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 Max got into both and he's going to describe his grade 12 experience prior to acceptance!
What were your marks in all of your grade 11 and 12 courses?
Introduction to Financial Accounting (BAF3M) – 99
English (ENG3U) – 97
French (FSF3U) – 96
Functions (MCR3U) – 97
Chemistry (SCH3U) – 97
Physics (SPH3U) - 99
Grade 12: (top 6 used for applications)
Intro to International Business (BBB4M) – 100
Business Leadership (BOH4M) - 97
English (ENG4U) – 96
Studies in Literature (ETS4U) – 93
French (FSF4U) – 96
Philosophy (HZT4U) - 92
Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U) - 100
Advanced Functions (MHF4U) - 99
Chemistry (SCH4U) - 96
Earth and Space Science (SES4U) - 97
Physics (SPH4U) - 100
When did you receive your acceptance?
Western University for General Faculty of Science - Mid January
Western University for Ivey AEO Status - Mid March
Queen's Commerce - Mid May
What subject(s) are you best at? Weakest at? Was it always like this? What are your favourite subjects?
My best subjects are in mathematics and science, where the questions are more theory & calculation based, and there isn’t much room for subjectivity or interpretation in terms of the correct answer. For that reason, I excelled at math, physics, and chemistry in high school. My weakest subject was french, because I was never particularly interested in the course. I would do the bare minimum to pass with a respectable grade, and since I didn’t necessarily see much real world utility in the course, I wouldn’t study as hard as I would for other subjects and go the extra mile. My favourite subject is business management, because of the various discussions that the course promotes.
Did you work during your grade 12 year? If so, how many hours per week? How did it affect your studying?
I did not have a job during grade 12 year.
What were your study habits like? Were they the same everyday?
In all honesty, my study habits were not as productive as they could have been. I would
fall behind on the content that we learned in class. I contend
that the high school academic marking system is predicated upon students’ performance at a
few “checkpoints”, as opposed to rewarding students for showing consistent effort throughout
the entire semester. Hence, I was able to still excel in spite of falling behind in class because, as
summative test dates approached, I would study incredibly hard by myself to learn and
understand the content that would be on the upcoming summative.
This isn’t to say, however, that you can get away with procrastinating - even though I would fall behind in class, I would know how far behind I was and the amount of time that I needed to invest in order to catch up. My imperfect approach worked for me for a variety of reasons: I was a strong self-learner and actually learned a good majority of high school content through reviewing course textbooks and slideshows in my own time. Additionally, I developed an ability to get “into the zone”, and do nothing but stay focused on studying for hours on end. I would keep logs of my study times, and as an example, for my end of year IB Higher Level Chemistry Exam, I logged 50 hours of studying over a period of 6 days with no interruption: no checking social media, no stopping to play games, message my friends, etc, just straight focused on reviewing all the necessary content. I loved to study in public spaces such as Starbucks or the Public Library.
What extracurricular activities did you participate in? Did it affect your studying?
I was actively involved in a variety of sports during school, most notably golf, as I
worked towards improving my game to attain a Division 1 NCAA scholarship. Aside from golf,
I was on the Junior and Senior Volleyball teams as the starting setter, the varsity Table
Tennis team as the team Captain, and the Junior basketball team. Sports (especially golf)
took a lot of my time, as there were daily practices and games throughout the year and they
would tire you out, making it harder to study. I would train for golf around 10-15 hours a week
indoors during the winter offseason, and when the outdoor season began around the end of
April, my attendance and effort in class would drop precipitously as I would start to compete in
tournaments and train outdoors at my club.
Other extracurricular activities that I participated in included:
- 4 year tenured Executive member of our school’s Athletic Council
- Conference Chair of a large middle school leadership conference called SOAR
- Principal trumpet of the Brampton Youth Rosebud Orchestra
- Founder and Captain of a Math team that won the World Math Day Competition
- Vice President of the Financial Literacy and Investment Club
- Chess Team - 3 time national youth championship qualifier, part of the team that won the provincial championship in 2016
- Volunteer Mentor at the International Baccalaureate Mentorship Conference
- 3 time DECA provincial qualifier
- HOSA Chapter member
It was difficult to balance my social life, academics, and involvement in sports & extracurriculars, and believe that the efficiency of my studying was one of the main reasons I was able to get by.
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?
The people in my closest friend circle had a good school-life balance. I was also fortunate to
become very close with many of the “genius kids” in my grade, as we would have many
common interests and often help each other in and out of class, so it was a very good
balance for me.
- High 80’s average
- Sub-par work ethic when it came to certain subjects i.e. math
- Basketball team MVP
- Attending Macmaster for business
- Mid 90’s average
- Often had “last minute” studying habits
- Very smart, but sometimes wouldn’t fully apply himself and underachieve
- Basketball & soccer team starter, Turner Hacks executive member
- Would work very hard towards the things he was passionate about
- Attending Waterloo for computer science
- Perfect 100 average (1 of 4 students in Peel Region to achieve this)
- Absolute stud when it came to excelling in school. Always on top of everything and knew the answer to pretty much any question you would ask him.
- Incredibly gifted pianist (top 3 in Canada), musician of the year
- Started his own small business and is making around $3k a month from it, with plans for expanding it
- HOSA Canada National Officer
- DECA ICDC qualifier
- Attending Queen’s Commerce (on $50k national scholarship)
I feel like I was immensely lucky in the diversity of friends that I made in high school, so I always had people to connect with, irrespective of I’d be interested in focusing on, whether it was academics, sports, or partying.
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?
Western Ivey prompts: Discuss three of your extracurricular activities (1500 characters for
Queen’s Commerce prompts: List 5 awards, 5 extracurriculars. 1 prompt about an extracurricular of your choice, 1 prompt about diversity, 1 prompt about overcoming a challenge in your life.
The most important advice that I would give to someone looking to apply for a more competitive Canadian program i.e. QComm or Ivey would be to just expose yourself to as many opportunities as you can in high school, so you have a wealth of experience to draw on when it comes to answering these prompts. For example, my involvement with the game of golf always gave me original content to discuss on university prompts - I’ve written about how being on the North American Cup Team taught me invaluable lessons about leadership and teamwork, how the college recruiting process taught me about responsibility, overcoming challenges, and going outside your comfort zone, and how the game as a whole has shaped me as a person.
Additionally, you can never underestimate the importance of teacher references / recommendations. Both QComm and Ivey necessitate you to send in at least 1 teacher reference alongside your application with their contact information, and in many cases these schools actually call the teacher that you’ve listed down to discuss your profile. As such, it’s imperative that you establish genuine relationships with your teachers so they can help support your application to these programs, not hinder them.
If you were able to go back to the day before Grade 12 started and give yourself advice, what would it be?
The advice that I’d give myself would be to not stress out as much over little details. In the moment, I would think that various assignments / tests would literally dictate the future of my life. While true to an extent, the only thing you can really do is try your best to control that factors in your control, stay relaxed, and just enjoy senior year.