I am a current McGill Student; Ask me anything

I’m a 4th year Anatomy and Cell Biology Undergrad at McGill. Having read through the forum, I figured I would open up to any questions you might have about my experience at McGill.

Keep in mind it will be my own, subjective experience, but I can also talk about what I have seen from other people.

I don’t know much in the way of admissions - haven’t thought about it since I got in!

Does getting in U1 (being awarded credits/Advanced Standing) allow you to graduate early?
Does receiving transfer credit reduce your tuition?

Hi,do you know how competitive the transfer students are? From the former post it seems 3.85gpa is impossible to get admitted.

There is something that I have wondered about for a long time.

In high school I was very strong in math and sciences (A’s were a disappointment, A+'s were expected). I was rather weak in English and French (I tried but just passing was the goal). I was in the middle in other subjects such as history. I was accepted to McGill but went elsewhere.

I have heard that McGill is academically very demanding. As such, I have long wondered how I would have been able to handle English and language classes at McGill as a Math major.

Does McGill have “English classes for math majors” and “math classes for English majors” that are easier than the “math classes for math majors” and “English classes for English majors”?

Since the OP hasn’t been back I will take a stab at answering some of these questions.
@luzmariana21 Except for students graduating from a Quebec CEGEP or obtaining the French baccalaureat McGill requires 120 credits to graduate. If you are granted credits through AP, IB etc. that will count toward the 120 credits. You can only get a max 30 credits that way. McGill charges tuition per credit taken at the university. The normal course load is 15 credits per semester but many with advanced credit only take 12 to lessen the workload.
@greyway Transfer admission requirements vary by program. For Desautels you would likely need a 3.9 even to be considered. For Science maybe a 3.7. Arts may be 3.5 but that doesn;t guarantee admission.
@DadTwoGirls McGill does ofer calculus for non-math/engineering majors. I doubt if they offer English for math majors.

I’m deciding between majoring in Psych or in Marketing. Which would you say is a better major at McGill?

@jiujiu722 That is an odd question without additional information about you. What are your career plans? Have you already been admitted to both Arts and Desautels? Both programs are strong at McGill. Desautels has a very international focus.

Is mcgill a party school? Whats the social scene like in mcgill? If you do not speak english is it harder to be included in the party scene?

“If you do not speak english is it harder to be included in the party scene?”

If you do not speak English then do not attend McGill.

If you speak French fluently, then the University of Montreal is very good and there are other good French language universities in Montreal.

Did you mean to ask if you do not speak French? I have heard of students who do not speak any French attending McGill. Picking up a bit of French will make Montreal more fun, but is possible after you start at McGill.

McGill is academically very challenging. If you attend McGill then you should expect to spend a lot of time studying.

@rosyrosy The party scene at McGill is not like at US universities. The drinking age in Quebec is 18. Frats are few and small. There are no tailgaters before athletic games. Partying is done either in bars or clubs or in off campus parties.

I’m coming from a small high school in NJ where I know all of my teachers personally and I’m a bit concerned about how rigorous and big McGill is. I have already committed and am excited but I was wondering if you have any tips to make big classes seem less intimidating?

Also, I am currently filling out housing forms and was hoping for some guidance there? I like the idea of Solin because it’s apartment-style but am hesitant because it is far from campus. I also like the hotel-style dorms but I’m not sure how I will be able to make friends there.

Upper Rez would be the easiest to make friends. They are old and lack amenities though.

Large classes all have discussion sections and labs for science courses. The rigor is real but manageable if you are independent and you do not get distracted by an excessive social life.

My daughter is finishing her first year in Bioengineering and she came from a small HS in NC. She had no problem adjusting to big class size. She attended the tutorial (smaller group) and found that a lot of TA were really helpful. She also met with professors at their office hours, if needed.
She did stay in Solin Hall (by choice) because she did not want to eat the campus food but cook for herself. She really liked it but found it far from campus! Metro stops at 1 am so if she was at friends house she had to either leave prior to others or spend the night!
That was her only complaint. Solin is located in Atwater neighbourhood which is a fun and upcoming place with a great market!
She says she would think about Douglas Hall if she had to do it again! A lot of her friends were there and they seemed to like it a lot! Douglas often fills quickly with Major Renewable scholarship kids.
Hope this helps!

McGill Dad here - son finishing third (U2) year.

Size: McGill is definitely a large school but you will be amazed how you will cross paths with friends on campus all of the time. You do need to advocate for yourself and reach out for support…but when you do the support is there. The other thing…and don’t laugh…talk to the people sitting next to you in class. My son has made many close friends this way. Kids at McGill are, for the most part, very open.

Rigor: The rigor is real. You will work very hard and there is no grade inflation like in the in US. BUT…I have been blown away how McGill has really help my son develop top notch critical thinking skills…and a VERY global perspective.

Dorms: Everyone will offer a different opinion. My son was in Upper Rez (Molson). He was a somewhat shy kid and not much of a partier. Upper Rez was great for him. There were always people to go out with if he wanted to and if he needed to stay in and study there were people to do that with as well. And the rooms are all singles so when he wanted privacy he could get it. His closest friends are kids he met in Upper Rez (plus the ones he made in class and activities). Kids that live in Solin tend to like it because they want to be in apartment setting and away from campus. My son liked being able to be on campus and in the middle of the action - Solin would not have been a good fit.

Finally, Montreal is just a fantastic city to attend university. Culture, restaurants, clubs, concerts…it truly is second to none. (And you’ll LOVE the affordability!)

Congrats and good luck.

Is it true that McGill only looks at scores? I am a student in the U.S. and as you may know, top university admissions in the states is based heavily on extracurriculars and only about half on test scores/grades.

@kchen096 For American applicants McGill looks at unweighted GPA and SAT/ACT scores. There are published minima on their website. The minima vary by program. EC’s, letters of rec are not considered. But the minima are pretty rigid. A 4.0 unweighted GPA will not make up for a low SAT/ACT score. A 36 ACT score will not make up for a low UW GPA.

If You could send me any of your social media handle.i would contact you there.i have lots of queries regarding McGill.

Hi.I am an international student in Singapore (from another country)in 11th grade studying A Levels now.I want to major in Pure Math and obtain Phd and hopefully become a researcher/mathematician with my due efforts.I sincerely want to migrate to Canada in the near future.I am yet indecisive on if Mcgill is the most suitable uni for me to realize my dream and potential as I heard that Waterloo is also very strong in math.I come from a low income family in East Asia with household income lower than USD15k/year.I am always on a scholarship for my studies,including now.I am very concerned about my future now.Here are some of my thoughts and background(hope its not too long):

1.I heard that Mcgill and waterloo are 2 strongest school in pure math with good reputation,which is important for research opportunities and getting in touch with great professors.Most importantly,these 2 unis are the most affordable ones compared to UBC,U of T etc.

2.Although my parent asked me not to worry about finance,I am worried about the cost of living there.I want to live in a safe community,most ideally in campus,which is also more expensive,sadly.If i wanna pursue a Phd,I m not sure how many years it takes to realize my dream.However,I think it is worth it to invest in my future now even if it really costs a lot to go to Canada.

3.I have a longing for immigrating to Canada and heard that Montreal is more probable to migrate to than,say,Ontario as there are more options for immigrates there(I am not quite sure tho,but i will research on this later).As I am an Asian female and of a small build,I want to live in a safe environment where discrimination is rare,people are friendly and crime rate is low.

4.I am more fascinated with theoretical work than ‘hands-on experiences’,hence tho ppl say that internship and coop programs are really important to apply for,I always think that pure knowledge appeals to me the most.However,this is quite contradictory given the fact that if i dont go into the work industry early,my parent will have to support me for a longer time,waiting for the moment when I can be a postdoc fellow to come,which may still take quite some time.I also dont want to do part-time jobs as I want to fully dedicate to my studying and taking as many courses as i can to graduate earlier than per normal,saving a lot of money for tuition/rent.

5.I always wanna apply for more scholarships,so I took up any activity/competition/extracurriculum that I can to kinds ‘build my portfolio’ and sacrifice my sleep/recreation time.However,I always want a big chunk of time for me to systematically study math on a more advanced level instead of repeatedly participating in these competitions which test on rather limited ‘problem-solving skills and techniques’.I searched on Mcgill website and saw the merit-based scholarship,I really want to go for it.But the con is…I have less time left to myself for continuously studying what i really love…it’s a hard decision to make.

6.I heard that Mcgill is in the city area while waterloo is more like in the village…I want to be maximize my efficiency in uni by saving time on daily routines/duties such as commuting/food/laundry/shopping etc.i wonder if it is inconvenient in waterloo in terms of living a minimalist life…Also,I am a bit concerned about noise pollution in big cities as I am currently living in a noisy hostel with traffic sounds heard all the time…Regarding life there,I want a single room with privacy where I can talk aloud reciting/prepare my oral presentation things& play the sound out of my speaker of laptop/phone instead of needing to wear headphones&keep my voice down all the time(as my current condition).Long gone are the days where I can do my stuff in my room without others seeing what i am doing and make judgements on that.(sorry for my sensitiveness/sense of insecurity).In fact,I have some hobbies such as arts,singing and guitar which I would love to continue doing only if I can have a somewhat soundproof room for practicing.Sadly,in the current student hostel,I feel very uncomfortable doing these things as everything is ‘in the open’.I only hope that in Mcgill/Waterloo or other good uni in canada i can pick up my hobbies/interests again.

7.I want to know the culture/weather and suitability/friendliness towards immigrants in Montreal around Mcgill campus.As others often say to me that I am somewhat too idealistic,I want to plan my future beforehand and maximize my chance of making it come true.I want to get my bachelor’s and phd degree,even postdoc fellowship in Canada,and if possible and favorable,in Mcgill alone(tho some laugh at my ideas of considering these things at this age/level of education achieved) so that I can settle in Canada sooner.

8.Generally,I am most inclined to go Mcgill and I believe that I can learn what I want,experience what I expected,and learn French and immigrate there as i have planned to do.I sincerely ask for your advice for my situation and what other options are there for me to consider.For example,if I am over-ambitious,should I also apply to other good unis?What unis are best for learning pure math,given that I am not so concerned about jobs in the industry.

Thank you for taking time to read this and I greatly appreciate for your understanding of and advice for my situation.Any relevant info sharing will be very helpful!

Is it possible for non-French speakers to get internships/make connections in Montreal?

I cannot answer all of your questions but will answer the ones I can. At McGill you would live in a dorm for your first year and then move off campus to an apartment for the remaining years. Moving off campus will save you money - rent and food off campus is cheaper.

Montreal is a safe and relatively quiet city. If you lived in The Plateau versus Downtown it will be close to campus but a bit quieter. McGill students tend to live in the Plateau so there will be other students around.

Montreal is a very, very diverse cities - lots of cultures represented. Winter can be cold but you’ll get used to it fast.