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Engineering, decision help!

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Mar 31, 2008
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Engineering, decision help!

Hi everyone, I've been browsing the posts here for a while and hopefully some of you can help me out. I have applied to and received offers to Queens Engineering (civil), Waterloo Civil engineering, and U of T General engineering. Originally architecture was my first option but now I am reconsidering and am thinking about doing an undergrad in engineering first and then going on to do a masters in architecture. It'll take me about 8 years but I think having an eng degree is helpful since architecture is less stable (as a job).

ANYWAYS, the point is, in terms of engineering, I don't know where to go. I also applied to McGill but have yet to hear from them.

Opinions and thoughts on any of these programs? For the record, I really don't like Waterloo. I have visited twice and absolutely cannot stand the campus. It feels like a high school. Yes, I know, they have an amazing program plus co-op, but to be frank I don't think I could live there for five years. I know U of T offers co-op, but its not quite the same.

Also, for any U of T eng students hear, is it really as bad as I hear it is? I am going to be coming out of high school with at least a 94 average (I hope), currently getting a 97 in the calculus and vectors course. I have no issue with working hard and spending time studying, however a social life is always nice (i want to do a varsity sport too). I've heard that it is extremely difficult to get good grades at U of T so that if you want to go into grad school after you're basically screwed. I know that opinions differ, so any thoughts on this would be great.

And when it comes down to it, do employers really look at which school you go to? Between U of T, Queens, Waterloo and McGill I figure I cant REALLY go wrong as they are all reputable universities with good programs, but I've just heard so much about ____ university sucks and _____ this one is bad for this and blahblahblahblah.

Help please!
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Nov 28, 2005
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With you're average you'll do fine wherever you go!

Regardless if you can't imagine living at that university for 4 years + of your life then I would recommend against it as you would be dreading it instead of enjoying the 4 possible best years of your life.

UofT really isn't THAT hard, there are 300 people out of the 1100 or 1000 or so that get 80+ averages so it's not that bad (actual STAT for 2007 first semester, 2nd year students). It's hard to get marks if you don't work for them or if you don't study but I find that people who do study get the marks!

Also although people make it seem like it's impossible to get into grad school from UofT, then how about all the grad students right now from UofT? They're all over the place. I wouldn't worry about it, you seem like a smart person so you shouldn't have trouble whatsoever.

I'd focus more on seeing which campus would suit your personality more and where you'd enjoy our time. You will end up with a good job wherever you go.
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Apr 6, 2006
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U of T really isn't that bad
its also right in the middle of a huge great city. something you dont get in the small other towns for school like london and kingston. and in those places you ight have a good first year but youll get sick of the same few places right away and not having the options of going and doing other things.

you can easily get into grad school and other faculties afterwards. in fact i would argue that engineering can be easier then lifesci where there they are trying to weed you out from the beginning.

and either way engineering degree good to have.


most important is the life outside of school. and so i feel living in res and moving downtown is very important.
if you dont then its not fair to even compare the other schools as you would have a completely different experience than as a commuter. as a commuter it probably would suck but so would other schools.
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Feb 8, 2006
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People who say UofT engineering is hard is somewhat biased. If you work hard, and are naturally gifted, you'll do fine. Having just either one won't really do. I'm glad you chose engineering over architecture! My friend is currently in architecture at UofT and he regrets not going into civil engineering instead. I think he's transferring in next year, but has to retake 1st year.
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Dude accept the Waterloo offer and dont look back!
[OP]
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Mar 31, 2008
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thanks for the replies everyone. I still need to check out Queens and McGill but U of T is looking fairly attractive right now. I know that it won't be easy anywhere that I go, and that engineering overall is hard. To be honest, I am absolutely terrified of next year; the idea of failing is scaring the crap out of me.

Does anyone know anything about McGill's engineering program compared to U of T or Queens?

and to doomhammer, i appreciate the opinion, but any particular reason why Waterloo over anywhere else? This is specifically what I am trying to find out, the exact things that makes one program different from another.
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doomhammer wrote: Dude accept the Waterloo offer and dont look back!
So why should he go somewhere where he shouldn't look back? I'd rather go somewhere, look back on it and be like "Yup, I made the right choice" ;) :lol: :razz:
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Mar 30, 2008
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Exas wrote: If you work hard, and are naturally gifted, you'll do fine. Having just either one won't really do.
does it mean hard work alone for a normal (not gifted) student won't usually be enough to get good grades?

I'm also having difficulty choosing engneering program between UT, UW, and UWO..
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medic035 wrote: does it mean hard work alone for a normal (not gifted) student won't usually be enough to get good grades?

I'm also having difficulty choosing engneering program between UT, UW, and UWO..
I don't agree with Exas's statement. Some of the guys that are ranked top 20 in my program are complete idiots, all they do is study 24/7 and when you talk to them about something they have no idea because all they depend on in something they've memorized from the textbook rather than actually thinking and applying what they're learning.

I'd drop UWO out of there and then go visit both UT and UW campus's and see which you like better and make your choice!
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Speaking from personal experience, UofT is a terrible place to go for your undergrad. The undergrad experience at all of the other schools you've mentioned is so much more diverse than that of U of T. U of T is basically all academics and that's it, the campus life is virtually non-existant. Besides, these are all top-notch schools you're considering, so the academics are essentially equal. Nobody cares whatsoever where you went for your undergrad once you get into industry, academia or wherever else you want to go with your career.

Besides, would you actually want to live in downtown Toronto when you could live in downtown montreal at McGill? That's not even a question for me.... :-0
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vintagepeoples wrote: To be honest, I am absolutely terrified of next year; the idea of failing is scaring the crap out of me.
With a 94 average in high school you ought to be fine. Don't be so terrified, if you're confident and you do your work at uni you'll figure it out, wherever you decide to go.
vintagepeoples wrote: Does anyone know anything about McGill's engineering program compared to U of T or Queens?
It's on equal footing with either UofT or Queens. All of these schools have strong programmes and established faculty. If you're going into any of the majors (Mech, Elec, Civil, etc.) they're pretty similar. If you're looking for a specialized program then you might find some differences between the schools.
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TheDude79 wrote: the campus life is virtually non-existant.


I going to disagree on that one. It's not as in your face as other universities but there are events going on all the time. I'm getting invited to UTSC parties, Trin parties, St. Mikes parties, and events too all the time!! You have to be outgoing and it'll come to you once you get to know people. It's just UofT is big so the campus life is really spread out!

Once again another reason why you should stay in Res though, if you're a commuter you won't meet all of these people. After stayin in res I have a friend in many many different colleges and they all invite me to different evens / parties.

If you spent your 4 years just studying and not going out then that's your fault man
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TheDude79 wrote: Nobody cares whatsoever where you went for your undergrad once you get into industry, academia or wherever else you want to go with your career.
Is this also true when you later decide to apply to a graduate school? Would there be any advatage of having gone to UofT. I kind of heard that for example top business graduate school recognizing UofT more than other schools like mcmaster or western.. not sure if its true though..

Would it be true to say GPA wise, going to UofT isn't the best idea but recognition wise, UofT is better?
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TheFuteballer wrote: I going to disagree on that one. It's not as in your face as other universities but there are events going on all the time. I'm getting invited to UTSC parties, Trin parties, St. Mikes parties, and events too all the time!! You have to be outgoing and it'll come to you once you get to know people. It's just UofT is big so the campus life is really spread out!

Once again another reason why you should stay in Res though, if you're a commuter you won't meet all of these people. After stayin in res I have a friend in many many different colleges and they all invite me to different evens / parties.

If you spent your 4 years just studying and not going out then that's your fault man
Firstly, I definitely didn't spend my university years just studying. I spent more than enough time having fun, believe me. I only spent two years at U of T in grad school, but that was enough for me. I lived virtually across the street from UTSG. I have experience with other universities (UBC, McGill and Concordia) so I have some comparisons there.

My experience with U of T was that most events were OFF campus. People tend to go to establishments near their living space, and the majority of people don't live in rez or a student ghetto. It's so spread out there's no place that feels like a truly student area. Intramural sports are utter crap, nobody goes to sports events, there aren't any major concerts or festivals planned for the student body throughout the year. I was there for 2 years and not once was there an event that made me think "wow, I should go to that". Sure you can make friends, but you can and will do that anywhere you go. I'd rather go somewhere that has better options for entertainment and activity than U of T. For all of the hype that the U of T engineers spew to pump up their "skule", they don't have the goods to back it up apart from the academics (which are excellent by the way).
[OP]
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Mar 31, 2008
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[QUOTE]So why should he go somewhere where he shouldn't look back? I'd rather go somewhere, look back on it and be like "Yup, I made the right choice" [/QUOTE]

For the record, "he" would be a she here ;)

lol.
[OP]
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Mar 31, 2008
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and to TheDude79, thanks for your input. Since you said you attended McGill, what was your opinion of it?

Basically, looking ten years into the future, I want to be in architecture. Engineering is for the sake of being able to have a steady job just in case, and also because it gives me more options.

What program were you in at McGill?
And wow, I didn't realize U of T was like that. I had always gotten the opposite impression. Is it really that bad?
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TheDude79 wrote: Firstly, I definitely didn't spend my university years just studying. I spent more than enough time having fun, believe me. I only spent two years at U of T in grad school, but that was enough for me. I lived virtually across the street from UTSG. I have experience with other universities (UBC, McGill and Concordia) so I have some comparisons there.

My experience with U of T was that most events were OFF campus. People tend to go to establishments near their living space, and the majority of people don't live in rez or a student ghetto. It's so spread out there's no place that feels like a truly student area. Intramural sports are utter crap, nobody goes to sports events, there aren't any major concerts or festivals planned for the student body throughout the year. I was there for 2 years and not once was there an event that made me think "wow, I should go to that". Sure you can make friends, but you can and will do that anywhere you go. I'd rather go somewhere that has better options for entertainment and activity than U of T. For all of the hype that the U of T engineers spew to pump up their "skule", they don't have the goods to back it up apart from the academics (which are excellent by the way).
I can make sense of what you're saying and some of it is true but then I guess it's different for everyone else. I've had great experiences with intramurals and sports in general compared to most other universities I've been to (and teams I've illegally been on lol).

Yeah the concerts or festivals we don't really have but I guess it's because there are so many concerts and festivals going on just off campus there's no real point spending so much time to organize some.

And in grad school you probably won't notice much of the whole "skule" business but I think the skule events are pretty good at "trying" to get the faculty together.
vintagepeoples wrote: And wow, I didn't realize U of T was like that. I had always gotten the opposite impression. Is it really that bad?
All of the opinions you get on the net or from other people, you shouldn't base your decisions on them. Everyone has different experiences where ever they go so they will tell you different things.
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vintagepeoples wrote: and to TheDude79, thanks for your input. Since you said you attended McGill, what was your opinion of it?

Basically, looking ten years into the future, I want to be in architecture. Engineering is for the sake of being able to have a steady job just in case, and also because it gives me more options.

What program were you in at McGill?
And wow, I didn't realize U of T was like that. I had always gotten the opposite impression. Is it really that bad?
I never attended McGill, I lived in the student ghetto for a year while working in Montreal as a co-op. Did a lot of McGill events and got to know lots of McGill kids. The school is very well regarded, the students seem to like it, and student life there is excellent. Most people live right around the campus, so it really feels like a student area.

My personal opinion is that given the choice, I'd take McGill over U of T just for the better student experience. Montreal is a fantastic town, and I personally like it a whole lot better than Toronto. I don't know a whole lot about Queens, but from what I hear it's a similar student experience to McG but in a smaller town.

I honestly don't think that U of T is that bad, I just think that there are far better options out there, especially for someone with your grades.
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TheFuteballer wrote: I can make sense of what you're saying and some of it is true but then I guess it's different for everyone else. I've had great experiences with intramurals and sports in general compared to most other universities I've been to (and teams I've illegally been on lol).
Maybe I was just spoiled by having gone to UBC, which has such a fantastic intramurals program it makes the U of T one look silly. As that's my only point of reference perhaps the U of T program is good compared to other schools, but personally I found it frustrating.
TheFuteballer wrote: Yeah the concerts or festivals we don't really have but I guess it's because there are so many concerts and festivals going on just off campus there's no real point spending so much time to organize some.
That's what I mean, everything is going on off-campus! There isn't much "campus" activity geared towards students. The kids I knew who went to OCAD had more of an active campus life than the U of T students I knew!
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How did you get accepted to Queen's civil? Unless things have changed very recently, they have a common first year.

As for which program to choose, if you're not sure I'd highly recommend going to university where there is a common first year. That way you can see what you like and what you don't like when it comes to classes, and take something you'll enjoy for the long run.

I went to Queen's with the intention of going into Mechanical or Civil (coastal). I ended up as a mining engineer. My best course in 1st year was geology and the reason for that was that I was really interested in it. My worst course was chem which pretty much ruled out mechanical due to all their thermo.

I had a really good time there, there's a lot of "engineering spirit". There are probably some good youtube videos about either the pole or frosh week. Getting covered in purple dye and slamming jackets - although it looks ******** from those not in engineering - is a ton of fun. It's just one of those things that's fun to do and you're not sure why.

Edit: as for how hard it is, it's not as long as you have a good work ethic. Highschool is easy to get by on smarts alone. University is impossible to get by without being diligent and doing your work. I graduated highschool third highest in my graduating class and just barely avoided academic probation by 2% in my first year university. Failure hits people who did well in highschool like a ton of bricks. You'll learn to get past it just like everyone else did :)
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