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Accepted off waitlist, already enrolled elsewhere, having doubts, HELP PLEASE?

throwawayaccntthrowawayaccnt Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
edited July 2012 in McGill University
Hi guys,

So, I'm a resident of the U.S., and I applied to McGill as early as I possibly could during my senior year of high school. It was my dream school; my number one. I wanted more than anything to go there, but sadly, I was wait listed in the spring. With the May 1 decision deadline approaching, and no further word from McGill, I decided to enroll at Northeastern University in Boston. I liked Northeastern, although I certainly didn't love it as much as I loved McGill, and I made all the necessary plans to attend. I paid my enrollment deposit, went to orientation, made some friends, found a roommate, scheduled my classes, bought a meal plan, told all of my family and friends of my decision, etc.

About two days ago, McGill decided to accept me off the wait list, and gave me until July 17 to respond. I have no idea what to do. Everything is already set up for Northeastern already; my parents attended orientation with me and really liked the school, and they've already paid upwards of $1,000 to Northeastern. Northeastern gave me approximately $28,000 per year in scholarships, which is a lot.

I hope to work in journalism in the future with a focus on international relations and politics. As an American, would it make more sense for me to attend an American institution, get American internships, establish American connections, and work for an American publication, considering I don't plan on living in Canada for the rest of my life? Would it be fair to say that, for my purposes, Boston is a better city for journalism than Montreal?

Northeastern also has the co-op program, which could seriously help my job prospects.

More than anything, I'm terrified of upsetting my parents. They've already mentally, emotionally, and financially committed to Northeastern, but I feel like I'll regret it for the rest of my life if I don't at least visit McGill before July 17. I really don't want to cause such trouble for them, but this is such an important decision; I mean, this is my LIFE we're talking about, and maybe that's something I shouldn't be afraid to stand up for?

What do you guys think of both schools? What would you do if you were in my position?

Thank you so much in advance, I feel so helpless right now and any input would be immensely appreciated.
Post edited by throwawayaccnt on

Replies to: Accepted off waitlist, already enrolled elsewhere, having doubts, HELP PLEASE?

  • ZerofeXZerofeX Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    I hope to work in journalism in the future with a focus on international relations and politics. As an American, would it make more sense for me to attend an American institution, get American internships, establish American connections, and work for an American publication, considering I don't plan on living in Canada for the rest of my life? Would it be fair to say that, for my purposes, Boston is a better city for journalism than Montreal?


    You just answered your own question, didnt you?
  • tomofbostontomofboston Registered User Posts: 2,373 Senior Member
    I am in a unique position to comment here. I am a McGill alumnus and have posted on this forum extensively, usually encouraging American atudents to attend McGill. My dad is a Northeastern alumnus.

    Both are excellent schools but obviously quite different schools. As you know McGill does not offer a journalism major. Northeastern does have that major and is becoming increasingly known for its international focus with a variety of opportunities for international study and coop. Also, a $28,000/year scholarship makes Northeastern fairly affordable. Both Boston and Montreal are fantastic cities for a college student.

    My dad received excellent career preparation at Northeastern that led to a successful career. He is a strong advocate for his school just as I am an advocate for McGill.

    I would recommend, given your situation, to attend Northeastern. You would not be doing it for your parents but for yourself and your career plans.
  • sauer1212sauer1212 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    throwawayaccnt,

    Your post literally scared me a bit - turns out we are basically the same person. Just a couple months ago I enrolled at Northeastern University while sitting on 5 wait lists elsewhere. I planned on majoring in international relations and journalism, and maybe minoring in french. I paid the enrollment deposit, the housing deposit, visited the campus, bought a sweatshirt, answered the roommate questionnaire. And that's when McGill accepted me off their waitlist.

    I am also an American, and while I never had a "number 1" in mind, my heart went to McGill after a visit for many reasons. In fact, when I was accepted to McGill, it was almost a no brainer to attend - however I still had a lot to consider. Frankly, it sounds like you have a lot more to consider. But I hope that if I tell you how I made my decision, and what I've learned about (and loved about) McGill thus far, it will in turn help you make yours.

    Like I said we have our differences despite being in practically the same situation: Northeastern accepted me early action and offered me absolutely no scholarship money. Therefore my college education was to cost me $56,000 per year for four years. While my parents supported my decision and offered to pay for part of this amount, I would have had to take out loans. While money is never my biggest concern (I think that if you can, you should go where you want) - this monetary burden was painful to think about. In your case, $28,000 in scholarship is really quite generous, and therefore something to think about. However, the tuition for the faculty of arts at McGill is still less, at around $15,000 a year. You're getting (relatively) good deals at both schools, but McGill's affordability is incomparable in my opinion. If you're thinking about grad school (I am), then money spent in undergraduate is a big factor.

    Speaking of grad school, McGill does not have a journalism program, nor many writing courses in all honesty. As of now, I would like to become a sort of international journalist. So why would I go to McGill when they don't have my program of interest? Well, the reason may just be a perk of my personality, but when I looked at the big picture I realized that journalism might just not be necessary as an undergraduate student. In fact - why should anything be necessary in undergrad? In choosing McGill I reverted to my indecisive nature and chose to keep my options open. Why choose now, when you can pay less for undergrad, explore all your options, and finalize your studies in grad school? On the other hand McGill has a poli-sci major with an international relations minor, as well as a communications program, all in the faculty of arts - so if you are determined you can specialize. On the other other hand, if you are looking to get right into a career after undergrad, Northeastern's co-ops are very appealing. If grad school isn't even on your radar, Northeastern provides career hook-ups like no other school in the U.S. and you will certainly graduate advantaged. Do you want to keep your options open, or dive right in?

    Everything that I read in books, on the internet, or heard from teachers and family during the college application process was a phrase that really ****ed me off: "You'll know it's the right place for you 'if it just feels right'." It felt right with colleges that rejected me, it felt fine and good with ones that accepted me, and I knew when I didn't like one. But did I ever have some sort of ridiculous epiphany once I stepped foot on either the Northeastern or the McGill campuses? Hell no! Although this popular notion of intuition pestered me, there is something to be said for what I would rather call "vibes."

    One of my main ideals for a college of choice was for it to be located in a city; I needed something metropolitan. I visited Northeastern over my spring break and it seemed very comfortable, pleasant, campus-like yet still city-oriented. I liked the layout of the campus, and the city of Boston wasn't bad either. I liked how there were so many other nearby colleges, a lot of students running down city blocks. I was interested in all of this and it pleased me, as well as Northeastern's academics, so I made my decision. I wasn't crazy about the city of Boston, I've always been more of a New York girl, and it wasn't nearly as funky or wild as NYC, but it was acceptable so I rolled with it.

    But I can honestly say that when I visited McGill and Montreal - though there was no outrageous epiphany - I absolutely fell in love with the university and its city. If you ask anyone who has been they will agree that Montreal is an amazing place. It is extremely cultural, architecturally astounding, lively, artsy, funky, historic, and intellectual. If I had to compare I would say it's very New York-like though geographically smaller. At the same time many describe it as European with its french roots - evidenced everywhere you turn on its city streets. I found the city very navigable, and there is so much to do: so many choices for dining, tons of clubs, festivals, shopping, even nature as McGill backs right up to Mount Royal, which contains tons of running and biking trails from where spectacular views of the city can be seen. The campus was actually a campus, yet built right up against the center of downtown. I'm a big fan of big, old, beautiful buildings - and McGill has a lot of those. There is greenery, there are park benches and trees and gardened walkways. And there is no backdrop like Mount Royal. The thing is, I just got amazing vibes from Montreal, and McGill. The vibes just did it.

    If I must directly compare the two cities, Boston struck me as more proper, prim, and preppy in nature. It is more spread out, wealthy (more expensive), and business-focused. Montreal is probably a bit dirtier, older, compact. However it is very diverse, youthful, and there is truly always something exciting and awesome happening somewhere.

    A big difference in the social aspects of the schools is that the legal drinking age in Quebec is 18, and this actually tends to have an effect of instilling a lot of students with more responsibility due to the less taboo nature of alcohol consumption. In the states I feel that a lot of kids drink just to get wasted, but for a lot of kids there that just isn't cool - so that's nice. McGill is also known for its extremely bureaucratic way of doing things, which I've found a lot of people like to complain about. But a lot of people say that this nature of the university as well as the city really pushes kids into independence early on, and in a good way. No one is there to hold your hand, schedule your classes, or make sure you show up to them. McGill forces you to be an adult and in turn treats you like one.

    The only thing that concerns me about your situation is that I am fairly positive you are not guaranteed campus housing, since you were accepted after June 18th. I felt really comfortable about going to McGill because I was guaranteed first-year residence, and the residence program is really awesome. In this case you would probably have to rent an apartment unaffiliated with the University, and you wouldn't necessarily get the "dorm experience." However, McGill is pretty good at helping students arrange off-campus housing (which is generally cheaper, anyway), finding roommates, and actually a lot of other first years choose to live on their own or off-campus. It's not unusual to not dorm, and it won't isolate you from social aspects of first year. There are still a ton of ways to get involved on campus, too. I would look into this, you never know, there may be a chance you could get into rez.

    Northeastern has really great programs, a convenient and comfortable location, and I really believe it is a fantastic school where a lot of people seem to have a great time. But I chose McGill because I knew I would be comfortable there as an International student, it has an amazing reputation worldwide, it is much more affordable than most American private schools, I could keep my options open, improve my french, be challenged academically, and also live it up in the amazing and beautiful city of Montreal. I knew it would be a lot different than the traditional American college experience I had expected. But doing something new and different is really exciting for me. After I visited, there was no doubt in my mind that this was the school for me. Obviously I haven't yet started there, so who knows what I will encounter during my University experience. But I can tell you that as I am sitting in front of my computer right now I am proudly wearing a McGill t-shirt, and I found your post on CC because all summer I have been obsessively looking things up about McGill -- that's just how psyched I am about going there. I think you are totally right - it is your life, you should choose what you know will be right for you. And honestly, you should choose what you think will be fun, and what will be a good experience for your own personal (not just academic) growth. I would hope to think your parents would want the same for you.

    If you haven't already visited Montreal - do it. Also, you must check out the videos posted by McGillRezLife on Youtube.

    I sincerely hope this helps you out. Best of luck with your decision, whatever it may be!
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