UofT vs UR vs McGill vs Brandeis vs Buffalo for CS

Hey y’all. I finally got all of my replies in but I’m having a lot of trouble choosing a college. I didn’t get into any of my reaches but I got into all of my targets (but one) and I can’t really say that there’s one school out of the bunch that I’d really like to go to. Because of COVID and general busyness I didn’t really get the chance to visit any of these schools and have only done virtual stuff, which is hard to judge a school by, so if you have experience with one of these schools I’d really love to know what you think of it.

I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a flute player. I like campuses with a connected feeling (and a friendly culture) but also want to live in/by a major city. I don’t really like the idea of driving but will learn if I have to (I love public transit though). I also love winter and snow. I don’t really know what my eventual goals will be (in terms of getting a job vs. getting a masters/going to grad school), so I’d like a school that’d be good for both. I would also like a school where I can do undergrad research or a school that has good internship connections.


I don’t know much about McGill tbh, other than it’s reputation here in the US. I’d love to learn more.


  • Great location
  • Reputation in the US
  • Less expensive than US privates and UofT


  • Music minors don’t get music lessons

University of Toronto


  • Great location
  • High rankings
  • I don’t know much about the campus but it looks nice
  • Also less expensive than US Privates


  • Heard that it had grade deflation and not a very great school culture
  • Music minors don’t get music lessons

University of Rochester


  • High ranking
  • Lessons at Eastman and a good music minor otherwise


  • Location
  • Priciest option (I got a 9k merit scholarship)



  • Heard it was good for research
  • Lessons for music minors
  • Again, don’t know much about this one either, but the campus seems appealing to me
  • 15k merit scholarship


  • Location? Technically only 1hr away from boston on commuter rail but it looks like the train comes once every 2.5 hours, and the buses are every 1.5, so it might not be as connected to boston. Then again, maybe this is a better option to get a more connected campus feel. Still on the fence about this one

SUNY at Buffalo


  • Cheap (in-state)


  • Low prestige
  • Location


Here are some other schools I applied to but don’t really think I’ll go to. Maybe I should change my mind?

  • Case Western - I really like the partnership with CIM and it gave me great merit but it’s in cleveland (which, apart from being cleveland is also kinda far from home and might not be worth it). I also get bad vibes from their marketing and the shady stuff they do (I heard they threatened to withdraw the applications of people who unsubscribed from their emails)
  • Binghamton - I know it’s the “best SUNY” but it’s in the middle of nowhere
  • BU - Got in for flute performance. Too expensive.

Anyway, sorry about the long post. I really appreciate you if you’ve read this far. I plan on visiting some of these next month so we’ll see how that goes.

U of T has a great school culture. It’s the highest ranked for CS on your list. Grade deflation is meaningless for CS.

Toronto is a much bigger city than the others on your list and U of T is in the heart of it.

The Royal Conservatory of Music is adjacent to campus and you can get music lessons there.

Only you can decide

What matters ? Money ? Private lessons?

If money and cwru hooked you up, you might want to look again. Cleveland is a very cool city.
Far from home? That’s why they created FaceTime. And if you are from NY Cleveland is not far.

You got into great schools. Good luck.

I have a friend who’s son went to McGill and studied music. Education for both music and non-music was very good. Housing was very difficult. I think you’ll find the same at Toronto. Logistics at these big Canadien universities can be challenging. Sort of like Berkeley where it’s big and hard to get all the classes you want.

For my money, I’d be looking at Rochester or Brandeis. Rochester is not a major city, but it’s big enough and everyone I know who has lived there, loves the place.

Travel around Boston from Brandeis is easy. You need better information. You can get commuter rail (the “T”) from Waltham. People commute from there to downtown every day. BUT better than that is that Brandeis runs free shuttle vans (Bran van) around the area all day. Info is on the Brandeis website. BUT the place where college kids congregate in Boston is Harvard Square in Cambridge, not as much downtown. Good music scene and restaurants in Harvard Square. Very accessible from Brandeis, just 2 towns away.

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One daughter was both a very strong musician, and was accepted to McGill with a different major (she decided not to major in music, and is now many years later studying for a DVM). I asked about music lessons. What I was told was that many of the same professors who teach in the faculty of music also give music lessons on the side to make extra money. You would need to pay for the lessons, they would not be for academic credit, but you can get the lessons. I would expect the same would be true at Toronto but I did not ask there.

Sorry, perhaps I should have been more specific. No music lessons is the big con but it also signals that non-music majors don’t have the same access to resources (i.e. practice rooms, ensembles, etc.). I think it was someone else on this forum that said doing a music minor is better at a school that doesn’t give music performance degrees because at those schools the music students get priority for everything.

I agree Brandeis is a nice campus and in reality only a 20 minute drive to Boston, not hours away…the friends and kids I know that went there go to Boston all the time. Great school.

My college at U of T had music practice rooms that anyone could use.

What college were you in? I got into Victoria College


Margaret Addison Hall at Vic college has music practice rooms. Margaret Addison Hall