Who Decides Who Gets in and What Do They Base it On? < | The Application Process From the Universitys End | > The Application Process From the Students End
How the Application Process WorksAll the universities in Canada and the United States have very similar admission processes--although there are a few minor differences here and there. A brief outline of that process (based on Calgary) will give you an idea of what your application goes through before you receive the final, hopefully positive, letter.
A student writes requesting information on the graduate programme; the department sends out an application package in reply. This will vary from department to department but it will usually contain a department booklet, a programme application form, a university scholarship application and information on graduate awards available, together with any necessary reference forms. Sometimes you will also get a Graduate School calendar.
Some universities, Calgary included, are moving to what is called a student-managed application; some may even have you apply online. In these cases the student is responsible for collecting all the letters of reference, transcripts, etc., and ensuring that they get to the University by the deadline. Others still use the system where bits and pieces of the application come in over a period of time. Obviously it's more convenient for everyone if everything comes in one package. Check carefully to see what system the schools you've chosen are using.
Processing an ApplicationWhen any document that will form part of the formal application package is received in the department, be it a form, transcript or reference, it is placed in a file and noted on a computerized tracking system as it comes in. About a month after a file has been started, a note is sent to the student confirming what documents have been received and noting what documents are still needed. It takes us approximately 20 minutes to process a completed application form and all supporting documents.
When receipt of transcripts is noted on the system, schools calculate the GPA over the past two years or 10 full year course equivalents (where necessary converting grades to the 4.0 system used by all but a few universities). All departments offering higher degrees in archaeology in Canada require a minimum GPA of 3.3, but it varies in the United States and elsewhere, so be sure to check. Note that this is the minimum needed to get your file looked at by the department--it does not guarantee you a place in graduate school. If your GPA is below the minimum required by the department, the calculation is rechecked and the file is circulated separately to the admissions committee. They then recommend that either the file be forwarded for consideration or that it be dropped from circulation. Only in very rare circumstances will a file with a GPA of less than the minimum be circulated.