Getting in to Canadian universities: Why marks are so important

You can be a great person with myriad interests. Marks still matter
Kat Tancock
(Illustration by Leeandra Cianci)
(Illustration by Leeandra Cianci)

“There’s not one tried and true method of getting into university that will work for everyone,” says Robert Astroff of Astroff Consultants. That being said, there’s one sure way to not get into a university program—not meeting the cut-off for marks. “It’s really important for parents and students to know that their marks in high school count,” Astroff adds.

MORE: The Maclean’s Guide to Getting In to University or College

Good high school grades aren’t just an entry point to university. They’re a sign that you’ve learned to manage your time, understand expectations and retain and organize information—all skills that are key to a successful post-secondary experience. But not everyone has those talents, so if you’re having a hard time achieving the marks you want or need, the earlier you ask for help, the better. “Take advantage of support systems if you find you’re struggling or falling behind,” advises Curtis Michaelis, recruitment and admissions coordinator at Mount Allison University.

Most important, don’t be disheartened if your marks aren’t high enough for the most prestigious programs. Those options might be popular, but they’re far from the only path to a rewarding education and a successful career. “Not every student is going to get into these elite programs,” says Astroff. You’re likely better off studying in an environment that’s a good fit for your learning style.