By Bryan Licerdale
So, it’s that time of year. High school students decide which universities they’d like to apply to. The major tip I have for you is this: never listen to someone if they tell you where you must enroll. My high school teachers suggested I go to McGill and York University. I never applied to either one. Instead, I accepted my offer at UofT because I liked the academic rigour of their politics program. However, you shouldn’t only consider Canadian universities; you should also consider foreign universities in America or England.
1. University of Toronto: For The Social-Studious Students
It’s easy for people to get in, but it’s hard to succeed. Now don’t let this discourage you from applying to UofT. You could do research under highly reputable profs; I’ve done my research under Princeton and Cornell professors there. If you’re lucky, you can be one of UofT’s alumni who are sent to Oxbridge or Ivy League universities for graduate school. Additionally, there are libraries on campus that make you feel rich and comfortable as you study, like Trinity College’s John Graham library or pressured to succeed, like Robarts. And even though we don’t have a Western or Queen’s-like social scene, we have excellent extracurricular activities that students involve themselves in.
Our students play on sports teams as often as they work out in the gym nestled in the gothic architecture of Hart House. Some students contribute to The Varsity while others join clubs that serve Toronto communities or for students’ self-pleasure (like the dance clubs on campus). Overall, you can meet sociable, studious students here who engage you in your studies and in their social/personal life.
2. Western University: For Social Students
This university is for those who want to have a fun start into their young adulthood. Western boasts educating Kevin O’Leary and Alice Munro, both of whom enjoy success in their own fields. But their long list of clubs and student events makes Western University Canada’s signature social university. The chances of you finding your future girlfriend/boyfriend here are as high as having your first sip of beer. The homecoming events, party scene and mustang sports teams encourages a great school spirit. Overall, Western’s like NYC, for it never sleeps, and California, for its students are as attractive as Californian models.
3. University of Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge): For Aspiring Intellectuals
Oxbridge educates the next generation of intellectuals. Oxbridge profs have charisma and the ability to make courses interesting. They can transform a bored student into a passionate pupil who loves the subject. Oxbridge terms their degree honours as first-class, second-class, or third-class. If you’re applying for an undergraduate degree, you can’t apply to both. Their application process is as competitive as their River Thames boat races, which is their British Ivy League sport. You can involve yourself in the debating unions or head down to a pub with your like-minded classmates. Oxbridge, however, has very expensive tuition costs. So, keep that in mind as you make your decision.
4. Harvard or Stanford University: For Future Leaders and Innovators
From Barack Obama to Elon Musk, these elite institutions educate students who are likely to become creative leaders in their field. Both of them reward Latin honours and have profs who help students form a vision of a new society or business. You can watch the famous Harvard-Yale football match or have dinner with Stanford foodies at a Californian winery. You’d have an exclusive, country club-like social life at either institution, which enriches your young adulthood experience. Although both are private universities, both offer financial aid for all students, whether they are international or American. Parents must make a certain income for either university to waive a student’s tuition and residence fees. For Stanford, it’s less than $125K to qualify for a waiver. For Harvard, it’s less than $65K (both in American dollars).
So, don’t be afraid to dream big. Apply to Canadian and foreign universities that’ll make your mind, heart, and soul happy. University life is what you make of it, so find opportunities to achieve academic success and enjoy a great social life.