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McGill or Queens? Need to decide by tomorrow!

A photo of NateJ NateJ
Hi. I've read many old threads, but still haven't come to a decision, so any comments or feedback you have would be great. I have to accept Queens by Wednesday the 8th if I'm going to go there, so any comments are appreciated!

Made a pro / con list to hopefully shed some light on my situation. Thanks.

McGill:

Pros
- Better for neuroscience, especially for research opportunities (and research in general will be easier to get into at McGill throughout the year)
- Better course selection for the most part (better physics interest electives)
- Far away from home, completely different atmosphere from Toronto, Montreal is great, will help me break out of my shell and get more involved
- Great volunteer EMS program in Montreal (nothing comparable in Kingston)
- Supposedly better affiliate hospitals
- Could give me slight favouritism when applying to upper tier US med schools (bias, even if unintentional)
- Montreal life in general (into electronic music production also, being in Montreal won't be too bad for this)
- If no med school acceptance in first cycle, I can live in McGill working, gaining Quebec residency and apply again next year (giving me much cheaper tuition at McGill Med, and significantly higher changes at McGill Med)

Cons
- Far away from home, won't be able to see parents+dog often, and if anything 'bad' happens, it'd be difficult to constantly be going back and forth (like 5-6 hours each way)
- the EMS program isn't 100%, I've gotten mixed responses on whether I need to know French well or not, so this could fall through if they decide I need to know french (plus it'll take a summer of my time to go through the training program)
- need a high first-year gpa (3.8+) to get into neuroscience, though I don't think this will be a problem, but it's still a risk
- no scholarship, so decent chance I won't get the residence I want (new res, douglas, or maybe RVC, will probably end up in one of the other upper res like molson, which I'm not really looking forward to)
- lower average prof rating on ratemyprofessor.com, however most of the courses I wanted to take have really good profs


Queens:

Pros
- Closer to home (2 hours), get to see my family & dog, occasional home cooked meal, laundry, support etc.
- More of a community, would be more of a part of something
- School spirit
- College town feel
- More clubs and such than McGill
- Feel like I'd be missing out on something ("what if") if I went to McGill, while I feel like I know what McGill will be like already
- Newer facilities
- Speak English, would be able to find work/volunteering opportunities more easily (but I haven't found a lot I'm especially interested in other than regular hospital volunteering)
- Could live on residence all 4 years (not sure if this would be best)
- Also has a neuroscience 'stream' in life sciences, but it's not as focused
- More likely, I'd major in life sciences (no neuroscience) which gives me ~14 electives vs 9 at McGill
- Might be slightly easier to get to know profs for letters of rec
- Better average prof rating on ratemyprofessor.com

Cons
- More expensive if I live on residence all 4 years (at McGill, I'd buy an apartment after 1st year, rent in summers, sell after undergrad)
- Less course variety
- I can't find great extra-curricular opportunities
- Not as great research opportunities throughout the year
- Professors aren't as well-known (regular or in neuroscience)
- less prestigious/reputable, especially to US schools
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3 replies
 
A photo of Meridian Meridian
Nate,

I think you have done a great job at writing out all of your individual pros and cons. I made the same kind of lists (Western vs McGill), but even after all the pros and cons, in the end it was down to the “feeling” I had on campus that ultimately made my decision. I ended up going further from home with less scholarship money to get what felt right. If you have spent time at both campus you probably already know in your gut which one “fits” you best. You will spend the next 4 years there.

From what I saw, both Queen’s & McGill are superb and they will offer you as much learning and opportunity as you can soak in. I would make only one comment (base on my own quasi-investigation). If your goal to reach a top US medical school is realistic (money & marks), then go to McGill, as its reputation can make a difference in the “acceptance" process.
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A photo of ktel ktel
What does your gut feeling tell you? You can only rationalize this decision for so long.
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A photo of Zion Zion
I agree with the above two posters. Pro and con lists will only help you for so long. Eventually you have to go with your gut.

When I analyzed every little factor (most of which were insignificant in the grand scheme of things), Queen's didn't fare very well against my other options. But from the beginning I had the best feeling about it, and ended up choosing it because of that intuition.
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