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McGill vs. Journalism vs. Queen's

A photo of differentusername differentusername
First of all, congrats on getting into a bunch of awesome schools!

No one can make your decision for you, but I have a few ideas that might help you narrow things down a bit. You keep mentioning "reputation," but honestly I would recommend that you not consider that as a factor in your decision-making. All three of them are great schools, and the reputation of the school truly doesn't matter for a BA. People like to think that their degree is more prestigious than others (hey, I'm guilty of it too sometimes, I'm at Queen's), but I can tell you from personal experience that prestige/reputation is an intangible, fairly meaningless thing.

No matter where you go, it's just a BA, and it's very unlikely to lead to a job without a grad or professional degree being tacked onto it. You seem very aware of that already, which is rare for high school kids and very very smart of you. Where you go to grad school will matter more, but a BA from anywhere is just a BA, and you won't be applying to jobs with just that. Additionally, you could go on to grad school from any one of these universities, so don't make your decision based on which school you think will mark easier so that you can have a higher gpa for grad school. I know very little about Carleton, but I can tell you that both Queen's and McGill mark quite hard. That's because university is hard and it's intended to challenge us. However, you will in fact be better prepared for grad school if you don't slide through an easy school. It's very possible to have good grades and succeed at Queen's or McGill despite the reputation for hardness - I am doing it myself and know many others who are too. You seem thoughtful and hard-working so I am sure you will not ever be someone who is "weeded out" as you fear.

Personally, I would also cross out everything about the residences off of your pro/con list. At both Queen's and McGill, very very few students stay in residence after first year. The vast majority go out and find cheap apartments/houses to rent with friends. So really, you'll be living in residence for about 8 months (less if you subtract reading week, christmas, etc.) out of your four years at university. Waiting for the shower and shared bathrooms definitely kind of suck, but it's not like you'll be living there for four years.. all in all, you'll only be residence a very short time so the quality of the residence is not really an importance factor in deciding where to go to school. Also, just curious.. what Queen's residence do you feel is "nice"? I'm not sure if you saw Legget, but keep in mind that none of the other residences are near that nice and very few are lucky enough to get into Legget. Residence is just one of those things that everyone does for the social aspects, not because they love the bathrooms or because the residence is nice. Guarantee that you'll make enough friends in residence to the point where you stop noticing every day that the walls are made of fugly bricks.

I would also stop agonizing about program/major. If you want to go into law and/or human rights, there is a wide variety of programs that can lead to that. Things like politics, sociology, devs, english, international relations, even history would all lead to your desired career. Just because you want to work with human rights, does not mean that you literally have to major in human rights. Additionally, if you do want to do journalism, you don't necessarily have to major in journalism. Again, a lot of people in journalism come from programs like political science, english, history, etc. rather than from actual journalism programs. You can also always complete a graduate diploma in journalism after you have your degree (I hear Sheridan has a decent program in that) too, so there are lots of options. Personally, I think you are overthinking your program/major a bit too much. I know you want to pick the right program for your future, but honestly whether your BA is in film or English or journalism probably isn't going to make a huge difference, it's more about what you make of your degree and how you market yourself. Any of the ones you mentioned above would be relevant to your interests. The whole point of a BA, of any BA, is that it teaches you those soft skills like writing, communication and critical thinking which are relevant to a lot of different career paths.

So if you remove all the stuff about reputation, residence and program/major from your pro/con list, you're left with the question of money (ie. one school is offering a scholarship, the others are not) and various personal reasons (ie. the question of where your boyfriend is going, distance from your family and their cottage, etc.). In terms of the finances, try to do some actual calculations. Do you plan to apply for OSAP? Exactly how much will each school cost you? Are there other scholarships you can apply for at Queen's or McGill (I'm surprised you aren't at least getting an entrance scholarship at Queen's)? What you roughly anticipate your salary being once you are done with school? Considering that estimate, calculate approximately how many years it would take for you to pay off each school's degree. If the difference is only a year or two, then you probably don't need to make your decision based on the scholarship, but if the difference was say 10 years, then I would follow the money. This is going to sound cheesy, but follow your gut. If not going too far away from your family/boyfriend is important to you, then consider that a very important factor. If you heart isn't going to be fully into your university experience because you are missing people back at home, you won't have a great experience. Best of luck!
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A photo of ariadne89 ariadne89
First of all, congrats on getting into a bunch of awesome schools!

No one can make your decision for you, but I have a few ideas that might help you narrow things down a bit. You keep mentioning "reputation," but honestly I would recommend that you not consider that as a factor in your decision-making. All three of them are great schools, and the reputation of the school truly doesn't matter for a BA. People like to think that their degree is more prestigious than others (hey, I'm guilty of it too sometimes, I'm at Queen's), but I can tell you from personal experience that prestige/reputation is an intangible, fairly meaningless thing.

No matter where you go, it's just a BA, and it's very unlikely to lead to a job without a grad or professional degree being tacked onto it. You seem very aware of that already, which is rare for high school kids and very very smart of you. Where you go to grad school will matter more, but a BA from anywhere is just a BA, and you won't be applying to jobs with just that. Additionally, you could go on to grad school from any one of these universities, so don't make your decision based on which school you think will mark easier so that you can have a higher gpa for grad school. I know very little about Carleton, but I can tell you that both Queen's and McGill mark quite hard. That's because university is hard and it's intended to challenge us. However, you will in fact be better prepared for grad school if you don't slide through an easy school. It's very possible to have good grades and succeed at Queen's or McGill despite the reputation for hardness - I am doing it myself and know many others who are too. You seem thoughtful and hard-working so I am sure you will not ever be someone who is "weeded out" as you fear.

Personally, I would also cross out everything about the residences off of your pro/con list. At both Queen's and McGill, very very few students stay in residence after first year. The vast majority go out and find cheap apartments/houses to rent with friends. So really, you'll be living in residence for about 8 months (less if you subtract reading week, christmas, etc.) out of your four years at university. Waiting for the shower and shared bathrooms definitely kind of suck, but it's not like you'll be living there for four years.. all in all, you'll only be residence a very short time so the quality of the residence is not really an importance factor in deciding where to go to school. Also, just curious.. what Queen's residence do you feel is "nice"? I'm not sure if you saw Legget, but keep in mind that none of the other residences are near that nice and very few are lucky enough to get into Legget. Residence is just one of those things that everyone does for the social aspects, not because they love the bathrooms or because the residence is nice. Guarantee that you'll make enough friends in residence to the point where you stop noticing every day that the walls are made of fugly bricks.

I would also stop agonizing about program/major. If you want to go into law and/or human rights, there is a wide variety of programs that can lead to that. Things like politics, sociology, devs, english, international relations, even history would all lead to your desired career. Just because you want to work with human rights, does not mean that you literally have to major in human rights. Additionally, if you do want to do journalism, you don't necessarily have to major in journalism. Again, a lot of people in journalism come from programs like political science, english, history, etc. rather than from actual journalism programs. You can also always complete a graduate diploma in journalism after you have your degree (I hear Sheridan has a decent program in that) too, so there are lots of options. Personally, I think you are overthinking your program/major a bit too much. I know you want to pick the right program for your future, but honestly whether your BA is in film or English or journalism probably isn't going to make a huge difference, it's more about what you make of your degree and how you market yourself. Any of the ones you mentioned above would be relevant to your interests. The whole point of a BA, of any BA, is that it teaches you those soft skills like writing, communication and critical thinking which are relevant to a lot of different career paths.

So if you remove all the stuff about reputation, residence and program/major from your pro/con list, you're left with the question of money (ie. one school is offering a scholarship, the others are not) and various personal reasons (ie. the question of where your boyfriend is going, distance from your family and their cottage, etc.). In terms of the finances, try to do some actual calculations. Do you plan to apply for OSAP? Exactly how much will each school cost you? Are there other scholarships you can apply for at Queen's or McGill (I'm surprised you aren't at least getting an entrance scholarship at Queen's)? What you roughly anticipate your salary being once you are done with school? Considering that estimate, calculate approximately how many years it would take for you to pay off each school's degree. If the difference is only a year or two, then you probably don't need to make your decision based on the scholarship, but if the difference was say 10 years, then I would follow the money. This is going to sound cheesy, but follow your gut. If not going too far away from your family/boyfriend is important to you, then consider that a very important factor. If you heart isn't going to be fully into your university experience because you are missing people back at home, you won't have a great experience. Best of luck!
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A photo of ariadne89 ariadne89
The only thing I can really suggest is that you perhaps call the registrar's office and ask... they won't mind! It's been a long time since I was in high school so I'm sorry but I really don't even remember whether the entrance scholarship I got was calculated based on grade 11 and grade 12 or just grade 12.. although I do believe that I got the scholarship info with my initial acceptance in February but I had an average over 90% for both years. I don't think that the PSE is considered in regards to entrance scholarships. Those are based strictly on averages. The PSE and extra activities is probably considered for some of the other scholarships that you actually have to apply for though. I'm not really 100% sure about any of this however so take my info with a grain of salt - best thing to do really would be to call and ask someone at the school. Things have changed a lot since I started at Queen's.. you used to be able to get some money if your average was 80% or higher, and then the amount you got went up from there if you 85%, 87%, 90% etc. but now you have to 90% to get anything at all! Crazy things happen when grade inflation collides with a recession.

These links provide a bit more info too:

http://www.queensu.ca/studentawards/financialassistance/admissionscholarships/eligibility.html

http://www.queensu.ca/studentawards/financialassistance/admissionscholarships/admission.html
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A photo of lolapop lolapop
They'll reassess your final marks once they're in during the summer. So if you keep up the 90%, with your final marks, you'll get the $2000 scholarship!
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