Natalie (Year 2)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
This institution offered co-op for my program which made me more compelled to enrol in. I learn best by applying my knowledge in a project and working with others. The university has exceeded my expectations since I've been able to practise working in a team environment in my courses as well develop professionally in a work environment.
Do you have any lingering thoughts or regrets in your year as a whole (ex; application process, mistakes going into first year). If so, describe them.
Overall, I enjoyed my first year and I personally don't think there is much to do with respect to the academic aspect of things. With the application process, I would encourage students to apply to programs even if the acceptance rate is low because oftentimes, you will get accepted or deferred. I would also encourage you to join intramural sports teams in their first year because it's a great way to meet people and an outlet for stress.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
Like any engineering program, my program is quite rigorous. Packed with 5/6 courses per semester, it's definitely more high-paced than high school. My classes usually start at 8:30 and end at 4:30-5. with labs. Courses are usually weighted 30% midterm, 60% exam, 5-10% tests/projects. Oftentimes, the prof would have to shift the weights or suggest an alternative because our class would perform very poorly on midterms. Despite professors saying they won't curve our marks, they end up doing it anyways so that's always a relief. Each course is usually 0.5 credit or 0.75 credit and we have the standard 4.0 GPA scale.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
I guess the party culture isn't as common at UW but there's definitely one every weekend at a specific residence. Oftentimes, UW has a reputation of having no social life but that's a little bit misinterpreted- that is your choice and I generally think that you can have a social life!! Of course if you're in a heavy program, you won't have as much time to socialize as you should focus on your studies but during class and on the weekends, you can always hang out with friends. I find a lot of students joining intramural or drop-in clubs in their upper-years because I think that most people end up realizing how helpful it could really be for their time-management skills and health.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
The biggest setback would be the first semester for me because I had a really hard time with the transition and pace of my program. It definitely brought my cumulative average down and overall, it was a tough semester. Besides that, I really enjoyed my university experience.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
TA/prof office hours
List advice for first-year students:
Try not to fail a midterm
Cafeteria food isn't that good
Reddit is a pretty good source for students to keep up to date with their university