It seems only natural that as high school winds down here that I start confronting my future studies. I’ve applied to several universities in Canada and have been trying to choose between two of them. Specifically I’m trying to decide between Computer Engineering at Queen’s University and Nanotechnology Engineering at University of Waterloo. Now let’s run these two options down.
Queen’s: Well I’ve been accepted to the engineering faculty with a $26,000 scholarship spread over four years. Essentially that’ll cover my tuition fees and I’ll have to fork over the rest. I’ve heard great things about the engineering program at Queen’s and have spoken with some staff there. It seems like a very nice school from what I’ve heard and seen. In addition one of my friends is also going to Queen’s. Although what my friends are doing probably shouldn’t influence where I go, it is a merit; I won’t arrive at university knowing absolutely no one.
Waterloo: Also accepted to the Nanotech Engineering program but with a smaller scholarship, more like $6000. In addition, the nanotech program is new this year and because of the nature of the program, tuition fees are approximately $12,000 per annum. That’s quite a bit more than at Queen’s. However to partially offset this, there’s a very good co-op program for engineering that will allow me to pay a portion of my university expenses. In any case, I don’t know of anyone else going to Waterloo from my area. People have talked highly of the school especially the computer/math department so that could be a bonus for my studies. However, I’ve also heard that Waterloo is quite academically based and campus life may be slightly lacking. Also the fact that the male:female ratio is also quite low is kind of a downer. I don’t feel like going to a sausage-fest for 5 years…
In any case, I’ve been leaning towards Queen’s. My mother on the other hand is adamant about going to Waterloo. She says the program is better, she tells me that other people say it’s better, etc. My parents will be shelling out some money for my studies and they say I’ll pay the same amount no matter where I go; they’ll make up the difference. While that seems like a good deal, I don’t especially want to put the added financial strain on them if I go to Waterloo. We’ve gotten into quite a few yelling matches where it seems like I don’t have too much to counter her. It’s almost as if I’m going to university for the wrong reasons; my friends and life outside of my studies. Perhaps I’m looking at this the completely wrong way and my mom’s right. I honestly don’t know and I’m quite torn. The real kicker is, I need to know what I’m doing pretty quickly since the universities are requiring me to put down deposits for dorms and whatnot soon.
In any case, anyone who reads this, please, leave a comment about what you think I should do. Am I wanting to go to Queen’s for the wrong reasons? Is Waterloo actually better? (in your opinion at least) Does co-op actually pay for much of the university costs? Is Queen’s campus life better than Waterloo’s? I’m especially interesting in hearing from those of you who have gone to either school.
Thanks a ton!