What I Wish I Knew When I was a Freshman

GradSchool2So tomorrow I’m doing a retreat for Service Point, the administrative office at McGill. They invited me to come and give suggestions about what could be improved in their office. Service Point is the face of McGill. It’s where students go to first when they arrive here. And, even though it has nothing to do with student affairs and personal problems, most people end up going there because it’s the only place that they can think of reaching out to. Therefore, this blog post is me outlining a little bit of what I wish I had known when I entered McGill.

Firstly, If I had known that undergraduate studies isn’t just about finishing a degree, then I would’ve prepared myself for Grad School admission requirements much more wisely. Besides completing your 36/54 credit Major degree, most Grad schools are looking for Research experience, GRE prep and Recommendation Letters.

If I had to lay it down for freshmen, I would tell them this:

  1. You have the option to get rid of any credits that you came in with. Even though you may be coming in as a U1 student, you have the option to get rid of all the credits that made you U1 and you can start at McGill as a U0. This means that you can do the Freshman Program if you are undecided! No need to rush.
  2. You have the option to defer, withdraw or take supplemental exams when you feel like you are not doing as well as you could be. Many of my friends and I all agree that had we known in Freshman year that we had alternative options to taking a final exam unprepared, we would not have Ds and Fs on our record. 
  3. Spend your Sophomore year finding clubs and events that you can get involved in. Guess what? This is the best way to make connections! Joining in your Junior year is okay but to work your way up to top positions in these clubs, you need to start as early as possible.
  4. Spend your Junior year gaining research experience. Whether or not your graduate plan involves research requirements, research is a huge part of McGill University. Research is one of the best ways to gain a recommendation letter.
  5. Use your last three semesters at McGill looking into Lsats, Mcats, GREs, GMats etc. Planning ahead is the key.

I hope these tips help. These are definitely the things I wish I would’ve known when I had come to McGill. I would’ve spared myself a lot of stress and hits to my GPA.

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