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University of Florida vs McGill

BelmontVABelmontVA 86 replies8 threads Junior Member
D’s current preferred school among her admitted ones is the University of Florida. Parents’ preferred school is McGill. While the ultimate decision will be up to D as this will be her journey, I would appreciate others’ perspectives on these two schools.

Her intended major is communications (though not 100% sure) which is offered at the College of Journalism and Communications at the UF vs a minor only at McGill so her major at McGill would be in other majors in the Faculty of Arts, e.g. linguistics. Intend to return to the US post graduation for employment or a law degree.

While D generally prefers a city/suburban type of setting where McGill is more attractive, her biggest concern with McGill is it is a Canadian school, especially under the current COVID-19 crisis the US-Canada border is closed. We are from the metro Washington DC area so distance wise both schools are about the same.

Academically McGill seems slighter better though both are strong. McGill has a 4.5 academics star vs UF's 4 stars in the 2020 Fiske Guide to Colleges. We are somewhat concerned about McGill’s reputation of grade deflation and no-hand-holding "stressful” environment

D is not a party person but she enjoys sports scenes so it is hard to beat UF from that aspect.

COA would be ~US$44k at UF as OOS vs ~US$30k at McGill.

Thank you in advance for your insights and perspectives.
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Replies to: University of Florida vs McGill

  • 57special57special 692 replies16 threads Member
    Seems like there is not much to be said, if your D prefers Florida, you are OK with the extra cost, and have doubts about her crossing the border. S1 is at McGill. We left him up there this spring rather than bring him down and expose him to the O'Hare zoo. He has rented a house with some friends in what is called the "student ghetto". Some of his classmates from the Northheast rented cars and returned home, but others from heavily hit Covid areas(i.e.Westchester county, Brooklyn, NJ)have stayed up in Montreal at their parents urging.

    He is in his 2nd year. He has always been a good student, and a mature person, but I have noticed a distinct maturation in him since going to McGill, especially compared to friends who stayed home and went to the local B10 State flagship. McGill demands a lot of students, but there are rewards.

    There are college sports at McGill(son plays a Varsity sport), but it's not going to compete with what FLA has.

    S1 was pumped to be going to McGill, and it is working out very well. He is meeting people from all over the world, is in an interesting city, and is getting challenged in class every day. Your D should have the same excitement and willingness to go to Montreal/McGill, or she might be an unhappy camper.

    The difference in weather is obvious.

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  • PublisherPublisher 11184 replies146 threads Senior Member
    Agree that if COA is not an issue, then it is simply a matter of personal preference.

    @57special: Covered a lot of ground so I would like to restate the obvious: Big difference with respect to weather.
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  • ShrimpBurritoShrimpBurrito 1714 replies27 threads Senior Member
    I think strength of program needs to be considered here. If she wants to study Communications and McGill does not offer it as a major, it doesn’t seem to be the best fit, right? Especially if she prefers UF for other reasons.

    COA may be less at McGill, but the provincial government recently made changes that will increase international tuition in some McGill faculties, including Arts. I forget the rate at which it will increase, but it is substantial over the course of four years. So, the overall COA difference will not be as much as noted above. @TomSrOfBoston , do you know more specifics about tuition increase for international students?
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  • SwimmingDadSwimmingDad 938 replies11 threads Member
    I'll do a couple of posts - here is what they say about tuition. I don't think the increases will be too great for Faculty of Arts: "Tuition fees for this category of international students became deregulated as of 2019-20. Returning students can expect an increase of 3.5% for 2020-21. In subsequent years students can expect annual increases comparable to the rate used by the Quebec government to increase tuition for Quebec residents as long as there is no break in enrollment. "
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  • SwimmingDadSwimmingDad 938 replies11 threads Member
    It's been a long day so this will be a few random thoughts. I will start by saying I have a U2 (Junior) soon to be U3 (Senior) studying Economics in the Faculty of Arts.

    * The border situation: Yes it is stressful right now with the border situation. Both of my boys stayed in Montreal and I know they are better up there but boy it feels weird. Usually, the border is a big non-event. The current context will go on for a bit but the border restrictions for students will be eased.
    * Montreal: Sorry but Montreal is hands down one of the best student cities in the world. It is diverse and culture and fun and safe. Fantastic arts scene...and it is affordable and accessible. And yes, the 18 drinking age means there is alcohol and a club scene...if your child chooses it. By the time the kids hit their junior and senior years in many ways their social life is more like the social life of a 20 something out of school than a college kid. And I mean that in a good way.
    * Rigor: I know that Florida is a good school but I believe that for most majors McGill is simply more rigorous. Along with that goes the fact that there is a fair amount of stress and pressure. On the flip side, I watched my son's critical thinking skills improve DRAMATICALLY his first year at McGill.
    * Adulting - Hands down McGill wins on this front. The great thing is it isn't anything you have to do but just something that happens because they all are doing it. Moving off campus after the first year was stressful as they went through the process but boy do the kids step up. And they really take ownership for all of these pieces of their college expierence....much more so than their friends at good schools (Bowdoin, Middlebury, etc.).
    Grades - Yes there is definitely grade deflation at McGill. It is pretty well known by graduate schools I think. My son's first year he was definitely frustrated that he worked his ass off for a 3.0 and his friends at the other schools I mentioned did a lot less work and were well able a 3.5.
    Sports Scene - Not much of a sports scene. Intramurals are huge though. My son enjoys college sports and not going to a school where they watch them hasn't been a big problem. That said, the kids that play sports tend to go watch other sports and the teams have really strong sense of community in general.

    Personally, I would do a few things:
    * Remove the COVID-19 / Border issue for a moment. FWIW: My son had trouble pulling the trigger on McGill. He suddenly panicked about going "international". (We live in Boston...it's only five hours for gosh sake!)
    Figure out the big factors. My son wanted city, great academics, ability to run XC/Track (which he then quit right away!), green space. Cost WAS a factor for us.
    Make it visual: We put the factors on a whiteboard in our basement had him rate his final two against them. Visualizing it helped.

    My son's decision was BU (and he was offered a spot on the team...yes he could achieve his dream of running D1) and McGill. From our standpoint, it was a no brainer. McGill checked every box and was SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than BU.. After his first year he said "McGill was the best decision I ever made." The key there is yes I steered him a bit (cost) but HE felt like HE made the decision.

    Sorry....long winded tonight and a bit all over the place. The bottom line is she can't go wrong...it's a great decision to have.

    Feel free to ping me if you have questions.

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