Admissions at Canada’s Top Business Schools

Richard Ivey Building at Western University

Ivey, Schulich, Queen’s Commerce, and Rotman School of Management are some of the notable undergraduate business programs in Canada. If you have your eyes set on attending one of these fantastic programs, then there are a few important things you should keep in mind. Following these suggestions will not only increase your chances of admission, but also position you to land a scholarship. First, we’ll look at some of the general admissions criteria. We’ll then deep dive into the requirements for each program specifically. We will then provide you with a sample profile of a student who was admitted to these programs.

Admissions process:

As we have discussed in a previous blog, you will need your top six grade 12 grades for all of these programs. Most business programs will require Grade 12 English, Advanced Functions and Calculus / Data Management as pre-requisites. When planning your course schedules, make sure that you include these classes. Failing to meet one of these requirements will result in your disqualification from admissions. Proper course planning will play a very important role in this process, so make sure that you meet with your academic counselor.

So, what grades should you be aiming to get in your classes? Given the level of competition, you should be aiming for to get 90% or above in these classes as well as an average of 90%+ in your top six grades. Schools will place heavy emphasis on your English and quantitative classes, namely Advanced Functions and Calculus, so you should aim to keep your grades in these classes above 90% for Grade 12. That is not to say you won’t necessarily get in with less than a 90% average, but this is the first criteria that business programs will use to screen you. Take these classes seriously!

Beyond academics, business programs are looking for students who are involved in their schools and communities. As mentioned in our prior post, they are looking for students who exhibit leadership potential. At the end of the day, that is what business school is all about. Business schools want to take students who have leadership potential and give them the knowledge, learning, network and resources to become business leaders. Leadership can come in a variety of forms. It can be through a school club, a sports team, or community involvement. Whatever it is, it should be a position in an organization whose mission you are passionate about and where you are working your way up to hold more and more senior positions eventually.

When you reach Grade 12, it comes time for filling out the supplementary applications in addition to submitting your grades. It’s very important to execute effectively on these apps because they are what the admissions committees at lot of times look at to differentiate candidates who otherwise look similar academically. After submitting your grades through OUAC, you have to fill out supplementary applications, where you showcase things about yourself beyond academics. This is where you can differentiate yourself from the thousands of other applicants. These supplementary apps vary, but most if not all will have an essay component and some have video interviews. These essays offer a great channel for you to authentically express yourself, your ideas and your passions to the admissions committee.

Specific Program Requirements:

Western Ivey:

Academic Requirements: Minimum 90% average in top six Grade 12 courses. English and one math course, such as Advanced Functions or Calculus, must be included.

Supplementary App: Essay questions on leadership and well roundedness. There is also a video interview.

Schulich, York University:

Academic Requirements: Top six Grade 12 courses. Grade 12 English, Advanced Functions and either Calculus or Data Management are pre-requisites.

Supplementary App: Leadership profile (list of extracurricular activities), essays, and video interview

Queen’s Commerce:

Academic Requirements: Top six Grade 12 courses. Grade 12 English, Advanced Functions and either Calculus or Data Management are pre-requisites.

Supplementary App: Personal statement essay and supplementary essay

University of Toronto Rotman:

Academic Requirements: Top six Grade 12 courses. Grade 12 English and Calculus are pre-requisites. Expected that Advanced Functions is taken as a co-requisite or pre-requisite for Calculus. Average of high 80s in your top six Grade 12 courses, though that is the minimum requirement.

Supplementary App: Includes two short written components and a video response

Sample Profile:

Justin Casey is a student who we advised and had a very successful outcome in the admissions process.

Acceptances: Western Ivey, Queen’s Commerce, Schulich, Rotman


  • Top six Grade 12 grades: 90%

  • Average in Advanced Functions & Calculus: 94%

  • Extracurricular and Leadership Involvement: Vice President of Student Government, Captain of Badminton team, Chapter Lead for DECA, Volunteer at Sunnybrook Hospital

Comments: Justin was accepted to all of the above business programs. At first glance, we can see that he has a good academic record and strong leadership profile. His academic credentials, though strong, are similar to those of other qualified applicants. So, compared to much of the applicant pool, his grades are decent but not extraordinary enough to “wow” the admissions committees and grant him admission just based on his grade. He does have a strong average in his quantitative classes, so that’s a big plus for him.

So, what ultimately helped Justin get into all the schools he applied to? The answer is his leadership involvements. Justin is not involved in tens of extracurriculars where he is just a member of those clubs. He is involved in a few clubs, but holds significant leadership positions in them. As such, he has what we could called “depth” over “breadth”. That is exactly the kind of attribute that the admissions committees look for. They want to see people who have spent the time identifying their passions and dedicating significant time to furthering those activities. This, combined with a compelling personal story about his upbringing with a single mother, is what earned Justin a spot at all these great schools.

Stay tuned for our future posts and Happy New Year to all of you!

Warm regards,

Prepsmart Team

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