Breaking Down the Basics: Queen’s Commerce Supplementary Application/PSE

The Queen’s Commerce supplementary application includes two main parts:

  1. The Personal Statement of Experience (PSE), and
  2. The Commerce Supplementary Essays (SE).

Both are required components of the application if you’re applying to Queen’s Commerce. Continue reading for a further breakdown of each.


The PSE has two parts. The first is a section where applicants list their top five distinctions, extracurriculars, and jobs. It is a bit like a résumé –a brief overview of your main accomplishments.

The second part has an essay question, which has remained unchanged for years:

Choose one extracurricular activity or one employment opportunity you have listed on your Personal Statement of Experience. In 2,000 characters, or fewer, describe the impact of this experience and the greatest learning outcome for you. Your answer will be evaluated for content and writing style.

The Commerce program is the only program at Queen’s that requires the PSE. Although it’s optional for other programs, it is mandatory for all Queen’s Commerce applicants. So don’t forget about it!

Commerce Supplementary Essays (SE)

Beginning in 2019-2020, Queen’s began a new system, where the SE questions change every month during application season (Nov-Jan). Although the PSE question remained constant, the SE questions changed on the first of every month, for a total of three sets of questions.

Below are the questions from the 2019-2020 application year.

November (due November 30 at 11:59pm)

  1. Tell us a story that illustrates who you are.
  2. Reflect on something you wish had been different about your high school experience and why.

 December(due Dec 31st at 11:59pm)

  1. What makes you unique?
  2. Reflect on a time when you were treated unfairly and what that experience taught you?

January (due Jan 31st at 11:59pm)

  1. Describe an experience that influenced the person you are today.
  2. “You Belong”. Reflect on what this means to you.

These essays are incredibly important components in your Queen’s Commerce application. The essays allow you to show the admissions committee who you are and demonstrate your writing skills. 

If you have more questions about the PSE and SE, check out our Youth Coaching services. We’re here to answer any questions and help you put together the best PSE and SE you can.

Plus, on our Resources page, you’ll find Queen’s Commerce essay examples of successful past essays, as well as suggested outlines and breakdowns for every essay question.

If you have questions, contact us at:

Also, check out our Queen’s Commerce Guide for a comprehensive breakdown of essential, need-to-know information for prospective applicants.

Joel Nicholson

Joel Nicholson is the Co-founder and CEO of Youthfully—a 1-on-1 Youth Coaching platform that helps students reach their full post-secondary potential. Before Youthfully, he graduated from Queen's Commerce, co-founded CampusRankings (acquired), and was a management consultant and a college professor.

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