It seems that the COVID-19 pandemic and online learning haven’t deterred students from seeking a post-secondary education.
Queen’s University is seeing a 14-per cent spike in applications from Ontario high school students for the 2021 fall semester compared to last year. As of Jan. 15, more than 45,000 applications were submitted to Queen’s for approximately 4,700 spots in first-year undergraduate programs.
Queen’s is miles above the provincial post-secondary application increase, which is sitting at 2.3 per cent.
“The application increases reflect the continuing strength of our programs, as well as the amazing work of our recruitment team, who have transformed all outreach and recruitment activities due to the ongoing pandemic,” says Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney.
“It is encouraging to see how many prospective students are keen to move forward with their academic and career goals in the uncertain global environment we are all navigating.”
Queen’s applications from self-identified Indigenous students are up by 26 per cent, applications from self-identified first-generation students have increased 19 per cent, and applications from international students have risen by 11 per cent.
One sector that is experiencing a dramatic increase is the university’s nursing program. According to the Health Sciences department, the number of applications for the nursing program has spiked by over 60 per cent. They say over 2,000 students have applied for a program that only has 100 seats available.
“This is incredible news for our nursing program,” says Erna Snelgrove-Clarke, vice-dean of Health Services and director of the School of Nursing.
“We have a great faculty in this department that is keen on helping our students learn and become successful.”
This spike in applications has made 2021 one of the most competitive years in the nursing program — so much so, that school administration is considering expanding the program to allow for more students to be accepted.
“That’s actually something we’re looking at right now,” says Snelgrove-Clarke.
“Because it’s okay to say that we’ll take 100 more students, but we also have to have clinical placement.”
Snelgrove-Clarke says she was surprised by the number of nursing applicants this year, as she wasn’t sure how the pandemic and online learning would affect post-secondary applications. Perhaps the fact that health-care workers have been in the spotlight for the better part of a year may have something to do with it.
“I certainly think it’s a contributing factor,” she says.
“It’s very nice to see that today’s youth are keen on helping people, especially during a time that can be so intimidating.”