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Spring is in the air!
Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Dear Families,

Spring is in the air! As students move onto the playing fields at Ashbury, prepare for IB exams and change into summer uniforms, it is an exciting and fast-paced time of year. While we are all looking forward to warmer weather, we are also beginning to prepare for school opening in the fall of 2015.  

Please be sure to check out the New Family Information button on the homepage for the latest updates on school start up, schedules, uniform info, etc. We also invite you to browse the spring edition of Ashbury News for a selection of stories, updates and alumni profiles on some terrific Ashburians.

As new members of the Ashbury Community, you will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of events on and off campus. Saturday, May 9 we will be hosting our Springfest celebration on campus. Please join us for rugby, yoga, Colour Run and a lunchtime barbecue. For more information and to register for this event please click here.

We have had an extremely competitive year in admissions with strong applications. Your child should be very proud of his or her admission into our school! Please be reminded that your son or daughters has been offered admission to the school based on their current grades, however final grades are an integral part of our complete admission process. It is my sincere hope that they stay motivated through the balance of the academic year at their current school.

I hope to see you on campus soon and look forward to your child joining the Ashbury community in the fall!

All the best,

Bruce Mutch
Director of Admissions

Ashbury College On-Campus Events
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Over the course of the next few weeks, there are many great opportunities for incoming and prospective families to get to know Ashbury’s campus and its programs.  

Our next Admissions event is our Experience Ashbury Day taking place on Saturday, January 31 from 10 a.m. – 12 noon. This event showcases our Grade 11 and 12 Economics students who create, organize and run the morning program. Planning for the day worked like this: students in our Business Studies Class presented a series of Dragon’s Den style pitches on what they envisioned for the day. Admissions staff evaluated each pitch and selected the top three groups, who then worked together with the rest of the class to turn their ideas into reality. The process allowed our current students to lend their first-hand experience to the programming while they developed real-world skills, such as presentations and event planning. 

For participants, Experience Ashbury Day provides newly enrolled and interested students the opportunity to learn more about the school directly from those in the know: our current students. It’s also a great opportunity for our new Ashburians to meet some future classmates and start the orientation process. We’re really proud and excited to share some fun programming on January 31 and we invite you to join us to ‘Experience Ashbury’ too! 

Did you know Ashbury College was the first school in Ottawa and the first Canadian Accredited Independent School in Canada to offer the IB program in 1975? On January 28 at 7 p.m., we will be hosting our third annual evening dedicated to our IB program (International Baccalaureate). Our Discover IB @Ashbury night will showcase our IB students and provide families with an opportunity to learn what differentiates the Ashbury IB program from other IB programs in Ottawa and across the country. If you are curious about IB at Ashbury, please plan to attend on January 28.

Finally, February 9 is our Parent Speakers evening, which is an interactive event designed to provide students with the opportunity to hear the professional journey of seven Ashbury parents involved in the areas of diplomatic relations, entrepreneurship, politics, medicine and academics, business, environmental policy and arts and culture. Speakers include:

  • Heather Bradley: Director of Communications in the Office of the Speaker of the House of Commons.   
  • Dr. Melissa Forgie:  Vice-Dean at the Faculty of Medicine University of Ottawa 
  • Michael McSweeney: President, Cement Association of Canada
  • Jayne Watson: CEO of the National Arts Centre Foundation 
  • Gary Zed:  Market Leader in Canada for Ernst and Young. 

If you have any questions about any of these events, please contact the admissions office. I hope to see you on campus again soon!  

Best regards,

Bruce Mutch

Director of Admissions

Student assessment
Friday, November 14, 2014

I’m back in the office after a 12-day admissions trip to Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Saudi Arabia. The trip was whirlwind, packed with meeting great students, parents and families throughout. Travelling truly provides you with a unique perspective on life and how different and similar it is—all at the same time!  

While in Milan, I was struck by the age of the city, the kindness of the people and the windiness of the streets. Upon reflection, I felt those streets similar to the assessment we do with our prospective students applying to Ashbury. Many of those roads lead to the desired destination; however, not all will. Similarly, many students who apply to Ashbury will be offered a place at this school; however, at times, for various reasons, we are unable to make an offer.

The assessment process at Ashbury is multidimensional. We look at students’ academic abilities through testing and report cards, and we examine character through our interviews, day visits and references. It is a thorough process and we appreciate the time that all families invest to complete an application for their son or daughter.

Please note that our main testing date for applicants is November 22, 2014. We ask that you gather in the main entrance of Ashbury College at 8:15 a.m. and staff from the Admissions Office will be on hand to direct you. For a few more tips on testing, please see my blog entry from November 2013. 



Come spend a day at our campus
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dear Families,

I hope the school year is off to a great start for your children!

On September 2 we welcomed over 180 new students to Ashbury College for an informative and fun-filled new student orientation day. Regular classes started the next day, with the opening of our new Creative Learning Centre (CLC)--an occasion marked by our entire school who come from 48 different countries around the world. That diversity makes Ashbury the most internationally represented CAIS school in the country!

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to schedule a visit for your son or daughter at Ashbury College. The best way for them to learn what it’s like to be an Ashbury student is to spend the day with a current student on campus. If you are considering boarding, we would be happy to arrange a Friday night sleepover in one our residences for your son or daughter. Please schedule a visit by contacting Laura Clarke in the admissions office.

Our annual Information Evening takes place October 21, 2014 at 7 p.m. This evening event is structured to provide insight into an Ashbury education, as well as tours of the school and a chance to meet and ask questions to our faculty, staff, current parents and students. This family-friendly format is designed for all to enjoy!You may also see Ashbury College in the community over the coming weeks as we participate in various outreach initiatives this fall. Find out where we’ll be. 

Finally, information on our application process is available online. 

I hope to see you soon!

All the best,

Bruce Mutch
Director of Admissions



Spring fever and perseverance
Thursday, April 17, 2014


I wrestled with the title of today’s blog as Mother Nature dusts Ottawa with more snow—hopefully for the last time this spring!  

This time of year has always been my favourite: as a student, teacher, dorm parent and admissions officer. With renewed energy, students are seeing the finish line of another school year; one that has brought many successes, challenges and learning opportunities. It is important that students realize, that while they are close, they still have not crossed that finish line.

Upon reflection, it seems like only yesterday that we were preparing to welcome 180 new students to Ashbury’s campus to start the 2013-14 school year. Many of these same students will act as mentors for your sons and daughters as they enter Ashbury College this September.  

This year new students have experienced success in the classroom, on the fields and in our co-curricular programs. Much of this was earned through persistence in challenges faced. As students start their journey at Ashbury College, it is important to know they will be tested throughout the year (in both the figurative and literal sense).  At Ashbury, we support every student’s success, and at the same time teach him or her perseverance—a skill that is becoming increasingly more important in the 21st century.  Angela Duckworth speaks to this eloquently in her TED Talk on Grit (click here to watch). 

With International Baccalaureate exams beginning soon, students travelling for various national sport tournaments and off-site academic events, Ashbury students must remain focused on the tasks ahead of them until their last day of school. I’m sure that many of our new students are facing these same challenges and I encourage all future Ashburians to persevere.

We ask that families continue to send us updated report cards through to the completion of the school year. This will provide us with assurances that students have finished their year strongly and are well prepared to transition to Ashbury in the fall.

Finally, be on the lookout for an exciting Opening Day Program for new students in September. As always, if you have any questions, please contact me or any other member of the admissions team!

Happy spring,


Taking admissions online
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

From the desk of Ashbury’s Director of Admissions, Bruce Mutch.

Twitter, smartphones, Facebook, tablets, blogs… In this ever-changing world, it can be challenging to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and online advancements. When I started in working in Admissions all of the required forms were paper; the paperless work environment had not yet become the norm and all communication was sent by mail to new and returning families. As technology has advanced, we, at Ashbury, have done our best to stay current, starting with our robust website and online application.

From your first online Ashbury experience of submitting an inquiry or completing the application to what comes ahead, you have learned to navigate and become familiar with our paperless processes. This will continue in the coming days, as you will see our online registration managed much the same way. You will receive a variety of documents that we will ask you to complete online. The efficiencies gained from this process are multiple, but include ensuring the accuracy of information, expediting the entire process and being environmentally friendly.

At the end of the month, you will receive our online enrollment material that will include a message from our Head of School, school calendar, financial information and medical Information. In March, you will receive academic information, including course selection forms and school uniform information. In June and August, you can expect to receive detailed information about the 2014-15 academic year including upcoming events for students and parents, extra-curricular activity information and course schedules.

I would also encourage you to take time to investigate the school website to find current information such as our school handbook, bus routes, guardianship information, etc. As always, should you require assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us ( With the 2014-15 year quickly approaching, Ashbury College is looking forward to having you join our community!

Best regards,

The challenge of the right fit
Monday, December 16, 2013

From the desk of Ashbury’s Director of Admissions, Bruce Mutch.

The last 10 days have been some of the most challenging of the year for Ashbury’s admissions office. We recently delivered admission decisions to over 100 of our day-applicant families. As you can imagine, some of those phone calls are easy, some are hard; however we understand the importance of communicating with as many families as possible.

During our conversation you may have heard us talk about fit. This is one of the most important characteristics that we assess as admissions officers. We look for students who will join Ashbury College and flourish in our programs; not simply survive. For some students Ashbury is an eight-year commitment, for others it is less. Regardless of the time spent at Ashbury, we’ll do our best to make it challenging. We will challenge our students to try new things. We will challenge them to think critically and creatively. We will challenge them in and out of the classroom, and equip them with the skills to challenge what lies ahead of them after graduation.

In many ways, it is the fit a student has with their school that allows him or her to succeed when challenged. Feeling part of a class, team and community allow students to feel comfortable and accept the challenges presented to them. The availability of support from a group of like-minded classmates and faculty is an important consideration when you are contemplating an admissions offer.

Personally, it took time for me to discover fit when I was researching independent schools with my family. The school that I ended up choosing was the one that fit me best. I remember knowing from an academic, extra-curricular and social standpoint it was the right one.

I have experienced a similar journey in my professional career, as Ashbury is the fourth independent school I have worked at in North America. I truly believe Ashbury is the best school that I’ve ever had the opportunity to be part of. With its balance of day and boarding students, a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, world-class facilities and most importantly its dedicated faculty and amazing students, I know that Ashbury College is the right fit for me.

If your son or daughter has been offered a place (or is on our waiting list) at Ashbury College by our Admissions Committee, rest assured, we feel this is the best fit for them as well!

Best regards,

Experience Learning in Various Forms
Friday, November 29, 2013

From the desk of Ashbury’s Director of Admissions, Bruce Mutch.

As you go through the application process, it is our hope that you will discover new and different opportunities that Ashbury has to offer. For example, if you are interested in learning more about our soccer program, let us know. We will put you in touch with our soccer coach. If you are interested in learning more about our English as a Second Language (ESL) program, let us know. We will put you in touch with an ESL faculty member. If you are interested in learning more about our debate program, let us know. We will connect you with our debate coach.

One of the best ways to experience Ashbury is on site and in person. For those of you who live locally, an upcoming opportunity will allow you to see and hear what makes Ashbury’s drama and music programs so great. The Ashbury College Admissions team would like to invite you and your family to an engaging evening of song and dance at this year’s Musical Theatre @ Ashbury production of The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein.

Ashbury’s Admissions office is pleased to offer complimentary tickets to prospective families.. If your son or daughter is interested in bringing a friend to the performance, or if you have family friends who may enjoy the production, we invite them to join us too! We are very proud of all that Ashbury has to offer and to that end, are happy to arrange tours prior to the evening performances as well.

The performance dates are as follows:

  • Tuesday, December 10 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, December 13 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m.

Performances take place in Ashbury’s theatre. Please confirm your name and the number of tickets you wish to reserve by e-mailing Barbara Saville. Mrs. Saville, will also be happy to arrange tours for any families or friends that are interested prior to each performance.

I hope you enjoy the show!

Best regards,

Testing: One Part of the Process
Thursday, November 14, 2013

From the desk of Ashbury’s Director of Admissions, Bruce Mutch.

There are many words involved in the application process, but the word "test" can be an intimidating one for a prospective student applying to an independent school. It shouldn't be. Testing is simply one form of assessment that admissions officers use in the evaluation process. At most schools, including Ashbury, interviews, report cards, teacher recommendations and the application itself carry equal weight to the test.

Our testing options have changed this year. We continue to offer the standard CAT (Canadian Achievement Test) two times a year for our applicants living in close proximity to the school. The CAT takes roughly 3.5 hours to complete for our applicants in Grades 9-11 and slightly less time for our students applying to our Junior School. Our international CAT exam is roughly 1.5 hours and again divided into English and math sections.

Ashbury is also a member school of SSATB (Secondary School Admission Test Board) and will also accept SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) results. The SSAT test is accepted and preferred at many independent schools across North America, so for students applying to multiple schools, it might be the best option.

Whichever option you choose, tests shouldn’t be daunting. Here are some tips for writing a long standardized test:

A good night’s sleep before the test day is key. Be rested, be prepared. Be sure to have a good breakfast in the morning and arrive feeling ready to write. This will be the longest test that many of you have ever written, so having stamina is important.

Follow instruction. Listen carefully to the invigilator or teacher who is supervising the test. Know the answers to questions like, does the particular test penalize you for incorrect answers? Is it worth guessing if you have narrowed down a multiple-choice question? This information is all relayed to you before the test gets underway, so pay attention!

Do your best and don't be anxious. Chances are there will be questions you find easy and others you will not feel as confident about. Don't worry; you can only do your best. Losing your confidence over a question you can't solve only uses up time that could be spent on questions you can answer correctly.

Come prepared. You will need to bring a pencil, eraser and calculator with you to the exam. Snack and juice will be provided.

So sharpen those pencils and good luck!

Best regards,

Getting to know you
Thursday, October 31, 2013

From the desk of Ashbury’s Director of Admissions, Bruce Mutch.

It's the perfect time for me to write about interview techniques, as I've just completed a morning full of interviews in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I have been fortunate to meet some wonderful candidates with varied interests and backgrounds for Ashbury during this trip.

Getting to know students is one of the best parts of my job. It’s also an important step in the process of establishing a relationship between the school and you. My goal is for you always to be at ease, so here are a few tips to ensure a stress-free experience.

I can't over emphasize the importance of first impressions. Whether it is on Skype or in person, eye contact shows assertiveness and confidence. For in-person interviews, I am always impressed when prospective students extend their hands before I do, demonstrating a balance of etiquette and friendliness.

The students that interview best are themselves. They are not trying to be something they aren't. They are able to openly admit to strengths and weaknesses. They address their strengths and how these give them advantages in various areas. They are able to speak about how they are working to improve on their weaknesses and what they do to counter balance them.

Use the opportunity to ask questions. We are trying to learn more about you to see if you are the right fit for Ashbury. I hope that you are take advantage of this time to do the same with us. Think about preparing some questions in advance and bring them with you so we can talk about them together.

Is Ashbury going to be the right fit for you? We hope the answer is YES!

Best regards,

P.S. Happy Halloween from the Ashbury College Admissions Office (Gru and the Minions from Despicable Me)

Day Visits and Student Interviews
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

From the desk of Ashbury’s Director of Admissions, Bruce Mutch.

So you’ve decided to apply to Ashbury. Great news! That means you’re now in the midst of scheduling your visit and interview to check off those requirements of the application process. With those organizational tasks out of the way, what’s next?

First up is your day visit. The format of our visit days are designed to ensure you see as much of what Ashbury has to offer as possible. You will arrive on campus at 8:15 a.m. and be greeted by Ms. Clarke, Mrs. Saville, Mrs. Lobb or myself at reception. We’re there to make sure that your day is off to a great start. We will also introduce you to your student ambassador. You will shadow this person to classes and also receive a tour from him or her either during a spare period, recess or another break in your day. All of our ambassadors have been trained to make your day as comfortable as possible.

You will also be provided with a schedule of classes for the day, along with a pass for your snack and lunch courtesy of the Admissions Office.

And don’t forget to let us know about specific things you’re interested in seeing. Are you interested in meeting with the drama department or an athletic coach? Let us know and we will do our best to accommodate this request during your visit.

At some point during your day with us, we’ll sit you down for an interview. In an effort to ensure students are at ease and prepared for their interview, you will have the opportunity to speak with admissions officers or faculty members during your visit. These informal interviews will last 10-15 minutes and serve as an opportunity for us to learn more about you and for you to learn more about us. Your interview time and location will be passed out at the beginning of your visit and will vary depending on the faculty member’s availability.

At the conclusion of the day, we will reconnect with you and your family to ensure that your day was successful, answer any outstanding questions and say goodbye.

We hope that you enjoyed your Ashbury experience! We look forward to welcoming you to campus this fall!

Best regards,

Visiting and Learning
Tuesday, October 01, 2013

From the desk of Ashbury’s Director of Admissions, Bruce Mutch.

As an independent school graduate, I still remember the first time I visited the campus that I attended. The uncertainty that existed quickly faded and was replaced with a strong sense of community and comfort. I had the feeling this was unlike other schools I had visited. I knew that this would be the right fit for me.

It’s that kind of feeling I hope you and your family will experience after a visit to Ashbury College. You may even find the school visit to be the most important piece of the entire admissions process.

Shadow days and Open House events are the perfect time and way for families to learn about a school. At Ashbury, our day applicants are required to spend a day on campus with a student ambassador as part of the overall admissions process (student ambassadors are current Ashbury students who help out in the Admissions Office throughout the year). The reason that we require this experience is as much for the student as it is for Ashbury. We want our prospective students to live Ashbury for a day!

By participating in a cool experiment in science class, having the opportunity to be on stage in drama, or climbing the high ropes course in physical education, our goal is to have you leave feeling part of an Ashbury class, team, community and family.

Our upcoming Open House on October 17 from 7 p.m.– 9 p.m., will provide an awesome opportunity for families and students to learn about the wide range of academic and co-curricular activities available at Ashbury College.

I look forward to seeing you on campus soon!

Best Regards,

Important Dates

Shadow Days: October 1, 2013 to November 29, 2013*

*Junior and Senior School day student interviews will be conducted during the student’s visit day to Ashbury. For students applying from afar, day and boarding student interviews will take place by telephone or Skype.

  • Admissions Info Evening/Open House: October 17, 2013
  • Admissions Application Deadline: November 15, 2013
  • Admissions Exam (CAT) No cost: November 16, 2013**
  • Admissions Exam (SSAT) Additional Cost: Register at October 12, January 29, April 3**

** Students must complete one Admissions Exam of their choice, either the CAT or SSAT. Writing multiple entrance exams will not improve the likelihood of a student being offered admission to Ashbury College.

Offers Extended: December 13, 2013

Admissions Info

Admissions Information

Financial Information


Contact Admissions

Tel: (613) 749-5954

Ashbury College

362 Mariposa Avenue, Ottawa
Ontario, Canada, K1M 0T3
Phone: +1 (613) 749-5954 | Fax: (613) 749-9724