The Mentorship Spot
Application Tips - Western Ivey and Queen's Commerce
📚 Interested in applying to programs with supplemental applications?
✨ Today, we bring you tips on how to tackle supplemental applications for 2 of Canada’s top business programs, Western Ivey and Queen’s Commerce!
🤩 These are tips from current students and their personal tips from when they applied!
My primary tip is to ensure each of the essay responses in your AEO/HBA1 application are action-focused.
Use the C.A.R. format for each response: Context, Action, Result
Focus on how you brought value to the organization/club you were a part of
What happened as a result of your actions? (e.g. we ran 8 successful events, we received an award for community involvement, etc.)
Try to incorporate the key themes of the AEO application.
For my application, they provided 6 words to focus my responses around: LEADERSHIP TEAMWORK INITIATIVE ACHIEVEMENT COMMITMENT AND BREADTH
These should be central to what you write - you can even mention these words directly and explicitly in your response (e.g. I achieved, I took the initiative to, etc.)
Do not lie or exaggerate on your AEO application, and always make sure to send your response to your club supervisor for approval before submitting.
Ivey verifies all responses.
If you lie or exaggerate on the application and submit it, chances are your supervisor is not going to approve what you wrote.
This can be a major setback for your application.
What topics/ideas/themes focus on (e.g. personal involvement)
Focus on conveying what you learned and how you will implement it at Queen’s. The prestige of your activity is not as important as the quality and style of your writing. It's a common misconception that you need to be involved in hundreds of extra-circulars to get into Queen’s Commerce. Many students are accepted from their essays on their part-time jobs and personal passions.
Whatever your topic is, it is important to tie it to Queen’s Commerce. How will what you learned from the experience help you at Queen's? Be specific!
How to plan, structure and draft responses
Dedicate significant time to planning & structuring your responses. The quality of your writing matters as much as the content. For each question, identify an overarching topic and purpose: What do you want the reader to take away from this? The next sections to plan are as follows: Hook, Context, Catalyst, Impact, Learning.
Topic: Don’t just choose the first topic that comes to mind and write your application within a day. Start brainstorming early and come up with creative answers. Narrow down your ideas based on research and the university’s criteria. Pick distinguishing topics, especially when writing about the activities you are involved in. Your application does not necessarily have to be centered around your field of study. In fact, the more unrelated it is, the more unique it will be.
Focus on your hook! First impressions matter, thousands of people apply to Queen's Commerce every year, grabbing the reader's attention in the first sentence is vital to standing out.
Context - Set the Scene for the reader. This allows the reader to connect with you while giving them a good understanding of the activity or event.
Catalyst - Highlight your uniqueness here. What conflicts did you face? How did you overcome obstacles? What did you bring to the table?
Impact - How did you impact the event in question?
Learning - what did you learn? How will you apply it at Queen’s.Summarize the message you want to convey and mention how you will implement that lesson/experience at university; be specific. Avoid cheesy transition words like “To Conclude” or “In Conclusion”
The people assessing your application are often BComm graduates, doing your research and mentioning specific clubs, classes, and events at Queen’s will set you apart.
Structure your responses like a news article. Grab the reader's attention, then start with the most important information, and add any relevant detail afterwards.
Any general tips /Anything else you think will be useful for the supplemental applications
Do not submit your first draft. Have teachers and peers edit it not only to check for grammar, but also for writing structure.
It is advantageous to submit your application early. Queen’s accepts students on a rolling basis. By handing it in early, you increase your chances of getting accepted because you are competing against a smaller pool of applicants.
When pasting your essays into the University’s portal, double-check that every comma, period, semicolon, and capital letter is in place. These things can often get moved or removed when you paste text on academic portals.
Research Research Research
Use a variety of sources to understand the type of essay(s) each program is looking for. Seek advice on what to do and on what not to do. Some great sources include:
Online Forums- Reddit, UThink, Discord, Websites & Blogs
Great for: Support from students in your shoes, advice from alumni and current students, and identifying the pros/cons of a program
Students & Alumni- Facebook, LinkedIn, etc
Great For: One-on-one advice, building connections, getting credible individuals to edit your work, and receiving examples of past applications/success stories.
Campus Conferences, Visits, and Events
Great For: Getting to know students in the program,
determining if the school is a good fit for you, extracurriculars, student life, etc.
The School’s Website
Great For: Clear and objective explanation of requirements and determining average cutoffs