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Schools Prestige vs Grades Which university should I pick?

  1. Jun 15, 2012 #1
    Hi, i plan on one day going to university, either University of Toronto or University of Waterloo. Waterloo is not internationally known while U of T is but it's programs are apparently extremely hard and the bell curves are ridiculous (knowledge from months of forum discussions, couldn't be wrong). I also plan on attending a prestigious graduate school in america one day. So my overall question is, how much does prestige matter? Is it worth it to go to U of T even though its a "GPA dropper" ?
    Obviously if someone came out of Yale with a 3.8 gpa and i came out of Waterloo with the same (we had equal letters of rec, essays and experience), he'd get excepted first to the same grad school we applied but for instance (all theoretical), what if he had a 3.6 while i had 3.8 (again same essays, letters and experience) would the student from Yale get excepted first because he's from a VERY prestigious school?

    (Sorry for the ridiculous question and spelling)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2012 #2
    Neither, location!

    The idea of going to two schools with the same essays, letters and experience is not going to happen. Go where you'd prefer and just make the best of your education and don't play the numbers.
  4. Jun 15, 2012 #3
    I'm not sure why you're asking the same question over and over again.

    First, it's always easier to get into US grad schools if you're an American and went to an US school. One thing is that it's a lot easier to fund them.

    So yes, if you went to Yale (or basically any other US school), you'll have a lot easier time trying to get into another US grad school. There's nothing you can do about it.

    And to be honest, tonnes of high school kids think they're going to Harvard/MIT or some sort of "big name" school before they go to University. The truth is that only a handful (yes, literally a handful) of them will eventually get in.
    If you didn't represent Canada in any sort of Olympiad or at least that sort of caliber, it's unlikely you'll be doing extremely well in university, and you have a very slim chance of getting accepted to that sort of school.

    Second, I have no clue why you think Waterloo is a less prestigious school. (By the way, I'm from UofT) Obviously how "prestigious" a school is in the Physics community has nothing to do with what your neighbor/parents thinks or what people on Reddit think.
    Both Toronto and Waterloo are very well respected schools in the field and both schools have very well-known people in various fields of Physics.
    Waterloo also catches some attention because of the Perimeter Institute.

    Third, while it's very true that UofT has low grades (C+ for most courses), it doesn't necessarily mean that Waterloo isn't a GPA killer.
    People from UofT tend to complain more simply because UofT prints all course averages on the transcript, which is a very rare practice.
    So when people see there transcript, they go "OMG, the average for every course is a C" and start going crazy online.
    It might be that it's even worse (or better) in Waterloo, it's just that students there are less well-informed about their average.
    It is, however, quite true that UofT attracts a larger proportion of the brightest Physics students (Note that I'm talking about the brightest, I'm not sure about the average physics student) and it makes it harder to impress Professors.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
  5. Jun 15, 2012 #4
    Ams426, the reason i was worried about Waterloo was because it isn't known internationally wise, it was rated 147th best university by THE university rankings (and another one 243rd or something like that). I just don't see myself living in Canada, once i get older i'll probably leave since it doesn't seem like they have allot of opportunities for physics graduates (at least good ones), maybe you know some?

    I also understand that the chance of getting into an amazing graduate school is extremely low but it just seems like university is easy and i'll get good grades in it, this is primarily because i study way ahead of my level, i bought a college physics textbook for an $80 steal. I'm doing pretty fine and i've taken online tests which i did very well at (im in gr 10 btw).

    Since you are in U of T, would you mind answering some important questions for me?
    -what are your current grades at U of T in what major?
    -do you find it really hard like everyone says?
    -what marks were you accepted into u of t with? I've read the average for UTSC and UTM is 82% (to get in) while st. George is 86% which don't seem like high grades to me.

    Thanks for the replies:biggrin:
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