The University of Waterloo (Canada)
The University of Waterloo - Comments and Student Experiences|
The town is bleak and frankly the locals don't seem to like the students that much, other than to bilk them of as much rent as possible for lousy accommodation. Some of the places I visited when I was looking for housing were a disgrace.
The campus itself is worthy of the old communist bloc. There are some new buildings that are a bit brighter but by and large it's as ugly as hell. And as for upkeep, forget it. In the winter plowing and salting takes forever, if it gets done at all.
Residence is a scam. I realize that cafeteria food isn't known for being fine dining but Waterloo takes it to a new level. On a good day, the food was so-so, on a bad day it was (and I'm not saying this for effect) inedible. When we served beef I'm convinced it was the cast offs that the processor knew they couldn't sell to supermarkets. 90% grizzle...by the time you were finished you were hungrier than when you started. No one in the administration cared.As for social life forget it. I can't imagine there's another university where a large portion of the student body goes home every weekend. Residence was deserted sometimes. Going home once in a while I can understand, but running back home EVERY weekend? (And, I'll add, in a lot of times it was to see their high school bf or gf so take them out of the dating pool). Small groups of people in the same program in the same stream stick together and have little to no contact with people outside that group.
Any university that has a greater number of males than females endangers the safety of females. Due to the larger rape culture. This is a large reason why they have tried to get greater female enrollment into the university.
While the majority of the men are focused solely on their studies, a significant portion of them are sexual predators. They will not show up to class, constantly approach women, attempt to drug them, and bring them home and rape them. The male roommates will either celebrate, join in, or mind their own business. You may not see this on campus, but if you are living in the off campus dorms, this is happening. This can be especially precarious if these women are entering a male dominant field. It will be far more difficult for them to make strong friends, and may generate unwanted attention from their male classmates. The further stress added by their difficult studies, and co-op requirements can lead to unfortunate events.
Even though the school body is mainly asian, brown, white, there are other members of other races who will specifically target certain races for violent crimes.
Drug use is highly prevalent. Be warned
A large majority of classes will have 40-60ish averages for midterms and finals, and no curve is added. Marking schemes often favour those who ace exams, and part marks are rarely given. Many courses force students to memorize 600 page slideshows and more for exams, yet will test on a specific slide, and weight it 10-20%. The math courses are no different, and they assign large weights to obscure questions. The worse part are the shifted weighting schemes with certain exam marks. If you obtain less than 60 or 50 in some exams, the weight of other work gets drastically reduced. This leads to many people, especially first years failing.
Lab answers and coding assignments are extremely difficult, and no online references are provided.
Professors are constantly hunting for plagiarism, but most professors have plagiarized their lecture material, and assignments from other professors, and make no mention of it. You find for a large amount of courses, the same labs, assignments, and lecture materials have been reused for many years.
Waterloo has many quality professors. They answer student emails, and hold frequent office hours. Nevertheless, a large portion of the professors are tenured. Many of the tenured professors have no concern for their students at all. They would read from slide shows, not reply to emails, avoid student questions, and hold no office hours.
This is not true for all the students, but the vast majority of students are not interested in helping anyone at all, constantly citing plagiarism and being busy as an excuse. Yet these people are constantly skipping classes and tutorials, and going home on the weekends. Office hours are pretty much deserted for most of the time. The vast majority of students only care about themselves. They do not respond to messages, only select partners among their peer group, and only study among their peer group. Avoid the Waterloo subreddit. It has the rudest community I have ever seen.
The arrogance of students especially in engineering and cs is appalling. They think they are the best of the best, when really there are many students in other institutions who are superior to them.
In coop, you will realize there are two categories of students. There are those who can effortlessly obtain jobs, and those who will struggle to get one. Don't sacrifice too much of your time for an interview. Many interviewers have not looked at your resume, and are not serious about the interview at all. It isn't difficult to say someone was rejected because they were not qualified enough. Certain ethnicities, and certain genders will have an advantage over others. Similiar to how admissions work, some employers will pick females over males, and lower your chances if you are east asian. They are not really advocating for gender issues or racial issues, but have prejudices and fetishes. With the declining economy, many companies are choosing to stop hiring coops. Nevertheless, the schools wishes to expand more coop positions. This increases the chance of getting a job dramatically.
Social life is going to take a hit, especially if you are in a STEM field. The demand for STEM courses leave little time for extracurricular activities. Males will inevitably face a lot of rejection.
The campus has been less safe over the years as well. Recently there have been more cases of attacks in the night.Ultimately, staying in many STEM programs in Waterloo is difficult, and I am surprised I made it so far as well. Waterloo isn't all that bad, but it will depend on what you put into it. Don't get too comfortable, and deviate focus on school. Many I know who did had to face unfortunate consequences of repeating and failing out.