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Schools Getting into university with low english mark

  1. Nov 9, 2007 #1
    Hello everyone!

    I am a high school student trying to get into U of Waterloo or U of T.

    My english mark is 56% and I really don't want to take it again. However, with this english and my best 5 other subjects my average will (hopefully) still be high enough to meet the minimum requirement average for the various programs that I want to get into. I am going into the math faculty. So, my question is basically if anyone here knows if there is a minimum mark requirement for english to get into university. I did not find any information regarding minimum grades in english class on the universities' websites.

    I appreciate anyone's information/thoughts/experiences.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2007 #2
    Not important unless you're trying to get into English.

    Ontario undergraduate admissions are a joke. Your high school just plugs your numbers into a database at the Ontario University Applications Centre and schools decide whether or not to take you based on your high school GPA. No personal essays or letters of recommendations, and in most cases, no extracurriculars are needed. The consequence? Lots of dumb freshmen who don't care about school.

    If you're planning to go into physics in graduate school, don't go to U of T for undergraduate. They keep their averages really low (2.4 / 4) . So you might be getting a 3.5 average but be in the top 10% of the class, but graduate schools might not realize that, and just see your 3.5 / 4 as mediocre.
  4. Nov 9, 2007 #3
    That's not exactly true... the Faculty of Mathematics at Waterloo requires a recommendation letter.
  5. Nov 9, 2007 #4


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    I also seem to remember having to write essays for both U of T and Waterloo. But maybe this has changed.
  6. Nov 9, 2007 #5
    Thanks for the replies guys!

    U of Waterloo has an AIF which includes all of the stuff you said and U of T has optional reference letters/essays. I know what you mean, though, Ontario universities do mostly go by your overall average. But people who didn't get in would complain if they had a higher average than their friend who got in just because he wrote a better essay to them. That's why they do it that way.

    I am relieved that there is no minimum english grade requirement. Thanks for the tip on U of T's physics department, I am not planning on going into physics; I might be taking physics courses though.

    What if you do want to take some optional english credits in university, would a 57% in grade 12 prevent you from doing this?
  7. Nov 9, 2007 #6


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    Probably not, unless it's some special course requiring special approval, e.g. departmental consent. A good rule of thumb is: if you passed the high school course, you're good to go. No one really cares about your average.
  8. Nov 9, 2007 #7
    Oh, I see. Thanks.
  9. Nov 9, 2007 #8
    I second what morphism said. If you have the course on your high school transcript, then you've got the prerequisites covered as far as the faculty is concerned.

    U of T never asked me for recommendation letters or a personal essay. Applying there was as simple as clicking SUBMIT on the OUAC website.
  10. Nov 9, 2007 #9


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    If you got under 70-75% in high school English, then Waterloo will require you to write a test to see where your English skills are. If you do bad on that test, they will require you to take an English course (at Waterloo) that is high school equivalent (no university credit).

    Sure it won't have an affect on whether or not you get it, but either way, you're writing that test.
  11. Nov 9, 2007 #10
    Actually, I think everyone but those in the Science Faculty need to write it, independently of your high school grade. If you're in science though, you only write it in October or November if your high school grade was under the threshold you just mentioned.
  12. Nov 9, 2007 #11
    Thanks for that info, I had no idea they would do that. I wonder if U of T would do something similar.

    The english test is not an issue for me though, I am good in English. Lack of completing assignments is why my mark was bad.
  13. Nov 9, 2007 #12
    Some courses require that not only your average be above a certain threshold, but all your courses have to be above a % as well. Certian schools to get into Engineering, you have to have a minimum average of 70% as well have all your University level courses be above 60%.

    Just be aware of exactly what the criteria for getting into the program is before assuming that just because its English and you want to go for Math that you can scrap by with a 57%
  14. Nov 9, 2007 #13
    Good point, renigaide. Seeing as I have not seen anything on the websites to do with minimum english grades and that the people who have posted here are pretty confident that there isn't a minimum, I think I'm safe.
  15. Nov 20, 2007 #14
    Everyone at the University of Waterloo has to write this test. It's called the ELPE (English Language Proficiency Exam) and all you're asked to do is write an essay on one of two topics of your choosing in a 50 minute timeslot. The topics are faculty specific for the most part, usually one topic for the more knowledgable among us, and one general topic that most can bull**** their way through.

    I got a 74% in Grade 12 English and had no problem passing it. My marks before Grade were hardly exceptional either (54 in grade 9, 56 in grade 10, 70 in grade 11). If you're an Ontario native, you shouldn't have much trouble passing it. Just remember proper essay form (intro, supporting paragraph 1, 2, ..., conclusion), and time management. It's very easy to run out of time when you're only given 50 minutes to spill your mind on a piece of paper.

    The only difference is if you got above 80% in Grade 12 English, you write in December. The rest write in September. This is just to cut the test takers into 2 approx. equal size groups.
  16. Nov 20, 2007 #15
    Thank you for that info. I'm glad to hear you didn't find it hard and that most people can pass it.

    I'm thinking of retaking english now anyways since I have nothing else to do during one of the periods next semester. So, if I do that, I won't have to worry about any of this.
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