Volume 12, Number 7 November 19, 2004

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Many universities up the stakes in battle to recruit top students

OTTAWA – As university campuses are filling up with the millennial generation, exhibiting hubris and expecting the world, institutions are finding they are either in the recruitment game in a new way, or they are unable to close the deal.

A report from CanWest News Service said in Canada’s increasingly competitive post-secondary system, some universities are willing to play along, and others are not.

Offered an entrance scholarship to the University of Waterloo this fall, a young woman expected more. She contacted the president – not the admissions officer or the dean – asking if there was anything else he could put on the table. Waterloo sweetened the deal.

“It really shows the type of student that is coming to university,” said Alex England, director of recruitment at the University of Calgary. “They’ve been told they’re special. They’re much more savvy. There’s a sense of entitlement at times that I sometimes wonder whether it crosses the line.”

Although it doesn’t engage in recruitment wars over top students, the U of S does offer perks, like two-tier registration that allows scholarship students to register early and get the courses they want. It also guarantees single rooms in residence.

Other universities are more obliging, said the report.

At Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., recruitment staff make multiple personal calls following up on scholarship offers. For the first time ever, a student turned down a Mount Allison scholarship worth $10,000 a year for four years after going to the president of a competing university looking for a better offer. She got $12,000.

In the bidding war between Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia over a 16-year-old math genius, UBC refused the father’s request to live in residence with his son. The boy is attending SFU this fall.

UBC has, however, started going directly to winners of prestigious awards like the Canadian Merit Scholarship, worth up to $60,000 over four year, offering to up their award by $2,500 in cash and a $1,000 gift certificate for textbooks.

York University is now hand delivering admission and scholarship packages to top applicants.

The University of Alberta sends letters of congratulations to Grade 9 honours graduates, encouraging them to think about the U of A when they finish high school.

University of Waterloo offered, for the first time, meetings with its president to potential students with a 90 per cent average or above.


For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca


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