University: Where Shall I Go Today, Where Shall I Go?
ďAt this particular academic institution, we pride ourselves on being
number one in academics,Ē was asserted by EVERY university tour guide on every
university tour I went on this summer. So
how do you tell the difference between a good university and a bad one?
After visiting nine of the countryís finest, I now have an idea of what
makes a school good and what makes it not as good, because, frankly, there is no
such thing as a bad school. To help you out, Iíve come up with my top 10 tips
in university searching.
Program: There are hundreds of programs at
each school, and itís up to you to find the one you want. Even if you donít
know which one to go into, get an idea of the general areas you like. It helps
you fine-tune your questions and tours. For example, if your goal in life is to
be a writer, why would you waste your time seeing a chemistry lab over an arts
classroom? Often universities will even give you special Viewbook for your
program. On tours, I found that I was able to get more out of them by asking
Sleep Over: Staying overnight in the towns
was key. Although I had never been in Aunitgunish, Nova Scotia, I could see
myself living there. However, I had to experience the two-hour flight and
three-hour car ride it took to get there. Is
it worth traveling that far?
Tour: Touring the campus gave me a better
sense of the schools. Although Dalhousie is a larger school than some of the
Maritime schools I visited, the campus doesnít seem as large and unfriendly to
me as, say, Westernís campus. In fact, it took us only an hour to see most of
the campus, unlike the University of Toronto, which demands days.
4. Small Tours! Some of the campus tours I went on had large groups of people. Although you might hear a question that you hadnít thought about, in a group setting teenagers can be awkward and just not ask questions. On the private tours I was able to talk about anything I wanted to talk about, see anything I wanted to see. Iím not a science girl so I didnít have to waste my time checking out the science labs, and I got to check out the pools instead.
5. Residence:Make sure you check out the residences. Perhaps they look nice on paper but until you get in the room and see what itís really like, you have no idea how they really are. A double room might sound nice on paper, but are you going to study when your roommate has friends over? Or, on the other hand, do you really want to spend all your time by yourself, especially if you get homesick?
Tour Guides: They tell funny stories about
their university, like tales about students who dress up in full medieval armor
and stage battles in the quad at Kings, or Rick Mercerís Toga wearing partying
at St. FXs. Speak to them!
7. Library: You like to think youíre at school to study and you will have to use the library sometime. Go see it.
8. Academic Calendar: Iím not a ďschool is for studyingĒ type of girl. However, some of these schools almost make me want to be. The courses that the schools offer are fascinating. I can understand how math or history could be boring, but who wouldnít want to take the history of rock and roll, or the sociology of fashion? I would recommend picking up an academic calendar. Not only will this list all the names of the courses that the school offers in your program area, it lists ALL the courses the university offers with brief descriptions of the courses.
Youíve got those nice grade 12 marks (I hope), and now youíre
applying to your dream school. Just make sure youíve checked it out. You will
never get the true feeling of a school unless you visit. After all, youíre
going to be spending four years of your life there. You might as well like it.
Youíve got those nice grade 12 marks (I hope), and now youíre applying to your dream school. Just make sure youíve checked it out. You will never get the true feeling of a school unless you visit. After all, youíre going to be spending four years of your life there. You might as well like it.