Bishop's University open house offers same day application, admission

Bishop's University is working to bolster enrolment with an appeal to instant gratification in its same day acceptance plan called Accelerated Admissions.

Speedy application process to boost admissions as part of budget recovery plan

Prospective students filed into one of the school's computer rooms to complete their accelerated applications. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

Bishop's University is working to bolster enrolment with an appeal to instant gratification through a plan called Accelerated Admissions.

The admissions strategy is a fixture at the university's open house events and serves as a part of Bishop's budget recovery plan which was presented in 2009.

Dozens of prospective students lined up Saturday morning in the school's library, transcripts in hand, looking to apply and get an answer for their applications within a few hours.

Jasmine Rusnak, a 17-year-old student from Toronto, said she really likes the idea. 

"[Bishop's] is my top choice of all the ones that I looked at too, so I like that I'll get to know by the end of the day."

Her friend, Gwendolyn Mulligan, 16, saw her application as an opportunity to get a head-start on the search for a university. 

"I can always try again with different marks, with grade 12 marks, if my grade 11 marks aren't good enough," she said.

Accelerated Admissions were a big hit with Toronto students Jasmine Rusnak and Gwendolyn Mulligan, who are considering Bishop's as their university for next year. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

Bishop's is one of only two universities in the province offering the accelerated admissions service, along with Montreal's École de téchnologie supérieure. 

Quick turnaround, lots of work

After candidates dropped off their transcripts early in the morning, it was up to the enrolment office to deliver on its promise.

"Honestly, it's a lot of work," said Dan Seneker, the school's of enrolment management.

He said the five-hour window they have to evaluate applications becomes possible with three or four individuals working on the files.

Of the 78 students who opted for an accelerated admission, 65 were accepted and the rest were put on hold.

Faster admissions, more applicants?

The school is hoping an early admission can sway students into choosing Bishop's over other universities.

"Hopefully, by students coming here today, getting their offers of admission, they've already become part of the family and made their decision as to making Bishop's their university choice," said Seneker.

Dan Seneker, Bishop's director of enrolment management, was part of the team in charge of going through 78 accelerated applications within a few hours during Saturday's Open House event. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

Enrolment on the rise

After tallying the final numbers, the school announced it welcomed 919 first-year students in the fall — its largest first-year class in school history — 74 more students than initially reported.

Those numbers continue a trend of increased enrolment over the last several years. 

The school aims to enrol 875 first-year students every year until 2020.