Applications to York University drop by more than 10 per cent

York University has experienced a dramatic drop in demand for first-year spots by Ontario high-school students. In a report released Friday by the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC), early data collected following the Jan. 14 application deadline shows that applications to the University have dropped by 10.8 per cent over 2008.

York has slipped from its long-held position of second in the province on the list of universities most preferred by Ontario applicants, to fourth, trailing the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and the University of Western Ontario. The University received a total 34,577 applications from high-school students for fall 2009, down from 38,745 high-school applications in 2008.

Here are the top five:



University of Toronto


Ryerson University


University of Western Ontario


York University


McMaster University


Applications from high-school students who selected York as their first choice are down by 14.7 per cent, year over year. York’s overall market share has declined from 9.4 per cent in 2008 to 8 per cent in 2009, with most of its lost market share of applicants moving to the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, McMaster University and the University of Guelph.

Fall 2009 represents the first academic year for York’s new Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS). First choice applications to the new Faculty are down by 26 per cent. As a result of the decline, York’s largest Faculty will experience the biggest impact of the declining numbers, says Robert Tiffin (right), York vice-president students.

“The University will have to re-evaluate its enrolment targets in light of this dramatic decline in applications and our desire to maintain the quality of our entering class,” says Tiffin. “The decline in applications means York will have to reduce its target enrolment. This will be felt the most by programs in LA&PS, since there will be fewer students and as a result, fewer course sections.

“We will need to do further analysis on the data but it goes without saying that we face an uphill battle this year and in future years to restore applications to the levels we have enjoyed in the past – and to do that within the quality parameters we have built up over time,” says Tiffin, noting that York will not reduce its entrance average for applicants.

In addition to adjusting enrolment targets, Tiffin added that increments in scholarships, awards and bursaries will be pursued to provide additional incentives to applicants. Initial offers of admission to applicants with the strongest academic record will be sent over the next month.

York has also notified OUAC that the University is still open to applications.

The report revealed that Ontario universities are facing the highest demand ever for fall 2009 first-year places since the double cohort. In total, there were 84,300 secondary school applicants this year, up from 83,381 applicants in 2008, representing an increase of 1.1 per cent. Provincewide, first-year students continued a trend started in 2008 and opted for applied programs, with nursing, social work, environmental studies and engineering programs experiencing the greatest demand.

“This year, more than most, the conversion activities undertaken by our Faculties and departments will play an extremely important role,” says Tiffin.

With the exception of York, the increase in demand was highest in the Greater Toronto Area. Officials at OUAC say that the climate of economic uncertainty, the promise of better career opportunities and a growing number of students in the Toronto area are driving the increase in applications.

For more information, visit the OUAC Web site.