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You’ve probably heard it said more than once by now — from family, friends, teachers, counsellors — but it’s true: choosing the university that is right for you and where you will spend the four to five years following your high-school graduation is a momentous decision. It will impact your future career as much as your future self: friends, certain values, academic knowledge and those much-vaunted soft skills. And your options — in Canada, but even just in Ontario too — are broad. So the best way to arrive at the best choice for yourself is by gathering as much information as you can on those options. That means online searches, viewbooks and conversations with friends and family members who are already in university. If you can, you should also visit the campuses themselves, to see whether you can imagine yourself in the environment and to get a sense of the vibe of the place: your potential peers, professors and the administrative staff who will be your support resources during your years of study. Really, though, there’s no better way to get a feel for a university than by attending one of its open houses — and lucky for you, York U has its Fall Campus Day just around the corner this Saturday, November 5, from 10am to 3pm.
What can you expect?
The short answer is: a lot. If you’re looking for an overview of what kinds of programs are on offer at York — and where those degrees might lead you after graduation — there’s a full schedule of information sessions about many of York’s more than 100 undergraduate programs for you to choose from, whether you’re thinking History or Chemistry, Education or Environmental Science. Want to know what that degree in Law & Society might be able to do for you? What makes York’s bilingual Glendon campus special? Or what the daily life of a Schulich School of Business student looks like? Staff, professors and current students will be there to answer any questions you may have, or to give you behind-the-scenes perspectives on what to expect. (By the way, if you’re most interested in Glendon, our mid-town campus has its own open house on Sunday, November 6.)
If you’re more of a hands-on kind of person, maybe the activity sessions at the Lassonde School of Engineering, held in the striking and award-winning open spaces of the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence, or the Faculty of Health’s Psychology workshops are up your alley. And if you really want to travel in time and begin to feel like a university student attending a lecture, why not come to one of the mock lectures on offer, such as the Faculty of Science’s “Understanding the World through Science — Bacterial Nanomachines: The Key to Infection and Resistance,” by Dr. Gerald Audette?
Already know what you want to study but are wondering about entry requirements and the application process? Admissions experts will be on hand both in the centrally located Vari Hall and in so-called Admissions Hotspots throughout campus (look for little flags that say “Admissions,” or for people with T-shirts saying the same thing) to help you out. Remember, no question is stupid or too banal, so ask away — this is really your time to learn everything you need to know. If you’re really ahead of the game and have already looked into or started the application process at York as a mature or transfer student, you can get an on-the-spot assessment right there on Fall Campus Day or submit any documents your application may still have been missing! Likewise, those of you who are thinking of applying to York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) can have your design or visual art portfolios reviewed by faculty members during the day. It’s a pretty grand opportunity to get some focused expert feedback.
Of course there’s much more to university than just programs and school work, so the day has that covered as well: You can learn about financing your studies, get an introduction to experiential education (or hands-on, practical skills while you study), explore the many support services available to students at York U and catch a glimpse of what student life beyond the classroom (read clubs, College life and athletics, to name just a few) looks like. As a special treat, York has also invited some of its successful alumni back to campus for the occasion, and five of them — all of whom now have rewarding careers — will participate on a panel to talk about their career paths and how their time at York helped them succeed. For specifics on the panelists, check out the Fall Campus Day agenda.
To round things out, there’ll be separate student-led tours of the campus, of residence buildings, labs, studios, athletics facilities, the York Observatory and other learning spaces. Temperatures are set to be balmy, and it may just be that you’ll fall in love with York U’s campus and its pretty green (and red and yellow, right now) outside spaces. If you get cold anyway, there will be hot chocolate on offer, some good eateries to explore and, above all, a lot of friendly faces eager to show you around. So, if you haven’t already done so, register now, and then quickly head back to the agenda to customize your schedule for the day to get the most out of it.
You’ll have a great time, and you’ll gather lots of intel to help you make the decision about which university is right for you.