Pros: Is considered Canada's Harvard. Is found in a beautiful city.
Cons: Administration is rude, condescending, unknowledgeable, sending students on a chase to get desired information.
McGill is an old university, which when first founded, enacted policies that discriminated against various minorities, including a quota on the Jewish that were allowed admittance. However, this has now changed, and is reflected by the diversity of the student body, which is a culmination of students from all over the world, mirroring the make up of Montreal, in which we find the uiversity.
The programs offered include Medicine, Law, Education, Social Work, Engineering, Business, Commerce, and many more. Admittance is extremely competitive, and requires averages of at least 80%, or approx. -A. However do not be deterred, this is not constantly the case, especially if the applicant happens to be of a sex that is not typically interested in a given degree (affirmative action, or our equivalent), for example women in engineering (where men make up 90% of the faculty) or men in education (vice versa).
The professors' adequacy varies, and is not of a singular status, there are some who are absolute incompetents, some who are indifferent, some who should be in another profession all together. And then there is the amazing Professors, those who inspire excellence within each of their students, whose dedication and love of the job is apparent in every word they say. The former are those people who have helped establish McGill's present reputation. However, they are of a dying breed at the university, let's hope that the hundreds of new professors they plan on hiring will mirror the caliber of the former, and not the latter.
Grading is extremely strict at McGill, however, stellar grades are not unattainable when one becomes accustomed to the preferences and standards of the institution (which takes approximately a whole semester). There is no +A at McGill, A is the highest, thus making it the equivalent of the latter (one would infer).Pay strict attention to what the professors want, each will have their own set of requirements, do not attempt to be an individual or a rebel when writing papers, unless the personality of the prof. indicates otherwise (ie, he or she likes new ideas, and unique presentation).
The buildings are old and falling apart, causing one to often wonder where the tuition is being spent.Classes are fairly large, ranging from 20 students to 600 depending on the faculty and class. The grounds are beautiful, and the social life of the student body is vibrant, offering a club for any possible interest, parties are constantly thrown, making it impossible for one to feel lonely for too long.
Montreal is a beautiful city, with an equally vibrant social life, with a multitude of bars, clubs, theatres, music scenes, political movements and so forth. This is not a hick town, but Canada's equivalent to a cross between Los Angeles and New York (to Americans, we don't live in igloos, it's not winter year round, and we don't only play hockey, to dispel a few of the lingering stereotypes). Montreal has an energy that cannot be described, but must be experienced, and the bonus is that it is not plagued with crime (women can feel safe when the go out at night), or over crowding. The public transport is cheap, reliable, easy to learn, and constant, meaning that you do not need a car to have a social life or to get around. While speaking French is an asset, it is not necessary, although some may be rude about it. Everyone understands English, at least partially, and all the comforts of home are readily available in Montreal, only in two languages instead of one.
McGill is highly regarded around the world, and enjoys a status in the U.S. as being Canada's Harvard, thus adding a certain value to a degree from this institution. The tuition is far less than that of any American university, making it even more attractive to all who desire a high quality education, but cannot afford it else where.
I am a student in the faculty of Education, so I can only rate this program with any certainty. It is a little lengthy, taking 4 years to complete, 5 years if you come from outside the country. The Professors in this faculty are almost all excellent, and love what they do, thus making any class a delight to attend. Professors of notability include, R. Morris, B. Lawlor, M. Jeffery, M.S. Sparks, Y.G. Kelebay, E. Wood, M.L. Hoover, and should definitely be experienced. This faculty in many senses is an easy one, because the classes are all very much like seminars, where you sit in a circle and discuss readings and field experiences. Papers are largely reflective, and there are few tests. However, the real challenge is becoming a skilled educator, which conventional education cannot teach. The real challenge comes in the classroom, where you learn all of the hard lessons very quickly. this program is not hard because for the typical reasons, but rather because it forces the student to learn about him/herself, do not under estimate the challenge this represents, and its value to each future educator. This is one of the few faculties in which you are able to establish bonds with fellow students, and your future professional peers.
Apparently housing is limited, but avoid the dorms, they are crowded, loud, and the little dwellings are smaller than jail cells. Instead opt to find a few room mates, and live off campus, where rent will be much more reasonable (Montreal is known for its cheap rent, and nice apartements).
The administration are all rude and condescending, never hesitating to send you running about campus. They are sarcastic, bitter, and indifferent, that is until they are presented with an opportunity to be rude, and then their passion for the job shifts into over-drive.
McGill is an excellent university, well worth your money, and the time you will spend there.