experienced a problem with out-of-province students missing the cutoff.
Gulka explained that almost every out-of-province application she has received so far this year has had grades in the 80 per cent range, but attributes most of that to a statistic.

The admissions process for out-of-province students is different than for students from Ontario, and since high school curriculum differs greatly from coast to coast and province to province, Gulka is required to look at each individual application. With proper documentation, as in Ontario, students are allowed a three per cent dip in their conditional acceptance.

Laurier has been trying to attract more out-of-province and international students, noted Gulka, which is what created her position and several other positions in the admissions office. “We’re trying to represent the country in which we live, and as part of a larger global community.”

With 21 universities in Ontario, Gulka explained that it can be a very competitive numbers-based process to be admitted to Laurier.

“With out-of-province students, it’s a little more in depth about the application and their grades, with some students you are communicating one-on-one via phone or e-mail.”

“Many of the guidance counsellors I’ve talked to, the students are coming to smaller schools like us for the size of the university and the class sizes offered. It’s something that sets us apart,”she said.

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