English: a Must Have for Universities?

Should grade 12 University level English be a requirement for entry into all university programs?

I say no, I do not think grade 12 university level English courses should be required for entry into ALL university programs.  In my opinion, why is grade 12 University level English needed to be a requirement for all university programs, when not all programs entail a future career that uses English or the aspects of English learned in grade 12 University level English courses. There are many jobs in the world that stem from university programs that do not involve the English language and its components to a “university level” degree. Likewise, not all university programs include taking an English course within them. Also, grade 12 university level English courses do not necessarily cover practical English components that can be applied to everyday life. Grade 12 university level English is a difficult course that can affect grades and acceptance to university as well. Knowing the English language and proper grammar and punctuation are important for everyone but realistically many people will not use the invasive English learned in grade 12 university level English courses day to day within their workplace.

There are many jobs in the world that stem from university programs that do not involve the English language. Yes, there are careers including teaching English or writing that would involve invasive English knowledge but, many jobs that stem from university programs do not. For example, jobs such as nurses, doctors, dentists, accountants, and many more would not typically use English to that degree of knowledge. The people in these careers will need to know the English language but, English is not a huge part of the careers. For these examples math and science would be more beneficial courses to take.

Not all programs at universities include English courses within.  University programs require you to take multiple classes just like in high school. Students may have to take a biology, kinesiology, math, etc. within a semester. For example, becoming a nurse would not commonly entail English courses at a university level. Future nurses would focus more on science courses. Specifically at the University of Western Ontario, Health Sciences, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, in the program Western University and Fanshawe College four-year collaborative BScN , it does not entail an English course within the four year program. Another example may be accounting or other business programs, yes English is important but, more important is possibly computer software, math, and more specific business courses. In general, for many careers, English is put on the back burner.

Image result for western ontario nursing

Future nurses in training; would they really be worrying about grade 12 university level English now?

In my opinion, grade 12 university level English courses do not necessarily cover practical English components that can be applied to everyday life. Yes, knowing how to write and reference a perfectly MLA formatted essay is important but how will that help a dentist while drilling teeth for fillings or a chemist while recording their findings and writing a lab report in APA or other formats. Other courses would have to be taken to learn these skills, not English. Likewise, learning about poetry, multimedia, connections between literature, and more can be beneficial but, most does not relate to education for jobs in the healthcare field or other fields, like business for example.

Another idea is that grade 12 university level English can be a very difficult course with a heavy work load. I have considered that it is not fair to all students that they need it to be accepted to university. While applying to universities, students try hard to achieve a high average or high marks. English may drag down students’ marks and in turn could affect their acceptance to universities over other students.  From personal experience around me, I know that English can be difficult for students and bring down their average which universities look at.  Having to take grade 12 university level English also takes up a spot in time tables for other courses that might also be required for acceptance into some university programs, again possibly hindering acceptance.

A specific example of a university that commonly requires grade 12 university level English is the University of Waterloo. Once again I do not think this is fair for all the reasons stated previously. I consider a situation where it would be very difficult for a foreign student studying something like computer sciences to have to take grade 12 university level English just to be accepted into the program. University of Waterloo states that, “The University of Waterloo requires the following English language scores in addition to Grade 12 U English (or equivalent) if it is required for the program you are applying to.” So technically the University of Waterloo requires grade 12 U English if it is required and relevant for the specific program, which seems slightly more understandable.

Image result for university of waterloo computer sciences

Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. These programs typically require English Language Proficiency

Overall, I think grade 12 university level English courses should not be required for admittance to ALL university programs. It should only be required for those programs which have a future career involving a great deal of English. Although, I do believe that grade 12 university level English courses are important, especially for someone looking to pursue a career in English, journalists, teaching and more, it is just not practical for everyone. It should not be required for all as many careers or jobs do not entail that level of knowledge of English, not all university programs do not require students to take English courses within them, as well as grade 12 university level English does not necessarily cover practical components of English. Also, it is not fair to students that they are forced into taking the course if it is going to affect their acceptance into universities.

So what do you think? Is English, Canada’s first language, necessary for all university programs? Is it really needed for jobs that do not revolve around English to a high degree?



3 thoughts on “English: a Must Have for Universities?

  1. Great job Ezri! I love the format of your blog, it is very creative! I like how you included the picture of those nurses and I personally think that they would have benefited from more time to focus on the science and math based courses that they would have had to take in university anyways. Later down the road I think that you could use the basics learned in Grade 9 through Grade 11 English to construct formal and properly formatted papers and reports. Things like punctuation and spelling have already been covered in the previous years so that should not be of concern. If it was a requirement for English to be a course first year of university would you feel any differently about your argument? Amazing points and a very thorough discussion!


  2. Interesting and well written post! I found it interesting because it gave me a different perspective on this topic since I personally believe that grade 12 English should be required for admissions. I too struggle and worry about my acceptance into university since English is normally one of my lower marks and I know is required for the acceptance into science/med science at Western University, but I still believe that grade 12 English teaches you several skills to be used in any profession, and when sending in your English mark, it shows universities that you are ready to succeed. Overall, great post and I loved the different point of view!


  3. I think that in some cases like nurses it would be an asset to have a high level of English. Being a professional person who is knowledgeable is also very important and I think that communicating with the general public at a high level with good grammar would be necessary as you’re some set at a high standard. Yes, it does not matter for the actual hands-on aspect of the job but in the example of nursing, bed-side manner is also a very important aspect to ease patients in an uncomfortable situation of being in a hospital.


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