University fair exposes tip of cohort iceberg

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By Suzanne Ma

Elise Cappuccitti is afraid that she won’t be accepted into Ryerson’s radio and television arts program.

It’s not that Cappuccitti doesn’t have the required grade point average, or that she lacks an adequate portfolio.

Cappuccitti, an OAC student at King City Secondary School, will be competing against twice the normal number of applicants this spring because of the double cohort.

Cappuccitti and about 50,000 other high schoolers got their first taste of the increased competition at this weekend’s Ontario Universities Fair.

Appearing like a group of seagulls circling a breadcrumb, the impending graduates hovered over Ryerson’s booth, with their backpacks thrown across their shoulders and a look of desperation on their faces.

“I’m extremely worried about the double cohort,” said Cappuccitti, who worries that the RTA program will be unable to meet the increased demand.

“They only have so much equipment, faculty and facilities for specialized programming,” she said.

Gene Logel, Ryerson’s director of admissions, said he was surprised by the turnout, which doubled from last year’s fair. “We were overwhelmed there were so many students,” he said. “Everybody is anxious about the double cohort.”

Ryerson has said it will increase the number of full-time students it accepts by 18 per cent each year for two consecutive years, in part by adding two new programs. But this increased intake offered little reassurance to students hoping to get into specific programs.

Some students at the fair were only considering Ryerson because they are afraid increased competition may keep them from getting into their preferred choices.

“Before I would only apply to three universities, but now I’m applying to seven,” said Rosita Thanendria, an OAC student at Sir John A. McDonald Collegiate Institute, who plans to study business.

Despite the increased competition, some students said their plans had not changed at all.

“Ryerson has always been my first choice,” said Robert Walker, a twelfth grade student from Richmond Hill Secondary. “The double cohort is just an obstacle that I have to overcome.”

Steven Bennis, an OAC student at O’Neill CVI in Oshawa, said he tries not to get too concerned by the possibility that the double cohort could keep him out of Ryerson.

“I’m not going to be worried about it,” he said. “I’m just going to take it with the crowd. I’m not the only one who’s going to be turned away.”

The Ontario Universities Fair ran from Sept. 27-29 and featured 20 universities from across the country.

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