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A photo of jyytee jyytee
Hey guys, I apologize for the long thread. I appreciate you guys reading it and giving me your opinions/advice :)

So I live in Toronto, and got accepted into both McMaster and UofT, St.George campus. I've always wanted to go to Mac, but recently I've been leaning more towards UofT.

So heres my dilemma:

McMaster is known for the health science/science faculty, as well as their problem based learning method. I love the school and campus because I've always wanted to go to an enclosed university (Queens, Western etc.) just because I feel that there is a sense of community and belonging one cannot get at commuter schools (York, Ryerson etc.) University life and experiences are very important to me (aside from grades :P), because I've always wanted to be at a place that has a tight-knight community and spirit that I never experienced at my highschool, mainly because it was in a bad area. On the downside, money is very tight for me, and it will be difficult for me to pay back my debt if I live on residence all four years. Even if i get money from OSAP, job savings, and family contribution- I don't want to graduate with an enormous amount of debt that will take me years to pay off. ($16,000-$20,000 per year depending, including rez.)

Uoft is known for being one of the top tier research-institutions in the country along with McGill, with scholars and professors who are coming from the top of their field. If I go to uoft, I will be living in residence the first two years, and commuting the third and fourth year. I will be saving a ton of money by doing this, and that just take a lot off my shoulders. I have heard from many that because of UofT's reputation and the people within, the connections that you make and the people you will meet will ultimately end up being your professional network- helping you in the future. And getting a job after graduation is important to all of us. The only downside is, the school is also known for its harsh marking schemes, bell curves, difficulty of courses, competition and I could go on. I get it, UofT is one of the best- it's bound to be difficult, but will I be getting a better education at UofT just because of their reputation? University life and experiences will not be the same even if i live in residence, just because its mainly a commuter school- downtown as well. It has no school spirit, school involvement whatsoever because theres so much competition in the school and its so much more difficult there that most students dont even have the time for fun. That all goes against what I want my university experiences to be like and I don't want to spend my 4 years just studying, worrying about the courseload, or trying to bring my 60% up to an 85%.

So is going to mac and living in rez all four years really worth the thousands of extra dollars and the so called "once in a lifetime university experience"? Will having a degree from UofT really be worth it just to go through 4 years of agonizing difficulty and sometimes suicidal thoughts that an institution like them will enforce?

*on another note, I am considering doing a post-grad in medicine. So GPA/extra-curriculars/volunteerism DOES matter. :) Thanks again all!
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4 replies
A photo of inthemaking inthemaking
Why would you want to live on rez all 4 years? Most people don't. I went to Mac and I only lived on rez in 1st year, moved into a house off campus (with the suitemates I lived with in 1st year) for the rest of undergrad. It's a lot cheaper to live off campus, I lived right in the heart of Westdale (8 min walk to campus) and I paid $400/month in rent plus another ~$50/month for utilities+cable+internet. Whereas in first year, I lived in Keyes (the most expensive rez) and it was $8500 for the year for the rez+mandatory meal plan (and I already had the lightest one possible).

When I applied to universities, Mac was my first choice and U of T was actually my last. I absolutely hated the "campus" because it didn't actually feel like a school community - there are large, busy streets separating different buildings and like you, I wanted an enclosed campus. Also I didn't want to go to a commuter school. Some people don't mind that because they think U of T's reputation/the academic benefits are worth it, it's really a personal decision. For me though, the campus/city is important since you will be living there or at least spending the majority of your time there for the next 3-4 years, so that was probably the 2nd thing I considered after the program itself.
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A photo of ktel ktel
Nobody lives in residence for all 4 years. 1-2 years max and then they find a house/apartment off campus to live with friends.

I really don't understand why U of T gets this crazy reputation. It's an amazing school, but it isn't that much better for an undergraduate degree than any other. I know a lot of undergrads and I never hear anyone complain about competition. In fact I have often seen the opposite in the undergrads I TA, they will always help each other out. For one lab I had a group find a particularly useful bit of code to work around a problem with the lab set up, and they happily left it on the desktop for other groups to use afterwards. Not competitive at all. If you know where to look, you can easily find people who are involved and have school spirit. I got involved in a varsity sport, for example.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
My brother lived on rez at Mac first year. Said it sucked and wasn't worth the experience and the debt especially wasn't worth it since he plans on continuing his education after undergrad. He's decided to commute for the next 3 years. Go to U of T.
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A photo of danselikeme danselikeme
in my opinion, rez is great first year unless you live less than an hour away (then commuting is ok! butmore than an hour your better off at rez). 2nd year you get a house with friends:) this goes for any university
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