How to get in: Rotman Commerce for 2013

Alex Dorward

Admissions Consultant

Alex Dorward

Rotman Commerce is offered jointly by the Rotman School of Management and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Science and is one of the oldest and best business programs in Canada (for our rankings of best business schools in Canada, please click here).


It is also very difficult to get into as it has some of the toughest entry requirements in Canada. We at UniversityHub have outlined the essentials in order to get into Rotman Commerce. UniversityHub has extensive experience in Rotman Commerce applications and if you require further assistance with your application, please contact our Admissions Consulting services. For further information about U of T as a whole, please take a look at our review.

Please note, Application Deadline for 2013 was April 1 for the Supplemental Application. This submission costs $50 in addition to the U of T application fee. Once you have applied to U of T and gotten your application ID and PIN, go to this website.


Course Requirements

As previously mentioned, Rotman Commerce has tough entry requirements. In addition to simply graduating and getting an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (or equivalent), the applicant requires 6 U or M level grade 12 credits.

This is all pretty standard, but there are additional course requirements. These 6 credits though include English 4U AND Calculus & Vectors 4U. Thus, unlike other schools, Rotman looks at your top 4 credits after ENG4U and MCV4U, meaning your entry average is AVERAGE OF (  ENG4U + MCV4U) + (4 highest grade 12 U or M courses). It is important to note, Advanced Functions is usually a prerequisite for MCV4U, but it itself isn’t isn’t a requirement and won’t be automatically used to determine your average, unless it is in your top 4. Make sure you consider this when planning out your high school career.

To compound matters, although they do not explicitly have grade requirements for ENG4U and MCV4U, they do look at these grades individually, and not just your combined average. As a result of this, getting high 90’s in your top 4 and low 70’s in MCV4U and ENG4U will not suffice as they recommend at very least low 80’s for these (which subsequently make the load on your other courses less).


Rotman recommends a high 80’s average which means their actual grade entry requirements are higher. Universities like Queen’s and Western recommend a low to mid 80’s average to apply, but realistically the acceptance average is generally in the high 80’s or 90’s. Therefore, the generally acceptance average for Rotman is generally around 90. Last year the average entry average was 89.7%.  However, these grades are not the only thing that are taken into account.

In fact, these are simply just the first process of filtering out students so if you do have an average of 87 or higher, don’t worry too much about improving your grades, but rather focus on your EC’s so that you can submit a better Supplementary Application. This is discussed below:

Supplementary Application

Aside from the entry requirements and the grades, the supplementary application is the most important part of your application. In fact, providing you do have strong enough grades to be even considered for Rotman Commerce (85%+), this is the single most influential part of your application. Therefore, it is essential you knock this out of the park in order to differentiate yourself and ultimately get into Rotman Commerce.

Extra Curriculars

There is a section of the Supplementary Application that explicitly asks to describe 3 extra curricular activities. As such, for your EC’s in high school, focus on quality over quantity. Meaning, rather than doing a little bit of everything, take an expanded role in a few areas. For instance, rather be involved as a member of every club in high school, instead be the coordinator, or captain, or organizer for a few clubs.

Therefore, you can really highlight your leadership or other skills more so than simply being loosely involved. This comes very in handy for this section of the supplementary application since you are limited to just three EC’s.

As mentioned above, focus on the three EC’s where you have been the most involved and would demonstrate the qualities that Rotman is looking for; leadership, motivation, commitment, initiative, and innovation.  Be sure to be concise and really highlight your role and duties.


Rotman tries to be tricky by stating they have a “randomly generated question pertaining to an extracurricular activity, leadership, community engagement or interest in the study of commerce. This essay is a maximum of 400 words and must be completed within 60 minutes.

However, that description describes almost exactly what the questions are that they ask. The questions pertain to the following:

  • Describe your EC’s
  • Highlight your leadership roles
  • Describe your Community Involvement

Like all universities, they want the best and brightest leaders. As such, every question is essentially asking the same thing: what have you done in the past that demonstrates your leadership skills and how these will positively impact U of T. Therefore, no matter what question you get, make sure you highlight your strengths and examples of leadership and specifically mention how that will apply to Rotman Commerce. Subsequently, it is important to research the university and the program to ensure that you can relate your answers to Rotman Commerce. Do your due-diligence on what the program itself actually offers as well as look at what societies and clubs are available at U of T.

Doing this will not only assist you in answering the question, but will also show the Admissions Committee that you did your research, which differentiates you from the competition.

Don’t be afraid to brag! If you don’t, somebody else will.

If you would like further assistance with your application, please refer to our Admissions Consulting Services as we have the actual questions that are used for this year. Furthermore, we can properly prepare you for these questions with a very thorough approach that will guarantee you do well in the allotted 60 minutes. We can also help you with the rest of the applicaton process.

Year One – Beware

What makes Rotman Commerce a particularly difficult program is that once you get into Rotman Commerce out of university, you really don’t start Rotman Commerce until year two. The first year is very difficult as you take Calculus as well as other programs and receive a minimum grade just to be allowed to pursue the final 3 years of Rotman Commerce. The requirements are as follows:

  • Complete RSM100Y Introduction to Management with a mark of at least 67%
  • Complete ECO100Y Introduction to Economics with a mark of at least 67%
  • Complete MAT133Y Calculus and Linear Algebra for Commerce (or equivalent) with a mark of at least 50%
  • Accumulate a minimum of 4.0 credits

If you have met the above mentioned requirements, then you can continue with your degree. Don’t take ECO100Y lightly! This is the course that gives students the most grief in their first year due to the fact that you are required to have taken Calculus already, but there is no requirement for econ courses to be taken in high school therefore making this is a tough course.

The first year of Rotman has a very high drop out rate so please be aware of that. They accept up too many students in first year as they generally expect up anywhere between 20-50% drop out after first year, but mid 30% is typical.

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