The McGill FAQ

<p>What grades do I need? It seems to vary by region, program and school. Honestly, I don't know for sure, your best bet is to ask McGill's admissions office instead of strangers on an internet forum.</p>

<p>Do I need French to survive? Define survival. Does survival include things like getting a job off campus? Living in the very French east end? Hooking up with people who only speak French? If so, than yes, although it's possible to get all of those things without the French, but then again it's also possible for a 300 pound man to have a Perfect 10 model for a girlfriend. If you define survival as the occasional trip to the store to pick up a two-four (24 beers), cigarettes, going to clubs and bars and generally anything that is west of Rue Papineau, then no.</p>

<p>Where should I live? I did one on this a while back but here it is in a nutshell.</p>

<p>Solin - Off campus, nicest and largest dorms, no meal plans so you have to do your own grocery shopping and cook in your private kitchens.
Greenbriar - On campus, apartment style. Meal plan but you also have a private kitchen for your own use.
RVC - All girl residence. Standard dorm.
More Houses - Big house, 10-12 people. Y'all get your own personal kitchen but also a meal plan. Really close to the gym.
515 St. Catherines - Brand new, I don't know if this will be permanent but this is the nicest dorm by far in terms of perks. Right now it's shared with an actual apartment building. Considered to be a part of More Houses.
New Rez - Second best perks, most expensive. Hotel rooms. Meal plans. Best out of all the dorms in terms of cafeterias.
The Upper Residences - Standard dorms with slight differences.</p>

<p>I heard that [insert rez] is full of _____, is that true?</p>

<p>Yes, but it changes every year. Unlike most schools, McGill residences are really only meant to be lived in for a year so if you're looking for the rez with the culture you identify with most, it'll be a toss up because of the high turnover rate. Exception to the rule is New Rez which never seems to escape it's reputation of being full of spoiled rich brats. Don't blame me, I'm just the messenger.</p>

<p>Do I need a laptop?</p>

<p>Not really. It's pretty much worthless if you're majoring in engineering or sciences. I mean, have you ever tried to type out complex math equations in Word? Obviously it varies by department...</p>

<p>How difficult is McGill?</p>

<p>Varies, but generally speaking the grading here is pretty tough. McGill likes to have class averages between B- and B+. Once you get into the 300 and 400 level courses than it's really up the teacher.</p>

<p>How diverse is McGill?</p>

<p>McGill has a pretty healthy gay and lesbian community and a lot of advocates for trans-gendered. Culturally people are from all over. Ethnically, I don't think so but if you're from somewhere like Kingston or Saratoga, yeah it will be diverse.</p>

<p>Student clubs?</p>

<p>Plenty of them, but they tend to range in quality from crap to mediocre. There's also a curious lack of males in a lot of the clubs dealing with social issues (racism for instance).</p>

<p>Sense of community?</p>

<p>None. No one really goes to the student bar (Gerts) with the exception of major US elections. There isn't really much of a sports culture at McGill (or any Canadian school really) and the fact that McGill is located in downtown Montreal and not a small college town in the middle of nowhere sorta holds it back.</p>

<p>Students friendly?</p>

<p>Yes, very approachable. But everyone waits for the other person to make the first move.</p>

<p>I'm going into Management and I want a job in _____ field, will I be able to get one? </p>

<p>While the class of 2009 and 2010 may be s!@# out of luck, by the time the economy recovers in 2011, you'll be in demand (this is assuming the economy doesn't collapse, which it won't).</p>

<p>Are girls in Montreal really that hot?</p>

<p>Yes. And they dress well which is almost as important to me. See, my thing is, if you don't care about how you look and just throw stuff on, all the more power to you. However, if you do care about how you look at the best you can do is a pair of sweatpants stuffed into Ugg boots, you have horribly bad taste. Montreal girls, generally speaking do not have bad taste.</p>

<p>Is McGill a huge party school?</p>

<p>Yes. The best parties just happen to be off campus so find yourself a clique or a decent student club and ingratiate yourselves among them. Frosh will be amazing. Word of warning to Americans, alcohol in Canada is very expensive compared to down there.</p>

<p>But I won't be 18!</p>

<p>If you're not 18 by Frosh, ask someone who is or your Frosh leader and they'll accommodate you. After Frosh, carding is pretty much unheard of at McGill.</p>

<p>Do I need a car?</p>

<p>For most first year students, no. If you live in Solin, it might be helpful for those long trips or maybe the occasional massive grocery store trip but even then not really. </p>

<p>Is it cold?</p>

<p>Yes. How cold? It can get cold enough up here to freeze the snot in your nose.</p>

<p>Other weather?</p>

<p>Fall tends to be really rainy. Winter is cold. Spring is also very rainy but when it's not, it's warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt. Summer is ideal for you SoCal types, it just doesn't coincide with the main school year.</p>

<p>How's the gym? </p>

<p>Awesome. It's opens really early (6-ish) and closes pretty late (11-ish). Relatively brand new compared to the other buildings, a lot of great facilities.</p>

<p>Other things I should get used to:</p>

<p>The Homeless. I know a lot of them by their nicknames. Stinky, Stumpy, Troll, Hollywood, Sad Clown. Some are for infamous than others. Some are nicer than others, but they're everywhere in Montreal. Be on the lookout for the scammers as well.</p>

<p>Red tape.</p>

<p>The volatile exchange rates.</p>

<p>Students who complain about an A- being too low.</p>

<p>Should I go to McGill or [Insert School Here]?</p>

<p>Honestly, I have no idea. My reasons for picking McGill over any other school were very personal.</p>

<p>What's McGill's reputation?</p>

<p>Very good. Don't worry about the reputation. If you get in and you manage to keep up your grades and shine your resume, you'll come out with some respect. No, people won't kiss your feet and hail you as the second coming of Christ. They may not even pay you the $1,000,000/yr starting salary you think you deserve, but you'll get some respect and probably a foot in a door that wouldn't have been possible if you had gone to Billy Bob's House of Degrees.</p>

<p>Almost forgot:</p>

<p>Should I buy textbooks now or later?</p>

<p>If you're in a math intensive major, don't bother buying new textbooks. I mean, how much can Calculus change from year to year? A derivative will always be a derivative. Integration will always be integration. If you're in a class that has a lot of course specific material like the Political Economy of Middle Eastern States from 1945 to 1991 (I just made that up, I don't know if such a class exists) then yeah, a textbook may be of use. Again, depends on class but use common sense here. A 9th edition Calculus textbook can't be so different from a used 8th or 7th or even 1st edition that justifies it's 800% markup price. Do your parents a favour and use some restraint. </p>

<p>Here are some tips for getting textbooks on the cheap though:</p>

<p>McGill classifieds
The bookstore sells used books at the beginning of each semester. The Word on Milton also does it.
Concordia (the other English school) and McGill have a lot of courses that share the same textbook. Concordia has sort of an underground economy that sells photocopies of many of these textbooks. Just ask an Asian person. Seriously.
The library lets you keep books up to six weeks. That's pretty much half a semester's worth of classes. Trick is to get the second newest edition because the newest editions have 3 hour limits.
Get a copy card, set your paper size to legal, double sided and copy at your heart's content at the library. If you do it correctly, you can get 4 pages per single sheet of legal paper (two on each side). This roughly comes out to $10-$20/textbook. Does it take a while? Yes. Is it tedious? Yes. But I pay for my own education so every dollar for me counts.</p>

<p>Greenbriar and MORE houses do not have meal plans.
And you do need a laptop, even if you're in engineering or sciences. You don't want to go to the library every time you want to look something up on the internet! Plus, a lot of times, there are no computers available.</p>

<p>If you're really that desperate, you can just take out textbooks from the library. Professors put them on 3 hour reserve. I wouldn't waste my time and $20 copying textbooks.</p>

<p>Really? I didn't know that Greenbriar took out their meal plans. </p>

<p>I probably should've clarified the computer question. Laptops are worthless in class, not for school. </p>

<p>The three hour rule will come back to bite you around exams - you won't be the only student in a class of 300+ who didn't buy a textbook and need to review your stuff.</p>

<p>With the current state of currency volatility, is McGill still a safe bet in terms of being a bargain relative to US schools?</p>

<p>Actually I'de say the use of laptops in class is debatable. Some lectures it's really helpful because I'de say most people can type faster than they write.</p>

<p>As for McGill being a bargain, yeah I'de say so. I'm paying what I would've paid in state to go to a UC (I'm from California btw) but I'm here in wonderful Montreal.</p>

<p>Even when the exchange rate was 1 to 1, the tuition here stills comes out to be cheaper. You should however, budget for any worst case scenarios though, especially in this economic environment.</p>

<p>On the issue of laptops in class:</p>

<p>Any class in which you're required to know a mathmetical equation of some sorts can be pretty much eliminated for laptop usefulness. This takes out a large chuck of Science and Management and 98% of engineering. You can also rule out any class that requires a lot of diagrams and charts so this is pretty much every class in the Economics department save for maybe three, all of Math etc. So do you NEED a laptop for class? No. </p>

<p>Secondly, McGill's desks are not made to handle laptops larger than 12 inches anyways. </p>

<p>I'm not saying don't buy a laptop. Having a computer is definately useful for school, but don't let McGill dictate the type of laptop you'll buy.</p>

<p>i'll rephrase</p>

<p>*for large arts lectures it can be helpful especially if the prof. doesnt post lectures or notes online. </p>

<p>Most the time though I just used a notebook for notes so I don't have to carry the laptop around. I would definitely recommend having at least a computer/laptop for home/rez use though. You'de probably spend a ridiculous amount of time at the library or on other people's computers otherwise.</p>