Monday, October 01, 2007

barely walking and talking

Saturday I think I ate some meat of questionable origins. For the last 48 hours I have been dealing with the mother of all migraines, hives, general swelling of my extremities, and tossing my cookies with great and frighteningly regularity. Doses of A&C and anti-histamines have just managed to take the edge off slightly. As far as I know, I haven’t eaten any pork but oddly enough all my symptoms are reflective of what happens to me if I unknowingly consume pork. Go figure and a curse on all hot dog vendors.

It was in this rather fragile condition that I had to venture out with the Last Amazon to attend the last day of the University Fair and then on to the “Word on the Street” book festival at Queen’s Park. No one can say I don’t keep promises to my children.

The Last Amazon is in her last year of secondary school and the question of what universities offer the best fit has been looming large. The University Fair was suppose to help but instead it has just muddled the waters further. Lucky for her, she can pretty much go wherever she wants in terms of university - unless mid-90’s are too low a bar for admittance. We have already ruled out the Great Satan to the south for much the same reasons we have ruled out of province.

An extra consideration in finding the best fit is that she will only be 16 years old when she graduates from secondary school. It makes her a good two years younger than most of her peers. She’s mature for her age but 16 going on 17 - is still only 16. This is why I am tending to lean towards the smaller sized schools. U of Toronto would give her the illusion of attending school out of town (her program is only offered at the Scarberia campus) and it would keep her home and under my eye.

Although, class sizes ranging from 150 -1500 in some first year course sounds incredibly daunting. I am left wondering how one actually hears the lecture, and if tapes are available for sale after the lecture? And then the tuition is one of the highest. We have a ton of questions about the neuroscience program but apparently we didn’t rate a facility adviser to answer our questions. If only I had wrapped her in a burka we might have rated.

Never really considered Carleton for science but one of the heads of the chemistry department made a pretty compelling case. Though who would have thought Ottawa would cost so much to live in?

University of Guelph had the best fashion accessory give away. A fabric bag which carried the slogan – MY BAG IS NOT PLASTIC. It not only seemed like a decent enough school but it appears to be all awash with scholarship money. I know Western is all the rage lately but there is a lot which is unappealing in terms of living arrangements/programs. Besides, London is very, very white (and creeps out her brother that way who never notices much). In fact, it is almost as white as Queen’s. Speaking of the whiteness of Queen’s – they really need to get recruiters who can carry on a conversation with a black teen without all the “Yo sistah”. The Last Amazon finds it off-putting when it’s done by her peers, and more even more so with when you are white and middle-aged.

Best overall impression from the fair has to be Brock University for neuroscience. The university is smaller and more personal. Average 1st year course size ranges from 15-25 students for her program. Decent honours co-op program and housing. Reasonable tuition even if the university is a little lean on scholarship money. Lucky for us, we were able to speak to a facility adviser in the neuroscience department who filled us in on a lot of the ins and outs of Brock’s program. Brock plans to offer a graduate program in neuroscience within two years time. I have always had a soft spot for St. Catherines but I would be really interested in hearing from anyone who has anything to say about Brock. My brother advises Brock is known for getting the bottom of the barrel students…something about if you can walk and talk you can get into Brock… but then again he thinks I am an evil neocon.


Brock Grad '02 said...

I enjoyed my time at Brock, and have many good things to say about the university. I graduated in 2002 from the Accounting program. I enjoyed the smaller class sizes, with small tutorial/labs/discussion sections to make up for any class that had more than 100 students.

While your brother may be right in regards to some programs at Brock, several of them are very competitive and require top level students to get into. Those requirements have only increased since I was there.

muse said...

I am so glad I don't have to deal with that.
Here in Israel, among the religious, choosing a high school is an issue, but a smaller country means fewer choices, and I only sent one kid to the "wrong school."

Kateland, aka TZH said...

I wish I were in Israel, that way no matter where she went she could be home in hours.

Though every time the Last Amazon and I argue about schools, she threats to study in Jerusalem, and then I bite my lip. Really, I would rather she never left home...I am so not ready.

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Brock Grad,

That's so much. I will show her your comment. I have a friend who went to Brock for Economics, and eventually got a Ph'd at Western. He loved Brock, and claimed the small class size made all the difference.