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  1. Hi, first off congrats! I went through the Western program, and didn't apply to Mac because like you I was scared of the problem based learning. First off I just want to say both schools are amazing schools, and will both get you certified and where you want to be as a PT. I'll go through PBL at Mac and catchment areas because that's what seems like what you're caught on. You are absolutely right about school spirit and the community feel at Western, that was something that I really enjoyed. With problem based learning, I have heard from a friend that went to Mac that it really isn't anything to be terrified about and they thought highly of it. There's lots of support from profs and there's lots of meetings with classmates for discussion which she says led her class to be a really close knit community feel. Yes it takes a little time getting used to, but it definitely develops your problem solving skills in a way similar to what you would see in a clinic. You won't always get "textbook" patients as a practitioner and Mac's PBL helps prepare you for this. Personally, I really enjoyed the structure of Western's program and both learning strategies have their merits. If you're looking at catchment area, Mac has an edge over Western for sure. I'm not too sure of the details of Mac's catchment area but I know it is smaller than at Western and you have more access to public transport. We have a huge catchment area that spans basically all of SW Ontario (from Owen Sound to Kitchener to Windsor) and you will have to go outside the city for sure. It's a huge pain without a car and even with a car driving up to 4 hours a day is not fun. I know someone that moved out to Owen Sound for their placement but again, not ideal (moving costs are not fully funded by Western, so he had to go out of pocket for some of this too). Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Western but I do kind of regret not being able to enjoy the school and friends more due to all the travelling. Would I have gone to Mac if I had the choice? It's tough to say knowing what I know now but I just might have. I picked Western because I did undergrad there and I was familiar with the surrondings. Good luck in your decision!
  2. How close do you want to be? When I looked a couple years ago, it ranged from 750-1200 near campus (like walking distance close). The 1 bedroom place I had was around 850 (Somerset) which did it's job. Couple things to watch out for. Not splitting the internet bill added up pretty quick over time and was a little costly. Also there's seems to be a general trend of rent in London increasing because Western is accepting more undergrads. There's more demand for housing near campus so the prices may have changed since I was there. Good luck!
  3. Wasn't too sure about this but I did dig up the old clinical experience handbook and I can confirm that placements are randomly assigned by a computer.
  4. This is one major con about the Western program. The catchment area is huge (from Windsor to Owen Sound to Kitchener, basically all of SW Ontario). There's a map on their website. So we got to select our top 10 from a list and the school would select one of the choices for us. The ones in London, and especially near campus (like Fowler-Kennedy + University Hospital) are super competitive, and you should definitely have a plan for having a placement outside the city. The school does what it can to accommodate for people's needs, but a lot of people want to stay in London for the sake of convenience (I mean even with a car, who wants to drive 2-3 hours a day) and they can't accommodate everyone. I know people that have moved to their city of placement. Western does offer some money in the form of bursaries to offset some of the cost of travel but it won't be fully covered. You are also required to get clinical experience in 3 areas of acute clinic, rehab and ambulatory care and sometimes you have to consider choices out of the city (and out of public transit range) to fit those in. I know you are allowed to go out of catchment area for I think 2 of the 5 placements, so if you find a placement back home, they might be able to accommodate you there. Hope this helps.
  5. London transit can be a little sparse, lot of routes to campus but you might have to wait 30 minutes for a bus to the outskirts and you also might have to transfer 2-3 buses because they have weird routes. Toronto transit is relatively simple, they go down one street and most big streets are covered. At worst you take 1 connecting bus/subway/streetcar. Generally London transit is pretty reliable and they have an app that tells you when the bus gets to each stop. Don't get me wrong, it's still a really good transit system, just a little less coverage of the city than Toronto Also, the thing with London transit is, they make some silly decisions. I think last year, someone somehow discovered that the bridge to campus wasn't "stable" enough to support a double bus but single buses were okay. So they re-routed the whole route (even the single buses) off-campus and a ton of students had to walk pretty far onto campus. Last I heard they also wanted to put in a light rail transit system directly through campus, which is going to be a nightmare in terms of construction and traffic but I'm not sure if it got approved. Unfortunately U of T didn't love me back, but I would have gone if I could. I picked Western over Queen's without giving it too much thought because of the familiarity I had with undergrad.
  6. I actually agree with you on this. Western has a relative big catchment area, and some of the placements you're going to have to drive a couple hours a day or move out to the city to get there. Some of the in-city placements are relatively far on public transit too, basically it can be a pain without a car. I can't deny that U of T has better placement options, and I was honestly a little jealous. They have placements in pretty much any big name hospital in Toronto and you really can't beat that. Funny story, I was actually convinced PT was a career path of interest in high school when I was volunteering at Sunnybrook and talked to one of the UofT PT students on placement there.
  7. Ok so I did 6 years at Western (undergrad+ physio) and grew up near the U of T campus and did 1 summer semester there. I haven’t attended Queen’s but I have done an official tour and had unofficial tours from friends that went there, so I’ll tell you what I can. In terms of schooling and jobs, any difference you can find is marginal. Any of the 3 schools offers top notch education and opportunities for the future. Sure some schools have “specialties” areas. In addition to MSK, another area Western is really delving into is bettering diagnosis and treatment of concussions. However, there is flexibility in your placements within the catchment areas, so if you’re truly passionate about one area, there are opportunities for you to have placements in that area at any school. Being objective about this, I can’t say that Western or any other program is for sure better than the others. They will all get you a job in the end as long as you make the connections. As for the cities and campus life, I will try to break it down into sections. Let me know if there’s anything else you want me to go into. I will mostly compare London and Toronto, and will tell you what I know about Kingston if I do know. Campus: UofT is a big campus which has a lot of beautiful architecture both old and new. It’s right downtown Toronto, so you’re within walking distance of almost anything you can imagine but it’s nice because it’s almost isolated, and the side streets are actually really quiet. However, the big streets (College/University/Bloor) are really busy and people always seem to be in a rush. Western is very isolated from the rest of London, the river wraps around campus and it definitely does feel like a big community of students. While I thought the campus was beautiful initially and still do, it has kind of waned on me over time. Campus is probably the smallest of the 3 and there’s a lot of construction and they’re always building new buildings to where it feels really compact and concrete-y (heck we even have a place called concrete beach). There’s also geese poop everywhere in the spring and fall (you asked me to be honest!) I thought Queen’s was beautiful and much more spread out with more quads and green around campus than Western. Being an outdoors, weekends on the lake kind of person, the campus at Queen's is right on the Lake which was a plus for me (I went swimming there in the summer!). They’re all beautiful and I think I’m picking on Western because I was there so long but honestly, in my mind right now: UofT>Queen’s>Western Student experience: Western=Queen's > U of T Ok so Western is really known for the student community and this is true. It’s very much a social school and you get to meet lots of awesome people. There’s lot of clubs and there’s definitely a community of students for everyone to fit in. Profs are generally really cool and they really care about you. I’ve talked for hours with profs just about life and travelling (not even school-related) and they really do enjoy getting to know you. I'm sure there are profs like this at other schools too, you just have to make an effort to talk to them. I felt that U of T was much more of a studious and less social environment. It’s a busy city and from what I experienced, the students seem to always be in a rush. Then again, you’ll have your fellow PT classmates who I’m sure will be great people. I’ve heard Queen’s is a really social school too, great school spirit like Western (which is probably why we have such a big rivalry). My friends that went to Queen's loved it and it seems very much comparable to Western in terms of student experience. Living: ok this one is tough, rent is obviously way higher in Toronto than London, but everything at U of T is so convenient. You can walk just about anywhere and groceries are super easy to get. Chinatown is minutes away and you can get some really cheap produce there. London is cheaper but it can also be a pain to get around. Within a 2km radius or so of campus is basically all housing and little in terms of businesses, groceries were definitely annoying without a car. I guess overall Toronto is a little more hectic but also easier to get around but more expensive. London is much more quiet, cheaper but harder to get around (public transit isn’t bad, but not quite on par with Toronto) I’ve heard Queen’s is very similar living wise to London, but I don’t have first hand experience. Food: Alright so I love trying diverse foods and Toronto definitely has the edge on this one. Some highlights near campus are definitely Baldwin Village and Chinatown, but there’s definitely a huge diversity of food to get in Toronto that’s walking distance from campus. London is pretty meh for food. There’s some decent places but overall it’s mostly just the chain sit-down places (Moxie’s, Jack Astors, etc…). Food on campus is your regular fast food chains (Subway, Manchu Wok, Harvey’s) and wasn’t great, nothing really walking distance either, so pack a lunch! I went to some diners in Kingston when I was there which was nice, but pretty much on par with what London has to offer. Not sure about campus food. Entertainment: Can’t really argue this one, Toronto can’t be beat, whether it’s the arts, sports or anything in-between, there’s something for you in the city. London was a little bland, party scene is good, but everything else pales in comparison to Toronto. Crime: I guess I should get this one out there too so you know what to expect. Western's campus and the housing around it is not a problem and I never felt unsafe walking at night, even after a 3am late night study sesh (they have a program where they have volunteers walk you home at night if you're uncomfortable too). However London can be a really sketchy place the further south (towards downtown) you go. The one time I had to run an errand down south at night, I was legitimately scared I was going to get robbed. There's a huge amount of bike theft too (even on campus, they have signs warning you), so make sure to get a real nice lock if you do go that route. Toronto is definitely a hectic place and crime does happen, but I found if you don't look for trouble, you won't find trouble. Toronto felt safer for me because there was always a lot people almost everywhere but there's definitely places to avoid at night as well. I can't tell you anything meaningful about Queen's here. Wow I ended up getting really into this, I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.
  8. I actually had a tour with Bluestone in one of the Platt's buildings but didn't end up renting. They seemed like nice people and I toured a recently renovated apartment, although I've heard some units aren't great (tour the specific unit ahead of time for sure). Groceries and a mall (Cherry Hill) steps away and bus routes to campus were pretty good. It seemed like a real nice neighbourhood to live actually. I'll be honest, the reason why I didn't live there was there was waaaay too many old people. When I went into the mall on a weekday afternoon the food court was almost filled to capacity with seniors. To me, the whole area had the feel of a retirement home.
  9. Honestly, the chances are slim. There are only maybe 80 or spots total, and you'd have to get almost a 50% rejection rate from other people. I would plan around not getting into UofT and be pleasantly surprised if you do get in.
  10. I'm assuming UofT is your preferred choice if you haven't accepted Western yet. I would say #3 is a safe bet to get into UofT, the odds are definitely in your favour (you don't have to hope!). I don't believe U of T oversends offers anymore and I would bet that there are at least 3 people rejecting their offers (even reading these forums, there's a few people). Aren't you allowed to provisionally accept and wait for other offers for a week anyways? Either way, you shouldn't stress over it too much. All the best!
  11. It's a little far from Elborn, probably 20 minutes walking? You do get a nice scenic climb up the hill every morning though. I biked everywhere when I could so that was nice. I'm not sure about the other apartments but overall there's definitely competition from people who already signed leases in the school year. The nicer places get rented out pretty quick and it's harder (but still possible) to find a nice place in the summer. Best of luck!
  12. You still get a choice. Even if U of T gives you an offer, it's still just an offer, you can still reject that offer.
  13. Personally I preferred going solo apartment, although it was a little expensive (~850 for mine at Somerset place) but close to campus. It's a bit of a crapshoot how roommates are going to be, you never know how someone is going to be living with until you live with them. Personally I had a bad experience (cool guy, bad roommate) but I have heard of people getting along really well, just kind of a risk.
  14. Former student at Western here. Like people have said it is a great program with great profs that really do care about you. I'm obviously a little biased in saying Western is better but I have heard amazing things about the Queen's program as well and I don't think you can go wrong with either. Talking to clinicians that I've worked with, Queen's and Western both have a really good reputation of churning out excellent physios. I'll be honest about the city, it's not great and a little dull. If you look past the active party scene, there's really not a whole lot. The school and the housing are in it's own little area of the city, kinda isolated from the rest of the city which is nice. The city itself doesn't offer a whole lot beyond the chain restaurants in terms of food and there's not a whole lot of cool places to explore.There's also definitely some sketchy parts of town to avoid and even downtown at night can be iffy. Had my bike stolen from my front porch too so watch out for that! Overall, in terms of London the city, definitely wasn't my cup of tea. It's not bad living there, but also not great.
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