Richard Ivey School of Business at University of Western Ontario
Alison (Year 3)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
I chose Western for its high ranking business program and opportunity for dual degrees. Western is one of only three schools in Canada that offers a dual degree in business and law during your undergrad!
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
In your first two years, the level of difficulty will depend on which program you chose before Ivey. The first and second year courses offered by Ivey faculty are challenging to do very well yet feasible to get a decent grade if you’re willing to put in the work. These courses require approximately three to four times more hours to prepare for each week than your other classes because they are case based and heavily dependent on participation. To do well, you have to be willing to put in the hours to fully understand each case and prepare for class, be willing to participate in class and study extensively for the four hour exams. The professors are incredible and you will develop a deep relationship with them because class sizes are so small (70 students), you see them multiple times a week and the class is entirely participation based so it is all interactive. While these courses are challenging, you learn so much that is not only interesting but extremely engaging. Of all the courses you can take, these were definitely worth the hard work.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
Western is an extremely big school and with that comes a lot of opportunities to interact with people. This can also make it a bit overwhelming; however, if you don’t know where to go to meet people, first year residence is a great opportunity to meet people, especially those on your floor. You can also meet people in clubs and extracurriculars, but your ability to create meaningful relationships will depend on how dedicated you are to these activities. Western has so many clubs and there truly is something for everyone. Try to look around during club weeks to find something for you and make sure you’re fully engaging with the clubs you choose to make sure you’re getting the most out of them. You don’t need to join a crazy amount of clubs; stick to the ones you’re most passionate about and take the time to truly enjoy them. Some of my favourite memories so far have been through the clubs I’ve joined, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is considering joining one. The party culture is definitely prevalent, but whether or not you choose to engage in it is completely up to you. There is so much more to Western than partying, though it is also available for those who choose to engage in it. London has some really fun clubs and bars and there is always something going on almost every day of the week.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
Some of the best parts of my experience were taking Business 1220 and getting involved in S.W.A.M.. Swimming with a Mission is a club where you have the opportunity to teach individuals with disabilities how to swim. This experience is the highlight of my week every single week and something I highly recommend to anyone interested in swimming. The bonds you create with your swimmers are so incredibly special and these swimmers will never fail to make you smile. Every week, they are so excited to see you and get in the pool, and it’s really rewarding to be able to brighten their week as much as you can. Some of the less amazing parts of my experience were midterms that seemed to go on forever. The unfortunate part about Western’s midterm season is that it goes from the end of September to just about the end of November, then finals come around. It can be really unfortunate when all your courses have several midterms and you have a midterm every week for two months. It’s important to stay on top of your work and to take the time to enjoy yourself and spend time with friends despite how busy you might be. The most important part of it all is finding a balance that works for you.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
Try to stay on top of your readings and avoid falling behind in one course by constantly avoiding it! (It’s really hard to catch up)
Find a study spot that you love to make studying more enjoyable
Reward yourself! Have incentives for yourself with bursts of studying to stay motivated
List three pieces of advice for first-year students:
Balance between academics, extracurriculars and your social life is so important and is different for everyone. Try to find what works for you and stick with it
Make time for your friends, your family, and yourself
Don’t forget to call home every now and again
Every year seems to go by faster and faster; take the time to be in the moment and enjoy every day because these truly are experiences you will never get back