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Have No Idea Which University To Attend For Undergrad...


scmed2306

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First of all, I am fully aware that choosing which univresity to attend for undergrad is ultimately my choice. But I would love get some opinions or advice from this forum.

 

I know getting into Canadian medical schools is getting competitive every year, with bright students with 4.0 GPA getting rejected and students who do not meet the cutoffs being flat out rejected (Although GPA isn't the only factor for medical school admissions). If Canadian medical schools don't work out, I will be applying to American medical schools.

 

This made me think, "Is it worth attending a school that allows you to obtain extremely high GPA instead of attending "hard" schools like UofT, McGill etc".

 

I am a grade 11 student currently attending a high school in Waterloo, Ontario, and getting marks good enough to attend any science program in Canada (exception of McMaster Health Sci).

 

However, I have been contemplating which undergrad instiution to attend for the past 6 months. My programs of interest are Biomedical sciences or Kinesiology. My choices for undergrad so far are Waterloo, Laurier, and McMaster. I would highly appreciate if someone could provide any advice or opinions.

 

Now for Pros/Cons of each school I listed:

 

Waterloo

Pros: Literally a 10 min drive from my home (Save money for residence)

         Great kinesiology program

         Smaller class sizes compared to UofT, McGill, McMaster

         Already volunteer at numerous places (Will continue if I choose to stay in Waterloo)

         All of my close friends are going to Waterloo

         Okay reputation when applying to American medical schools (?)

         Waterloo's biomedical science program allows you to take MANY electives

 

 

Cons: Waterloo's kinesiology/biomedical science programs are tough to obtain a high GPA

          Waterloo's labs are known for notorious difficulty

          Waterloo isn't really known for sciences

 

Laurier

Pros: Literally a 10 min drive from my home (Save money for residence)

         Smaller class sizes compared to UofT, McGill, McMaster

         Already volunteer at numerous places (Will continue if I choose to stay in Waterloo)

         Easier to obtain a high GPA compared to Waterloo (??)

         Large scholarships

 

Cons: Poor reputation when applying to American medical schools

          Laurier isn't really known for sciences

 

McMaster

Pros:  Arguably one of the top institutions in Canada for science programs

          Great reputation when applying to American medical schools

 

Cons: Have to live in residence

          Fierece competition amongst other students gunning for medicine

          Larger class sizes

          Hard to obtain a high GPA

        

You see, I am having a hard time narrowing down my options as each school seems appealing to me.

Can anyone help?!!?!!?

 

Thank you for reading my long post!

 

 

 

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like you said, it's getting harder to get in every year.

Choose the school you would be happiest at, and that way if you don't happen to get into med school (and not I'm not saying you won't), you won't have spent 4 years at a school or in a program you didn't like, for the sole purpose of possible increasing your chances of getting in to med school by some tiny percentage.

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All 3 schools you listed are probably good places for you to get a high GPA, I have friends in Waterloo and McMaster who are doing great with less competition than me (at least that's what I feel, I'm in McGill btw). I really don't think Waterloo & McMaster (Health sciences included) are hard in obtaining a high GPA, in comparison to UofT or McGill... And even in UofT or McGill, high GPA is very possible if you work hard. 

 

But then I am not in any of these schools, so it's just my opinion from what I heard. 

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I am just throwing this out there and I will defer to other's expertise, but why not attend Brock, Rye High, or the University of Oshawa to get a high GPA?

 

Are they that easy to get a high GPA and worth paying $8000 a year for residence?

 

 

like you said, it's getting harder to get in every year.

Choose the school you would be happiest at, and that way if you don't happen to get into med school (and not I'm not saying you won't), you won't have spent 4 years at a school or in a program you didn't like, for the sole purpose of possible increasing your chances of getting in to med school by some tiny percentage.

 

Thanks for the input. I really appreciate the advice!

 

All 3 schools you listed are probably good places for you to get a high GPA, I have friends in Waterloo and McMaster who are doing great with less competition than me (at least that's what I feel, I'm in McGill btw). I really don't think Waterloo & McMaster (Health sciences included) are hard in obtaining a high GPA, in comparison to UofT or McGill... And even in UofT or McGill, high GPA is very possible if you work hard. 

 

But then I am not in any of these schools, so it's just my opinion from what I heard. 

 

Thanks for the input. You see, I see a lot of mixed opinions regarding the difficulty of Waterloo. Someone said its difficulty is similar to UofT life sci and McMaster life sci. Other said Waterloo is only hard for engineering/math, not sciences and it is relatively easy to get a high GPA.  Anyways, thank you again for the input!

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All I know are anecdotes, so you'd need to look into it more. But, for example, I know a girl who is in criminology at UOIT, and she said she found it annoying that she gets marks in the 80s just for doing the bare minimum. She said there are lots of ESL students in her program who do not know English all that well, and that means less competition.

 

I also imagine that less prestigious schools just attract less competition and make them less competitive. At the end of the day though, Canadian med schools don't care where you went, so it's worth considering in my opinion, if med is your goal.

 

Prestige is over rated. You can't pay your bills with other people's opinions, as the saying goes.

 

As for living away from home, it's something to think about for sure, but you can probably make it work. Going out of country for med will cost a lot more in the long run.

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I would just go to Laurier because of your ability to commute and their scholarships. As a transfer student with friends who are transfer students, I can tell you that a standard undergrad is very similar at all universities in the country in terms of difficulty.

 

More importantly, choose the university that you like and can see yourself enjoying for 4 years.

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In my opinion, I think balancing your fit and the ability to do well academically at whatever institution you choose are both very important. I mention this only because you seem to be overlooking the personal fit aspect of university evaluation. How you integrate socially with your peers and the type of support system you have available to you can make a huge impact over the course of your undergrad.

 

Having said that, I haven't studied at any of the three institutions you have mentioned above and therefore can't help you with a choice between the three. What I can say is that I've studied at four universities in Canada and all four were drastically different in social atmosphere as well as ability to attain a high gpa. Many people will say that all Canadian institutions are somewhat similar in difficulty, but this is something I have not personally experienced. Of course, with the caveat that it also depends on the program you choose.

 

One thing I might suggest would be to take tours of the schools you're most interested in attending if doing so is feasible for you.

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Laurier no question- closer to home, cheaper, easier for GPA, relatively decent social atmosphere

 

Avoid Waterloo and Mac. Had a lot of friends at both schools who are very bright and went in with 90+ averages. Not a single one could get into medical school. Contrary to what others may say, despite Waterloo's lower admissions averages for science, it is still a brutal program. McMaster Life Sciences accepts about 800-1000 students per year with an admissions cutoff of 88%. While high school grades do not correlate with university, these students are still pretty intelligent individuals.

 

However, if you get into Mac Health Science, go there. If not,then Laurier. GPA and MCAT score are the most important components of a med school application.

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All I know are anecdotes, so you'd need to look into it more. But, for example, I know a girl who is in criminology at UOIT, and she said she found it annoying that she gets marks in the 80s just for doing the bare minimum. She said there are lots of ESL students in her program who do not know English all that well, and that means less competition.

 

I also imagine that less prestigious schools just attract less competition and make them less competitive. At the end of the day though, Canadian med schools don't care where you went, so it's worth considering in my opinion, if med is your goal.

 

Prestige is over rated. You can't pay your bills with other people's opinions, as the saying goes.

 

As for living away from home, it's something to think about for sure, but you can probably make it work. Going out of country for med will cost a lot more in the long run.

 

Thanks for the input. That's something I should seriously consider.

 

I would just go to Laurier because of your ability to commute and their scholarships. As a transfer student with friends who are transfer students, I can tell you that a standard undergrad is very similar at all universities in the country in terms of difficulty.

 

More importantly, choose the university that you like and can see yourself enjoying for 4 years.

 

Thank you. I will keep that in mind.

 

All anyone has is anecdotes, as are you're pro's/con's list mostly based on anecdotes of "difficulties" etc.

 

Thanks for the input.

 

In my opinion, I think balancing your fit and the ability to do well academically at whatever institution you choose are both very important. I mention this only because you seem to be overlooking the personal fit aspect of university evaluation. How you integrate socially with your peers and the type of support system you have available to you can make a huge impact over the course of your undergrad.

 

Having said that, I haven't studied at any of the three institutions you have mentioned above and therefore can't help you with a choice between the three. What I can say is that I've studied at four universities in Canada and all four were drastically different in social atmosphere as well as ability to attain a high gpa. Many people will say that all Canadian institutions are somewhat similar in difficulty, but this is something I have not personally experienced. Of course, with the caveat that it also depends on the program you choose.

 

One thing I might suggest would be to take tours of the schools you're most interested in attending if doing so is feasible for you.

 

Thanks for the advice. I will probably take tours to Waterloo and Laurier next open house.

 

Laurier no question- closer to home, cheaper, easier for GPA, relatively decent social atmosphere

 

Avoid Waterloo and Mac. Had a lot of friends at both schools who are very bright and went in with 90+ averages. Not a single one could get into medical school. Contrary to what others may say, despite Waterloo's lower admissions averages for science, it is still a brutal program. McMaster Life Sciences accepts about 800-1000 students per year with an admissions cutoff of 88%. While high school grades do not correlate with university, these students are still pretty intelligent individuals.

 

However, if you get into Mac Health Science, go there. If not,then Laurier. GPA and MCAT score are the most important components of a med school application.

 

Thanks for the input. As far as Waterloo being difficult, yea I was a bit skeptical about Waterloo's lower admissions averages because Waterloo is known for being "hard" especially for math and engineering. What I am wondering is, were your friends in Waterloo unable to get into medical schools because of low GPAs or for other reasons?

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I'd suggest going to whatever school makes you happiest. You want to choose whatever school is a good fit for you both academically and socially. In order to get high grades (or at least to make it easier), you need to love what you study and love where you are. 

 

Although I think it's great that you're thinking about your future and at this time are considering becoming a doctor, but in my opinion, this should have no bearing on where you choose to do your undergrad. There is always a chance that your interests will change once you get into university (In high school I loved the chemistry and hated biology. In terms of a career, I intended to become a secondary school teacher and always hated the idea of going into medicine - partially because all the other top students at my high school wanted to be a doctor. After my first year of university, I absolutely hated chemistry, loved biology, no longer had an interest in secondary school teaching, and decided I would like to become a doctor. Pretty ironic, huh?) Choose to study something that will allow you to explore your interests and passions. Go somewhere that you'll have a great time at and that will give you a magnitude of opportunities to develop your character. I chose to study neuroscience at Carleton because I find the subject fascinating and Ottawa has plenty of opportunity for me to do things outside of school. I can't say that if I were to go back and choose a university all over again, that I'd make the same choice. This is mostly because I don't really like the social atmosphere on campus - I actually felt kinda off when I visited pre-enrolment - so I'd definitely try to visit any school that you are considering to determine if it's a good fit socially.    

 

Honestly, all three of those schools are solid. They're all just very different from each other.

 

One thing to note with school size, WLU is smaller, and thus may not have as many courses/subjects available to you. I'd definitely look at the programs that you're interested in and look at the course requirements in each - if most of them sound interesting, then you've probably stumbled upon a program that would be a good fit at keeping you intellectually stimulated.  

 

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions! Best of luck! :)

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Obviously, go wherever your happiest. I do have to plug my alma mater, though, because I've loved my time here. McGill tells you exactly what you need to do to get an A. Are the exams hard? Yes. Is there any reason you shouldn't do very well on them? No. Watch the recorded lectures (they're pretty much all recorded), write down what the prof says is important, and you have a very high chance of getting a 4.0. That's my personal opinion.

 

This same logic can be applied to most schools, however. So go to whichever school you feel will make you happiest: the one you feel most excited about when you open your acceptance letter. 

 

The student makes the GPA, not the school. PM me with questions!

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Obviously, go wherever your happiest. I do have to plug my alma mater, though, because I've loved my time here. McGill tells you exactly what you need to do to get an A. Are the exams hard? Yes. Is there any reason you shouldn't do very well on them? No. Watch the recorded lectures (they're pretty much all recorded), write down what the prof says is important, and you have a very high chance of getting a 4.0. That's my personal opinion.

 

This same logic can be applied to most schools, however. So go to whichever school you feel will make you happiest: the one you feel most excited about when you open your acceptance letter. 

 

The student makes the GPA, not the school. PM me with questions!

couldn't say it better myself! I also go to one of the 'notorious' lifesci programs but I actually am glad I did. I feel like when you're in a really competitive environment its more motivating-I am always so impressed by how hard everyone works and how much the people here care about their studies. Is it more work to keep a high GPA? Maybe, but I wouldn't go to a different school given the choice because I am happy to be here, as are the vast majority of students in my program despite it's reputation

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Current student at Waterloo. If you have questions about the school, feel free to shoot me a PM. Aang is not correct. Grades are not super hard to get here. I have a 3.98 GPA in the science faculty. I'm not in biomed, I'm arguably in a more rigid program and it's still possible to do well. I know 7 people personally who have gotten in from Waterloo.

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I'd suggest going to whatever school makes you happiest. You want to choose whatever school is a good fit for you both academically and socially. In order to get high grades (or at least to make it easier), you need to love what you study and love where you are. 

 

Although I think it's great that you're thinking about your future and at this time are considering becoming a doctor, but in my opinion, this should have no bearing on where you choose to do your undergrad. There is always a chance that your interests will change once you get into university (In high school I loved the chemistry and hated biology. In terms of a career, I intended to become a secondary school teacher and always hated the idea of going into medicine - partially because all the other top students at my high school wanted to be a doctor. After my first year of university, I absolutely hated chemistry, loved biology, no longer had an interest in secondary school teaching, and decided I would like to become a doctor. Pretty ironic, huh?) Choose to study something that will allow you to explore your interests and passions. Go somewhere that you'll have a great time at and that will give you a magnitude of opportunities to develop your character. I chose to study neuroscience at Carleton because I find the subject fascinating and Ottawa has plenty of opportunity for me to do things outside of school. I can't say that if I were to go back and choose a university all over again, that I'd make the same choice. This is mostly because I don't really like the social atmosphere on campus - I actually felt kinda off when I visited pre-enrolment - so I'd definitely try to visit any school that you are considering to determine if it's a good fit socially.    

 

Honestly, all three of those schools are solid. They're all just very different from each other.

 

One thing to note with school size, WLU is smaller, and thus may not have as many courses/subjects available to you. I'd definitely look at the programs that you're interested in and look at the course requirements in each - if most of them sound interesting, then you've probably stumbled upon a program that would be a good fit at keeping you intellectually stimulated.  

 

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions! Best of luck! :)

 

Thanks for sharing your interesting story and your advice!

 

Obviously, go wherever your happiest. I do have to plug my alma mater, though, because I've loved my time here. McGill tells you exactly what you need to do to get an A. Are the exams hard? Yes. Is there any reason you shouldn't do very well on them? No. Watch the recorded lectures (they're pretty much all recorded), write down what the prof says is important, and you have a very high chance of getting a 4.0. That's my personal opinion.

 

This same logic can be applied to most schools, however. So go to whichever school you feel will make you happiest: the one you feel most excited about when you open your acceptance letter. 

 

The student makes the GPA, not the school. PM me with questions!

 

 

Current student at Waterloo. If you have questions about the school, feel free to shoot me a PM. Aang is not correct. Grades are not super hard to get here. I have a 3.98 GPA in the science faculty. I'm not in biomed, I'm arguably in a more rigid program and it's still possible to do well. I know 7 people personally who have gotten in from Waterloo.

 

Thanks for sharing the difficulty of Waterloo. This really relieved me! I just PM'd you.

 

I agree, i feel as if programs with lower cutoffs are going to have more people not achieving the grades and a bigger reputation as being difficult. Choose something you are truly passionate in and you will get better marks believe me. 

 

I will make sure to keep your advice in my mind. Thanks for sharing!

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I've attended both UW and WLU and I don't think you'd be making a bad choice with either.

The nice thing about WLU is while there's less choice for science courses you can take UW courses with little difficulty.

 

Laurier has proportionally more students involved in ECs but UW still has lots of student engagement.

 

I wasn't in the science faculty at either school (though I did have some dealings with the Bio and Kin Dept's), but feel free to PM if you want more details about student life.

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I've attended both UW and WLU and I don't think you'd be making a bad choice with either.

The nice thing about WLU is while there's less choice for science courses you can take UW courses with little difficulty.

 

Laurier has proportionally more students involved in ECs but UW still has lots of student engagement.

 

I wasn't in the science faculty at either school (though I did have some dealings with the Bio and Kin Dept's), but feel free to PM if you want more details about student life.

 

Thanks for the information. As far as leadership/research opportunites go, in your opinion, which school offered more?

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