Schools in Quebec, British Columbia and New Brunswick top our evaluation of university excellence
Starting on page 156 of our newsstand edition, you will find more indicators that used to be part of Maclean’s ranking calculations. These measures were dropped from the calculations in 2007 after some universities declined to disclose such information as retention rates and average entering grades. Still, for those universities that have made this data public, Maclean’s publishes those numbers to provide students with the widest range of information possible.
As a measure of student quality, Maclean’s presents incoming students’ average high school grades. The ﬁgures are for full-time students attending university in their home province. No conversion formula is applied to incoming grade averages to adjust for provincial differences or varying admission policies, although CÉGEP grades are converted from an R score to a percentage grade. As well, it should be noted that certain universities, to enhance accessibility, accept students with lower grades. To provide a more detailed picture of grade averages, Maclean’s displays grades divided into six grade ranges, extending from less than 70 per cent to 95 per cent and higher.
As a measure of drawing power, Maclean’s counts the proportion of out-of-province students and international students in the ﬁrst-year undergraduate class, as well as the percentage of international graduate students for schools in the Medical Doctoral and Comprehensive categories.
In taking stock of retention rates, Maclean’s asks for the percentage of full-time, ﬁrst-year students who return in second year. While many factors can affect a student’s choice not to return—personal considerations, or a decision to transfer to a program unavailable at their home university—student retention, on the whole, reﬂects a university’s success in keeping its students on course.
Maclean’s also measures graduation rates by tracking an incoming cohort of full-time, ﬁrst-year undergraduate students to determine if they received a degree within seven years. The graduation numbers include students in three-year programs, as well as those in such second-entry programs as medicine, law and education—programs that have a highly selective admissions process. As such, the number of these programs at any given university can affect the overall graduation rate.
In assessing faculty, Maclean’s counts the percentage of full-time instructional faculty members who have a Ph.D., a ﬁrst professional degree or a terminal degree in their ﬁeld.
Finally, in taking a look at the classroom experience, Maclean’s presents figures on average undergraduate class sizes at the first- and second-year level, as well as at the third- and fourth-year level.