Beyond York - May 11 / 2018

Grade 11s: Planning an Early Application to the US or the UK?

Students who are planning to apply in the early round (Oxford/Cambridge/medical) to UK universities or Early Decision/Early Action to a US college should consider speaking as soon as possible to the teachers who might stand as their references next fall. Please check with your counsellor before you speak to any teachers. If a teacher agrees to write on your behalf, you should submit a Referee Request Form for the teacher to assist him or her in writing a stronger letter. Some teachers receive many requests to write references; it is always better to ask early!


All applicants to a university in Ontario are automatically considered for admissions scholarships on the basis of their marks. Dollar amounts vary from school to school – suffice it to say, many of the awards can be generous. There are exceptions to this rule, primarily for schools outside Ontario, requiring each student to check the individual university websites.

A separate application form is required for national awards or for some universities’ most prestigious awards. Typically, these are intended for top scoring students and those with an outstanding co-curricular record.

Scholarships Canada – is a great website/database that contains all the private and public sector awards for students entering universities across Canada.

In a few cases, such as the Chancellor’s Scholarship at Queen’s, the National Scholarship at Western, the Schulich Leaders Scholarship or scholarships at certain US colleges, applicants must be sponsored by our  school. In the case of the Loran Scholarship (which can be held at any Canadian university), The York School is permitted to sponsor only three applicants for this award, but other students are free to apply as open candidates.

Students who apply Early Decision to US schools will not be eligible to be sponsored in the fall term for awards in Canada as they have indicated that their primary interest is in a non-Canadian school (they are free to apply for non-sponsored awards). If such students are denied or deferred in December by the university to which they have applied, they are eligible to be sponsored for Canadian scholarships in the winter term;

In most cases, a student will be sponsored for only one national award (such as the Loran Award or Schulich Leaders Scholarship) and one university-specific award (such as the Chancellor’s Scholarship or QuARMS at Queen’s). You should do some research and decide what your top priorities are. A student may be nominated for additional awards if no other qualified applicants come forward;

Preparing For The Sat/Act

For students looking to prepare for, practice or improve their upcoming ACT/SAT tests, there are many resources available. To start with, The York School offers a wonderful Test Prep programme as part of each student’s Naviance account. It is located on the left side bar of your Naviance homepage.In addition, students can find a number of free or low-cost alternatives for online test prep. Some helpful websites are listed below:

Standardized test scores continue to play a major role in the admissions process for the majority of competative US colleges and universities. Students must invest time and effort in careful preparation.

Not a star at standardized test taker?

One of the major stresses for students who are considering US colleges is their concern that they might not perform well on the standardized tests (ACT’s or SAT’s) required for admission. An increasing number of colleges, however, are questioning the value of such tests as predictors of future performance. As a result, they may exempt students who have a certain Grade Point Average or they may use SAT/ACT scores only for academic counselling purposes. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing has a list of such colleges on its website:

University Program Search Tools

In addition to Naviance and E-Info, students looking to compare programs of interest both inside and outside Canada might also consider using these websites to crunch through reams of university data.

Hot Courses Abroad generates a list of programs based on subject, country, degree type (e.g. undergraduate), academic qualifications (e.g. IB, OSSD) and current grades. It allows students to check rankings, read student reviews, and download prospectuses.

BachelorsPortal is aimed primarily at European students. Students can search by broad academic categories or specific subjects based on the country of interest. Helpful highlights of each program of interest and links to individual program websites.

Interesting Programmes for Law

The Richard Ivey School of Business has a joint HBA/JD program in partnership with the law school at Western University. Students can complete both degrees within six academic years.

Queen’s Commerce has a similar six-year program.

Trent and Laurier Universities offer students the option of completing a BA and LLB in six years of study. In both cases, students study at their Canadian university for their first two years, then spend three years studying law in the UK, before returning to Canada to complete their final year of study. For Trent Students, their law studies will be taken at Swansea University College of Law.

For Laurier Students, their law degree would be completed at the University of Sussex.