McGill University vs. Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) HELP ME DECIDE

Hey everyone, I’m a US HS senior with not a lot of days to decide where I want to go next fall. My two options are Georgia Tech (admitted Summer 2020) and McGill (app. reviewed decision pending). If I were to get into McGill, here is my UNFINISHED list of pros and cons for each school. Please feel free to offer your positives and negatives about each.

McGill PROS: Location (Montreal is a beautiful and cultural city; I’ve been so many times)
Program (they excel in sciences and my major is Biochemistry)
Family (my grandmother, aunt, and cousins live there)
Cost (I am a dual citizen so I’d only be paying about $10,000)

McGill CONS: Housing (I would have to stay with my grandmother instead of on campus)

GT PROS: Friends (I’m not relying on them, but I know at least 10 people who are also going to Tech)
Program (their Biochemistry program is so inclusive to people who want to go to medical school or do research)
Study abroad (there’s this program in Lyon, France that I would love to go to for Biochem, and I’m sure there are tons of other opportunities for me to study abroad)
Global school (McGill is world-renowned, but I feel like GT has more of a global presence)
Housing (I would get to live on campus)
Location (I live in Atlanta and I think it’s a wonderful city)

GT CONS: Cost (it costs about twice as much for me)

You are a dual citizen. Were you born in the US, Quebec or elsewhere in Canada. If born in the US or Quebec you would be eligible for the Quebec tuition rate of about C$4400.

You do not have to live with your grandmother unless money is really tight.

I disagree that GA Tech has more of a “world presence” than McGill.

If you go to GA Tech would you be commuting from your parents’ home?

Hey @TomSrOfBoston ! I was hoping you’d see this. I was born in the US and have never lived in Quebec or Canada before, so I believe I fall under Situation #8.

I get the impression from my parents that I’ll be living with my grandmother because they don’t want to spend more money than they have to if she lives in MTL, but I will definitely ask them again.

If I enroll at GT, I’ll be living in a dorm so no I won’t be commuting.

Another thing to consider is whether you can legally work in Montreal after graduation. I only mention this, as many students get local contacts while at University that they use to get their first job. It is not easy to get a job in Canada without being Canadian ( especially in tech and other areas).
Living with grandma doesn’t sound like a viable option, IMHO.

Two world class schools.

Since you have only been accepted to one, Georgia Tech is the easy answer.

Yet they will pay for a dorm at GA Tech? If they will pay for on campus housing in your home town you should be able to convince them to let you dorm at McGill. There is an advantage to going to college away from your hometown. And in Montreal you would have the advantage of family nearby if you need them (or maybe a home cooked meal!)

As others have posted here McGill’s academics are very rigorous. Then again I am sure that GA Tech is much the same.

@Happytimes2001 I do have dual citizenship in Canada and the US, so I believe that would be sufficient to work (although please correct me if I am wrong)

@Publisher I agree! I hope I can get an answer before the May 1 National Deadline so that I can make a fully informed decision, but either way I don’t think I can go wrong :slight_smile:

Then you can work in Canada. This might be something else to consider. If you are fluent in French and have experience working in a bi-lingual environment that can help you in your career. But it has nothing to do with your decision.
Good choices.

@TomSrOfBoston All very good points. I will definitely inquire because I love the idea of being in a college dorm, but if I happen to go to McGill and I am forced to stay with family, I can look forward to moving out in my second year as my parents have expressed they are open to that idea.

Can your parents afford the cost of GA Tech with no loans/no hardship? If the answer is no, then go to McGill.

If the answer is yes then they should be able to afford you staying in a dorm at at McGill. Let them know how you feel about really wanting that dorm expereince and see what they say.

@happy1 Yes with our finances my family should be able to afford it ?

And they both seem very unmoved at my wishes to stay in a dorm at McGill unfortunately.

Does your grandmother have a large house? What part of Montreal does she live in?

“Two world class schools”

I agree completely. My impression is that McGill is probably better know on a worldwide basis than GT. I would not however put much importance on this since both are excellent.

There is a lot of student housing in the area around McGill. If you were to live either in an on-campus dorm or in a nearby apartment, McGill would still cost less than GT.

“I do have dual citizenship in Canada and the US”

My kids are in the same situation. One is in university in Canada and has had summer jobs up there so we have gone through this.

Do you already have a certificate of Canadian citizenship? This is the part that takes time to get. Once you have this, you can get your Canadian passport in a couple of weeks (it is safer to leave a bit of extra time). You will want to have this before you show up at the border to enter Canada.

Once you arrive in Canada, you will need to go to a “services Canada” location to get a social insurance card (the Canadian equivalent to a social security card). This took us about one hour on the afternoon after D arrived in Canada. Once you have this you are ready to work in Canada. You will have to fill out US income tax forms on any income that you have worldwide. We had to also deal with getting a car in Canada but if you end up with a job in Montreal this probably will not be necessary – Montreal has very good public transport. The other thing that you will want to do is to sign up for Quebec health insurance. This is also very easy.

We did ask them what tuition would be for a “Canadian born abroad”, and the staff at McGill said the same thing that was said above: You would pay the resident of Quebec rate. I have not looked into this for several years.

“either way I don’t think I can go wrong”

Yes, I agree. Both schools will be academically very demanding.

Has GT extended their deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic? Some schools have. Otherwise you will need to put down your deposit there if you have not heard back from McGill by May 1. However, it is normal for students to put down a deposit and then later get accepted somewhere else (in the US typically off a waitlist) and change their mind. This would not be unusual.

@TomSrOfBoston The apartment is pretty small, and she lives near NDG. So I wonder how it will be next year if I want to stay at the library and work and not come back to her apt until very late. Or if I’ll be forced to come home at an earlier time. I suppose that is all for my family to decide, but what is it like living off-campus during college? If anyone has any experience with that please share :slight_smile:

Hi @DadTwoGirls ! I am actually in the process of getting the Canadian certificate because I currently only have one of those wallet-sized cards with my baby picture still on it.

Also I did not know about the social insurance card- just the Quebec insurance, so thank you for giving me a heads up.

I agree with that I wouldn’t look into getting a car while I’m up there for work or others. Any work that I would like to pursue while still in college would be centered in the city most likely.

A lot of Georgia schools have extended their commitment deadlines, but GT has not. So if McGill doesn’t respond, then I’ll have to apply to GT- which is totally not a bad thing! I would be elated going to either schools, and I think they are both great fits for me. This thread was made to help me if I am even able to make a decision.

Thank you so much for your comment!

A small apartment? That would not be a good arrangement. Really surprised that your parents are insisting on that arrangement especially since she has other family there.

NDG is a heavily anglophone area but not many students live there.

All McGill students live off campus after first year. My son lived in the Ghetto second year then in the Plateau for the last 2 years. Interesting neighborhoods and he liked the independence. He had a roommate the last 2 years.

Two great schools. My BIL went to GT for Engineering. Loved ATL, but wasn’t crazy about ENG there and transferred to UIUC. My son goes to McGill, I was brought up in MTL, and my brother lives in NDG.

  • If you have never lived in Canada, but are a CAN citizen, you can pay Quebec rates, which are about 40% of the CAN rate, which is pretty damn cheap, as the CAN $$ is worth about .7 of the USD. My eldest son does not qualify, as he was born in Canada outside PQ, but my youngest would if he decides to go there, as he has never lived in Canada, like you.
  • NDG, depending on where in NDG, is a bit of a hike. You need to either walk or take a bus to the Metro(subway), which will get you to McGill in about 15-20 minutes. You could be looking at 30-45 minutes per day each way.
  • McGill has an extensive list of study abroad opportunities if you want them.
  • I am kind of puzzled as to why your parents would fund you going to GT, yet not fully fund you going to McGill, as McGill should be FAR less expensive due to your status. At McGill, you must get the one year in the dorms, and that is when you make most of your friendships that can last your entire time there, if not for years afterwards. Maybe you are getting large financial awards from GT to attend there?
  • I know that McGill can be very rigorous, even for top students. I know GT is a very rigorous ENG school, and am assuming that the Sciences are also? If so, then the academics might be a wash. Who knows, GT might be considered better by some. I tend to think these things can be overhyped. It's more important for you to get a fit. Both schools are well respected.
  • McGill is a place where you are given the freedom to make your own decisions. My son seems to be flourishing and maturing there, but some others he knows have crashed and burned, as it is a city that can be distracting. Drinking and pot is legal. Clubs are...interesting. Profs will not chase after you to hand in work or to study.
  • my son rents a greystone building that he shares with 3 others in the Ghetto. Very close to McGill...closer than his first year dorm. He loves it. It's been modernized, and looks great. Definitely more expensive than other parts of town or other places(about 850/mos CAN), but he feels it's worth it, as he spends so much time there because it's so comfy and spacious. They often have gatherings there rather than go out to a restaurant or club, saving time and money. He also saves time and money by being in a place so close to campus, rather than living in cheaper digs farther away.
  • McGill is very international in terms of it's student body.

McGill for sure. I wouldn’t worry that your friends are going to Georgia Tech. The finances alone is a very compelling reason to choose McGill, family support is a huge asset and Montreal is an incredible city. McGill is more internationally known then Georgia Tech.

Thank you so much to everyone who commented on this thread! You are all very knowledgeable on the topic of college, and I’m extremely grateful for all of your wisdom! I had to make a decision on May 1, and McGill did not respond in time, so I have committed to Georgia Tech. I am sure that for others considering these two schools can use this thread to their advantage! Please continue to use this as a platform to compare the two schools if you wish. In other news, Go Jackets!