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UNIVERSITY

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QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY

Located on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory, in beautiful Kingston, Ontario, Queen’s University is as prestigious as the name implies; with 25 buildings, 89 programs offered, and 24,600 students enrolled, the school is just as impressive in size [1]. Established in 1841, it’s divided into Smith School of Business, Health Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and Faculty of Arts and Science [2]. Known as the Queen’s Golden Gaels, they’re led onto the fields, and onto the world stage by none other than Boo Hoo the Bear, their Tartan clad mascot [3]. Recognizing over 200 clubs, finding a niche won’t be rocket science [5]. Do note that fraternities and sororities have been banned ever since the 1920s [5]. As well, if you’re coming to Queen’s U from outside of Kingston, fear not! According to 2019 statistics, 95% of the student population comes from outside of Kingston too [4]. Also, from the the 1920s until the 1950s, the mascot was an actual bear named Boo Hoo, given food that the students thought that bears might like; this tradition was halted after moral and ethical concerns arose [3]. Queen’s U has a multitude of affiliations, including with the U15, MNU, ACU, and many more [5].

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For a Commerce student at Queen's

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

Queen’s provides one of the most unique university experiences, as the neighbourhoods surrounding the campus are almost all inhabited by university students. The huge studentcommunity means you are living beside like-minded individuals. On warmer days (pre-COVID) you could find students on the beach of the Pier and playing spike ball or swimming in the lake. My friends always joke about how Kingston (the area near the Queen’s campus) is not a real place, because of how university centric it is. From the housing, to the activities it feels like you’re at a summer camp all year around.

What was your favourite course/elective in first year?

Commerce Program has a fairly rigid structure for the first two years and because of this you’re not allowed to take any electives. I honestly didn’t mind this as it forced me to explore a variety of different business functions. My favourite course in first year was Organizational

Behaviour taught by Christopher Miners as it explored fascinating concepts on running teams through a behavioural psychology lens.

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

Queen’s Commerce provides a very unique university experience and my final decision to attend was based on the extra-curricular opportunities, the alumni network, and the emphasis on international opportunities. Not many programs have the same opportunity to engage in high value extra-curricular activities. Many students in the program will attest that the best learning opportunities you receive will come from outside the classroom and through club involvement. Queen’s has a huge emphasis on their ratified clubs which present students with

unique opportunities to get valuable experience that can be transferred into a professional context. Second, I looked through the QComm alumni network and was very impressed to see that

many students end up at top tier banking or consulting firms and attend prestigious post graduate schools such as Wharton, LSE, and Harvard. For me this was reassurance that the program equips students to go on to achieve impressive things. Lastly, QComm emphasizes international opportunities and encourages an exchange semester for all its students. 85% of Commerce student study abroad and there are numerous courses that equip students to thrive in international business settings.

What advice do you have for the supplementary application for Queen's commerce (the PSE)? And you can briefly explain what the supp. app entails for those who don't know?

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Your PSE is the opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from the other candidates applying. Queen’s Commerce is a very competitive program and you need to demonstrate through your PSE that you’re a future leader who’s well-equipped to thrive in such an environment. Through extracurricular or academic achievements, you need to show the admission team that you have a growth mindset, competitive spirit, and a track-record of excellence. My one advice would be to make it unique and highlight your personality (the admissions team needs you as much as you think you need them lol) – think about how many of your peers have done DECA, and unless you can speak about something extremely unique about your DECA involvement it’s likely not going to stand out.

QUESTIONS

JUICY

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

After reaching a certain average your grades are not considered anymore, and your PSE application will fully determine your acceptance. I would highly recommend stacking your

extra-curriculars as early as possible and talk about defining leadership experience. Queen’s wants to cultivate future leaders and your PSE is the spot to highlight you’re deserving of this opportunity.

 

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

SALMAN SOHANI

As a part of the Project Uni x BETA Camp collaboration, Salman would like to direct you to check out BETA Camp's resource tab below..

For a Biochemical Engineering student at Queen's

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

Queen’s engineering does have a heavy workload compared to some other programs. However, it truly is a “work-hard, play-hard” balance. I definitely stress quite a bit about my courses and the material, but I feel that organization and planning is the best way to handle the workload. This involves meal planning, calendars, and even reaching out to Queen’s SASS program for support. Even though I am busy during the weekdays, I find the weekends are great for catching up on work and socializing with friends. It is super important to emphasize how necessary it is to do more than just school. That includes socializing with friends, being a part of an extra-curricular, or even having some “down time” to yourself.

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

Being from downtown Toronto, I either had the option of attending a Toronto university or going away for school. I honestly wanted the “typical university experience” and thought Queen’s would be the perfect fit. I truly did not know what to expect out of Queen’s engineering program, however choosing this program has been the best decision I’ve made so far in my career path. I feel like most engineering programs are super competitive and it’s really hard to make friends, but that’s not how I view Queen’s engineering program at all. I’ve met so many supportive peers, professors, and Queen’s staff that really emphasized the importance of inclusivity and co-operation in the engineering community. Other than the close-knit community, the program has a lot of extra-curricular opportunities that allows students to gain experience in different fields. For example, I am currently the Director of Internal Processes within the Executive Director Team at Queen’s Engineering Society (EngSoc). It has been such a great experience so far and I’ve met so many peers through this position. However, you don’t just have to join EngSoc. There are design teams, services, conferences, and much more that you can be apart of! I truly believe that this is a program worth experiencing.

What's the biggest change from high school to university?

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I found the biggest change from high school to university was balancing the workload. In high school, I found it easier to manage the schoolwork and extra curriculars as I was living at home with my family. When moving out, you become so much more independent, and it is easy to lose focus. There is no authoritative figure(s) telling you to study and stay home, so all decisions are entirely up to you. In Toronto, my mom would cook for me and I primarily focused on my studies and extra-curriculars while being able to socialize with friends. At Queen’s, I must balance my workload while prioritizing my time for other activities. University requires strong time management skills because you can fall behind in courses and get lost.

QUESTIONS

JUICY

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

When applying to Queen’s engineering, make sure to complete the supplementary application. This is so important as I feel that the program wants their students to be “well-rounded”. This means that the program is looking for students who do more than just studying and have perfect grades. They want someone who is also interested in extra-curriculars and can understand the importance of teamwork and co-operation as engineering involves a lot of those elements. By completing that application, you can emphasize on your experiences and give the program more insight into what type of student you are.

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What kinds of things are there to do in your schools hometown?

I really enjoy Kingston as a university town. Unlike some university towns, the downtown strip is pretty close to campus and the “student ghetto”. This allows you to grab your groceries, try a new restaurant or bar, and shop in one outing. Queen’s is quite big on school spirit, such as homecoming (HOCO) and St. Patties, so Kingston does get lively when those events do occur. In the spring and summer, I usually go on walks to the pier near campus and watch the sunsets or tan. If you have the chance to visit Kingston, do it!

 
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A very special thank you to our interviewee...

ALISON WONG

Hi! I’m Alison and I am currently a second-year student in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Queen’s University. While experiencing Queen’s unique Engineering program, I am specializing in Biochemical Engineering. Outside of classes, I enjoy baking, cooking, and traveling (not with COVID-19 lingering)! Feel free to reach out to me about any questions that you have about Queen’s engineering program.

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For a Political Science student at Queen's

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What’s the biggest change from high school to university/college work and classes?

For me, the biggest change from high school to university work and classes has been the expectation of independence. After graduating from high school, where you know most of your teachers and classmates very well, the atmosphere of university is very different. The onus is really on you to make sure that you are understanding the course materials, completing assignments on time, and reaching out for help if/when you need the extra support. However, this independence is also nice in the sense that you get to know yourself a lot better as a student and learner. My first term has been about balancing my increased academic freedom with my increased academic responsibility.

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

Ever since I first visited Kingston and Queen’s University in Grade 9 for a debating tournament, I have loved the atmosphere of the campus and the city.  I thought that it was important to feel comfortable in my environment while studying and even though I haven’t had the chance to study in Kingston yet, I am excited to move there (hopefully) for the fall term in 2021. I haven’t chosen my major yet; however, I am interested primarily in Political Studies, History, and English Literature. However, what all of these have in common is that they are a combination of the study of theory and the study of the real world.

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

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I would say that my scenario is quite unique because all of my lectures across all of my courses have been pre-recorded. This means that I have a lot of freedom in creating my own daily schedule. For my first semester of university, my strategy was to pace myself, being careful to underwork or overwork academically on any given week. Planning ahead for busy weeks by taking advantage of opportunities to get ahead in the weekly readings or lectures definitely helped me avoid feeling overwhelmed when I did have weeks with many assignments due. Making sure to set aside time to relax, work out, and spend time with family and friends

QUESTIONS

JUICY

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What advice do you have for high school students applying to your program, or for the scholarship you received?

My biggest piece of advice for high school students would be to find things that you are passionate about pursuing. I know that everyone wants to have a long list of extracurriculars and awards, but once you find your passions these lists will create themselves. I would also advise high school students not to underestimate the importance of planning ahead, whether it be in general applications, applications for scholarships, or in course work. Creating a schedule or mini-deadlines for yourself helped me reduce my stress, which in turn helped me produce higher quality work, both in my applications and in school work. Having time to revisit and revise work makes a big difference when it comes to the quality of the final product, so planning ahead such that you have time to undergo the revision process is a step which I would suggest not overlooking.

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Why do you think that you won the Queen's Chancellor's Scholarship? What do you believe sets you apart from other students that applied?

I feel so grateful to have received the Queen’s Chancellor’s Scholarship, and I think that part of the reason I was so lucky to receive this award was a combination of the breadth of different activities that I participated in throughout high school, and my passion for those activities. When you truly care about what you are doing, it doesn’t feel like a chore to seek out the opportunities for volunteering and leadership which help to boost the quality of your resume. For a scholarship as competitive as the Chancellor’s, it is important to show that you are not merely a passive participant in a club or an activity. Everyone applying for the scholarship is an accomplished, intelligent, and well-rounded student; therefore, it is not enough to only have a list of awards that you’ve earned, or clubs that you’ve joined. Rather, focusing your application on your unique characteristics and qualities, or something unique that you have created or contributed, is a way to make your application stand out, by demonstrating your innovation and creativity. 

 
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A very special thank you to our interviewee...

MADELINE RITTER

Hi! My name is Madeline Ritter and I am freshman at Queen’s University, although I am studying remotely from my home in Winnipeg for my first year. I am in the Faculty of Arts & Science and so far I’ve taken courses on politics, English literature, ancient greek civilizations, the history of globalization, and linguistics, and will be pursuing some philosophy courses in the winter term. Some of my favourite extracurriculars at Queen’s have been Model Parliament, being a freshman representative for the TEDxQueen’sU organization, and a freshman representative for the Queen’s chapter of the Operation Smile charity. Aside from university-related activities, I enjoy reading, working out, and spending time with friends and family.

For a Biology & Psychology Double Major student at Queen's

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What’s the class environment like?

In the first few years of undergrad the classroom sizes are quite large (200+ students in a lecture hall). Although this can seem overwhelming at first, I suggest sitting with a few friends which makes lectures more enjoyable. The professor will wear a microphone and present the lecture slides on a large screen so everyone can see and hear. In most biology classes there is a lab component. It is usually once a week in addition to your lectures with a Teaching Assistant. Getting into upper years, class sizes become smaller. In these upper years, you can take seminar courses and really get to know your professor and fellow classmates. 

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

I originally started off at  Queen’s as a Biology Major with a Psychology Minor. In my second year I switched into BioPsych Specialization which is another way of saying a double major. I chose this program because it allowed me to take more courses in psychology than a minor would. I was able to develop a passion for both fields of study in that I was exposed to a variety of topics in both subjects. Some of these courses ranged from evolutionary biology, ecology and animal physiology. As well as clinical, developmental and social psychology. BioPsych is a small program with only 40 students. However, what was great about this program is that I got to meet people in both biology and psychology majors.

What was your favourite class/elective & why?

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My favourite elective I took was Music and Popular Culture (MUSC171). This class had an amazing prof who was funny and made you never want to miss a class. We learned all about different genres of music ranging from the 40’s all the way to the 2000’s. Definitely a class I recommend taking if you are interested in music and want to have fun at the same time!

QUESTIONS

JUICY

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What advice do you have for high school students applying to your program, or for the scholarship you received?

My biggest advice for anyone wanting to apply to this program is to save your high school notes from your biology and psychology classes. The first semester of first year is often a review of topics learned in grade 12, so your notes are your best friend! In regard to the application process, it can be quite confusing trying to navigate it all on your own. I advise you to reach out to an academic counsellor at your school to walk you through the process.

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How would you describe your first year experience?

On one hand, first year was quite a big jump academically from high school for me. I was not used to doing readings on top of notes and assignments. As a result of feeling very overwhelmed in not know how to manage my time and courses, I went to Student Academic Success Services (SASS). They were able to teach me strategies to efficiently and effectively complete all my work. On the other hand, first year was amazing socially. I was able to meet so many new people from all over the world and also create life-long friendships. My first year at Queen’s will be a memory I never forget.

 
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A very special thank you to our interviewee...

DAYNA GOREN

Hi Everyone, 

My name is Dayna, and I am a recent graduate of Queen’s University Biology-Psychology Specialization program. I have recently applied to Master of Teaching as well as a Master of Social Work, as I have a strong career ambition towards the combining aspects of childhood trauma and neuro-scientific research and how these fields apply to development. This has led me co-founded a blog called Starts With Youth. We strive to prevent childhood abuse and intergenerational trauma to ultimately help the children and youth of tomorrow, through open dialogue and community-building. Make sure to check out our Instagram @startswyouth for more info.  I hope my interview with Project Uni can give you more insight into what my program is like and the Queen’s lifestyle! Feel free to message me on LinkedIn if you have any questions ☺