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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 1:03 pm   Post subject: school choices

So I'm having a bit of trouble deciding on a school for computer science. I've been accepted to Carleton, Ottawa, and Guelph thus far.
I recently applied to waterloo because I can't make up my mind, but I don't really think that would be the right atmosphere
for me. Carleton and Ottawa have the advantage of being in better setting for me, but they lack the prestige and reputation of the other schools -- especially when compared to waterloo CS. Granted, the programs all look fairly similar, but what would I know? How could one truly, objectively compare schools without attending both? It seems like all I have to go on is reputation, which, while undoubtedly a good indicator, can't really serve as the only measure of a school's worth. I've spent the last few weeks looking over all kinds of statistics, rankings, whatever. Hasn't helped.

I really have no idea where I'll end up, but I do know what I want:
-I don't want to sell myself short. I'm capable and want to achieve to my potential. This is possible anywhere, but obviously some degrees
are more highly regarded than others.
-I want to be satisfied with the quality of education. I don't want to spend 4 years thinking that I should have gone to a 'better' school.
-I want to live in a larger city.

Do those last two conflict? Are the schools in Ottawa really comparable?
If you swapped the physical location of either Guelph or Waterloo and Ottawa/Carleton the decision would be easy. I've lived in a city of 125k people all my life and to be completely honest, its too small. However, I feel like allowing this to be the deciding factor would be grossly irresponsible - I'm supposed to be choosing an educational institution.

Advice? Wisdom? I'd like to hear it.

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 2:32 pm   Post subject: Re: school choices

Another criteria you could use is looking more into what type of courses they offer (CS courses and even electives you may be interested in), what type of research the school is involved in (in case you may be interested in grad school someday), connections to industry or business (co-op programs, internships etc). I guess some of that depends on what you would like to do when you are finished (ie, workforce, grad school etc). Another important consideration at the schools could be the school community, for example some schools may have more programs to get involved in than others (volunteer, sports etc).

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 7:12 pm   Post subject: Re: school choices

Thanks for the reply.

Yeah, I've looked at all of that. Does your undergrad school matter when applying to grad school though? It is certainly
something I'm giving serious consideration to. I'm assuming it depends more on the student but again, I can't really say
I know what I'm talking about what it comes to this stuff. Really kind of unsettling how much trust we prospective students
have to put into this institutions.
Prabhakar Ragde

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 8:03 am   Post subject: Re: school choices

Your undergrad school matters when going to grad school to the extent that the readers of your application believe you've achieved something and can trust the judgement and perspective of your recommenders. Preferring a more urban environment is fine if it will help you to grow. Education isn't just about book learning. On the one hand, it is just a few years (and you can get co-op/internships elsewhere, for some diversity); on the other hand, those are pretty important years.

Of the places to which you've been accepted, Carleton has the best program.
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