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How are you deciding which university to attend next year?

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So, as offers of admission start to roll out, I want to know (mostly because I am stressed about making the decision myself): how is everyone going to decide what university to attend next year? What universities do you have to decide between? Is cost, being able to live on residence vs commuting going to make the difference for you? Or is it something about the university itself which will, whether it's the prestige, the programs offered, the family legacy, etc.
For me personally, I have to decide between a few schools more close by - UBC, UVIC, SFU - and a few schools I applied to out of province - uOttawa, York and U of T.
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I won't be applying for another year, but the first thing I'm going to do is pick a program, not a university. I plan to compare the specific design of the program I'm interested in at different schools. For example:

1. Entering average required
2. How many credits do you take 
3. What courses do you take
4. How many electives can you take and what's offered
5. Are there breadth requirements and if so what are they 
6. requirements for declaring a major - ie direct entry from high school vs general first year
7. GPA requirements for graduation 
8. Honours program requirements
9. Is co-op or other experiential opportunities available

Once I've narrowed down the specific programs to the ones that are structured in the way I like and offer the courses I'm interested in, then I will look at the specifics of the school:

1. Student/Faculty Ratio
2. Average Entering Grade of the students in the program
3. Cost including potential scholarships
4. Student Satisfaction rankings
5. School size
6. Opportunities to study abroad
7. Program/School reputation
8. Location

After I narrow the list down to a few I'll go visit the campuses and do a tour and see which ones I like the most.
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Do you think it's better to directly enter a major from highschool or do a general first year?
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I think that depends. If you aren't 100% certain what you want to take then a general year can be a good option since you don't declare your major until after first year (though you usually still have to apply to a faculty). It can also be a good way to acclimate to the expectations of university before diving into the meat and potatoes of your program. Where I get concerned is:

1) When there is a stated minimum average after first year to get into your program of choice that is highly competitive. Many students will see their marks drop from high school in first year so it maybe harder for some to hit that minimum GPA requirement to get accepted than it would be straight from high school and then they're left having to switch intended majors.  

2) If there is a requirement in first year to take courses that you aren't interested in. As an example some schools that have a general first year for sciences make all students take all 3 sciences regardless of intended major (e.g. McGill, UBC, Guelph). That means bio students have to take physics and vice versa which you might not like. It also means you had to have taken all 3 in grade 12.
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I'm usually pretty indecisive about everything but somehow i've figured out where I want to go. What I did was visit all the universities I applied for and toured their campus and residences (usually at an open house) which really helped to figure out what atmosphere each uni had and which I liked better. I've also done tons of research on the programs I applied for (like what courses I have to take and what I'd be leaning in them) to figure out what program I liked best. For the longest time I've known I'm going to be going away for uni so looking at the res building and stuff was really important. I did look at the cost a bit but figured that being somewhere I liked was better even if it was more expensive than being somewhere I didn't like as much just because it was cheaper. For me family legacy had no impact on my choice despite my family's persistence since I was like 12 (no joke!) to go to Queen's or Carleton. I'll be going to Western (if I get in!!!) but I also applied to OttawaU & Carleton (because they're where I live & my parents made me), Trent and U of T. Hopefully this made sense and helped you a bit! :)
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Hey I'll probably be going to Western next year too! What program did you apply to?
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international relations wbu?
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Engineering. Pretty different programs haha, we'll probably never see each other.
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I made my choice based on gut feeling!
Of course, the program was also important for me too.
I accepted my offer to Carleton for Commerce for a number of reasons:
1) The program is CPA accredited
2) You can have 2 majors and a minor
3) The student clubs and associations were a great fit for me
4) MY GUT FEELING. Honestly this was a huge factor for me! I knew I loved the program at Carleton, but the campus, the location, my scholarship offer and the close, tight-knit community really sealed the deal.
Good luck picking a university, you'll find the right place for you!
***Make a pro/con list, this was a huge eye opener for me and I realized how much I liked Carleton as a school and their program***
 
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University decisions are definitely a difficult one. I am currently a first year and for myself, where I applied was definitely influenced by the University, the Program, and family support. After receiving acceptance, I  ended up basing my decision on the research opportunities that were available and the amount of scholarships that I received! I ended up staying locally at U of C and it definitely was the right decision for me! :)

Mathieu
yconic Student Ambassador
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how should I choose between wetern med sci and western engineering, I got accepted to both?
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Unfortunately the only reason I chose the school I'm going to is because of the reputation of the program. Never really wanted to go there and I still don't. I got into schools I would much rather go to but the reputation isn't as good. Heck, I don't even like my major. If I go into what I want my parents will kick me out and refuse to help me pay :(
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