See who came out on top in our annual analysis
The 23rd annual Maclean’s University Rankings issue, the number one source for students choosing universities in Canada, is now available on newsstands and tablets. It contains 130 pages of charts, surveys, stories about what’s happening in higher education and, of course, our 2014 University Rankings.
Each of the 49 universities is ranked in one of three categories to recognize differences in levels of research funding, diversity of offerings and breadth and depth of graduate and professional programs.
For the ninth year in a row, McGill ranks first in the Medical Doctoral category. In second place is the University of British Columbia. The University of Toronto, which once dominated the rankings, is third.
In the Comprehensive category the University of Victoria passed Simon Fraser University to take first.
In the Primarily Undergraduate category Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. is once again on top. No surprise there; this is the 17th time in 23 years that Mount A. is first. Acadia University edged out the University of Northern British Columbia for second. UNBC tied the University of Lethbridge for third.
One school improved its position by three ranks this year: Saint Mary’s University in Halifax moved from 8th to 5th in the Primarily Undergraduate category. Six schools are up two spots.
Wondering how we rank? Maclean’s considers 14 indicators of the quality of students, faculty, libraries and finances. For a full description of the ranking methodology, click here.
Salaries and benefits of 60 Canadian university presidents
Students are often amazed at how much university presidents are paid and express indignation at high salaries in student newspapers. Last week, such a piece was printed in the University of Alberta’s Gateway. “With budget cuts choking the university’s finances, it’s frustrating to see public servants paid like CEOs,” wrote Cole Forster.
The obvious arguments in favour of high presidents’ salaries are that they earn them and would otherwise be lured away by competitors. It’s also worth noting theses salaries are taxed at rates as high as 50 per cent (in Nova Scotia).
For comparison’s sake, here is a list of what 60 Canadian university presidents received in pre-tax salaries and benefits in 2011, sourced from the 2013-14 Canadian Association of University Teachers Almanac of Post-secondary Education.
Western University, Amit Chakma: $591,490
University of Calgary, Elizabeth Cannon: $545,000
Avoid these freshman pitfalls
1. Fail to realize that, special as you are, you’re just one person on a huge campus. This has unfortunate side effects like clogging up busy hallways and other such silliness.
2. Buy brand new copies of every single book listed on every syllabus only to find out at the first lecture that half of them are ‘on reserve’ for free in the library.
3. Fail to speak up in class. This can lead to painful silences that are eventually filled by that one guy who lives to talk and whom just about everyone hates.
4. Go to every frosh event no matter how ridiculous. You’ll be fine if you don’t make it to “Back-to-School-a-Palooza” and “Frosh-Tastic Tastings” and “School’s In… Togas!” Toga parties are done anyway. The only good one happened 30 years ago… in a movie.
5. Explore the fun and exciting world of parent-free alcohol consumption but go way too far. Most people drink in university but freshmen have a knack for ending up with their faces in toilets. Or garbage cans. Or friend’s roommate’s beds. It’s just not classy.
6. Sign up for way too many activities and force all your friends to sign up for way too many activities too because this is university and we must make the most of it!!!!!
7. You burnout, get sick, stop doing everything and come perilously close to failing. This is why it’s imperative to figure out which classes you can afford to skip occasionally.
8. Complain about how hard it is to budget when your parents aren’t around to buy groceries after spending all your savings on vodka and unnecessary textbooks.
9. Live on campus and wear pajamas or shorts all year long. We all know you don’t have to walk far in rainstorms and blizzards to get to classes but there’s no need to rub it in!
10. Date a high school boyfriend/girlfriend and Skype them for hours each night.
Do not be this roommate, freshmen. Nobody likes this roommate. Good luck!
First year is two months away. Here’s how to get ready.
Hundreds of thousands of Canadians will be starting university or college a little over two months from now. If you’re one of them, you may be freaking out a little bit, so to help calm your nerves, here’s a list of things you can do to prepare, other than the obvious stuff—because you’ve already applied for student loans, paid tuition and picked your courses, right? Right!?
1. Stop worrying about making friends.
Most people will arrive not knowing anyone and that’s a good thing. It means the people living close to you will become a surrogate family for the first couple weeks of September. You’ll attend meals, football games and parties together. Then, like a real family, you’ll drift apart somewhat. But don’t worry. By then you will have made new friends in labs and group projects, at club meetings and on intramural sports teams, at parties and at the poutine shop at 3 a.m. Just give it time.
Student satisfaction at 37 schools
The annual CUSC survey focuses on student satisfaction. In 2012, 37 institutions took part, administering an online questionnaire to a sample of graduating students at each school. More than 15,000 students responded to questions about everything from academics to support services.
MOST OF MY PROFESSORS ENCOURAGED STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN CLASS DISCUSSIONS.
|School||Agree Strongly (%)||Agree (%)|
|St. Francis Xavier||45||46|
|UNB (Saint John)||32||62|
MOST OF MY PROFESSORS WERE REASONABLY ACCESSIBLE OUTSIDE OF CLASS TO HELP STUDENTS.
|School||Agree Strongly (%)||Agree (%)|
|St. Francis Xavier||53||45|
|UNB (Saint John)||37||56|
SATISFACTION WITH CONCERN SHOWN BY THE UNIVERSITY FOR YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL
|School||Very Satisfied (%)||Satisfied (%)|
|UNB (Saint John)||16||54|
|St. Francis Xavier||12||59|
SATISFACTION WITH THE OVERALL QUALITY OF THE EDUCATION RECEIVED AT THIS UNIVERSITY
|School||Very Satisfied (%)||Satisfied (%)|
|St. Francis Xavier||29||65|
|UNB (Saint John)||25||64|
SATISFACTION WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO ENHANCE EDUCATION THROUGH ACTIVITIES BEYOND THE CLASSROOM (E.G., UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH, SERVICE-LEARNING, STUDENTS EXCHANGE)
|School||Very Satisfied (%)||Satisfied (%)|
|St. Francis Xavier||26||64|
|UNB (Saint John)||13||64|
Photos from the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
Every university student’s day is different. Some spend their time in high-tech labs while others pore over books in the campus cafe. Some volunteer to fix bicycles between classes while their roommates rehearse for plays. With teams from basketball to rowing, athletes are in heaven.
To truly understand the smorgasbord of options, you need to visit multiple schools. Can’t make it to more than a few? Don’t fret. Photos galleries from the 24 campuses we visited for the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings will get you started. After clicking through them all, pick up the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities for hundreds of pages of advice on your big decision, including profiles of 81 Canadian schools.
Northern British Columbia
St. Francis Xavier
Textbooks remain costly in an increasingly electronic age
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
It’s a textbook case in how to annoy students. This year, OCAD University in Toronto required students in its first-year visual culture course to purchase a “custom reader,” comprised of parts from two American text- books plus additional material on Canadian and Aboriginal art. Separately the items retail for over $300. The custom text was priced at $180. But there was a problem—this art book didn’t include any actual art.
Due to unexpected expenses in obtaining copyright, the publisher simply left large white boxes where the pictures were meant to go; students were told they could look at the art online. They got outraged instead—a petition was organized, parents began blogging and local media soon picked up the cause of the artless art book.
The fights, the tears, and the desperation in Toronto
I’m standing in a shoebox -sized room with six other students, fighting over who gets to live in it.
The landlord stands back and watches. He is caught off guard by the number of people who turned up for the viewing and can’t decide who to give the keys to. So, he asks us to figure it out amongst ourselves.
Negotiations haven’t been going very smoothly.
“I’ll sign the contract,” says a female Brazilian exchange student.
“Ok,” the landlord answers.
“No,” screams another girl. “That’s not fair. I want to sign too.”
“I’m willing to pay more,” says Mike, a scraggly hipster I’ve seen at previous viewings.
Our latest campus fashion photos
Ryerson University in Toronto is known for its performing arts, television and fashion programs, so we weren’t surprised to find a few people with bold styles, from shabby chic (the holes in those jeans!) to the standout studs on Ives Phe’s jacket. After clicking on each photo, why not share your Campus Style? Tweet your photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
Fall fashion from the engineering mecca
The latest stop on Jessica Darmanin’s Campus Style tour was the University of Waterloo. If ever there was proof that engineers are practical people, it’s in these photos. Waterloo engineers dress even more slack than guys at Guelph with jeans, zip-ups and big backpacks (probably full of computer gear). There are, of course, exceptions, like a few psychology students. After clicking each photo, why not show us your style? Tweet your photo to @maconcampus or post it on Facebook.
Fall fashion photos from St. Francis Xavier
The girls are layering and the guys are preppy this fall at St. Francis Xavier. Antigonish, N.S. was photographer Jessica Darmanin’s latest stop on her tour of Atlantic Canada where she’s kept one eye out for campus fashion. Click on each photo to make it bigger. And then, why not show us your latest style? Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
Photos from the annual orientation week event
Photographer Jessica Darmanin immersed herself in the University of Toronto’s “battle of the colleges” and Clubs Showcase last week. She also visited Ryerson University’s parade and is in the Atlantic provinces right now. Check out her shots of U of T students flaunting their school spirit:
Moving may boost the odds of medical school admission
From the 2012 Maclean’s Professional Schools Issue, on newsstands and iPad now.
It has been a long road for 33-year-old Kyla Adams from her high school years—when there was no question in her mind that she’d one day become a physician—to today, when the British Columbia native feels she finally has a decent shot at medical school.
In Adams’s second year of university, the academic and social stresses of life at the University of British Columbia caught up with her and she flunked out of school, temporarily shelving her ambition. After several years of selling running shoes, travelling and working as a personal trainer, Adams wrote the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) at the age of 26. She surprised herself with a decent score, which inspired her to enrol at the University of Victoria, where she earned a double degree in biology and earth sciences. She rewrote the MCAT, boosted her score and applied to medical school.
But the rules had changed. She was no longer allowed to drop those crummy decade-old marks from her application as she had thought. She applied to UBC’s medical school and didn’t get in. She applied again, and was rejected again. She applied a third time. No luck.
A McMaster psychiatrist’s best advice
This week’s Maclean’s cover story looked in-depth at the mental health crisis on Canadian campuses.
Earlier this year, the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities solicited advice on dealing with stress before it becomes a problem.
Dr. Michael Van Ameringen, a professor in the department of psychiatry at McMaster University and former co-director of the anxiety disorders clinic on campus, suggested students build these five habits to stay mentally well.
1. Manage expectations: “It’s important to learn to have reasonable expectations of yourself when you go to a new place. You’re not going to instantly ﬁgure out the way to learn and get 90s in all classes.”
2. Take a break: “There’s no doubt that people are more efﬁcient when they work for ﬁxed periods of time, followed by planned breaks.”
Continue reading Five tips for dealing with stress and anxiety
Comedy work is sporadic, but the pay can get “obscene”
Your Job Makes Me Jealous is a weekly podcast with a young Canadian whose career is so cool that people at parties crowd around to hear about it. We talk about the ups, the downs and the pay.
Addelman started with a B.A. in literature at the University of Toronto and then took Comedy: Writing and Performance at Humber College.
After many evenings of stand-up in Toronto and a day job copy-editing, Addelman made the leap to L.A. in 2008. Since she got there, she’s written for half a dozen shows including China Il. She returned to Toronto one summer to write for CBC’s InSecurity and then started at New Girl in June.
The money in comedy writing can be “obscene,” she says—$3,600 a week right now—but the work is sporadic at best, with contacts lasting mere months while agents and managers take their cuts.
Advice from the 38-year-old New Democrat MP
Young Canadians everywhere have butterflies in their stomachs as they pack to head off to university for the first time. If they’re at all normal, they’re scared to mess up the opportunity.
That’s why First Year Survivor is gathering advice from Canadians who were in that same boat not long ago, but who swallowed their fears, went to their classes, graduated and then thrived.
This week, Megan Leslie, environment critic of the New Democratic Party of Canada, MP for Halifax and social justice advocate, shares her list of five things she wishes she’d known in first year.
Help us update our Top 10 list
Last year we gave you the 10 Weirdest Campus Clubs in Canada. Our list included the Fetish and Kink Club (guess which school), the Campus Crusade for Cheese (not to be confused with the Campus Crusade for Teas… or Christ) and one Michael Jackson/zombie focused club. Since then, we’ve noticed even more weird and wonderful groups. It’s time to make a new list. Tell us about the unique club on your campus that needs to be on the list. Share your suggestion in the comments section below or on Twitter (hashtag #weirdclubs). Don’t forget to follow us @maconcampus.
Moving to university or college? Here’s a shopping list.
Welcome to First Year Survivor. Each week, a graduate will give you tips to make it through what may be the toughest year of school.
The morning before I moved into residence, I put everything I owned into garbage bags and tossed them in the car. I forgot a few things. My sisters, on the other hand, made multiple trips to Wal-Mart and Ikea to curate their dorm accouterments and it stressed them right out. I think the best approach is somewhere in between: plan, but relax.
Now that I know better, here’s what I’d bring:
Flip-flops for the shower. If you’re sharing a shower with multiple strangers, this is a must. For health reasons.
Continue reading What you should (and shouldn’t) bring to residence
Scaachi Koul: it’s more depressing to hear this girl complain
When I graduated last month, everyone told me that it was the beginning of the rest of my life. This, they told me, was when it would all start becoming really difficult, and it would show what I was made of. I would come into my own.
But why didn’t anyone tell me I wouldn’t get everything I waaaaaaaaaaant?
Taylor Cotter, a 22-year-old American writer and editor, already has a job, an apartment, a 401k and financial autonomy from her parents. But she’s sad. She’s sad because things are working out for her. Cotter, you see, never had to struggle for her success the way others have had to. From her blog post on The Huffington Post:
Female butchers are still rare
With displays filled with duck confit, wild boar and dry-aged beef, Olliffe is one of Toronto’s most drool-worthy butcher shops. The head butcher is usually behind the counter, fearlessly sharpening knives without looking and effortlessly trimming perfectly symmetrical steaks.
Erica Jamieson isn’t just Olliffe’s head butcher, she’s also the only female employee. At 27, she co-manages a staff of 12 men, some of whom have been butchering for nearly as long as she’s been alive. “When people enter a butcher shop, they expect to see the big European man with the cleaver and hairy arms,” she says. “I kind of fell into it.”