As you all know I am going to St.Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in September, after two years at a small community college 45 minutes from my home.
One thing I am concerned about is that I have never actually seen the school. Is this weird? I feel like it is. The majority of the people I graduated with went to schools in British Columbia- there’s 7 good schools in the province so I would say that 75% of people went to those, the rest to schools throughout the country. There literally is four schools an hour from my house. That proximity allows people to visit and make their decision.
St.Mary’s is 6,131 kilometers from where I am sitting right now- the bed I have slept in since I was six years old. And yes I just googled that fact.
I know it’s crazy to choose a school without seeing it- but I have made the right decision, I think.
I have done a lot of research- reading articles and looking at stats and even setting up a Google alert for the school.
However, I have never been there. Flying in Canada is ridiculously expensive-at least 800 dollars for a round trip flight. And that is the lowest fares I could find just now- most of the flights are around the 600 dollar mark for one way.
College visits are great in theory- but there is no way I could ever justify the cost of flight+food+hotel just to see the school. I don’t have that money- and I would never expect my parents to pay for that.
I know I will get a great education and the school is a great fit for me- it has everything on my “must have” list.
- big city with culture/things to do (Everyone says that Halifax is fabulous!)
- small size-but not too small (between 5 and 10 thousand- St.May’s has about 7 thousand)
- beautiful campus (the school literally looks picturesque)
- good residences
- VERY far away from home
- Lots of study abroad options (one of my goals)
- small class sizes
- awesome faculty (my google alerts sent me to numerous articles on awards and recognition that lots of professors are getting!)
- A good “Vibe” during the admissions process
The last point deserves some elaboration. As a transfer student, my application is more complicated than most. A transfer of credits needs to be done, and my GPA needed to be converted to high school averages, and literally dozens of emails were sent.
St.Mary’s was amazing- they have a dedicated transfer student adviser No other school I applied to had anything like that- and Brian (yes we are on a first name basis.That’s how much I email him with questions!) has been an invaluable resource. Every email I sent- whether it was to an admissions offices, the registrars office, the residence adviser was always responded to quickly and nicely. I always felt like each person cared about my question and about me- I know I will not be a “number” as they say.
It just seems like a really, really nice school.
No school is perfect- especially here in Canada where there is a limited number of schools, and 90% of those are public institutions. There’s not a lot of choice- and the “good” schools- The University of British Columbia, The University of Toronto, Dalhousie- are all HUGE and overwhelming to me. They do not fit me- and lack all of the benefits of “good” schools in other countries.
I hope this will work out. It kind of has to- considering I am putting 15 thousand dollars into this, haha. But I know it will be an adventure!