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Can't decide between BC schools... Help, please!


Guest coconutty

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Guest coconutty

This is a request to anyone who can help me out. I have been accepted by UBC, SFU, and UVic, and I have medical school in mind for the future. Financially, UBC has offered me the least amount of money, so I am leaning a bit towards either UVic, or SFU. However, I do not know too much about either of these schools. I have never visited the campuses, and I am not really in a position to before I make a decision. I plan on going into Sciences, majoring in Physics. Will a smaller school such as UVic, or SFU, provide the same calibre of education that UBC could? How are the professors and general learning environment? Would I be disadvantaged if I eventually did get into medical school? Looking at the stats, not too many SFU students get accepted to UBC med. UVic has their Island Medical Program, but is that really an advantage?

 

Thanks in advance, and I really appreciate any help. (By the way, sorry about the long post...):)

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Guest kellyl20

Why can't you visit the campuses? Think you should.

 

The university you do your undergraduate in probably have a greater affect on your back up plan, more so than on your application to medicine.

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Guest firesawyer

UVic is a pretty sweet choice for undergrad if you ask me... I've been there and ubc, and the smaller, very beautiful campus is great. I don't see there being any disadvantage to going there, if anything the smaller class sizes would be an advantage? Perhaps looking at the opportunities in the individual physics faculties would help out? The profs at uvic are great for sure. If you are into outdoors stuff and athletics the opportunity in Victoria is second to none as well.

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Guest Parii

HI there,

 

SFU has an excellent physics program. The professors that I know are really nice and supportive; this said: there are always individuals professors that may not belong to your 'top three' list.

 

I did my undergrad at sfu and found it a great place for studying. The campus is not as big as UBC; but has pretty much everything you need. It is beautiful in summer! Great recreational activities; really good coop programs. They have lots of extension and expansion going on. A lot of research $$ is coming in; as far the science goes. The only thing is; if you don't like the color grey; you may have some problems because lots of buildings are grey and some people find that depressing...

 

But, I also have been at ubc and UBC is also a good place. I think you should go and visit the campuses yourself; talk to the advisors, to some students; have a coffe in some of the cafeterias; it is worth doing that and making sure that you like the place; you will be spending a lot of time at the school as an undergrad; so it is really worth it!

 

Hope this helps and good luck,

 

pari

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Guest ssc427

I only have a degree from Uvic but have spent time and have friends at all three. Know that all three have good profs and bad profs. None is easier, harder or 'better' than the other in terms of quality of education.

 

UBC:

 

Pros – Location, nice campus, huge size has made UBC into a miny city of it's own.

Cons – size (many of your 1st year classes will have well over 1000 students).

 

SFU:

 

Pros – On top of a hill so the best place to study in Vancouver (IMO) with some of nicest views. So will get you into amazing shape if you decide to bike to school everyday.

Cons – As noted above the austere concrete is a bit depressing.

 

Uvic:

 

Pros – Beautiful campus, nice facilities (excellent gym), you’ll get to know your department well.

Cons – Hippies. They’re everywhere. You can’t even get into the sub without someone giving you a flyer to protest something. I remember once they even protested having to go to class (I’m not kidding). If you’re Eric Cartman do not come to this school!

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Guest coconutty

Thanks to all that replied.

 

I can't really go visit the campuses because I live in New Brunswick, on the other side of the country. I really would love to have been able to just walk around and get a feel for the place, as I am sure that it would affect my choice.

 

This decision is really stressing me out, and I feel myself being pulled in all directions... :\

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Guest GundamDX

i was sort of in your situation when I was in grade 12...UVic was the first Uni to give me money, SFU gave the most, and UBC gave the least...

 

re: money it will be much tougher to KEEP your scholarship (not sure which kind you get, but I am assuming you didn't get the big a$$ entrance scholarships... or else it's a pretty easy choice :P) throughout your undergrad degree in UBC. Since an absolute mark will no longer guarantee the renewal of the scholarship, you need to be top 10% or 15% of your faculty.

 

Having said that, if you are serious about attending UBC for med, I would suggest go to UBC, unless you are interested in the Island program, then you should go to UVic. Things are a lot simpler if you go to UBC and apply to UBC (IMHO).

 

Re: physics program I don't really know much about it so I couldn't comment on it.

 

Good luck:rollin

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Guest RoseSmurfette

You have to be a little bit wary of stats. People who want to go into med are probably more likely to go to UBC than SFU or UVic. But I don't think going to one or another school really confers significant advantage/disadvantage. It's more about what kind of style suits you.

 

I'm doing my undergrad at UBC, so obviously I haven't experienced every school, but my understanding is that UBC has a lot more stuff than the other schools - in terms of social activities, organizations, research opportunities, etc. However, lots of stuff doesn't really mean you can do everything anyway. One of the greatest disadvantages of UBC is the large size. So many of my friends seemed to get lost in the sea of people (how do you make friends in your class of 500 people?), especially in first year. (If you do come, live in residence - you'll meet more people). Another (possible) disadvantage is that it is a more of a research institution - the professors are generally not as concerned about teaching as they are about their research. Of course, that's great if you want to work in a (physics?) lab, but not so great if you're sitting in lecture and your prof doesn't really care too much about you. (Of course, I'm generalizing here - there's also great, caring profs who have awesome lectures!)

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Guest leviathan

I've never been to SFU or UVic, but I'm sure they're great schools. I've heard that they are easier to do well in because the faculty are more supportive and it's less of a "dog eat dog" environment than UBC.

 

As a UBC student I would actually say we probably have the most beautiful campus, the best social life, and best reputation. If you're looking for a major research school and being around some pretty impressive faculty and access to lots of resources, UBC is obviously the best bet. The biggest drawback would be that people seem to complain about the difficulty (although I can't compare to SFU or UVic as I've never been there). When ~200 of 1000 students fail organic chemistry, you know there's something wrong with the curriculum. I wonder if SFU and Uvic have the same failure rates for that class, though.

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Guest TKP 123

i start to question whether UBC still has the most beautiful campus when I see a large number of big trucks loaded with concrete everyday. Seriously though, there are many more heavy trucks than any other vehicles in campus now. I personally don't like all these trucks at all, making the campus a huge construction site (in fact, they are building lots of concretes right now; you dont find the open B-lot, green grass, etc... which you used to find 5 yrs ago. I am not sure if this is a good thing to the campus at all.

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Guest sensodyne

I graduated from UVic but also spent a couple summer months working and going to school at UBC. The park around UBC is gorgeous, but the campus exclusing the park isn't all that beautiful by itself. UVic campus, on the other hand, is pretty on its own. Victoria also gets less rain than the lower mainland does although it does get more rain than other cities in BC.

 

From what I hear, UBC (and to an extent SFU) is much more competitive than UVic. UVic does have a much more relaxing environment. People don't even care what they wear to school (you'll see many people wearing sweats to classes). However, like someone else said, Victoria has a lot of hippies. They are everywhere. If you are a city person like me, then you'll want to get away from Victoria every chance you get during your 4 years. However, the 1.5 hour ferry ride (plus the wait, which can be anywhere from 10 mins to 5 hours on a long weekend) is a bi*ch.

 

I was also in a similar position as your btw 5 years ago. I got accepted into UBC and UVic--didn't apply to SFU...just didin't like their depressing architecture and was scared away by people saying that they have the highest suicide rate..yes..I was easily influenced then. Both schools offered me major entrance scholarships, but UVic offered me 16K more than what UBC was offering. I don't know what UBC requires of award winners to retain their scholarship year after year, but UVic requires that they maintain an A/A- average (7.5 on the 9 GPA scale). This is probably a lot easier to maintain at UVic than it is at UBC.

 

You also have the smaller class sizes at UVic. I actually met people there and made some great friends. On the other hand, I've heard of many people at UBC saying that it's next to impossible meeting others in a class of 500+--people go to class and then just go home.

 

One last thingabout UVic: they also have a lot of seniors..far too many. It's a miracle that I didn't drive into one of those seniors who drive at 40 clicks an hour in a 50 zone.

 

Having said all these things, however, I don't regret, indeed, I am glad that I decided to go to UVic. It's a welcoming place for a student who has left home for the first time. I will never go back to live there--b/c of the ferry, slow drivers, and hippies--but it was the right place for me.

 

one last thing (haha...): UVic may not have a premed club anymore unless someone has re-started it recently. UBC, however, has a large premed society. I'd be more than happy to answer any questions about UVic. Feel free to PM me.

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Guest ssc427

Yes – the little vermin are everywhere. They thrive like crazy because the students feed them. But the hippies won’t allow the University to do population control because that would be cruel as rabbits are cute. I doubt they would complain if it were rats – actually, I take that back. The hippies complain about everything. Anyways, the University is forced to hire people (ninjas presumably) to go out at night and take the little creatures out while the hippies are sleeping. In fact this lady who is like a black-belt in hippiedom who lives in Sooke (hippie central on Vancouver Island) was so upset about this that she offered to adopt all of the rabbits at Uvic and the hospital (the other place with a major rabbit problem). Last I heard she had well over 3000. This is all true btw (except the part about the ninjas).

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I did math and physics honors at UBC and am graduating (med school) in May so I can say a bit about the physics program there at UBC.

 

Honestly, I didn't really like the physics faculty. I started out in physics and ended up taking almost all math by my fourth year to do the combined honors. Physics at UBC is hard, but courses are graded on a curve such that you really won't get below a B if you're decently competent. The profs there are tough but they are top notch... They recently hired Carl Wiemann (Nobel laureate) from Colorado and he will make a wonderful addition to the faculty. If you really enjoy physics and aren't sure you wanna do med, I think UBC will give you wonderful opportunities as a springboard for graduate school in the US. (I'd say most of my classmates ended up in the US for grad school.)

 

The math department faculty, however, was wonderful. I should've done all math in retrospect. The department has hired a lot of young profs over the last few years. Probability and algebra are particularly strong. They've also put out a few putnam fellows over the years. The classes are also sufficiently small (in both math and physics) such that you will not find it difficult to get letters of rec. Do not be intimidated by people when they say UBC has large classes. While this is true for the bio and chem courses and the lower level physics and math, this is not the case for higher level physics and math.

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Guest FungManX

Hey moo, just wondering if you remeber the approx class averages for upper level physics courses at UBC? I heard they were REally tough..

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Guest canmic

Just a little something to keep in mind...

 

Because of the way SFU assigns grades (letter grades not percentages) and the way UBC determines your academic score (by converting to the lowest percentage that gives that grade) you are at a bit of a disadvantage when applying to UBC med from SFU.

 

Of course, if you maintain a 4.0 or better GPA, then this disadvantage is eliminated. But if you don't...

 

UBC's stance on this seems to be that it's not them discriminating but rather SFU not assigning proper percentage grades like UBC does.

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Guest moo

Averages for upper level physics courses range in the mid-seventies. Of course, the smaller the class, the more likely you are to do well. The honors program in physics and math is pretty intense, with not a lot of space for electives, so if you do do it, make sure you really like physics and math and you will likely have to take summer school to fulfill the prereqs.

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Guest RoseSmurfette

This is kind of a side comment. Sometimes you have to be careful when you look at what the averages are. A high average doesn't necessarily tell you how hard/easy a course is. A small honours course might have a reasonably high average, but be really hard because only the very best students take that course.

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Guest mshammer

H Coconutty...

 

I'm from Newfoundland and got a big entrance scholarship to SFU in grade 12 (UNB couldn't match it ;) . So I know what it's like to have to make a huge move across the country!!

 

Here's some of my thoughts...

 

If you're not yet used to big city, SFU is great because you have easy access to the city while having the ~1500 residence community to surround you. And it's easy to get to know a lot of people in all of the residences. The mountain biking there is awesome, and literally a 2 minute ride from rez.

 

Like everyone's said, it's gorgeous up there in the summer.

The concrete didn't really bother me, nor did the rain in winter, but maybe I just relished the fact I no longer needed a winter jacket (on that note, invest in a GREAT raincoat before you go to BC...just wear it with some layers if you want to go skiing).

 

Ok, that's the 'living part' - you obviously also care about the academics.

 

From my understanding, SFU has a great Physics department. I know a couple of people who took physics, and one stayed to do a masters, the other worked with a prof to do an undergrad honours thesis - both really enjoyed it. The co-op program was also a big bonus for them. The undergrad thesis guy worked for DND in Ottawa for a couple of summers, and also got pretty high up in the competition for a Rhodes Scholarship. His thesis was on weather patterns and atmospheric phenomena. Both those physics students also got undergrad NSERC summer scholarships...there's lots of profs in SFU physics that can host it.

 

SFU also has a great Open Undergraduate scholarship. So if something happens and you don't keep your big scholarship, if you have a 3.7 cGPA at anytime going through, you get about 90% of your tuition covered. My entrance scholarship expired after 1st year, so I got this one in 2nd year, pretty much til I finished. It automatic - you don't even have to apply.

 

On the med school side, SFU actually does quite well at UBC. I took KIN at SFU, which has a huge pre-med contingent, and there's lots of them at SFU. One of the UBC med info sessions I went to actually told us we do BETTER getting in...it's 15% of SFU students that get in, and maybe 10% at UBC (obviously, UBC has WAY more people that apply, but you get the point).

 

I'm sure everyone on this board would agree that your academics are only one part of your med school application - you need to do a lot of other things as well. So think about that too in making your university decision. I know my experiences in the co-op program have been a HUGE bonus to my application, and I highly reccommend it, wherever you go. It's practical experience, it's money, and it's makes you a more rounded person for the med school side.

 

On a practicality note, living in Victoria will be a pain to get back to New Brunswick. My parents spend winters on vancouver island, and they have to take a bus, then the ferry, then another bus to get to the vancouver airport (way cheaper to fly out of van than victoria). On the flip side, the Island is beautiful, and they love it there. But just something to think about, given that the flight across the country is expensive and long enough to begin with...and believe me, I have done that flight MANY times.

 

Ok, so this is basically a ra-ra SFU post, but I can only tell you what I know. I think you'll love BC, and your university experience is mostly what you make it. But go with a co-op program to make the most of your time before you pursue medicine.

 

sociable!!

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