Flora (Year 2)
What did you wish you knew before going to your university? What made you choose this institution over all others? What are advantages and disadvantages of your institution or campus? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your university.
The ability to commute was a huge factor in my choosing of York—it would save me housing money in the long run, and over 4 years this is a sizeable amount. The specific program I was enrolled in in my institution (BBA) also held a degree of prestige under Schulich, which motivated my choice as well. The program also had good stats for graduation employability and salary--I would advise anyone comparing business programs to look at the annual employment reports offered by most business schools, and factor this information into your decision.
The advantages of York are, as previously mentioned, the ability to commute, good amenities on campus, and good food. Be aware, though, that York is susceptible to frequent strikes (every three years or so). The strikes don't really affect Schulich programs, but have bigger impacts on other undergrad programs. This leads to delays in some people receiving their degrees, as well as a lack of quality education during the strikes.
What did you wish you knew before choosing your specific program? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your program of study.
The application process was fairly straightforward. The Schulich undergrad application looks at your grades as well as your extracurriculars. The video interview is an opportunity to show your personality--they're looking for enthusiastic people who want to work hard.
During my first year, joining the various clubs at Schulich was a great way to meet new friends as well as develop my networking and presentation skills. Clubs will definitely add to your university experience, however they may be time-consuming and you have to allocate time to staying on top of your classes, which move fast week by week. As long as you do your homework, the BBA program was completely manageable. Most classes try to keep the average at a B+, so most of the class will be bell curved to this grade. It’s fairly hard to be kicked out of the program—I think the rate of retention after first year is around 95%.
The social life at York University is honestly so-so. If you’re looking to party or live a “traditional” university lifestyle, I would encourage you to look at other universities. Living on residence may help with the social life aspect (I did in my first year), but York is ultimately still a commuter school and most weekends, the campus is dead. As I previously mentioned, joining school clubs is the best way to make friends, but York is ultimately not a party school.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best university experience was attending an overnight business conference offered by Schulich, hosted in downtown Toronto. The three day conference included tours at offices and business headquarters, one-on-one chats with major company leaders, as well as speeches, networking sessions and various engaging activities (not to mention great food!). Overall, the experience was one-of-a-kind. I made so many new friends at the conference, made connections with people from all over Canada, and got to experience an environment full of motivated, eager young people who want to conquer the world. Shoutout to APEX conference!
What was your least favourite university experience?
Cramming for first semester midterms was by far one of the most stressful times during my university. With this being my first year in university, it took some time for me to adapt to the faster pace of the classes, as well as the sheer volume of work. The faster you can adapt to the workload, the better off you'll be. Cramming is one of the worst things you can do! Always study in advance and stay on top of the course from beginning to end. Once you fall behind, it becomes exponentially harder to catch up.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
Similar to the previous question, the hardest part about my program, and any university program in general, is learning to balance every aspect of your life. You're given much more freedom and nobody will track whether or not you're doing your homework. It's incredibly important to stay on top of all your classes--to aid this, I would recommend going to all of your classes (don't consider skipping, especially if the class is important), doing your homework soon after getting it as opposed to waiting, and seeking help immediately when you need it. When you incorporate good strategies for academic success, it becomes easier to handle all the other aspects of life--such as making time for friends and family, exercise, work, and hobbies. In university, I finally learned to track and schedule all of my time using a calendar. I found this to be the most efficient way of managing my life.
If you were able to take electives, what was your favourite elective? If you were not able to take electives, what was your favourite course and why?
I just finished first year, so I haven't taken that many courses yet compared to upper years. However, my favourite courses have all been the elective courses I've chosen--for the BBA program, you're allowed 2 elective courses in years 1 and 2 from the selection of all non-business courses offered at York. There is a HUGE variety! I would suggest to look into this and take the time to do your research on what courses interest you. As well, keep in mind your academic objectives--do you want to take a course to challenge yourself, learn something new, or simply boost your GPA (in this case, look for bird courses). My favourite courses have been one reasoning/philosophy course that I've taken (MODR1760 is the course code for anyone interested), as well as a course about addiction (SOWK2020). Elective courses are your opportunity to explore interests outside of your program, so give them some good thought. You'll be sure to discover something new about your passions!