Daniel's University Ranking 2013

Where should I spend the next four years of my life?

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The Wonderful Place

07- Pomp and Circumstance March N by The Wonderful Place

Choosing the right university program for me

My Name is Daniel Guo, and I will be entering university in the fall of 2014. Before then, I have to decide which post-secondary institution is the best fit for me. I am interested in pursuing a business program leading to a BBA OR BComm degree. The top universities that I will be ranking include Queens University, University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario, York University, Wilfrid Laurier/Waterloo Joint program, McGill University and University of British Columbia.

My Top Six Consideration Criteria

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Admission Average

In order to gain acceptance into any post-secondary university program, the average of my top six Grade 12 courses is calculated and is a prerequisite for admission. Each university has a different admission average. Most universities will require greater than the minimum admission average requirement to guarantee acceptance into the program. This is the most important factor to me when considering university programs as I must be realistic in considering the options that are available to me given my current average. At the moment, I have an average of 94% and therefore I believe it is realistic for me to set a an expectation of 90% as the ideal average when considering universities. Given the importance I place on this criteria in affecting my choice of university, I have assigned 30% weight to the admission average in calculating university ranking.

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Academic Reputation

When I began to consider my university options, I first referred to what I already knew or had heard about various business programs in Canada. The importance that is placed on a university's reputation is significant because as a graduate of that university, their academic reputation follows you. In order to gain an unbiased view of the post-secondary institutions I was considering; I turned to the Maclean's 2013 Canadian Universities Guidebook. Here I referred to their section on the National Reputational Ranking. The reason why this criteria holds a 20% weight in my evaluation of universities is because future employers will be concerned with the quality of my education which is reflected by the reputational ranking of the university I attend. Therefore, academic reputation is an important part of the university selection process, since it can later impact my career goals.
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Parents Preference

I was raised to believe that there were two universities I could attend: University of Toronto and McGill. The reason for my parents' narrow-minded view is because these are the institutions which are the most well-known around the world from all the Canadian universities, especially amongst my extended family in China. I have been conditioned to consider my parents choices as very important to the university selection process, especially because I am still dependent on them for my funding. Tuition and living expenses will be paid for by my parents and this funding will be generously provided if I attend a university program that they find acceptable. Ironically, they believe that the most expensive program will provide the best quality of education. It will be more difficult for me to go against their wishes if I choose a program that they have not heard of or consider to be good enough for their prized son. Therefore, I assign a weight of 20% to this evaluation criteria.
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Tuition Fee

The cost of attending a reputable school of business in Canada varies from approximately $5000 to $9000 a year, not including the cost of living on residence. While tuition is a factor that most students might need to consider based on budget restraints, I am fortunate that this issue is not a big concern. Instead, my parents will be the ones that will control my financial situation and giving me allowances each month, therefore I need to evaluate universities costs based on this criteria for their sake. Furthermore, this criteria also concerns me because the higher the tuition for my program will be, the less allowance will be available to me. For example, if my parents have budgeted $10,000 a semester on my university expenses, I need to factor in my tuition fees, cost of living and allowance out of this lump-sum amount. The more tuition I pay, the less financial freedom I will have in my university life. Therefore, I will assign 10% importance to this criteria.
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Undergrad Business Program Size

Of the seven business programs I am considering, each has a different number of enrolment offers available. The size of the program is an important factor to consider as it will determine my chance of admission as well as my class size going forward and therefore the degree of interaction that I will have with other students and professors in my program. I would like to attend a university that has a standard program size, i.e. one that is not too big or too small. A program with approximately 1000 students would be ideal because it would ensure my admission into a competitive program with a class of people who are amongst the best from high schools across the country. Furthermore, when a program is too large, being able to establish a meaningful connection with the professor can be a difficult task, however, in a program that is smaller, it is easier to accomplish this. When the professors know you by name and you are given an opportunity to share your contributions more intimately, greater opportunities for success can present themselves. Similarly, networking with students is easier to do in a standard size program where meaningful connections and life-long friendships can be made. Therefore, I assign a 10% importance to this criteria.
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Full Time School Population

Similar to my concerns with the size of the business program at the university I choose, I need to consider the size of the full-time school population as it will impact the degree of interactions I have with my peers and the quality of my university social life. I do not want to feel like I am still in high school when I start university and therefore I want to be a student at a bustling university campus. I have always craved being part of a larger student movement and I believe that being a full time student on campus will have a large part to play in my growth into an adult. By full-time student, I am referring to those who live on residence or near campus during the school year. When the majority of students live on or near campus, the quality of student life is dramatically enriched, as it offers greater opportunity to meet new people, and build closer relationships with peers. When one commutes back and forth from school, it is an added strain on the student and I am concerned that this would negatively impact my concentration and focus on my academic and social life. The ability to meet with fellow classmates and study into the late hours of the night before a midterm is extremely valuable asset to an on-campus full-time student. On-campus life affords the luxury of walking over to a friend's residence building in their time of need no matter what the time of day. These are vital aspects of growing up that one would miss out on if the opportunity to be a full-time on-campus student is not taken. Therefore, I assign 10% weight to this criteria.
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Conclusion

The final result came out to be Waterloo/Laurier’s joint program as the university that best fulfills my criteria. As this was the university program that I had in mind before completing the university evaluation ranking, this indicates that my formulas and my consideration criteria were perfectly appropriate. Some other interesting results were that U of T, which was one of my top three choices, surprisingly ended up finishing 6th as per my ranking criteria and McGill, which was my second choice, finished just as I had expected. This happened mainly because of McGill’s extraordinary academic reputation, admission average as well as my parent’s preference for that university program. Western finished third overall, and Queens finished 4th which was very close to what I had hypothesized. Therefore, the schools that I am interested in sending my application for admission to are Waterloo/Laurier, Western, Queens and McGill since the data told me that these universities highly correspond to my set criteria. My next steps are to investigate these programs further with regards to what supplemental applications are required to earn admission.


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