How to get in: Rotman Commerce for 2013

Rotman Commerce is offered jointly by the Rotman School of Management and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Science and is one of the oldest and best business programs in Canada (for our rankings of best business schools in Canada, please click here).


It is also very difficult to get into as it has some of the toughest entry requirements in Canada. We at CampusRankings have outlined the essentials in order to get into Rotman Commerce. For further information about U of T as a whole, please take a look at our review.

Please note, Application Deadline for 2013 was April 1 for the Supplemental Application. This submission costs $50 in addition to the U of T application fee. Once you have applied to U of T and gotten your application ID and PIN, go to this website.


Course Requirements

As previously mentioned, Rotman Commerce has tough entry requirements. In addition to simply graduating and getting an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (or equivalent), the applicant requires 6 U or M level grade 12 credits.

This is all pretty standard, but there are additional course requirements. These 6 credits though include English 4U AND Calculus & Vectors 4U. Thus, unlike other schools, Rotman looks at your top 4 credits after ENG4U and MCV4U, meaning your entry average is AVERAGE OF (  ENG4U + MCV4U) + (4 highest grade 12 U or M courses). It is important to note, Advanced Functions is usually a prerequisite for MCV4U, but it itself isn’t isn’t a requirement and won’t be automatically used to determine your average, unless it is in your top 4. Make sure you consider this when planning out your high school career.

To compound matters, although they do not explicitly have grade requirements for ENG4U and MCV4U, they do look at these grades individually, and not just your combined average. As a result of this, getting high 90’s in your top 4 and low 70’s in MCV4U and ENG4U will not suffice as they recommend at very least low 80’s for these (which subsequently make the load on your other courses less).


Rotman recommends a high 80’s average which means their actual grade entry requirements are higher. Universities like Queen’s and Western recommend a low to mid 80’s average to apply, but realistically the acceptance average is generally in the high 80’s or 90’s. Therefore, the generally acceptance average for Rotman is generally around 90. Last year the average entry average was 89.7%.  However, these grades are not the only thing that are taken into account.

In fact, these are simply just the first process of filtering out students so if you do have an average of 87 or higher, don’t worry too much about improving your grades, but rather focus on your EC’s so that you can submit a better Supplementary Application. This is discussed below:

Supplementary Application

Aside from the entry requirements and the grades, the supplementary application is the most important part of your application. In fact, providing you do have strong enough grades to be even considered for Rotman Commerce (85%+), this is the single most influential part of your application. Therefore, it is essential you knock this out of the park in order to differentiate yourself and ultimately get into Rotman Commerce.

Extra Curriculars

There is a section of the Supplementary Application that explicitly asks to describe 3 extra curricular activities. As such, for your EC’s in high school, focus on quality over quantity. Meaning, rather than doing a little bit of everything, take an expanded role in a few areas. For instance, rather be involved as a member of every club in high school, instead be the coordinator, or captain, or organizer for a few clubs.

Therefore, you can really highlight your leadership or other skills more so than simply being loosely involved. This comes very in handy for this section of the supplementary application since you are limited to just three EC’s.

As mentioned above, focus on the three EC’s where you have been the most involved and would demonstrate the qualities that Rotman is looking for; leadership, motivation, commitment, initiative, and innovation.  Be sure to be concise and really highlight your role and duties.


Rotman tries to be tricky by stating they have a “randomly generated question pertaining to an extracurricular activity, leadership, community engagement or interest in the study of commerce. This essay is a maximum of 400 words and must be completed within 60 minutes.

However, that description describes almost exactly what the questions are that they ask. The questions pertain to the following:

  • Describe your EC’s
  • Highlight your leadership roles
  • Describe your Community Involvement

Like all universities, they want the best and brightest leaders. As such, every question is essentially asking the same thing: what have you done in the past that demonstrates your leadership skills and how these will positively impact U of T. Therefore, no matter what question you get, make sure you highlight your strengths and examples of leadership and specifically mention how that will apply to Rotman Commerce. Subsequently, it is important to research the university and the program to ensure that you can relate your answers to Rotman Commerce. Do your due-diligence on what the program itself actually offers as well as look at what societies and clubs are available at U of T.

Doing this will not only assist you in answering the question, but will also show the Admissions Committee that you did your research, which differentiates you from the competition.

Don’t be afraid to brag! If you don’t, somebody else will.

Year One – Beware

What makes Rotman Commerce a particularly difficult program is that once you get into Rotman Commerce out of university, you really don’t start Rotman Commerce until year two. The first year is very difficult as you take Calculus as well as other programs and receive a minimum grade just to be allowed to pursue the final 3 years of Rotman Commerce. The requirements are as follows:

  • Complete RSM100Y Introduction to Management with a mark of at least 67%
  • Complete ECO100Y Introduction to Economics with a mark of at least 67%
  • Complete MAT133Y Calculus and Linear Algebra for Commerce (or equivalent) with a mark of at least 50%
  • Accumulate a minimum of 4.0 credits

If you have met the above mentioned requirements, then you can continue with your degree. Don’t take ECO100Y lightly! This is the course that gives students the most grief in their first year due to the fact that you are required to have taken Calculus already, but there is no requirement for econ courses to be taken in high school therefore making this is a tough course.

The first year of Rotman has a very high drop out rate so please be aware of that. They accept up too many students in first year as they generally expect up anywhere between 20-50% drop out after first year, but mid 30% is typical.

Alex Dorward

Alex Dorward

Alex is the co-founder of UniversityHub (now CampusRankings) and current Technical Director for CampusRankings. Alex grew up in Ottawa before attending St FX in Antigonish, NS. After graduating, he joined Accenture and is currently a Manager in Accenture Digital.

idieee says:

I was also checking online on the Rotman website, it said that to move on to specializing in second year you actually need a minimum of 63% in Calculus

idieee says:

Hey guys, I am also awaiting my acceptance (or rejection) for rotman commerce and because they delay it for so long i have been very anxious. The average for my top 6 U/M courses are 91, however, I only have an 81 in English (I have heard they have high expectations for English despite their requirements) and an 85 in Calculus and I took Calculus in private school. Also, my grade 11 average was only a 79.8 so there is inconsistency between the grades of last year and this year. In my supplementary application, my extra curriculars included: play therapy with an autistic child, volunteering at an orthopedic shoe clinic, as well as acting in big school productions. The question for my essay was “What real life skills will you bring to Rotman Commerce” and I wrote about how I have my own little business where I teach kids how to play the guitar and marketing for my lessons and managing money and dealing with customers (and their parents) have taught me a fraction of what running a music-lesson business would be like. What do you guys think? Do I have a high chance?

Alex Dorward Alex Dorward says:

One thing you have to remember is they don’t really look at your top 6. They look at your required courses + your next top grades. As such, they really only take your top 4 + calc + eng. Thus, I think your average might be a little low.
That being said, seems like your answer to the “random question” seems to have good potential.

It is also very difficult to let you know your chances, but I would say the chances aren’t too good. Really sorry to tell you that but I want to be honest with you.
Hope this helps.

Muhammad says:

Hey, I am also waiting on my acceptance and I was wondering if my marks would suffice, I got:
85 in English
93 Data Management
88 French
84 Adv Functions
86 Calculus
90 Accounting
As for my ECs, I was DECA president as our school amongst a couple of other things.
Thanks again

Alex Dorward Alex Dorward says:

It is pretty difficult to give you an idea of whether or not you’ll get in by so little details, but judging by your grades alone and limited info about your EC’s, I would say you are pretty competitive. It really comes down to how you did on your essay question and how impressive your other EC’s are.
All the best.

Jonas Schmidt says:

Oh, is it true that they really heavily weigh the Supplementary App? Because compared to schools like UBC or Queens Commerce, Rotman has a pretty short supplementary application. Also, I’ve heard from some people that they don’t heavily weigh it and that some people have gotten in without even submitting it. That being said, those things sound like rumours at best, but I wouldn’t know enough about it.

Alex Dorward Alex Dorward says:

I highly doubt that anybody got in without submitting their supp app. They probably got accepted to u of T, but not Rotman Commerce.
The essay is essentially a student’s last opportunity to differentiate themselves. Many people have comparable EC’s and grades, but nobody has the same essay. As such, if there is a debate over people, they refer to the essay. As such, it is pretty important if your grades are in the high 80’s and your EC’s are adequate, OR, if your grades are high but you have no EC’s.

Jonas Schmidt says:


I am a BC student. Currently my average is 88.5 (91 in pre-calculus 12 (advanced functions), 92 in German 12, 82 in English (’tis an interim mark and is probably higher now, 89 in Geography 12) not including Calculus 12, which I am currently in the process of completing. On my supplemental application my three ECs were my job as a line cook, my post-secondary German language diploma, and my volunteer time at an organization similar to the SPCA in which I organized and carried out a fundraiser for in my neighbourhood. My essay question was “What is your favourite extra-curricular activity and why?” and I talked about my experiences in the music program at my school and how being in the trumpet section requires a certain level of leadership (won’t get into details), and also about the awards and standings my bands have won at festivals, national and international. Anyhows, from what I’ve described, though it may sound a little too arbitrary to answer, how do my chances sound?

Alex Dorward Alex Dorward says:

Hi Jonas,
It is difficult to say without knowing more details, but your grades are consistent with grades that typically get in and your EC’s sound decent.
That being said, it all really depends on how good your Supp application was. Without seeing that, I really can’t give you an accurate answer.
Nonetheless, I’d say you have about an 75% chance to getting in providing your supp app was consistent with most of their application.
If you need further consultation, please feel free to contact us via email.