Try before you buy: why visiting campuses is important

When it comes to big decisions, I tend to trust my gut. So far, it’s worked out pretty well.

That’s not to say that I pick blindly. I definitely have never been the type to take things lightly. Before getting my tattoos, I would make my sister draw them on for me in sharpie. I hate clothes shopping online in case the fabric doesn’t feel right. It took me 21 years to work up the courage to cut off my hair. But I rarely make a decision that I regret because I always look before I leap.

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When I was applying for university the first time around, I was convinced I knew exactly what I wanted. I was going to a very prestigious university in Central London; I had an exact order of preference worked out for all five of my choices. I knew that the top three were the only ones I really cared about visiting, and that I would visit them in order.

And then everything changed.

When visiting my top choice, I just wasn’t feeling it, and that confused me. It was a beautiful university, with an incredible alumni and a really interesting program. London was possibly my favourite city. But for some reason, I felt like a small fish in a gigantic pond. I sat in one of the lecture halls and just couldn’t picture myself studying there. It didn’t feel right.

Visiting my second choice was even worse. I’d got a coach at 4am to be there on time. It was a campus, so I thought maybe it would be more homey than the top choice. The program seemed really interesting… until I fell asleep during the taster lecture. Very embarrassing, but it was a good indication that that program wasn’t the one for me.

A few months later, I went to see my third choice. I wasn’t particularly excited about it, but when I got there it felt like coming home. Sitting in the lecture hall, I just knew. And that’s where I ended up going for my first year. I had the most overwhelming sense that it was the right choice.

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So when I came to Glendon for the first time, in the middle of last summer, I was waiting for that feeling to resurface. I got lost in the Centre of Excellence (twice), was rescued by a friendly staff member, and eventually made it to the Recruitment office, where I got an amazing amount of support and advice about transferring. When my appointment was over, I discovered that my mum had been chatting to Shauna, who worked in the office. She very kindly offered to take me on an impromptu tour of the campus- without a doubt the prettiest campus I’ve ever seen. I got a sense that this was a place full of people who loved their community, who felt lucky to be there. I saw that this was a university that could give me an amazing new start.

Going to visit a campus can be valuable in several ways- the people you meet can change everything. If I hadn’t gone to see my third choice uni in the UK, I would never have heard of Glendon. On that visit, one of the people I met was a lecturer who was originally from Toronto: she went to York herself, in fact. We had kept in touch over my gap year and when I started thinking about transferring to Toronto she was the one who helped me find courses similar to what I was already studying. Without her help, I never would have ended up here.

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Prime reading spot on campus

I can’t stress enough how helpful it is to go to the campuses you’re considering- even to ones you’re not! I recently dragged my 17 year old cousin to Glendon: he’s just applied to university but had never stepped foot on a university campus before, and that just doesn’t seem right to me. He said it really helped to have a picture in his mind of what it’s like to really be there- and that it made it feel a lot less abstract.

If you’re reading this and you’re looking to come to Glendon, come and visit! Our spring Open House, Expérience Glendon, is happening on Sunday March 1st. I’ll be floating about there, so if nothing else, come and say hi to me.

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One thought on “Try before you buy: why visiting campuses is important

  1. Pingback: No, I’m Not Bonkers: A Transfer Student’s Retrospective | Tea & Textbooks

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