by Peter Johansen and Mary McGuire

Applications to Ontario's degree programs in Journalism are down compared to this time last year, according to data released last month by the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre in Guelph.  The number of confirmed admissions is also slightly down across the four schools that are part of the OUAC program grouping for Journalism.

by Peter Johansen and Mary McGuire

Applications to Ontario's degree programs in Journalism are down compared to this time last year, according to data released last month by the Ontario Universities Application Centre in Guelph. The number of confirmed admissions is also slightly down across the four schools that are part of the OUAC program grouping for Journalism.

Heres the picture in a nutshell:

According to the OUAC website, www.ouac.on.ca, 3,576 applications were received as of July 8 for first-year admission to Journalism programs across the province. That figure is 13.2 per cent lower than the equivalent last year. One positive sign, however, is that the largest percentage drop is among those students who listed Journalism as their third choice or lower. That group typically does not constitute a substantial number of admitted students.

Among applications from those not graduating from high school this year, the percentage drop was greater. The total of 1,153 applicants represented a drop of 15.1 per cent from last years number. In contrast to high school applicants, the largest reduction came among students selecting Journalism as their first choice program.

That downward trend hasnt been reflected as strongly in confirmed acceptances, however. Across the provinces Journalism programs, 412 high school students had accepted offers of admission by July 8, while an additional 151 non-secondary school applicants had done so. Those figures are lower than last year by, respectively, 1.0 and 12.2 per cent.

The OUAC website doesnt break down the data by university.

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But according to the undergraduate supervisor at Carleton University's School of Journalism,Klaus Pohle, Carleton is generally holding its own. This year, it attracted 1,222 applicants, compared to just 1,100 to 1,150 last year. As of Aug. 9th, however, only 183 had registered about eight per cent short of our target of 200. Pohle expects additional registrants, however, over the coming weeks.

I suspect the drop reflects to some extent the uncertainty in the journalism business as a whole, Pohle says.

The acting chair of Ryerson University's School of Journalism, Suanne Kelman, agrees the poor job market is responsible for the drop in interest in journalism programs. In an email she wrote: "Surely fears about future employment would be the major factor. That would explain why applications are down across the province if it were just us and Carleton, I might assume that the wider range of choices played a more importance part. I think that students and their parents are being affected by the concerns over the future of journalism."

At Ryerson, Kelman says, the total number of applications did decline somewhat, although the ratio of applications to available spaces remains very high. She said the decline in confirmed admissions has been "miniscule" at about 1.5 per cent.

OUAC data incorporate not only Carleton, but also Ryerson, the joint programs between the University of Ottawa and Algonquin/Cite Collegiale, and the Toronto-Centennial joint program.