Changes made to Commerce admission processes

Issue: 

New strategies to champion equity and diversity in the recruitment and admissions of undergraduates have been put in place at Queen’s. As a result, a number of changes were fast-tracked for Commerce this cycle (with more to come in the next year):

  • Applicants are no longer asked to list extracurricular activities. Applications focus on supplemental essays to capture a wider range of experiences and perspectives. The same essay process is being used by some other faculties and schools at Queen’s.
  • The essay topics selection changes multiple times through the admission period.
  • To mitigate against bias in assessment, essay submissions are read by Smith and Queen’s staff trained by the university’s Human Rights and Equity Office. Readers will include Smith faculty and staff with diverse perspectives and those with lived experience as a member of BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, or underserved and under-represented communities, or with professional experience and training in equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization.
  • In prior years, a portion of Commerce essays (typically 10 to 15 per cent) were read by Smith alumni at events in the Toronto area. The practice was suspended due to COVID restrictions. A new approach and secure-content-sharing system is in development to involve a broader range of alumni for the next application cycle.

Several other initiatives are underway at Queen’s:

  • Applicants are encouraged to complete a new Equity Admission Self-Identification form. It was developed in consultation with Queen’s Human Rights and Equity Office, for use by admissions staff as additional consideration when assessing applicants who meet minimum academic requirements and have completed all program prerequisites. The data collected will also inform outreach and recruitment initiatives. For the 2021 application cycle 1,156 Commerce applicants have completed the form. This represents 13 per cent of the overall applicant pool.
  • New merit- and needs-based financial awards have been created, including the Commitment Scholars Award and the Commitment Bursary. These provide financial assistance and other supports to eligible incoming students who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, racialized, LGBTQ2S+, or students with a disability.
  • New Equity Ambassadors will offer peer support for prospective students in navigating the admissions and financial-aid processes.
  • Applicants will continue to have access to the Indigenous Students Admission Pathway and First Generation Admission Pathway, where applicable.