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Tiff91

Ryerson, York or U of T for an undergraduates degree?

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Hey, 

Im currently finishing grade 12 and planning on attending law school in the future but first I need to get my BA but I have a hard time picking a university. The one thing I'm sure of is that I want to study in Toronto which narrows it down to three alternatives, York, U of T or Ryerson. Initially, I had my eyes set on U of T based on what I had heard about student experiences and overall quality but the tuition fees are extremely expensive. I'm not trying to major in debts, law schools expensive enough on its own. Then I turned to York which seemed more affordable, more courses to pick from and aproachable teachers but I would have to deal with a long commute. Last but not least we have Ryerson, not so expensive either and way shorter commute but I don't know if the quality of education is any good? As for the program, I was looking at some criminology or law and society because those are what I enjoy but I can't disregard that I need to get a good GPA to get a chance at law school at all. I also have to keep my options open if Law School does not work out and having a BA in arts or criminology wouldn't be to much help, I need to be able to get a job after uni. Then there is the fact that I would like to work with corporate law, so would a business program be better in the long run? Are there any business & law programs? Should I pick the easiest way to secure good grades? Is U of T worth all that money? Which of the schools offer a more secure environment and a good community? Soo... I would love if anyone that has attended/ is attending either of the schools could share their knowledge and experiences, or any advice at all would be good too! Every opinion is welcomed

Thanks in advance 

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Where you get your undergraduate degree doesn't matter, what you do and how you do while getting your degree does. Pick a school that best aligns with your interests and puts you in the best position to succeed. Just make sure you work hard and get good grades, and take part in extra-curricular activities when you can. 

If you're interested in and enjoy law & society and/or criminology, take it. If you're as set on law school as it seems you are then you shouldn't have worry about it not working out. And I say that as someone who actually graduated with a law & society major and a crim minor from Laurier's Brantford campus who has still been accepted to law school. Not being in Toronto for your undergrad doesn't put you at a disadvantage when it comes to law school admissions, all that matters is what you do with your time at whichever university campus you spend it.

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1 hour ago, mett said:

If you're as set on law school as it seems you are then you shouldn't have worry about it not working out.

I find fault with this logic. Many people don’t get into law school. And certainly most people who apply don’t get in. So I’d say you should pick a major that would lead to a career that you wouldn’t mind having if law doesn’t work out. 

Other than that, where you go to school doesn’t matter. Just get good grades. 

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6 minutes ago, Ryn said:

I find fault with this logic. Many people don’t get into law school. And certainly most people who apply don’t get in. So I’d say you should pick a major that would lead to a career that you wouldn’t mind having if law doesn’t work out. 

Other than that, where you go to school doesn’t matter. Just get good grades. 

Fair enough. What I meant by that was that if you're set on it then you'd be more willing to take the initiative to ensure you're accepted (i.e., work to score high on the LSAT, get good grades, get involved, etc.). I definitely wasn't clear in my original post but it was probably just as much a poor assumption on my part as well since things don't always work out the way we want them to. That's my bad.

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I went to U of T for undergrad and loved it, but I know a lot of people who found it overwhelming. I don't know how this compares to the state of affairs at other schools, but don't assume that U of T will necessarily be the best for for you. I'm happy to talk more about my undergrad at U of T over PM if you like. 

But more generally, when it comes to your undergrad, I would strongly recommend doing something you enjoy. This will make it easier to focus on doing well; it will make it more likely that you'll be passionate enough to seek out interesting opportunities that will look good on your cv; and it can also serve as your backup plan if you don't get into law school OR if you decide after two years of undergrad that you actually don't want to go to law school because things are looking promising with your undergrad discipline. 

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I also went to UofT and really enjoyed my time here (majored in Ethics, Society & Law). That being said, I have friends from Ryerson and York that also participated in this year's admissions cycle that also loved their time in university. If I were you, I'd pick the program that you want to do most. 4 years is a long time to spend in a program that you don't like, and frankly your interest in law could change. 

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Posted (edited)

If you're dead set on going to law school, you should choose whichever major and whichever institution that you personally can achieve the highest GPA. U of T is notorious for gpa deflation but you might like their environment or majors that they can offer.

Edited by darklightness

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17 minutes ago, darklightness said:

U of T is notorious for gpa deflation but you might like their environment or majors that they can offer.

This is likely just how U of T kids make themselves feel better for not doing well in school.

 

OP there are many different factors which will determine how you perform in university. Grade deflation shouldn't be significant in deciding where you spend the next four years of your life.

Pick a program you like, and that will challenge you. Work to do well. There will be administrative hurdles in your way that seem unfair at times. That's true of any school and institution. Deal with them to the best of your ability, just as all students at all universities have to. Do the best you can. Reevaluate your career ambitions and what's possible for you after two years of university.

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21 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

This is likely just how U of T kids make themselves feel better for not doing well in school.

Well yeah. But the fact, nonetheless. 

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There is literally no evidence of grade deflation at U of T post-reform. Unless you count the whining of countless undergraduates, but then every school in Canada is suffering from an epidemic of grade deflation that puts the Spanish Flu to shame. 

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10 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

There is literally no evidence of grade deflation at U of T post-reform. Unless you count the whining of countless undergraduates, but then every school in Canada is suffering from an epidemic of grade deflation that puts the Spanish Flu to shame. 

"How DARE they give me a 50 after I wrote the exam without showing up to class once or opening up the textbooks. Or reading the power points posted online which make the material digestible enough within a couple days to get a 70 on the final. How DARE they. Must be grade deflation."

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1) "I also have to keep my options open if Law School does not work out and having a BA in arts or criminology wouldn't be to much help, I need to be able to get a job after uni." This is definitely something someone in high-school would say. Guess what? You're wrong on every level.

2) "Should I pick the easiest way to secure good grades?" No, you should be choosing a program that interests you the most because that ='s better grades (for the most part). 

3) "Is U of T worth all that money?" Are you referring to prestige? The university you go to does not matter for law school. Just get good grades. 

4) "Which of the schools offer a more secure environment and a good community?" This is subjective to each person. 

Right now, all you need to think about it getting into university and doing well in your first year. 

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@Tiff91 Tuition is the exact same in all regulated university programs in Ontario. Hence, Ryerson, U of T, and York all have the exact same undergraduate fees, in virtually all cases that you mentioned. I'm not sure where you received the misinformation regarding undergraduate tuition in Ontario.

In terms of your other questions, some of the posts above contain good suggestions and information. Focus on subjects and programs that you enjoy, and work as hard as you possibly can. Don't even give up 1% of an "easy" participation mark; leave nothing on the table throughout your post-secondary career. Be open to challenges and changes along the way, too. Finally, focus on learning vital skills that will be transferable outside of university, such as: critical thinking, group/team work, public speaking, research, writing, networking, and Microsoft Excel. Many employers desire these skills, and there are countless university programs which can help you develop in all or most of these in-demand areas.

Last word: I am graduating from U of T this June, and it is an excellent school. In every case, the grades that I received were a direct reflection of the amount of work that I put into each class, as well as my command of the course subject matter. Many students do not put in the work or simply lack subject matter command, and anecdotally, these students are the ones that cannot believe that they land right in U of T's "acceptable" course average range of C- to B-. Conversely, I know many  students who perform at the top of their classes academically, and almost always earn an A or higher, including me. 

Good luck!

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

This is likely just how U of T kids make themselves feel better for not doing well in school.

 

OP there are many different factors which will determine how you perform in university. Grade deflation shouldn't be significant in deciding where you spend the next four years of your life.

Pick a program you like, and that will challenge you. Work to do well. There will be administrative hurdles in your way that seem unfair at times. That's true of any school and institution. Deal with them to the best of your ability, just as all students at all universities have to. Do the best you can. Reevaluate your career ambitions and what's possible for you after two years of university.

No it's true. I completed U of T with a 3.73 CGPA. The TAs I spoke to often stated that they do tend to mark harder because its "U of T". I am also confident based on comparing courses (looking at Crim/SOC courses specifically) with other universities, U of T tests harder and asks more from students. Whether you think we say that to make ourselves feel better, thats up to you. I think I got a decent CGPA and I still say that U of T is known for what was said based on my experience.

 

OP just go wherever you would have a better life experience. Often times we tend to overlook the enjoyment aspect of learning because we are too fixated on the end result. Find a school where your interests and values intersect (& maybe where your friends are going if you want), get a good CGPA and enjoy what you are learning. 

Edited by lawstudentmikescott
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Can we please not turn this thread into an argument about how hard we think certain schools are compared to others? 

This has been rehashed over and over again and I’d rather not see it happen here. 

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On 4/21/2019 at 11:32 PM, Ryn said:

Can we please not turn this thread into an argument about how hard we think certain schools are compared to others? 

This has been rehashed over and over again and I’d rather not see it happen here. 

So, not schools, but okay to argue which programs are more or less difficult? :twisted: 

Seriously, @Tiff91 and with caveat that I went longer ago than most posters here and am not now working at a law firm or other legal employer so lack that present knowledge, you have competing factors. Bearing in mind that there are lots of people who want to go to law school who don't (whether not being admitted/marks, because their interests change, monetary or family situation, whatever). It's fine to aspire to law school (or whatever other graduate or second-entry program) and to consider it, but that shouldn't be the only factor in choosing where to go and in what program after high school, not least because you might never go to law school.

I mean, if one's only purpose was getting into law school, law school or bust, then one should pick the program and school that that individual believes they will get the highest marks in (and gives enough free time for doing some other stuff that forms part of a good holistic profile, but marks and LSAT matter most). Whether or not it interests them, whether or not they'd have good job prospects if they don't go to law school, whether or not the program is more expensive (tuition plus living expenses) than alternatives. But in reality, taking into account things like costs, employability, interest in subject, etc. should be considered in addition to what marks one believes one will get.

I disagree with some, I don't think one should choose to study something one believes will be challenging (not trying to pick on anyone this thread, thinking more about what I recall reading in other threads about difficulty of programs...). Ideal would be to choose something interesting, useful if one doesn't go to law school, and in which one believes one will get good marks. And also considering other factors like costs and location. I mean, if someone is a math genius who struggles with English and history, offered a scholarship to Waterloo in mathematics, should they pursue a humanities degree instead at another university because it will be more challenging for them?! You want to try and balance your strengths, interests, and usefulness of a degree in X together with what you believe you can get good marks in (in that example, someone weak in humanities, reading analysis and writing, might have greater difficulties in law school also). Now, if what interests you is useful for employability and you think you can do well in it and it will also be a challenge you think you can manage well while learning and getting good marks, okay. But that's incidental, not choosing challenge as a purpose in selecting what to study.

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I can't give any advice on Toronto schools as I didn't attend one, but I majored in Criminology and minored in Law and Society. It was an awesome experience, I highly recommend. 

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I'll take a slightly different approach...

IMO, go to Ryerson.

Here's why.

While UofT is actually downtown (unlike York) and more "prestigious" (whatever that means to you - I would argue its all marketing tbh, especially for undergrad, but I digress).  Still, it's also the most challenging school on your list. If you're planning on going to law school afterwards, and you're dead set on this, the most important thing is getting in. This means getting good grades and writing a strong LSAT.

You can't do anything about the LSAT right now, but the grades is a different story. UofT is notorious for being a difficult school gradeswise - I won't litigate the issue on this thread, but I know enough personally to say there's definitely something to this. So, unless you're looking to enter a field or work for an employer where UofT graduates have a distinct advantage, for example some engineering firms are known to prefer UofT (and Waterloo) grads. But if this isn't you, and you're planning on doing some version of the humanities, UofT will at best be a neutral choice, and at worst, hurt your prospects for law school. And as far as the humanities go, I would argue that you can get an experience that is just as good, if not better (due to smaller class sizes) at York or Ryerson.

But here's why Ryerson edges out York IMO. York and Ryerson are comparable in terms of their undergrad reputations. But the commute to York's campus, depending on where you're coming from, can be brutal, and there's nothing around the campus for you to enjoy whatever free time you do have after travelling. Honestly, even in vibrant cities commuters often don't get to fully enjoy the sense of community at their school because of the constant travelling. So it helps a lot to be near the heart of downtown Toronto!

Not to mention, I know plenty of Ryerson grads. They're great, they're awesome, and a fair chunk of them are academic refugees from UofT and they've all gone on to do great, interesting work. 

Btw, nothing in this post should be taken to suggest that you don't have to work hard at Ryerson, or that you can coast and end up with fantastic grades if you go there. My point is that if you know for sure that your endgoal is to get into law school, Ryerson is the best way to get there, while also giving you the best chance to enjoy the city, your classmates and your undergrad experience. Also, I hear they've just opened their own law school.

 

Full disclosure: I did my undergrad at UofT. I made great friends, and still think fondly of my time there. But I'm trying to give the OP the frank talking to I wish someone had given to me prior to choosing my school. The point has been made before, but law schools don't account for how "difficult" an undergrad institution is. It's an intangible that you can't factor into any admissions process. Even knowing what I know now, I would probably have still chosen UofT, but it would have been a much more informed decision.

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Posted (edited)

I guess I’m a bit late to the party but I’ll throw in the 2 things I wish someone told me before I started my undergrad.

1. Do your breadth elective requirements first. To complete an undergrad (at least at the university I went to so please correct me if other school do this differently) you need to try courses in a wide variety of disciplines in order to fill all the requirements. Do these first, so that you can try out a bunch of subjects and choose which you prefer. So many people I knew decided what they wanted to do, took all the courses to fill their major in the first few years, and then at the end they were left with the electives. At which point many of them take an elective in some field they thought they would hate and end up wishing they had majored in that instead of what they ended up doing. I consider myself to be lucky in that I entered the business program, but stumbled into a History course in my first semester as I needed a class to fill an awkward spot in my schedule, and I loved it and switched majors and am so glad that I did! I thought I’d be a business major and ended up majoring in history and minoring in English. I’m now quite interested in corporate law, but am still glad that I didn’t do business in my undergrad as I don’t think I would have done as well because I lacked the passion for it that I had for history. 

2. Every undergrad field leads to job opportunities... if you’re the best. If you aspire to be average, choose your discipline wisely and look for something with a lot of job opportunities. But if you are committed to finding something you love (via the approach in point 1) and to reaching the top of your classes in that field then you will get a job in whatever you choose to do. 

 

Edited by Johnappleseed

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