Offers to Ontario engineering programs will probably be wrapping up over the next two to three weeks (mid-May?). Then people have until some date in early June to pick the one they want (see your offer or OUAC for specific deadlines) and put down some sort of deposit. It seems like most people apply to multiple universities and programs these days. In the “old days” you could only apply to 3 in total, but I think the average now is around 5 or 6. I’ve seen some applications in the high 20’s!
So assuming you have 2 or more offers to choose from, how do you decide? Ultimately it’s going to be a very personal decision, but here are a few common factors to consider:
- Program: do you really know what it’s about, and how well it fits your interests, skills and temperament? Ignore your family and friends ideas about the “best” program for the future and jobs. It’s your future.
- Location: is quick and easy travel back home on weekends important to you or necessary for some reasons? Or, are you fine with staying away for weeks and months and connecting by Skype or whatever?
- Costs: some programs are expensive. Some cities are expensive to live in. How do the total costs add up for your budget? Is there an internship or co-op program to help with the costs, and how much does it help?
- Facilities and Extracurriculars: is there something that you really want or need to do, apart from the academic program? Does the university have that opportunity available? Are there clubs or sports opportunities that you are particularly interested in?
- Scholarships: are these important for your budget and affordability? Did you get a really big scholarship spread over 4 years? If so, are there performance conditions, such as maintaining an 80% average? Note that many students have difficulties maintaining these averages, so the scholarship may not really be that reliable for future budgeting purposes.
- Prestige: studies from the US generally show that going to a “prestigious” school has no particular influence on career (with the possible exception of politics). Ignore “prestige” or rankings and go for the place and program that is the best fit for you and your interests. An engaged and interested student will always do well wherever they are, versus a miserable student at a “prestigious” university or program.
- Other? Possibly there are some other factors that are more individual? I can’t think of any more general ones at the moment, but suggestions in the comments are welcomed.