Queen’s Commerce Application 2016/17 – How to Get In

The Queen’s Commerce application is one of the toughest in Canada. But each year, we conduct a public analysis on the application to provide a resource for students who need support. For more support, check out the transformative 1-year leadership program I developed, called the Global Leadership Academy, which helps develop students into extraordinary leaders (many of whom win scholarships and get admitted to top organizations and schools).

For more application-specific consulting, contact our partner at AdmissionsConsulting.ca


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Back to the Queen’s Commerce application. The Queen’s Commerce program is now 600 students – one of the largest in Canada. Despite the growth of the program, they’ve maintained an extremely low acceptance rate, hovering around the 10% mark.


How to Apply


We get so much feedback on how difficult it is applying to the school, so first things first, let’s go through the basics: how to submit a Queen’s Commerce application.


When you apply to Queen’s University through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre, you should receive a student Net ID and password. Go to my.queensu.ca and sign in, then find SOLUS, then Admissions, and click the heading “Personal Statement of Experience”. That’s where you’ll submit the PSE and supplementary essays.


While the General PSE is optional, we urge everyone submitting a Queen’s Commerce application to submit the General PSE as well.


Queen’s Commerce Application Questions


While we urge you to submit the General PSE, we won’t cover that in this article. We’ll simply focus on the two essay questions that are part of the Queen’s Commerce application.




Based on your research about the program, in 300 words or fewer, how will you use the opportunities at Queen’s Commerce to create a university experience that is right for you?


This question reassures the qualities the admissions committee is looking for in a Queen’s Commerce application. Why do we say this? Because there have been quite similar questions in the past.


In 2015/16 (See our article here), there was the question: “Based on your research about the program, in 300 words or fewer, please answer what contribution do you plan to make to Queen’s Commerce?”


In 2013 (See our article here), there was the question: “Please describe the steps you have taken to ensure that Commerce/Business is an appropriate field of study and potential career for you.”


See the common theme? The admissions committee wants to know that you have done significant ‘due diligence’ when it comes to the program, and the ‘self-reflection’ to ensure the program is in fact a great fit.


They don’t want someone who submits a Queen’s Commerce application, simply because of its prestige, or because it’s hard to get into. They want someone who genuinely knows what they want out of a university experience, and has done the research to understand what that means at Queen’s.


When we say research, we mean more than just reading the brochures and visiting the campus. We’ve never heard a student that didn’t want to go to Queen’s after they visited the campus. It’s incredibly beautiful. So impress the admissions committee by demonstrating the in-depth research you’ve conducted about the opportunities available at the program. You need to show you went over and above the average student, because Queen’s Commerce students do not settle for mediocrity.


Contact an admissions consultant at AdmissionsConsulting.ca to get support crafting a differentiated, structured, and highly compelling answer to this question. We have tons of ideas, just send us an email at info@admissionsconsulting.ca




In 300 words or fewer, describe the most important constructive criticism you have received. How did you respond and what did you learn?


This is an entirely new question this application season. We’ve seen questions about overcoming a challenge in the past, but nothing about constructive criticism. Some of the feedback we hear about working with young people in the workforce is they don’t take feedback well.


High-achieving students are so accustom to an academic environment where they are right, or rarely wrong. Then, when they enter the workforce – a completely new environment, and one very different to academia, they may not be right most of the time. So adjusting to this environment, and being open to constructive criticism is an essential element of an emerging leader. In other words, is the person ‘coachable’?


So, our theory is that the admissions committee is specifically looking for students who are not only high achieving, but also those who come from humble, modest roots.


We’d suggest choosing an example whereby you:


  • Outright failed
  • You asked for feedback on why you failed
  • You spent time working on this development area
  • You returned and succeeded


Contact an admissions consultant at AdmissionsConsulting.ca to get support on this question, ideas, and how to structure the essay. We have a large list of potential responses; just send us an email at info@admissionsconsulting.ca to get started

Joel Nicholson

Joel Nicholson

Joel Nicholson is the Co-founder and Managing Director of CampusRankings—Canada's #1 platform for student rankings, reviews, and admissions support. He writes about topics relating to education, or food reviews on Yelp.

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