[CS-FSLUG] Heading towards a brick wall.

David Aikema david at aikema.net
Sat Feb 18 17:46:07 CST 2006

On 2/18/06, Timothy Butler <tbutler at ofb.biz> wrote:
>         Have you taken an ACT/SAT yet? It's a little late, if you haven't,
> but there is no time like the present to fix that. Depending on how

I don't think that we're quite as crazy up in Canada over SATs or the
ACT (at least I've never taken one and I don't know of any friends who
have).  Even if you're trying to get into grad school, a lot of the
times you can avoid taking them.

> well you can do with that, you may very well get an academic
> scholarship that would help a good deal with the costs of further
> education. If I were you, I'd start contacting schools, you haven't
> already, and just see what they have to say. Colleges are like car
> dealers -- the price you see isn't the price you have to pay. Deal,
> deal and then deal some more if necessary. Many (most?) colleges also
> offer work study programs where you can subsidize your tuition by
> doing work on the campus.

Also investigate coop programs (internships to the American folks),
and bursaries alongside scholarships.  And, student loans suck, but
generally they're interest-free in Canada until you've graduated.

>         Since you don't know what you want to do, I'd suggest finding a
> college or university with a good liberal arts tradition rather than
> a vocationally focused school. Spend a year or two getting through
> all of the required liberal arts stuff -- English, History,
> Philosophy, etc. -- while taking a few courses in areas that might
> interest you. If you are still thinking computer science, take a
> course or two. Maybe take a course or two in some other track that
> interests you too. Most schools will likely require you to take some
> social sciences too -- psychology, sociology, criminology and the
> like may prove more interesting than you might expect. By the time
> you need to declare a major, you'll have a pretty good idea with what
> kind of coursework you can live with and go for it.

I avoided the technical institutes, but at the same time I don't
regret my decision to avoid going to a liberal arts school.  (Although
I was not far from a liberal arts certificate at the university I did
attend, and ended up with an extended minor in history alongside my
Computing honours program [sidenote: I'm told that having honours
degree programs, which involve a higher minimum GPA and more courses,
is one reason why in Canada universities aren't quite as picky at the
grad school entrance stage about stuff like GREs])

>         Oh, and consider applying to American schools as well as Canadian
> ones. A lot of schools around here love to get "international"
> students (it makes for good bragging rights), so you might find
> something down south that works well for you.

The couple of American schools that I was thinking of applying to
seemed to require advanced proof of ability to pay before I could
apply (this was at the graduate level - I'm currently working on a
masters' degree).  Also consider that you may wind up paying A LOT
MORE tuition if you do decide to study in the states (for instance,
the tuition I pay right now is about 25% of what I'd be charged at a
comparable place in the US).


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