Conversation with Phil Ollenberg, Enrollment Expert in Canadian Universities and Colleges

Expert in Canadian Universities and Colleges
Image by thelester from Pixabay

As part of our series on enrolling in Canadian Universities and Colleges we have been conversing with many leaders and experts in university admissions and enrollment. One such expert is Mr. Phil Ollenberg who has worked in Canadian Universities and Colleges for 15 years.


Mr. Phil Ollenberg has given many countless presentations to parents, teachers and students about the complex ways that Canadian Universities and Colleges give admission and assess candidates for admission. He has worked as an admission officer, student recruitment office, and as a manager for a number of department areas.


We asked Mr. Ollenberg what are the most important factors university and colleges look for when reviewing an application? “There are many factors that institutions looks for when reviewing applications however, the three main areas are looking at the student’s academic history, their co-curricular involvement and then finally their motivation or ‘statement of intent’.”


“Can you tell us a little more about each of these?” we inquired. “Sure,” he responded, “academic history is pretty straightforward in that we’re looking to see what courses the student has taken and how they have performed in those courses. Co-curricular involvement speaks to a student’s leadership qualities, their ability to work in teams and their general involvement outside of the classroom. This could be things like athletics, clubs, volunteering or part-time jobs.”


“And motivation or ‘statement of intent’?” “This is where we try to get a sense of why the student wants to come to university, what they hope to gain from their university experience and what kind of contribution they hope to make while they are here. This is usually done through a short essay but can also be communicated through letters of recommendation, awards or achievements.”


We then asked Mr. Ollenberg if he had any advice for students who may be applying to university soon. He noted that it is important for students not to forget the importance of time management and being able to juggle a number of different tasks and deadlines. He also advised students to start thinking about their university applications early on in their high school careers so they can be prepared for the application process.


“Finally,” he added, “I would encourage students to get involved in their communities and to take advantage of leadership opportunities that come their way. These experiences will not only help them in the university application process but will also enrich their university experience once they are here.”


Thank you Mr. Ollenberg for your insights and advice! If you have any questions for him, please feel free to post them in the comments section below and we will make sure he gets back to you.



Do you have any plans on going to university? What are some of your main concerns or questions about university admissions? Let us know in the comment section below! And stay tuned for more informative blog posts about enrolling into Canadian


“The university application process can be quite competitive, especially for programs like business, engineering or health sciences. It’s important for students to understand that getting good grades is just one part of the equation. Being involved in extracurricular activities, leadership roles and volunteering are all important factors that will help them stand out from the competition.”


We would like to thank Mr. Ollenberg for his time and insight into university admissions and enrollment in Canadian Universities and Colleges. If you have any questions or comments please feel free