If the School Fits
Finding the right school is like trying on a shoe. Cinderella didn’t have to force her foot into a glass slipper, so why should you? For almost 5 years, I’ve been volunteering for the University I graduated from. One of my favourite activities is to offer school tours for prospective students, parents, and guests. I went to UTSC where the number one question asked is, “Why should I go here instead of UofT St. George?” Of course, this is a valid question. But my reply would always be, “Well, have you gone on a tour there yet?”
Figure out if a school is right for you by visiting the campus. It isn’t always about trying to get into the “best” program or the prettiest campus. If you go and visit a school and feel out-of-place, or you don’t feel a hum of excitement coursing through you, then guess what? It probably isn’t the school for you.
I’ve had friends absolutely hate their university experience simply because they chose a campus based on its convenience, specific program, or because their parents thought it was a good idea. They didn’t feel a sense of community. I loved going to a smaller school like UTSC where I got to know everyone, but some people prefer a bigger school in the heart of the city. It’s all based on preferences!
Going to visit your school also provides an advantage of asking questions. So, keep a few questions locked and loaded to learn more about the school. Here are some good questions to ask your tour guide or admissions representative:
- How big are class sizes?
- What are the class schedules like? (Some classes are later than others depending on the school.)
- Are professors easy to speak to?
- What is the price of tuition for the upcoming year?
Program Specific Questions
- What are the differences between Tutorials, Labs, and Lectures?
- Do I have to pay specific program fees?
Residence Specific Questions
- Where do residence students go for groceries?
- Where do students do their laundry?
- Who cleans the residence?
- How are roommates chosen?
Even if the guide you’re speaking with doesn’t know the answer, they can get you in contact with the person who will. I always also suggest doing 2 tours if you can. First, do a one-on-one with someone from the admissions office who can fully answer your questions. The second tour is on a special “Campus Day” run by admissions so that you can ask upperclassmen and program reps questions. This will offer great insight into the university.
Your university experience is all about you. So go and visit each campus you’re thinking about applying to! You’ll never know if you found the right place unless you go and try it out.