When so many students have outstanding grades and test scores, schools have to get creative about triaging applicants.
This is an interesting article from the U.S., and somewhat speaks to our situation. So many applicants with high marks, it’s hard to distinguish among them. One comment in the article stood out, namely “half of American teenagers now graduate high school with an A average”. If that’s the case everywhere, no wonder it’s hard to differentiate between applicants.
For our most competitive programs, it’s coming down to small things and to some extent luck. Some people have suggested that we just take the top 50% of the applicants (using marks) and then use random selection from that group. There is some attraction in that idea; it would reduce our workload for one thing.
In the absence of pure random selection, then some small things will start to matter more. For example, having some work (or similar volunteer) experience may make the difference, or simply a more convincing couple of paragraphs in the Admission Information Form, showing true understanding and plans for the engineering program. Or perhaps we start putting some weight on grade 11 marks, or more heavily discounting private and summer school grades. At this point there are no definite plans, but it’s a continuing struggle to try to find better ways of identifying applicants who will be the best fit.