Undergraduate Admission, Queen's University, Canada

Commerce Personal Statement of Experience (PSE) and Supplementary Essays (SE) Information

Undergraduate Admission and Smith Commerce have collaborated to make updates to the admission process for the 2019-20 admission cycle.

As in previous years, academic records are reviewed first. Once the minimum academic requirements are met, the admission decision is based on the Personal Statement of Experience (PSE) and Supplementary Essays (SEs).

Beginning this year, there will be a new set of supplementary essay questions each month. If a student does not complete the SEs in a given month, the questions will change and their work will be lost.

You might be wondering:

Why is this change happening?

We are making this change to help ensure that students are submitting authentic answers that are reflective of their personal experience.

If I do not complete my answer before the next month, and a new set of questions is posted, will I lose my work? Is my old answer deleted?

Answers are not saved from month to month. We encourage you to complete and submit your answer within the calendar month.

Will students with an IEP be given extra time to answer the questions?

No. Accommodations are built into the design of the process. Students who would normally be given extra time for their work should sign on to the system at the beginning of the month, in order to give themselves enough time to plan, write, review, and submit their answer within the calendar month.

I’m very busy in January with exams, and the PSE/SE is due February 1. What should I do?

We encourage students to submit their PSE/SE as soon as possible. If you are concerned about being busy around January exams, plan to submit your PSE/SE early. Many students submit the PSE/SE over the December winter break.

Will applicants who submit the PSE/SE earlier be considered for offers of admission before those who submit later?

As has always been our practice, we will consider applicants on a regular basis as we receive new information (e.g. updated high school transcripts). If you do not receive an early offer, it does not mean that you will not receive one later. Make sure your application is up-to-date by monitoring your SOLUS To-Do List, and submit required documents as soon as possible.

Does this mean Commerce offers will be out earlier for students who submit the PSE/SE early?

This new process does put students who submit their PSE/SE earlier in a better position to be considered earlier for an offer of admission. In order to be considered for an offer, we must have a complete PSE/SE and your SOLUS To-Do List must be up to date.

If all students are not being assessed based on the same questions, how will Queen’s be able to assess answers fairly?

Our team has developed a standardized rubric that will ensure the fair assessment of all PSE/SEs, regardless of the question being answered.

If I prefer to answer a question that is posted after I submit my PSE/SE, may I resubmit an answer to the later question?

No. We are unable to reopen a PSE/SE after it has been submitted.

Is the PSE deadline the same as the SE deadline?

Yes. The PSE and SE are due on February 1. We encourage students to complete the PSE/SE as soon as possible.

Will the same panel read all PSE/SE answers?

Smith faculty, alumni, and senior staff read the PSE/SEs. Each PSE/SE is read at least twice. The pool of readers, and the process, will be the same for all PSE/SEs regardless of the particular questions the applicant answered.

What if there is a significant discrepancy in scoring between different sets of questions?

Through training, standardized rubrics, and ongoing monitoring Smith Commerce will ensure that all PSE/SEs are scored consistently.

What if I do not have access to the internet?

This situation will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us directly to discuss your specific situation.

Are you comparing my answer to the answers of other students?

No. We use a rubric to score the PSE/SE. We do not compare answers.

What should I write?

To be part of Smith Commerce, you need a combination of strong academic performance and a well-rounded approach to life including demonstration of leadership and teamwork. We are looking for students with demonstrated involvement in their school and community such as volunteering, sports, family responsibilities, music, hobbies, or part-time work. Our PSE/SE is designed to help you highlight those qualities. Ensure you express your personal experience and that your responses are authentic. Have someone proofread your work, and check it again before you submit your final answers. Ensure you have answered the questions, and that your answers are grammatically correct.