Private Schools: Preparing for University


In a traditional Ontario public school, students are told that only their course averages from grades 11 and 12 count towards their university admission profile. While this is true, it leads to the creation of the mentality among students that for grades 9 and 10, you do not have to really worry about your grades, because what Canadian university will ever see them? I would argue that this is a dangerous mindset for students to adopt in their early high school years. There is a significant jump in the level of difficulty for coursework and lesson material between grades 10 and 11, from the junior grades to the senior. This jump already exists independently, but it becomes much more difficult for students to overcome when they have no practice seriously applying themselves in the previous years of high school. Grade 11 then becomes a stumbling block for some students and sets them back from their peers who, mostly thanks to their own good habits, are prepared for the sudden demands of senior high school.

IB World private schools in Ontario do not offer the traditional grade denomination as public schools. The Diploma Program (DP) is for students aged 16 to 18 and provides an internationally accepted qualification for entry into higher education, recognized by many universities worldwide. However, the Middle Years Program (MYP) is for children aged 11 to 16, thus covering and embracing a larger cohort of students than the traditional grades of  8, 9, 10 etc. do, which are single stand-alone entities. By belonging to an all-encompassing program, especially with the ultimate goal of graduating to the next IB Program, students are provided with the framework and support to achieve academically and stay on track towards pursuing their post-graduate dreams. Graduating to the IB Diploma Program is a great achievement within the private school journey, and motivates students to excel in their coursework during their time in the MYP. I strongly believe that this institutional organization of grades supports university-seeking students much more effectively than the status quo in our public schools.

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