yconic - HELP!!! Guelph vs. Queens vs. Mac. vs. UofT vs. Western FOR LIFE SCIENCES
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HELP!!! Guelph vs. Queens vs. Mac. vs. UofT vs. Western FOR LIFE SCIENCES

A photo of Lorbear29 Lorbear29
Hello, I am a grade 11 student (about to go into grade 12). I am really interested in studying life sciences in university. I'm most interested in bio, although I am unsure about what specifically I want to get into (maybe genetics???)

I've been looking at possible universities, with Guelph, queens, mac, western and U of T being my top picks.

My grade 11 marks are:

English-89% Functions-90% physics-95%(i worked really hard for this) bio-95%
Art-90% chem-96% (don't be fooled by this mark, I had a really easy teacher)
(for extra-curriculars I play soccer, am on the school yearbook committee, and volunteer at a daycare)

I know U of T has a VERY good reputation, but I've also heard that it is EXTREMELY difficult. Also, the class sizes are very large, and this doesn't really appeal to me. All of my friends also going into life sciences have UofT as their top choice,and I feel that I am the only one who doesn't want to go there! In my opinion UofT seems kinda intimidating for my undergrad, but I could be wrong. (Just so you know, I live about 15 minutes away from the Mississauga campus, so commuting wouldn't be a problem)

I've heard AMAZING things about Guelph's life science programs (right now it's probably my top choice). I like that it's a mid-sized school with new equipment, and it's also well rated among students (according to that Maclean's university guide).

I've also heard really good things about Queen's life science programs (also well rated by Maclean's)

I haven't done much research about Western yet. I've heard it's a party school, and parties aren't really my thing LOL

Mac is the one I'm iffy about. I've heard really great things about its life science/health programs, but like UofT I feel that it has a big reputation and may be a little more difficult and intimidating than other schools. I’m also not that excited about living in the Hamilton area . . .

Sorry for rambling on, but I really need advice on what schools to consider!!!! If you are attending (or have attended) these universities, please share your recommendations and school experiences! THANK YOU!!
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2 replies
A photo of inthemaking inthemaking
I went to Mac for undergrad and am now at Guelph for vet school.

Mac: Loved loved loved the school. Absolutely zero regrets about choosing it over Queens/UWO/U of T. Perfect campus size for me (can walk across in 15 mins), decent food, diverse student population, lots of stuff to do in Hamilton/Burlington. Excellent research facilities and opportunities due to the on-campus hospital and because Mac awards the most funding to its science programs. The health sciences library is the nicest university library I've seen. I lived on rez in 1st year and then off campus in Westdale for my remaining years (which is a quaint area next to campus, lots of students/families living there and very safe). Hamilton is really only sketch if you go downtown at night (which I avoided doing for the most part). Hess Village is a ton of fun if you like going to bars/clubs, especially in the summer.

Guelph: Very small town compared to Hamilton (I can walk from campus to downtown in 30 mins in Guelph). Lacks diversity as a student population. Bigger campus than Mac but also a prettier one (more greenery). Guelph in general is nicer looking than Hamilton (green vs. grey). Best campus food in Canada. Lots of girls (60:40 girl:guy ratio). Science facilities are new for the most part (especially the pathobiology building, where I worked this past summer - my lab had nicer/newer equipment than the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto). There's only 1 library, it's ugly, and gets crowded really easily (literally have to spend the night at the library during exam period if you want to have a cubicle). Really dead in the summer because the town depends on the students to sustain it. Nightlife isn't as exciting as Hess Village, you pretty much end up going to the same bars over and over again. House parties are more common here than at Mac. But cover is nonexistent/cheaper than in Hamilton, and you don't have to get super dressed up (I've seen girls wearing flip flops and sweats to a bar).
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A photo of nutritionrunner nutritionrunner
Guelph is a great school. The thing I love best about it is the fact that there are so many support systems and programs in place to help students succeed. Also, the profs really care about their students - they want them to do well and to succeed.

The interdisciplinary science building is fairly new, and is one of the largest in the country. Other labs are brand new with great equipment, as inthemaking said.

If you are in human kinetics or biomedical sciences, you will have the opportunity, as an undergrad, to take a dissection course that involves actually dissecting human cadavers. That's something only a small number of undergraduate programs in the country offer.

Western and McMaster are also great schools, and I've heard a lot of good things about them, but don't have any personal experience with them.

Guelph is a great small city - very green, very pretty. The arboretum on campus is lovely, and a great place to go for short runs.

The one downside to the campus is the athletic facilities. They are old, and get crowded during the busy times of year. The good thing is that they are starting construction on a new athletic centre next year. I teach group fitness classes at Guelph, and they are very popular. The director of fitness is an international presenter, well know in the fitness industry.

I love Guelph, and don't regret choosing it over Ryerson or Western Brescia (the only universities that offer my program). I've spent an amazing summer working in a research lab, doing all kinds of cool things.

If you have any questions about Guelph, feel free to ask. I love it here, and hope to go on to do a Masters here afterwards (and I even have a prof who will be happy to take me on should he have room for another student when I graduate).
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