Introducing the University Pathways Program

Supporting your future

a collaboration of
Ivey Business SchoolSchulich School of Business Smith School of Business
Students walking through campus chatting and smiling

Envision a Future Without Limitations

The University Pathways Program supports Black high school students considering post-secondary education.

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Key Features


Be matched with a current university student to get their insights, advice, and guidance. Students will also be connected with university staff and faculty mentors.

Academic Planning

Work with mentors and university staff to help prepare you for the application process and the transition to post-secondary learning. You’ll set and work on specific short- and long-term goals.

Campus Visits

Visit university campuses with your mentors. Connect with on-campus affinity spaces — such as Black student programs and initiatives — and see the supports and opportunities available.

Leadership Development

Develop your personal leadership skills to support your academic experience and eventually your career. Build on your strengths and identify areas for development.

Experiential Learning

Gain career opportunity insights through “day in the life” placements with corporate partners. Add to your volunteering requirements by participating in community-based experiential learning.

Financial Support

The University Pathways Program will provide financial support to students who complete the program and go on to post-secondary education. Supports range from tuition assistance to full scholarships. Connect with us to get more details.

Students celebrating their graduatiion wearing caps and gowns

How it Works

The University Pathways Program is a free, limited enrolment program. Participants are selected through an application process.

Currently the program is only open to students in the Greater Toronto Area. Apply in grade 11. Stay in the program through to high school graduation.

Although developed by three business schools, Pathways participants do not have to commit to pursue business studies. The program is designed to provide insight on the university experience and help you identify the academic pathway of greatest interest.

Get Started
Young Black student in a high school classroom


The program starts in January and runs throughout the year with a break in July and August.

The core of the program consists of online workshops every two weeks, and there is an in-person gathering in February.

In June, participants visit the campuses of Smith School of Business, Queen’s University in Kingston; Ivey Business School, Western University in London; and Schulich School of Business, York University in Toronto. Travel, accommodation and meals are provided.

Interested in Learning More?

Please complete the form to find out more about the University Pathways Program. Or, if you’re ready to apply, you can start your application now

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Why is This Program Needed?

The University Pathways Program is designed to help Black students succeed in the post-secondary academic world. It was developed to help address the significant under-representation of Black students in Canadian university enrolment, including business schools.

There are barriers in policies, procedures and practices that impede Black students from being able to fully access post-secondary opportunities. To address this, the engagement of students and families needs to start early in high school.

The University Pathways Program is currently designed for Black students in grades 11 and 12 in the Greater Toronto Area to help create pathways to post-secondary education. This includes gaining an understanding of the university experience from Black undergraduate students, and learning about pre-requisites and requirements for programs so high school students have time, experiential learning opportunities, and supports to prepare for post-secondary education. The Program also has significant financial support options to lower the financial barrier to post-secondary education.

The Program is focused on Black high school students because they don’t apply for post-secondary education at the same rate as white students in Canada. Black students on average are less prepared for post-secondary education, but when those restraints are removed, they are more likely to be accepted to university. Gaining access to post-secondary education for Black students has been described as “structural obstacle course”. This program’s goal is to remove many of those obstacles.

Our efforts are consistent with the commitments made by each of our three universities in signing the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education.

The program’s current scope is focused on providing opportunities to Black students, to ensure the program is manageable and that learnings can be developed before expanding its scale. All three participating universities have in-place additional supports, pathways and programs for other groups of equity-deserving students.

The experience of Black students in accessing post-secondary education

Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education

Carl James, African Canadian Legal Clinic, Alliance of Black School Educators, Towards Race Equity in Education – Schooling of Black Students in the Greater Toronto Area, April 2017.

K. Robson, P. Ansef, R.S. Brown, R.C. George, Under-represented Students and the Transition to Post-Secondary Education, Canadian Journal of Higher Education, Volume 48, No. 1, 2018

Federation of Black Canadians – Access to Higher Education