You might not get your top choice this fall -

You might not get your top choice this fall

Some universities are cutting enrollment


Photo courtesy of thepanamerican on Flickr

The trend at universities over the past decade has been to pack in as many students as possible.

But this year, a few schools are planning to reverse the trend by cutting enrollment.

Combine that with the fact that the number of applications continues to grow—up 2.4 per cent in Ontario, for example—and 2012 may be a difficult year for students to get their top choice schools.

Alan Rock, the University of Ottawa’s president, announced last week that growth at his school will slow to 500 new students this fall.

That’s after a long stretch during which the campus added 1,200 to 1,500 new students annually.

Rock says lower enrollment will improve quality on the crowded campus. “The easiest thing to do is to throw it open and say ‘Let’s take 2,000 more because we need the money,'” he told radio station CFRA. “That’s not fair to the students who are already on campus.”

The U of O wouldn’t have had trouble finding 2,000 new students. As of Feb. 1, the school had 22,685 applications from Ontario secondary students alone, up 3.2. per cent over Feb. 1, 2011.

The University of Calgary also announced this week that it will cut enrollment. Calgary will shrink by 300 to 500 students. Curiously, U of C says the cuts are needed to balance its budget.

The University of British Columbia has already cut undergraduate enrollment in Vancouver. The official plan is to decrease from 30,809 full-time undergrads in 2008 to 28,400 in 2017.

However, UBC Vancouver will grow slightly overall, as it increases the number of graduate students to 11,300 in 2017, bringing the total population up slightly to 39,700, where it will be capped.

Of course, not everyone is cutting enrollment. Nipissing University in North Bay, Ont., for example, has just under 4,000 students, but is aiming to grow to 6,000.

Even some big schools are making room. Western University, which is building new residences, lifted its admission cap of 4,350 new students last year and welcomed 5,100 in September.

Either way, it’s a good reminder to always apply to back-up schools, in case your first choice isn’t available. You never know what will happen between application time and the fall.


You might not get your top choice this fall

  1. There is nothing in this article that suggests any evidence whatsoever supports the headline “You might not get your top choice this fall”. The author should dust off their elementary school math and logic.

    * There are big differences between ‘slowing growth’ and actual decline in enrollment.
    * A quick run of the application growth is not far off from seat growth, when you actually provided the data.
    * Application growth tells you nothing about actual students accepting offers because application growth can reflect a bunch of things that are not equivalent to actual student growth (likely its just more students doing applications, not more students and one has no information on yield rates here– how many are accepted that choose to come?)

    I could go on and on but gee, I expect a *bit* more intelligent information from a national magazine. Not sure exactly why but is it really this mentally straining for a journalist to provide students with somewhat useful information? Or is it really just about getting the attention grabbing headline that is absolutely not backed up by anything at all?

  2. Lovely article – one of the best things I’ve recently read, and by far the most useful. I also can be helpful here :) I’ve found some decent tutorials on how to fill a form out online here