If you want to know what life is really like at a university, you should ask a student. For years, Maclean’s has combed through the surveys that universities do themselves to give you a taste of life on campus. While those surveys are a great place to start, they don’t show the whole picture, and some universities don’t share all their results publicly. Plus, most universities only do the surveys once every two or three years. The vibe can change.
So this year, we decided to: survey students directly; run a new survey every year; and ask questions that we (and you) are most interested in. In the following pages you’ll see what students think of living in residence, how helpful the financial aid officers are, and how much red tape trips them up. You’ll discover how they rated their schools on everything from the calibre of their professors to the quality of mental health services. The questions were chosen by our experts, in consultation with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, the Canadian Federation of Students, Students Nova Scotia, the New Brunswick Student Alliance, and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. Scholarships Canada helped distribute the survey to current university students and those who had graduated within two years.
A student satisfaction indicator was added to the main university rankings this year, along with one on citations. To allow for statistically significant comparisons, all schools had to have at least 100 responses; in total, 10,856 students completed the survey. The survey also included questions that don’t lend themselves to a ranking, but nonetheless provide vital information. We asked students whether there were spots on campus they avoid for safety reasons and if they answered yes, to tell us where. We also asked students whether they were sexually assaulted during their time at university and what, if anything, the university did in response. Stories based on that data will follow in the next few months, and will be posted on our new web hub.
For now, here’s how students rated their schools in the Medical Doctoral, Comprehensive, and Primarily Undergraduate categories, as well as some extra charts showing you the best and worst universities when it comes to professors knowing your name, how well students are taught to think critically, and whether students feel as though they’re learning skills needed to actually land a job.