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Admissions Policy

Ref. No. Executive sponsor Policy steward Approval authority First approved Last reviewed Effective date Next review
21.01 Vice President, Academic and Equity Director, Enrolment & Registrar Board of Governors 2017 Oct. 17, 2023 Oct. 18, 2023 June 2024
  1. Purpose
    1. NSCC recognizes its responsibility and accountability to the diverse community it serves and is committed to achieving and sustaining a climate of educational equity throughout the College.
    2. NSCC’s Admissions policy reflects and represents the College’s equitable access and learning-centered approach to education. It establishes consistent standards and processes and is equitable and transparent.
  1. Scope
    1. All admissions and entrance to programs and courses at Nova Scotia Community College.
  1. Definitions
Term Definition
Admission Requirements The set of specific requirements and/or credentials that an applicant must have to be eligible to receive an offer of full admission to a program. They vary by program, and may include, but are not limited to, a high school diploma, specific academic courses (e.g. high school physics, biology, etc.), portfolios, letters and other documentation, criminal record, vulnerable sector or child abuse registry checks, age requirements, and the completion of auditions and interviews.
Advanced Standing An academic status granted by NSCC to a student who holds a sufficient number of equivalent credits from a post-secondary institution to meet all program learning outcomes for the first academic year of a 2-year program.
Applicant Anyone applying to College programs or courses.
Application Completion Date Applications are considered complete when all required documentation is received by NSCC Admissions.
Competitive Entry The admission assessment process used in a program where demand exceeds
available seats, and/or where academic and other determined competencies for program entry are applied competitively to applicants.
Equal Consideration Date  In a competitive entry program, applicants must submit their complete application by the program’s published application deadline to be considered against other applicants for a seat in the program. Timing, parameters and considerations around equal consideration date will be transparent and published by program for applicants to understand and follow.
Equivalent Documentation that deems previous formal, informal, non-formal and/or experiential learning as equal to one or more admission requirements for an NSCC program.
Intake An instance of a program offering at a specific campus for a specific term. There may be multiple intakes per academic year.
Matriculation The administrative process by which an applicant is upgraded to student status, based on successful completion of all academic and financial responsibilities.
Mature applicant A person who is at least 19 years of age at the time of application, has been out of high school for at least one year, and has not completed a high school diploma or equivalent.
Representational Equity Refers to the proportional participation of typically under-represented student populations throughout the institution and, wherever possible, across all program disciplines, learning locations and delivery modes.
Program section An offering of a specific program, including location and/or delivery mode (e.g. online). There may be multiple sections of a program delivered at the same time.
Student A person who has enrolled in an NSCC course or program.
Waitlist An ordered list of qualified applicants that is created and maintained for a program section that has no remaining open seats for new students. As new seats become available, offers are made, in date order, to applicants on this list.
  1. Policy
    1. Priority of Admission
      1. Unless a program’s admission requirements state otherwise, NSCC makes offers of admission to eligible domestic applicants in order of application completion date.
      2. Offers are extended: 
        1. First to Canadian citizens and permanent residents living in Nova Scotia (i.e. with a permanent mailing address in Nova Scotia).
        2.  Second to Canadian citizens and permanent residents living outside Nova Scotia.
        3. Finally to individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Offers will be extended to out of province and international applicants who applied prior to January 1, for programs that are not anticipated to be fully subscribed.
      3. Applicants are considered eligible for an offer of admission when they have submitted complete applications and have met all other admission requirements, which may include but are not limited to, auditions, interviews, portfolio evaluations, criminal record, vulnerable sector or child abuse registry checks, etc.
      4. Offers of admissions can begin up to a year in advance of a program’s start and continue until the end of the second week of delivery.
      5. NSCC may make a conditional offer of admission prior to the successful completion of one or more of the published admission requirements. The conditions and deadline for their fulfilment will be communicated when the offer is made. If the conditions are not met by the deadline, the offer will be revoked.
      6. If all seats in a given program section are filled, subsequent qualified domestic applicants will automatically be placed on a waitlist in order of application completion date. Offers made to out of province or International applicants in programs that are historically over-subscribed, will begin in January. NSCC reserves the right to limit the number of seats available in program intakes to applicants whose citizenship and/or residency is outside of Nova Scotia.
    2. Competitive Entry
      1. NSCC reserves the right, in select programs, to use a competitive entry process for admission.
      2. For competitive entry programs, a list of admission requirements, timelines and waitlist criteria and parameters will be published and transparent to applicants.
      3. Applications received by the equal consideration date(s) for a program will be assessed for admission against other applications for the same program offering.
      4. Once a competitive entry program is full, a waitlist for the current intake will be created. Qualified applicants who met the equal consideration deadline will be entered to the waitlist in order of their competitive ranking.
      5. Applications received after the equal consideration date may be considered if the ranked waitlist is exhausted.
      6. Waitlists for competitive entry programs expire and will not be carried to future intakes.
        Applicants remaining on the waitlist at the end of an intake must apply to the next intake to be considered for a seat.
      7. NSCC reserves the right to close a competitive entry program offering to applications once it is full.
    3. Diversity and Inclusion
      1. NSCC is committed to achieving representational equity through improved access to post-secondary education, in order to foster a diverse and inclusive college community. The College may designate one or more reserved seats in each program section, prioritize or offer guaranteed seats to applicants who meet certain criteria, recognize diversity in the competitive entry process, and/or establish Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with provincial and community groups and organizations.
      2. Beginning May 1st, when all seats in a program section are filled, and when qualifying applicant (who meets designated criteria) is on a program waitlist, the College will designate:
        1. One additional seat for the first qualified applicant who self-identifies as historically Indigenous Black/African Nova Scotian from the program waitlist.
        2. One additional seat for the first qualified applicant who self-identifies as a Mi'kmaw/Indigenous Nova Scotian from the program waitlist.
        3. One additional seat for the first qualified applicant who self-identifies as a person who has a disability from the program waitlist.
      3. An active student in the Adult Learning Program (ALP) or English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program who submits an application for a new program choice will be assessed for admission based on the original ALP or EAP application completion date, provided the new application is complete at the time of submission. An applicant who formally withdraws or is discontinued from the LP or EAP program forfeits this prioritized date.
      4. There is no minimum age requirement to apply and be assessed for an NSCC program. There may be program requirements, such as work experience courses, that preclude a student under the age of majority from completing their credential in the minimum delivery time of the program.
      5. NSCC does not provide custodial services to students under the age of majority in the province of Nova Scotia.
    4. Admissions Requirements
      1. A program’s admission requirements will be determined with the intent to ensure an applicant's success in the program, applied relevant to an applicant’s success in the program, applied consistently across program locations, and capable of objective assessment. Only requirements that meet these criteria will be used in the assessment of an applicant’s qualifications.
      2. The Academic Dean is responsible for setting admission requirements, in consultation with the Director of Enrolment and Registrar. Changes to admission requirements will be made in collaboration with the Director, Enrolment and Registrar.
      3. Changes to admission requirements will be published at least ten months before the intake in which they are to take effect, barring exceptional circumstances determined by the Director, Enrolment and Registrar.
      4. Applicants may be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language prior to acceptance, regardless of country of origin or citizenship status.
      5. All admission requirements and NSCC-approved English language assessment tests (and their required passing scores) will be published on the NSCC website. In the case of disagreement between the website and any other published source, the requirements published on the NSCC website will be considered correct and official.
    5. Assessment
      1. NSCC Admissions will assess applications and applicant qualifications according to objective, transparent guidelines. Non-academic requirements (including, but not limited to, auditions, interviews, letters of intent and recommendation, portfolios, resumes, and skill tests) and equivalencies will be assessed in a manner that ensures consistency and fairness and may involve referrals to and/or feedback from the Academic Schools and Campuses.
      2. Applicants who do not meet the published admission requirements for a program, including completion of the Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma (e.g. certain private secondary credentials, mature applicants, applicants who have been homeschooled, applicants with Individual Program Plans on their high school transcripts) will be assessed on an individual basis. Assessment will be based on established equivalencies and may involve additional testing and/or fees. Specific academic course prerequisites may not be waived in this manner.
      3. Applicants holding a sufficient number of equivalent credits from a post-secondary institution to meet all program learning outcomes for the first academic year of a two-year program may be eligible for Advanced Standing.
    6. Acceptable Documentation
      1. To ensure consistency and quality of service, all application-related documentation except for official French transcripts from Nova Scotia public high schools must be submitted in English.
      2. An “official” transcript bears a signature and stamp/seal from the issuing institution and is received by Admissions in a sealed envelope or emailed directly to NSCC Admissions by the issuing institution.
      3. Transcripts that are electronically transmitted or sent to NSCC Admissions from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, or directly from the issuing institution or authorized body, or which are photocopied at an NSCC campus and signed and dated by the Registrar may also be considered official for the purposes of assessment.
      4. Applicants using international credentials to meet admission requirements may be asked to submit documentation to an NSCC-approved credential verification service provider to be evaluated for equivalency.
      5. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all submitted documentation is official, truthful, complete and correct. 
      6. NSCC reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission, place a temporary or permanent ban on applying for admission, prohibit registration, rescind College credentials, and/or suspend or dismiss a student who presents fraudulent documents or false information.
      7. Documents submitted to Admissions become the property of Nova Scotia Community College and will not be returned to the applicant. Paper documents are stored electronically, and originals are destroyed.
      8. Requests to change a name or birthdate, following an application submission, must be accompanied by official documentation.
    7. Appeals, Deferrals, and Readmission
      1. NSCC is committed to ensuring fair and equitable treatment of all applicants. Admission appeal and deferral processes provide applicants with formal means to appeal admission decisions that deny them access to program offerings and to defer an offer of admission to a future intake.
      2. Applicants who believe they have been unjustly denied admission due to an error in process or who believe that they deserve special consideration due to mitigating circumstances may discuss the matter with NSCC Admissions immediately upon receipt of their admission decision.
      3. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved, applicants may submit a written appeal to the Director, Enrolment and Registrar, for review. Appeals of admission decisions must be submitted within 4 weeks of the date of issue on the notification of an admission decision.
      4. The letter of appeal must include the decision that is being appealed, a statement of the grounds for the appeal, a detailed account of the circumstances relating to the appeal, and copies of any relevant documents.
      5. The decision of the Director, Enrolment and Registrar (or designate), is final and binding.
      6. An applicant with an active offer of admission may submit a written request to defer enrolment in a program to the next intake of the same program at the same campus. The written deferral request must be submitted to NSCC Admissions before the published tuition and fees due date. An offer can only be deferred once. Fees and deposits paid prior to the deferral will be forfeited.
      7. The admission appeal and deferral processes, including deadlines, will be published annually on the NSCC website.
      8. Any applicant who has previously been enrolled and is not currently active in a program but who has not completed all credits from the first semester of the academic program must submit a new application to NSCC Admissions. New applications will be subject to current admission requirements and applicable application fees.
    8. Program Cancellation
      1. In the event that NSCC cancels a program intake after offers of admission have begun, an NSCC representative will contact all applicants to explain the cancellation and to advise them of their options.
    9. Privacy
      1. Information collected from applicants will be used in conjunction with College practices for internal use and will not be disclosed to third parties, except in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as amended, or such other statute as may supplement or supersede the same, or as otherwise required by law.
  1. Policy Supports

41.21 Educational Equity Policy