The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Jodie Whelan is a star student by any measure, and a handful of universities have dangled generous scholarships to woo her.
But her 99.3 per cent average, her multiple academic awards as the top student at Regina's Riffel High School and impressive list of extracurricular activities weren't enough to catch the eye of the University of Toronto panel that chooses the school's top scholarship recipients.
Nor was Whelan's resume sufficiently stellar to stand out among regional applicants for Canada's most prestigious award, the Canadian Merit Scholarship, worth up to $75,000 over four years of study in recognition of academic brilliance and civic leadership.
"I was a little bit dumbfounded that she didn't even get an interview for the Saskatchewan entries," said Jodie's father, Tim Whelan.
Posted by Kate McMillan on May 25, 2005 | Permalink
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I applied to a UofT engineering program and their cut-off for the program was 98%. In short it sucks. I suggest she choose another school and she will get a free ride. I think you need to at least find a cure for cancer to get into UofT.
Posted by: Winston | 2005-05-25 10:35:44 AM
I'm not sure what measures U of T is using. Different provinces have different standards for grading and in fact different regions within provinces sometimes have different standards. A 98% in Toronto may be no better than a 90% in another region or province. Only national or international standardized tests give a somewhat accurate picture. When the UN and other international organizations test, they consistantly put Alberta and Quebec among the best in the world.
Posted by: PM | 2005-05-25 11:21:57 AM
I work in the post-secondary education field and this case is rare, however, not all the large merit awards are granted on the sole basis of grades. In fact, the large ones are usually hybrid awards based on community involvement, grades and leadership qualities.
There is defintely grade inflation in this country, particularly in Ontario.
Posted by: Shaky | 2005-05-25 4:15:25 PM
The U of T, like all Ontario schools, accept only rich white Ontario students, with maybe a handful of international students to claim how "diverse" they are.
Someone from non-Ontario hasn't got a chance.
Better luck at a US school, where there is real tolerance.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-05-25 6:33:49 PM
Point #1: The majority of undergraduate students at U of T are from a visible minority background (i.e. not "white"). This has been the documented case for many years now. Minority students are a larger percentage of the population at U of T than any of the top-rated US schools.
Point #2: The scholarships are indeed based largely on non-academic factors, since it's not useful to simply compare a 99.4% to a 99.2% or even a 99% to a 97%.
Point #3: Grade inflation is a problem in every province, but it's worst in Ontario. This is largely a parent-driven problem ("you can't deny my child an opportunity at a good school, my child is *special*"), which belies the accepted wisdom of many in these parts that more parental involvement in education is a good thing. More parents need to be told to STFU because their little Princess or Junior is a mediocre student and really doesn't merit a spot in a top program.
Point #4: Why do the denizens of the Shotgun care about this anyway? Isn't higher education just a front for liberal indoctrination? I thought book learnin' was a big ol' waste of time and that a real man pulled himself up by his bootstraps and made his way as an entrepreneur...
Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2005-05-26 10:14:00 AM
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