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Money or Dreams?

I have narrowed down my choices for next year to Dalhousie (computer science) and University of Toronto (Track One, intention of majoring in computer engineering). I know my programs are different, but I would be equally as happy pursuing either one. 
My dream for the last few years has been to attend U of T because of its reputation and quality of education. I love the city of Toronto and I think it would be great to experience living somewhere different as I am from Nova Scotia. Depending on what residence I am placed in, going here may cost $30 000/year.
Dalhousie offered me $36 000 in scholarships which is more than I could have ever imagined but I’m wondering if the money is worth it considering the school, to my knowledge, has no where near the reputation or connections that U of T has in computer science/engineering. 
If I go to U of T I’m definitely going to do their summer internship program (eSIP) and PEY to gain experience and to try to pay off my massive debt. Dalhousie has co-op as well which I will also do, but I know Dal does not have the connections or opportunities that U of T has.
I know at the end of the day with my scholarships, co-op earnings, and students loans (some of which will be written off because I stayed in province) my degree will basically be free or cost a very low price if I go to Dal. So bottom line, should I go for the cheaper degree from the less reputable school, or should I go for the expensive degree from a school that has a greater reputation?
I’m just looking for some suggestions or any advice that could point me in the right direction. Also, I am planning on pursuing graduate studies, but life changes, so I can’t say I will 100%. 

5 Answers

  1. Dalhousie is a very reputable school. Is your only place of research yconic? Did you browse LinkedIn profiles, company profiles, speak to graduates, employees, and hiring recruiters in your field of interest, students in the respective programs, etc.? You're delusional if you think everyone who succeeds in the computer science field comes from U of T and Waterloo, as there are 90+ universities in Canada and strong students come out of all of them. Besides, Dalhousie has been around since the early 1800s and is a very well known uni (at least in Canada). 
    If you want to work in Silicon Valley, then it may be better to go to U of T. But, if you just want to work in Canada then I have no idea why you think Dalhousie is not reputable enough to get you where you want to go. Comp sci does not pay you six-figure salaries in Canada (for most people), so debt is a serious consideration and most people do not end up in Silicon Valley. From your post, it is quite apparent that your expectations from U of T and computer science, in general, are on a pedestal. All the rules that apply to engineering graduates apply to you as well. Most engineers in Canada are not making six figures and starting is in the 50k range – even for those who come out of U of T and Loo. Their main advantage comes from international recognition so a lot of grads just go to the States. If this is not your goal, then you need to reassert your expectations more clearly. Read the OPSE report on underemployment of engineers, do some actual research on the field and industry in Canada and the US (making sure to differentiate between the two), and then make an informed decision. Computer science and computer engineering degrees are practical and offer better job prospects than most other undergraduate degrees, but salary wise you're not touching people who come out of professional programs and business schools (in ibanking, hedge funds, finance, etc.) in Canada. You need to keep this in mind as you make a decision on which school to accept, how much debt you want to take on, and where you want to work geographically. If you plan on pursuing graduate studies, then only your grades really matter and that will be an additional debt you are taking on. 
    Salary expectations for engineering and computer science are skewed and misleading on yconic. Go on redflagdeals for a more honest and realistic perspective, as there are many engineers and computer engineering/computer science graduates there. Silicon Valley is a different story, but these fields do not pay very highly in Canada (middle-class income is more the range). Do not be misled and take on a lot of debt thinking that you're going to come out of U of T computer science and make six figures in Canada (you MAY but this is highly unlikely). 
    – Current computer engineering student at Waterloo

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  2. It really depends on if you're more interested in engineering or computer science. Even computer engineering is pretty different from computer science.

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  3. I say it depends on where you want to live/work post graduation. Are you wanting to leave Nova Scotia? Dalhousie's CS program is well regarded in Canada, so I wouldn't worry about the reputation of the program. While Halifax does seem to be going through a bit of a boom at the moment, the reality is that you will most likely have greater employment opportunities in Ontario. That doesn't mean however that after you graduate if you go to Dal that you couldn't move to Ontario, it's just that it might be easier to land your first job with help through career services at the school you attend.

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  5. Money for dreams? Let’s be honest, without cash it’s not easy to reach things you really want. Go abroad and visit an ancient temple? Pay. Skydiving? Pay. Space tourism? Pay a lot. Tell you what, to make my dreams come true I save money. But part of it I spend on lotto, gambling, and bets. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough someday. So, I go on and choose quality casinos. These reviews are really helpful and they help to prevent playing on fishy sites.

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