Are you interested in applying to the Ivey Program at Western? What about Queen's Commerce? Are you wondering what marks are required? What about extra curricular activities? Need advice on how to get through the supplementaries? Well one of my online students from last year, Praj, got in to both! He started watching my calculus and vectors videos in 2nd semester and we've been in touch since. He ended up choosing the Ivey program. I put him through a questionnaire below to describe his grade 12 year. Though admission criteria is always changing, and nothing is guaranteed, we're hoping that his answers will provide you with some inspiration and a good idea of where to aim! Prajeya is also a great example of the potential for improvement in marks from grade 11 to grade 12. As you can see below, he didn't have a single course in the 90s in grade 11. In grade 12, his top 6 courses had an average of above 90. Even his marks within grade 12 improved substantially. For example, from advanced functions (75) to calculus (95). (he also found me 2nd semester and started watching the calculus videos :)..forgive my shameless plug there :P). He's a great example of where the past doesn't have to dictate the future! Anyways, I'll let him take it away below!

What were your marks in all of your grade 11 and 12 courses?

Grade 11:
Introduction to Financial Accounting (BAF3M) – 84
Information and Communication Technology (BTA30) – 82
Understanding Canadian Law (CLN4U) – 85
English (ENG3U) – 84
Introduction to Anthropology/Psychology (HSP3U) – 79
Functions (MCR3U) - 72
Chemistry (SCH3U) - 80
Physics (SPH3U) - 81

Grade 12: (top 6 used for applications)
Intro to International Business (BBB4M) – 88
Geomatics (CGO4M) - 90
Current Economic Issues (CIA4U) – 87
Canadian & Word Politics (CPW4U) – 95
English (ENG4U) – 95
Interdisciplinary Studies (IDC4U) - 87
Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U) - 95
Data Management (MDM4U) - 80
Advanced Functions (MCV4U) - 75

When did you receive your acceptance?

Queen's Commerce - May 16th
Ivey AEO - May 17th

What subject(s) are you best at? Weakest at? Was it always like this? What are your favourite subjects?

I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship and business, which is why I’ve enjoyed business related courses the most over my four years in high school. As a result, I’ve generally scored high marks in business classes and have typically been more engaged in group discussions in business related classes as well. Economics and Finance in specific were two classes that I really enjoyed, as I found the core concepts and debates within those courses to be very interesting and informative due to my goal of breaking into the finance sector after post-secondary.

Maths based courses have been quite challenging for me over my four years of high school, as I’ve often found that the knowledge I gained through completing homework often didn’t transfer over to tests and exams, resulting in lower marks in those math classes. After a change in study habits, I was able to do quite well during my grade 12 year. My biggest weakness throughout high-school was my inability to perform well on exams. This is something that has negatively impacted my academic career thus far, and is something I hope to turn around in post-secondary.

My favourite subjects in high school were Economics, Finance, and Politics, both are at the grade 12 level. I found both classes to be incredibly fascinating due to the real life applications I see around me on an everyday basis. Furthermore, I have a deep passion for the stock market, having participated in numerous Investopedia stock market challenges and also enjoy reading about Canadian and World Politics as well as current events.

Did you have a tutor(s)? If so, for what courses?

In my first semester of grade 12, I worked with a tutor to help me with Advanced Functions. Unfortunately, the large spread between sessions proved to be ineffective; as can be seen by my fairly mediocre mark in the class.

During my second semester, I resorted to online tutoring/lessons via Allthingsmathematics. I knew that Calculus would be a tough challenge, which is why I made sure to watch all videos regarding various concepts the night before they were taught in class. Having the ability to re-watch lessons to further increase my understanding was a tool that was highly effective for me.

Did you work during your grade 12 year? If so, how many hours per week? How did it affect your studying?

I coached soccer for a youth academy called Little Kickers from May 2017 to May 2018. I coached for three hours a week during the school year and seven hours a week during the summer. I also volunteered at the YMCA from December 2017 to May 2019, seven months of which was in grade twelve. At the YMCA, I volunteered two hours a week. Lastly, in May I got hired to work part-time at the YMCA; whom I currently work ten hours a week for.

What were your study habits like? Were they the same everyday?

In my grade twelve year my study habits were fairly similar throughout the year. At the very least, I would complete the homework and readings assigned during the school day every day. The majority of these readings and homework assignments were completed during my spare period at school, during which I would complete assignments with my friends in the school library. The rest of my studying was done at home, usually in the evening as that’s when I tend to study most effectively. When facing a large quantity of work, I made sure to complete each task in order of closest deadline. This allowed for the effective and efficient completion of all work, before the deadlines of each assignment. In grades 9 to 11, I struggled with distractions while completing homework; specifically, with my phone. In grade 12 however, I’ve been leaving my phone in another room while completing work; discentivizing myself from checking my phone every couple of minutes. An interesting fact about my studying habits; I hate working in a confined space, such as my room, which is why I did the majority of my homework and assignments in the dining room. While this may seem unproductive due to the noisy surroundings of the dining room, this is an unorthodox strategy that worked for me, as I am able to better concentrate in a busier environment as opposed to a room with pin drop silence.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in? Did it affect your studying?

Throughout high-school, I have been very involved with various extracurriculars. In grade 12, I volunteered at the YMCA; up until I got offered a part-time job as a Membership and Sales Associate. When I was a volunteer, I worked two hours per week and after getting hired I have worked ten hours a week. Up until May 2019, I also coached soccer for an academy called Little Kickers, for whom I worked three hours a week during the school year. From August 2018 to November 2018, I also started my very own E-Commerce platform called Light Touch Home Improvement. Since I was a one man company, I tended after all facets of the business including: accounting, salese, customer service, and marketing. The heavy workload was very time consuming, and I spent approximately twelve hours per week running my business. An increasing amount of workload from school forced my hand, and I ended up selling the business. I was also a member of the Cross Country team and the DECA Case Study club at my high school. The Cross Country team has races and practices starting in September and ending in November. Being a part of the Cross Country team is a six hour per week commitment. DECA operates from October to February, and takes up a minimum of two hours per week (exact amount depends on the amount of practice an individual puts in). I felt that being a part of the DECA team enhanced my speaking abilities and also helped me learn some core concepts in the fields of economics and finance, two classes that I was enrolled in this past year. Thus, I believe the club had a positive impact on my studies. Cross Country on the other hand was very time consuming, and extremely demanding due to the tiring nature of the sport. Thus, I felt that it has some negative implications on my academic success for the two months that the club runs for, as I had to rely on my time-management skills to cover for any lessons and/or homework that I missed while I was away at meets/practices.

Outside of school and work, I also play competitive soccer (two hours a week) and am involved in an entrepreneurship program called the Junior Achievement Company Program (JA). At JA, I was the CEO of my very own company called Waste-less, a group of fifteen high school students looking to provide alternate solutions to traditional plastic induced products. I dedicated approximately eight hours of my time per week, by the means of attending company meetings, going on sales blitzes, and attending company showcases. As the CEO, I had a responsibility to look over every department within the company; finance, marketing, sales, human resources, production, health/safety. Thus, all of these responsibilities proved to be quite overwhelming at times; making it hard to manage school work at times.
I believe that being involved in such a wide variety of extracurricular has instilled a highly developed work ethic that has proved to be highly effective in my studies as well as other endeavours. While my marks have sometimes dipped due to my many commitments, I believe that the character and traits that I have developed over the course of my involvements will help me prosper in my post- secondary career.

Briefly describe your 3 closest friends (or the 3 people you most talked to and spent the most time with) during your grade 12 year. Did they have any affect on your results in grade 12?

Friend 1 – Going back to our high school for grade 13

  • Mid 80’s average
  • Works as a lifeguard
  • Very strong communication skills
  • Spends a lot of time working out
  • Was waitlisted from a very competitive Western Kinesiology program
  • Wishes to pursue a career in Dentistry

Friend 2 – Attending Kings University College for Business Management

  • Mid 80’s average
  • Works at Old Navy as a Sales Associate
  • Very passionate about cars
  • Has a vast academic interest, as he’s been accepted into various different types of programs, including: Computer engineering, undeclared engineering, and business finance
  • Wishes to pursue a career in the financial sector

Friend 3 – Attending Western University for Pure Mathematics

  • Mid 90’s average
  • Works at the YMCA as a Membership and Sales staff
  • Very passionate about the field of mathematics and education
  • Incredible work ethic. Will not quit until he has done any given task to the best of his ability
  • Wishes to pursue a career in Academia

I hung out with all three of these friends almost every single day, and I feel like we’re all such good friends due to our common interests as well as our passion for very different topics. This always make our conservations enriching, and are often very thought provoking.

What advice would you give to someone when they’re preparing for the supplementaries in the application process (interviews, forms, etc)? What mistakes did you feel you made in this process? How would you have prepared differently to avoid these mistakes?

*****quick side note from Patrick here :) - If you need support on your supplementary applications, I'd recommend a company called Admissions Ally, which offers specific admissions support for the Western Ivey HBA AEO and Queen's Commerce applications. Back to Prajeya!*****

Both the Ivey AEO and Queens Commerce applications are fairly long, so I strongly suggest to give yourself at least a month to perfect your essays.


The Ivey application is by far the most rigorous university application I filled out. For this application, you are asked to write three separate five hundred word essays on three of your most impactful extracurriculars in high school. When choosing the three, it is VITAL that you choose the three things that YOU were the most passionate about; not what you think the admissions committee will like the most. Ivey cares about how well you can market yourself and explain your involvements, something that is hard to do well if there’s a lack of passion that exists. Ivey also allows applicants to add “additional activities”, for which individuals can write 75ish words or so about. NOTE: each activity requires a “verifier”. This person, preferably someone with a professional email, will get a prompt asking if they know who you are and if you did what you wrote you did. Any “no’s” will result in an automatic rejection, so it’s important to be accurate with what you’re writing. Ivey wants to see how well applicants can advertise themselves, as businesses is a field that requires a lot of self-determination and strong communication skills.

Queen’s Commerce:

I’ve seen countless people ask online whether or not it is true that Queen’s doesn’t care about marks as long as it’s an average over 87%. This is TRUE. No, this does not mean that you can slack off in high-school; as this ultra competitive program has a shocking acceptance rate of 6.1%. Much like Ivey, Queen’s wants to know how you, the applicant, are different from the thousands of other students applying for a spot in the school. Thus, a unique writing style is very important for a Queen’s Commerce application. For the Queen’s application, they ask for you to list all extracurricular involvements as well as the time allocated for each activity. You must also write about your most valuable extracurricular, and describe the nature of your involvement and what you’ve gained. There are also a couple questions regarding diversity, and in what ways will the applicant try and benefit the Queen’s Commerce society.

There are thousands of applicants from around the globe applying for Ivey AEO and Queen’s Commerce every single year. These two schools take extracurricular involvements very seriously, making it vital that a competitive applicant is diverse in their participation in the community and also earns high marks. I personally know many friends who’ve been rejected with 95+ averages because their application didn’t stand out. While this may be perceived as a bad thing, it gives each and every student a chance to go to a school that appreciates them for more than just their marks, something quite uncommon even in today’s advanced world.

If you were able to go back to the day before Grade 12 started and give yourself advice, what would it be?

If I were able to go back in time before the first day of grade 12, I’d tell past me to soak everything in. Throughout the year, I feel like I was putting excess pressure on myself to get good grades; which took away from some of the super memorable memories that I’ve made in my grade 12 year. Marks are important, no doubt about that, but it’s important to remember that after high-school, we’re stepping into the real-world; and it’s nice to hold onto some of the older memories we’ve made with friends that we may or may not see much of in the future. Soak everything in, work hard, and stay in touch with the incredible people that you’ve met over the years.