19 Canadian schools make new Times top 400 rankings
The University of Toronto, University of British Columbia and McGill University are once again the top three Canadian schools in an international comparison. This time it’s the Times Higher Education‘s 2013-14 World University Rankings. Those same three are gold, silver and bronze in the Medical Doctoral category of the Maclean’s 2014 Rankings and on the other two global lists, QS and ARWU.
Once again, 19 Canadian universities are on Times’ list. The rankings are based on 13 performance indicators including the learning environment, research volume and citations. The top three overall are the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Oxford University. All of the top 10 are in the U.S. or U.K.
Here are all the Canadian schools that made the list with last year’s ranks in parentheses:
Keep costs down with these 14 money saving tips
University is expensive no matter how you do it but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to save money—potentially thousands of dollars per year.
Whether you’ve moved from the other side of the world or are commuting from the other side of the city, here are 14 ways to keep costs down.
1. Get a student bank account.
All the major banks in Canada offer free banking for post-secondary students. At CIBC, for example, students get unlimited transactions for free while non-students might pay $13.95 per month. All you need is proof of enrolment.
2. Buy used textbooks online.
Many universities have websites with postings from students who are offloading last semester’s books at deep discounts. You can make dough selling the books back at the end of the year too.
Our 132-page guide to Canada’s top schools is out now
The 22nd annual Maclean’s University Rankings issue—the holy book for anyone planning their education in Canada—is now available on newsstands and tablets.
The 2013 issue, our biggest-ever, features 132 pages of charts, stories and advice designed to help future students choose the right school, while sparking conversations on the quality of the post-secondary experience from the size of classes to the cost of textbooks.
The issue also offers a peek inside campus life from coast to coast, including an examination of the viral videos phenomenon, a deeper look at the scourge of drinking, Emma Teitel on fraternities, the college advantage and pages more. There are online extras, too, like photo tours of life at 24 campuses.
And, of course, the issue features the 22nd annual rankings.
Not always. Some things matter more than class size.
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
It’s 11:30 a.m. and this is how the morning has gone for the 71 students in Science One at the University of British Columbia—one of the rare small-class programs that brings big universities down to a more human scale. It started with a physics mid-term, which most of these high achievers feel good about. Then a quick, unscripted shift into biology. Projected on the classroom screens was a story from that morning’s headlines about a massive phytoplankton bloom off the B.C. coast caused by a program that seeded the ocean with iron sulphate in hopes of building a salmon food source. Chemistry instructor Chris Addison happily ceded time to biologist Celeste Leander so students could discuss what she called the “justifiable concerns” of messing with the ocean environment.
That diversion is what Addison calls a “typical Science One moment.” Seated at the back of the room were other instructors in this holistic program—a physicist, a couple of biologists and a mathematician—all welcome to contribute. Instructors try to sit in on as many other classes as possible, said Addison. “That’s where you get the interplay between the disciplines.” Addison then waded into a mini-lecture on energy levels in multi-electron atoms, before the class split into groups of about six to work through a series of questions. They debated the answers among themselves, knowing they’d have to justify their reasons before the full class, if called upon. Amir Ashtari, 17, prefers the small class size to the usual first-year prospect of packed lecture halls. “Here you are amongst a group of friends who are respectful to you and also who are smart,” he said. “Even if you ask a stupid question they come and help you.” Hanne Collins, 18, said she likes the accessibility of instructors, and that they know her name. “Their doors are open and if you have a question, you just walk in,” she said. “They’re not bogged down with 500 students.”
A worker shortage means big perks for mining engineers
Kyle Buckoll finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of British Columbia in April. Unlike many 23-year-old university graduates, he didn’t settle at his parents’ house in Maple Ridge, B.C., to start hunting for internships or entry-level jobs. Instead, he went on an all-expenses-paid trip to Turkey with 31 fellow class-of-2012 graduates from UBC’s mining engineering program. They marvelled at Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, visited two of the seven ancient wonders of the world, and lounged on beach chairs in Bodrum to toast their graduation. They also toured six mines, because the flight, hotels and buses were all paid for by mining companies eager to show their largesse.
Finnish fan wants people to “get mad”
A Finnish hockey fan is so angry about the possible NHL lockout that he made an emotional video asking other people to “get mad.” It has had nearly half-a-million views already after it was Tweeted by the NHL Players’ Association. “We’re in a point where hockey is more a product to make money than a beautiful game, which revolves around big money. Money seeming to be the bigger value than the game itself,” wrote 21-year-old Janne Makkonen on his YouTube account. Here’s the film:
Watch pianist Ben Miller find fault with each one
“Just put me down as undecided—every major’s terrible” sings Ben Miller in his rollicking piano rendition of the comic Every Major’s Terrible. It will give anyone who has struggled with their own big decision a laugh as it’s equally mean to all of them. Best line: “Why anyone who wants a job would study’s lit’s a mystery—unless their only other choice were something like art history.”
See how Canadian schools measure up
There’s nothing quite like it. QS Intelligence Unit, a British firm, has released its first-ever world university rankings by subject. They offer the top 200 schools for an incredible 29 disciplines based on academic and employer reputation surveys and academic citations per faculty member.
The top five schools in each ranking are almost entirely British and American. Only two Canadian schools cracked the top 10: the University of Toronto for Environmental Sciences, Modern Languages and English and the University of British Columbia for English and Geography.*
But our schools didn’t flounder by any means. In fact, we have some exceptionally well-rounded institutions. Just look at the University of Alberta and McGill University, which ranked in all 29 categories.
Three Canadian universities made the cut
Business Insider has published an engineering schools ranking that answers the question potential students are most likely to ask. Which schools do my future employers think are best?
The ranking is based on a survey of 723 leaders including developers, engineers and others at popular tech companies. Each leader rated schools from “not valuable” to “most valuable.”
The Top 50 campuses were overwhelmingly American with a few contenders from Britain, India and Israel. Canada had three out of 50. The University of Waterloo, the darling of Canada’s tech sector, was #29. The University of Toronto was #35. The University of Ottawa ranked #44.
It may be possible at Queen’s in 2013
Queen’s University may soon allow gifted high school graduates to enroll in a six-year program that would offer them a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree by the time they turn 24-years old.
The Accelerated Pathway to Medical School program received faculty approval on May 4 and will be considered at Queen’s Senate in the fall.
The length of medical school has long been debated. In English Canada, students must complete three or four years of undergraduate education before applying to four-year medical programs.
Fierce competition means that most students who get into MD programs already have four-year degrees. Indeed, many have master’s degrees, which take one or two years more to complete.
Simon Fraser students debate gender-exclusive spaces
Keenan Midgley played basketball, soccer, baseball and football. But it isn’t his athletic skill that has made him well-known on campus in Burnaby, B.C. It’s the budget he’s written as treasurer of the Simon Fraser Student Society.
The fifth-year accounting student added funding that will carve out a special space on campus for guys. The men’s centre, assuming the budget passes a final vote, will get $30,000 next year. That’s the same amount that the women’s centre, started in 1974, will receive.
The pending creation of the men-only space is the source of much discussion at Simon Fraser University. Since the news broke in April, many students have questioned whether the men deserve funding. Along with that, a debate has emerged over whether women—who make up 55 per cent of undergraduate students at SFU—still need their own women-only space.
Computing students fight back against forced exercise
“I try not to get too riled up about it,” says Chris Holisky, “but it’s hard.” Indeed, Holisky has plenty of time to stew during his hour-long commute to the British Columbia Institute of Technology on Thursday mornings. The first-year computer systems technology student is required to be inside the campus gym by 8:30 a.m. sharp. His weekly rush-hour jaunt is rewarded with a 50-minute free-for-all (there’s no actual instruction) and a signature on an attendance sheet. The 36-year-old says he’d rather spend the mornings helping his girlfriend get her kids to school. But if he doesn’t get those signatures, Holisky won’t graduate. “It’s insulting,” he says.
The ups and downs of online polls in student elections
Sarah Petz, a reporter with the Manitoban student newspaper, is disappointed that so few of her fellow students bothered to vote in last month’s University of Manitoba Students’ Union election. “At seven per cent,” she says, “the result is not very representative.” It’s not that there weren’t clear differences between candidates. There were. The Manitoban uploaded candidate interviews to YouTube and shared them on Twitter. It wrote about issues from printer breakdowns to the construction delays on the opening of the ﬁrst campus pub. And yet, despite it all, only 1,900 of the 26,000 eligible students exercised their right to decide who will run the $1-million organization for the next year-long term.
But just because Petz was disappointed, don’t assume she was surprised. “Beyond a small group of highly active students,” she says, “no one seems to care.” Turnout is often low at the U of M. It’s not much better at the University of Toronto, where only 10 per cent of students voted this year, and worse at York University where turnout was just ﬁve per cent in 2011. But low voter turnout isn’t inevitable. Not anymore. At McMaster University, where students receive ballots in their campus inboxes that they can ﬁll out on iPads, laptops or smartphones, turnout hit 33 per cent this year. That’s up from 24 per cent last year, 22 per cent the year before and much higher than the 13 per cent turnout in 2009, back before they ditched paper and pens.
How to deal with a roommate who’s the polar opposite
By Rosemary Counter.
A decade ago, which might as well be a century in technology years, Michelle Titus was like many ﬁrst-year university students: away from home, stuck in a “teeny tiny, horrible” room, and living with a complete stranger she couldn’t stand.
In her defence, it was a bad match from the start. Titus was popular and outgoing, the soon-to-be relationship columnist at the University of Waterloo’s student paper. Her roommate was an introvert who’d wishfully described herself on her application as a “social butterﬂy.” “On paper, we should have been the best of friends,” says Titus, now 30. In real life, following some drama worthy of Mean Girls, they were estranged by the end of the year.
Canada’s northern universities have arrived
From the Maclean’s Student Issue, on sale now.
It’s the time of year when twelfth graders realize that they need to choose a university—and soon. Let the road trips begin.
But if their travels take them to the libraries at the University of Calgary or Guelph, they may stumble over students sitting on the ﬂoors. Study space is in short supply.
If they tour residences at Dalhousie or McGill University, they may ﬁnd themselves in a converted hotel or see bunks stacked in former study spaces. Each school has had room shortages in recent years.
Results from the National Survey of Student Engagement
Click on the charts below to see results from the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), a study that university administrators pore over each year to find out how their students are learning. Both first and senior-year students have answered questions that illustrate how well their universities performed on the five Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice: level of academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, active and collaborative learning, enriching educational experience, and supportive campus environment. You may be surprised about who’s on top. It’s not always the same schools that rank highly in the Maclean’s University Rankings.
Select a chart below. On the next screen, place your cursor over the chart and click to enlarge.
Nine per cent drop in Ontario
The Ontario College of Teachers sounded the alarm bells in 2011 about the gap between the number of graduating teachers and the shrinking number of jobs available. Their survey of new graduates showed 24 per cent were unemployed and only one-third were employed full-time.
John Milloy, the minister in charge, reacted by taking the unprecedented step of capping the number of first-year education students at 9,058.
This week, new statistics show that students got the message. The Ontario University Application Centre reports that provincial teacher’s colleges received 8.9 per cent fewer applicants in 2012.
Some schools saw huge declines. Nipissing University in North Bay, Ont. got 15.8 per cent fewer applications. Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont. got 21.5 per cent fewer applications.
It’s January. You better start looking now!
The end of the school year may seem far off, but it’s only about five months away. And as surprising as it may seem in January, most employers who hire students for the summer are already recruiting. That means you better get your job strategy ready. Here’s advice to search smarter.
1. Crack the hidden job market
Most jobs aren’t advertised. They’re given to the boss’s son, the boss’s wife’s niece or the guy who was smart enough to offer his resume just when the employer was considering expansion. Start your search by asking friends and family if they know anyone who might hire a student.
Few jobs. Shut programs. How art schools are adapting.
Christina McKenzie is pretty typical of Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates these days. She doesn’t regret taking a BFA at York University (2005). She’s grateful for the four years she spent exploring photography, bronze-casting, painting, drawing, book-making, sculpture and art history.
But there’s another part of her that wishes she’d taken something more focused, like photography or design, perhaps. Had she done that, who knows where she’d be?
McKenzie had planned to become an art teacher after her BFA. She was even accepted to a teacher’s college, but deferred it. She’s very glad she did. At least a quarter of her art school colleagues went on to teacher’s college. Many can’t find jobs. In fact, two-thirds of new teaching graduates in Ontario can’t find work as teachers.