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What do you think is special about Carleton's campus life?

All of the residences are really close together, so you’ll have friends from every building which makes for a good time. Also, being near Byward Market and TD Place is great for going out with friends at night.

How would you describe the workload and work-life balance?

QUESTIONS

For a Carleton Public Affairs & Policy Management Student...

JUICY

Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?

I chose the Public Affairs and Policy Management (PAPM) program after hearing about it online. Once I learned more about it, I was instantly hooked. The opportunity to study in the capital of Canada was so appealing and is definitely something that has paid off. The program administration offers great co-op opportunities and does amazing things for its students. For example, in first-year, the Kroeger Policy Connect matches up students with different organizations and government departments for a day. It’s really interesting and a great opportunity. Another reason I chose PAPM is because of its reputation in government and Ottawa. It’s a reputable program and is well-known in Ottawa. The program is unique to me because of the specialization options. I chose to specialize in Economic Policy which allows me to take more ECON courses and study what I am interested in.

PAPM is a tough program, but definitely manageable. I think the most important thing is making sure you are always making the most efficient use of your time. If you are able to leave your phone in your room during the day, you’ll be able to leave your notes in your room at night. There are a lot of assigned readings, but once you learn how to deal with them you can get through them quite fast. In terms of papers and essays, there were several of 12+ pages. However, the topics were always really interesting to me so I enjoyed them. Overall, the workload isn’t exceptionally overwhelming and can definitely be balanced. This year, I was able to make Dean’s List, work for a consulting firm, and still go out with friends 4+ times per week. The best tip I can give for time management is Google Calendar. It’s really helpful as a day-to-day planner and becomes extra helpful when midterms and finals come around.

Is there lots of collaborative work or group presentations? 

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What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?

Not often at all. It may increase in 2nd, 3rd and/or 4th year, but in 1st year there was barely any group work. In fact, I only remember doing collaborative work in my HIST and PSCI class discussion groups for a maximum of 20 minutes.

Reach out to as many people as you can. I spoke to 5-10 people about Carleton and PAPM before making my decision. Also, check/post/direct message in the Reddit thread of the school you’re thinking about going to. This is incredibly informative and provides unbiased insight on the program and campus life. For PAPM in specific, do some research about the different specializations and CO-OP opportunities.

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

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ETHAN BROOKE

Hey! My name is Ethan Brooke and I'm entering my second year at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, where I am pursuing a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management with a Specialization in Economic Policy. Right now, I work as a Junior Associate for Strategies North Advisory Inc., doing research and analysis. Feel free to reach out with any questions you have!

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How would you describe the workload and work-life balance?

QUESTIONS

For another Carleton Public Affairs & Policy Management Student...

JUICY

Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?

The Public Affairs and Policy Management (PAPM) program is one of very few across the country to offer a curriculum that is centred primarily around creating, implementing, and evaluating policy. As a student from Nova Scotia, the closest option at home would be Political Science, but I really wanted to study policy. I love PAPM’s interdisciplinary approach, which 

I would say that there is a fair balance of work, with a progressive increase throughout the program. As an IB student in high school, I found the transition to first-year pretty smooth, but some classes can have pretty heavy amounts of reading. Summarizing will be your friend! In terms of work-life balance, one of the great things about PAPM is that the Arthur Kroeger College Educational Students’ Society (AKCESS) hosts lots of events throughout the year. These include exam prep sessions, coffee houses, a yearly gala, and more. I have found that getting involved in AKCESS events has helped everyone become more familiar with their classmates and take some much needed breaks together.

Is there lots of collaborative work or group presentations? 

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In two years, I’ve only given three or four presentations, but it could be more depending on the specialization you choose in second-year. The presentations I have given in the PAPM course have all been in small tutorial groups of about 20, and have been meant to explain and analyze an assigned reading. They are usually followed by a class discussion of the reading as well, so if you can, make sure to come prepared with something for every reading you’ve done!

There is often collaboration in tutorials, but I have only had one formal group project so far. That being said, I think informal collaboration can be instrumental in you and your classmates’ success in PAPM. Everyone will have one subject they excel in and another they struggle in, and studying or proofreading papers with other students has helped me tremendously. I think it can even be really helpful to teach someone a concept you do understand, as having to reword and explain it will only strengthen your existing knowledge.

includes law, political science, economics, and much more, depending on your specialization. Personally, I have taken business, communications, and French classes as part of my Communication Technologies & Regulation specialization. I also love that PAPM is a smaller program, where you can connect with professors and classmates more easily than a larger one. It has been hugely beneficial, both academically and personally, to connect with my peers. There is a great sense of community and I know that many of my classmates will be making waves in Canadian politics in the future. In addition, being in Ottawa is a huge advantage for networking and job opportunities. The co-op program is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door in a government or private option, especially if you have not had a chance to work in an office setting before. There are also the House of Commons and Senate Page Programs, who often hire PAPM students. Members of Parliament and Senators are often looking for volunteers to work in their offices, which can lead to future employment. Plus, Ottawa is a beautiful city to explore and live in when you’re not trying to get a job on the Hill!

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How would you describe your first year at Carleton?

Intimidating, but incredible. It was admittedly really difficult to move across the country to a school where I knew no one, but it’s a really welcoming atmosphere, especially during Fall Orientation week. Residence life at 

Carleton is fantastic, and I enjoyed my experience enough to return last year as a Residence Fellow. I found many of my best friends through the residence community and it was a great transitional step to living on my own. If you’re coming from outside of Ottawa, I would suggest making time to see all the touristy parts of the city, like skating on the canal and visiting the National Gallery. There are also so many on-campus opportunities. I know many people who were involved in debate and model UN, and there are student societies for every interest you might have. Personally, I was involved with intramural soccer, the executive team for Reporters Without Borders Carleton, and planning an international relations-focused student conference in May. Making time for all of these activities helped me create more work-life balance, develop practical professional skills outside of the classroom, and meet people from outside of my program. My first year was full of so much personal growth and I’m thankful for all the opportunities and people I encountered.

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What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?

Make sure you are applying for the right reasons, and keep your options open. PAPM is a fantastic program for many people, but its reputation as a ‘prestigious’ program can distract people away from its purpose: learning about creating effective public policy. If that doesn’t interest you, there are other amazing programs at Carleton that lead to a myriad of exciting life paths and careers! PAPM has so many unique specializations, there is a good chance that you will find something that you are passionate about studying if you haven’t figured it out yet. However, I still think it’s worth noting that many people switch out of PAPM after first-year, not because they are not able to keep up, but because they realize that they will succeed more in a different program, such as law or a Bachelor of Global and International Studies (BGInS). Don’t be afraid to switch program elements or programs altogether if you’re not confident in what you’re currently committed to.

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

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ANNABELLE LINDERS

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My name is Annabelle Linders and I am entering my third year of the Public Affairs and Policy Management (PAPM) program at Carleton University. I am originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I love talking about youth involvement with politics and government. I also love movies, concerts, and visiting all the museums in Ottawa! I hope to one day create public policy around digital privacy and security. If you have any questions about Carleton, PAPM, or anything else, you can find me @annabellelinders on Instagram or on LinkedIn!

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QUESTIONS

For a former CU PAPM Student...

MORE JUICY

Why did you decide to switch from Carleton's public affairs/policy management to Western's international relations?

Although I was really excited about the Public Affairs and Policy Management program at Carleton, once I got there and started to attend my lectures I knew the program wasn’t the right fit for me. I noticed that most of my classmates were very interested in what we were learning especially in our core Public Affairs and Policy Management course, whereas I was not. However, I loved my Political Science and History courses. When I was researching programs in

grade twelve, I had looked at the International Relations course load, while I had only looked at the opportunities the Public Affairs and Policy Management program provided. I quickly realized I would much rather be taking the IR course load then the Public Affairs course load. The content that the Western program offered interested me so much more than my own program. I was really apprehensive when making the decision to apply to transfer because I was scared it would close opportunities and that my friends and family would think I had failed. I took a lot of time to think about it and didn’t apply until around the end of January. I made the decision because I realized that spending four years in a program I did not enjoy wasn’t beneficial to me or my future. Ultimately, I had to make the decision that was best for me, regardless of my worries about

what anyone else thought. Going into this year I am soooo excited for my classes to start. The content I will be studying is what I want to study, I think this is something really important to students choosing a university program. When applying to law school, medical school, or Master’s degrees, the undergrad program you studied usually does not matter. What matters is that you were active in your community,you 

 achieved good grades and you stood out from the other candidates. Therefore, it is important to choose a program you enjoy because this will help you to achieve the required marks. After all, you will actually want to do the work and learn. And most importantly it will make you happier! To conclude, I made the decision to transfer because it was the decision that is best for my future and my interests. Both programs are great, it just depends on the person!

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Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?

Initially upon researching university programs, while I was in high school I came across the Honours in International Relations program at Western University. I did a lot of research on what the program offered and thought it sounded really interesting and like something that would help

me to reach my goal of working in law and politics. The program seemed like a unique way to learn about politics on an international scale, something

I am very interested in. Towards the end

of grade eleven, everyone was starting to stress

about what programs they would apply for next year, so I started doing more research on programs I would be interested in. Through this research, I heard about Carleton’s Public Affairs and Policy Management program. This is a unique program only offered through Carleton. I ended up being really interested in this program and went to tour the school in the summer. When it came time to apply to schools I applied to the IR program at Western and Public Affairs program at Carleton. Due to the uniqueness of the program offered at Carleton, (and the great location to get involved in politics), I decided to accept the program at Carleton. The Public Affairs and Policy Management program at Carleton is very small, this means that the students in the program are often in very small class sizes and get to participate in unique opportunities. As well, the Public Affairs program is a co-opprogram, meaning that as long as you can achieve the required average you can participate in co-op. Co-op is a great way to get real experience in your field of study, while still in school. All of

these factors set this program apart from all the others I applied to and influenced my decision to choose it.

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What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?

When applying to any program my advice would be to look at the classes you will have to take

in each year of university in the program. This will help you get a feel for the program and what

you will be learning. On the actual application process, my advice would be to just do your best

in school and engage in your community to set yourself apart from other applicants. The Public

Affairs and Policy Management program at Carleton often has a relatively high admissions

average because of the small number of students taken into the program. So make sure you're

getting the marks you need to meet the cutoff. Don’t aim to just meet these cut-offs however,

because in competitive programs the admissions average for each year is often above the

required average! If you have an idea of what you want to do, I would also suggest looking at the

courses required to apply to those fields, a lot of programs require certain courses to be included

in your average. Therefore, you might want to put in extra effort, or get extra help in those

courses!

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How would you describe the workload and work-life balance in your program at Carleton?

One of the biggest differences in the workload between university and high school, that I noticed, was the amount of reading that is required in university. Oftentimes I'd be assigned 50-100 pages of reading in multiple classes per week. On top of any other assignments or tests, I had to do and prepare for. This probably sounds daunting, but the trick is to stay on top of your readings! If you don’t you will never be able to catch up. If you sit down once a week and think you’re going to do all of your reading at once, there is no way it is going to work. You have to learn to manage your time and spread out your workload so you have a balance. By doing this I was able to achieve a good work to life balance. On weekends I was still able to hang out with my friends, go to the mall or go out most weekends, because I made sure I was consistent in doing my work throughout the week. Living on campus also really helped with this, because during busier school times I and one of my friends would go to the library in the morning on weekends and do work for a good portion of the day, then later we’d make plans and do something fun. Living on campus helped because even while doing my school work I could be with my friends, and studying at the library with almost no commute was beneficial to my study habits. Ultimately, I think that as long as you stay on top of your work and can manage your time, you can find a healthy work to life balance that is not overbearing. Exam times are definitely more stressful and work heavy, but even then, if you’ve been keeping up with your work all year it makes studying much easier.

How would you describe residence? Would you recommend someone live on-campus? If so, what advice do you have for them?

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I lived in residence at Carleton in my first year, and the experience was definitely something I would recommend to other students. Although it wasn’t always fun living in a tiny dorm, sharing a washroom and eating cafeteria food, the memories you will make and the people you’ll meet will stay with you forever. It was a really cool opportunity to be able to live, literally steps away from your closest friends. I saw my friends, at least once a day, and ate almost all my meals with one or more of my friends. It was so crazy going from living at home to living in residence. It

gives you a sense of the responsibilities of living alone or out of your house without the total sense of being alone. In my residence, we had two upper-year students on each floor to help us adjust to university, and just to plan floor events with and participate in other activities in our buildings. They hosted movie nights and game nights that gave everyone the chance to hang out and meet new people. I’ll never forget the late-night trips to the caf' with my friends when we’d all spent the last hours studying for our exams or tests, or the rush of people flooding after classes ended for the evening. Some of my friends chose to live with people they already knew, however, I choose to be placed with a roommate randomly. I think this is a really cool experience because it helps you develop a lot of skills, as well as gives you the chance to really get to know someone you might otherwise not have met. When you’re put in a small dorm with someone you’ve never met you develop skills you might not have without the experience. Residence helped me to strengthen my communication and problem-solving skills and helped me understand the importance of compromising.

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

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MADISON BINDER

Hey! My name is Madison and I’m about to start my first year at Western University for International Relations! Last year I attended Carleton for Public Affairs and Policy Management! If you have any questions about either school, the transfer process, or university in general please feel free to connect with me through any of my social media!

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