University Options: Look Beyond the Usual Suspects

SMUS-University-Counselling

Earlier this week, the CUE (Canadian Universities Event) came to Victoria. This annual event is a fair format with representatives from about 50 Canadian universities from coast to coast. This year, their schedule did not permit a fair to be held at SMUS, but we were able to take part in the fair hosted by another local school.

Never one to disappoint, the CUE fair was boisterous, colourful and full of students and families asking great questions of the reps about their universities:

  • How big is your university?
  • Can I get research experience while I am an undergrad?
  • Do you offer on-campus residence?
  • What do I need to get in?
  • How cold does it really get?
  • Do you have a rowing team?

Two different students stopped to chat with me while they were touring the tables and collecting print materials and they both remarked how surprised they were to find so many more universities than the ones they had considered up until now. This revelation does not surprise me!

Students are often drawn to explore the universities in the major cities who have a recognizable name brand, and many SMUS students have had successful careers at these great universities. However, there are also a whole host of other universities that offer a fantastic undergraduate experience, but these universities aren’t necessarily the ones that spring to mind first.

The CUE fair puts everyone in the same space at the same time, and you might just find yourself talking to the rep from Bishop’s University (because it’s next to a large research university you already know) who sells you on their small campus outside of Montreal with great programs and a big purple spirit (and a rugby team).

That is truly the huge value in the fair: exposure to the other options. SMUS University Counsellors make significant effort to nudge students to consider other options beyond the “most popular” (e.g. UBC, McGill, UVic, Western, U of Toronto, Queen’s) because we know that there are many other options that would also be great fits for our students. Rest assured, we will be able to host the CUE fair on our campus next fall and this will make the exposure opportunity easily accessible to our school community once again.

In the meantime, our very own University Counsellor Ms. Kate Knight created this document that details all kinds of cool Canadian programs at some of those “other” universities students might want to consider.

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Alison McCallum
Alison McCallum is Head of University Counselling at SMUS and one of the Academic Advisors.

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