Carleton University: Student life on campus

An insider’s guide to the best place to live, campus food and more
Pascale Malenfant
(Courtesy of Carleton University)
(Courtesy of Carleton University)

Pascale Malenfant, 21

Pascale Malenfant (Courtesy of L. Manuel Baechlin)

Why did you choose Carleton?
I knew I wanted to stay in Ottawa so I could live with my parents and save money on living expenses. I always excelled in writing, and Carleton’s reputable journalism program offered a good balance between studying something creative and professionally useful. Carleton also offers quite generous renewable entrance scholarships.

Describe some of your best experiences so far.
Perhaps my best experience at Carleton so far was the support I had that allowed me to consistently excel academically. I finished the last academic year with the highest grade in my journalism cohort; I credit this success to the program’s uniquely rigorous environment. The dedication so many Carleton students have to their academics and side projects also made it easy to make some of the best friends I’ve ever had. We have common interests and activities that we are all passionate about.

Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
Though extracurricular activities might have been more difficult to access amid the pandemic, there’s a huge diversity of them for any prospective Carleton student. They range from arts to sports to politics to—well, anything. I have been deeply involved with our student newspaper, the Charlatan and served as an executive in the Journalism Society for three years.

What do you think of your professors?
Every professor I’ve had at Carleton has been approachable, helpful and supportive. I’ve never had one who wasn’t willing to take the extra time to help me nail down a concept or solidify an assignment. The relationships I built with my professors also allowed me to ask them for support when making connections outside of school. They helped me succeed with internship and graduate school applications.

What do you think of the school’s administration?
If there’s one thing I recommend, it’s to make sure you register for classes the minute your assigned time slot to register opens. Many first-year classes can be difficult to get into, so be prepared. Though administrative staff are generally helpful, backlogs caused by the pandemic can make any registration accommodations difficult to obtain.

What is off-campus life like in Ottawa?
In Canada’s capital, we have some of the country’s best museums, cultural festivals and historic sites—many of which offer student discounts! It’s also an ideal destination for student politicos, as the opportunities in government and politics are plentiful. If you’re more into the club or bar scene, the ByWard Market or Hull are sure to meet your needs. Fair warning: be prepared to engage with one of the worst public transit systems of any city in Canada.

PROFILE: Carleton University | Ottawa, Ont. | Founded 1942

Best place to live: Old Ottawa South, the Glebe or Hog’s Back are all close enough to walk from and aren’t too harsh on the wallet
Best place to study: If it’s warm, try outside by the Ottawa River; during the winter, snag a river-facing spot in Richcraft Hall
Best campus events: Panda Game (#whatsageegee) and the Butterfly Show!
Best campus food: The crispy chicken sandwich and potato wedges at Colonel By Chicken in the University Centre’s Food Court
Best cheap lunch: Try Il Forno Toscano in the Loeb Building: made-to-order pasta for $10.
Best pizza: Off-campus, Fiazza is amazing and has a lot of convenient locations
Best place for a fancy dinner: La Roma or the Waverley
Best giveaway: The university bookstore does a beginning-of-the-year gift card giveaway to help students get a head start on buying textbooks
Best bar for hanging out: Ollie’s Pub and Patio
Best weekend activity: Seeing how many BeaverTails shacks you can hit while skating on the canal
The thing that surprised me most about the school: The number of extra scholarships and research opportunities you can access based on your grades
If I could change one thing about the school: Eradicate the tortuous maze that is the Loeb Building. Why does it have three ground floors?!