One of the most common questions I’m asked is, "Do grade 11 marks matter?"
The short answer is yes, they matter.
How they matter is a little more complicated to explain, but I'll try to keep it simple.
However, before I go any further, I must preface this article with a disclaimer: even though I'm a former Admissions Officer at 2 different Canadian universities, I don't—and can't—know how every single university in Canada calculates a student's average.
The following information is based on what happens most of the time, at most universities in Canada. It may or may not be exactly what happens when your child applies, but it's probably pretty close.
Note: Some universities are now giving conditional acceptance to students based on Grade 11 marks (normally self-reported grades). This is a “real” conditional acceptance; however, the more important set of grades is the Grade 12 first semester finals. These grades will need to be sent on an official transcript (or electronically), usually in January - March.
These are the grades that will determine if they maintain their acceptance in the program and, in most cases, it will determined their entrance scholarship offer from the university.
So here's how it works...
Some Canadian universities require 5 Grade 12 academic courses for admission, and some require 6.
For my example, to try to keep it simple, let's use 5.
So, generally speaking, when calculating your student's average for admission and scholarship, universities will use marks from 5 courses from your student's first semester finals (if the school is on a semester system) or from his/her mid-year grades (if the school is not on a semester system).
"But Janet", I hear you saying, "what if my child doesn't have 5 Grade 12 courses completed at the end of first semester?
That's when the Grade 11 marks come into play.
Most students don't have 5 Grade 12 courses completed at the end of the first semester—even if they do, they probably don’t meet all the pre-requisites required for their desired program—so admissions officers will use Grade 11 marks as 'predictors' for Grade 12 marks. Which marks they use depends on what program the student has applied to.
Every degree program (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and so on) will have certain Grade 12 courses that are required for admission. For example, Arts generally requires English 12 + 4 other Grade 12 academic courses.
To illustrate how Grade 11 marks factor in, let’s say your student is applying to Engineering. The requirements are English 12, Pre-cal 12, Physics 12, Chemistry 12 and one other grade 12 academic course.
If the student has completed English 12 and Pre-cal 12 in first semester of Grade 12, those courses are used (these will be final Grade 12 marks). If the student is taking Chemistry and Physics in their second semester of Grade 12, the student’s Grade 11 marks in these subjects will be used for these required courses as 'predictors' for Grade 12 requirements.
The other course used in the average cen be any other Grade 12 academic course (which may have been completed in Grade 11 or Grade 12, it doesn’t matter which one).
Here is the example broken down:
Engineering requirements: English 12, Pre-cal 12, Chemistry 12, Physics 12 + one other grade 12 academic course. Here are the courses and some made-up grades, with the calculation of the admission average:
English 12 - 91%
Pre-calculus Math 12 - 87%
Chemistry 11 - 88%
Physics 11 - 85%
Global History 12 - 94%
Admission average: 89%
The goal is to be accepted to a program as soon as possible so you know your options. Early admission can be especially important if your student is applying to a competitive, limited enrollment program, and/or to residence.
And remember, the admissions average is also (usually) the average the university uses for entrance scholarship consideration.
So, a lot is riding on those Grade 11 and Grade 12 first semester marks!
I always emphasize that students should try their best in both Grade 11 and first semester of Grade 12.
Not to stress y'all out, but these grades are the most important of your academic life so far!
The second semester Grade 12 marks are checked by admissions to make sure requirements are met, but they're not usually used for scholarships. This is because most university entrance scholarships are used for recruitment purposes.
Part of the reason why I wrote this blog is to help parents and students understand the university entrance scholarship process, because the best opportunity for your student to get a scholarship is in Grade 12, for when they enter university. There will be far fewer opportunities once they are attending university.
Of course, the final and best reason to do well in Grades 11 and 12 is to know the information well enough so when you get to university, you’ll be adequately prepared.
But a little less stress about admission—and possibly some scholarship money—is a great reason too.
I work with students across Canada. I can help your Grade 11 student get set up for admission and scholarship success in Grade 12.
Contact me to discuss my services!