|Subject: York University = Embarrassing !
|I have a dream that I can one day proclaim that I?m a York student ... without embarrassment.
When I went home for Christmas break after first-year, I was quite jealous when my friends from McGill, UBC, Queen?s, even UofT, could find a no-brainer Christmas gift for their parents which resembled an item of clothing with "insert the name of a university better than York" Dad/Mom embroidered on the front. However, I wouldn?t in my right mind try to hand over a "York Dad" or "York Mom" shirt to my folks, at the risk of having it thrown back at my face. Then again, I wouldn?t want my folks to be ridiculed in their circle of friends, as I am in mine. Typical responses would be, "You go to York? Wow, you must have really flunked high school!", "York? Isn?t that the school plagued with scandals and protests?", "York? Isn?t that the school that plastered St. George Station with the interdisciplinary ads (if FACS 1900 wasn?t enough) last year?" and don?t forget the mythical shirts from UofT that read "Friends don?t let friends go to York."
Additionally making York very unattractive is its location beside the Jane and Finch corridor, an area notorious for its gun violence and high crime rate. People often advise me to hold my purse tight, don?t wander out at night and generally live in fear. Well, I do admit that I am afraid, but not in fear of getting shot, mugged or raped.
I?m afraid for the safety of my idealistic activist classmates and of the scams that rape my tuition money. Last year alone, York administration was under attack for a plethora of issues, including land scandals, questionable pay raises and abusing protesters, not to mention the sham that is York Parking. In my opinion, I?d rather be mugged by a petty thief than scammed by York Admin. At least a petty thief is in need of the money. I highly doubt that the York Administration needs another raise.
On the bright side, the sleazy guys in the downtown clubbing district inform me that the female student body here at York have an impeccable fashion sense. Stilettos, two pounds of makeup, Gucci, bling and Louis Vuitton purses are just some of the requirements of the York runway. Who needs trashy tabloids when living replicas of Paris Hilton are regularly strolling around our campus? Nevertheless, I can always be reminded nostalgically of my OSAP loan by the "Tiara Girl" (a term coined by a frustrated student, Jaspreet Sandhu), who complains in my tutorial about how her binder doesn?t match her $2,000 Louis Vuitton purse.
As a Torontonian, the general perception of York is that it?s the commuter school with little sense of community and a low cut off average, accepting all the leftovers who have been rejected from the more reputable universities. As the saying goes, "If you can hold a fork, you can go to York." Even though residence life is virtually non-existent, the perception of York as a school full of D-class students isn?t entirely true.
There are a couple of programs here that actually need more than a passing average and a cheque for tuition to gain admittance. Examples would be the highly competitive Schulich School of Business (notice how they have conveniently left York out of their name) and most of the by-audition-only programs in the Faculty of Fine Arts.
So when I graduate next year, what will I bring away from York along with my diploma? Parking ticket stubs, an empty wallet, maybe a couple of gunshot wounds and a renewed sense of pessimism.
|High school grads choose York (in reply to: York University = Embarrassing !)
Statistics show York´s student performance and enrolment rate on the rise
Results are in for the annual recruitment drive of new students, which show York gaining significant ground on other Ontario universities in attracting high school graduates who have selected the university as their first-choice institution.
But the rising numbers have overshot enrolment targets and paint a troubling picture of overflowing classes without enough funding. York shot eight per cent over target in its enrolment numbers this year.
"It´s not a mountain and then a plateau. It´s a range of mountain after mountain, as far as the eye can see," said professor and chair of the english department, Kim Michasiw. The university has been overshooting its enrolment targets since the double cohort.
As a result professors cited difficulties in accommodating and budgeting for the new students with uncertainty. Government funding and the recruitment of full-time professors are also affected by such fluctuations.
Class number projections were further skewed by arts students taking Atkinson classes in the evening, and Atkinson students using day spaces in arts courses.
Professors involved in enrolment planning committees were quick to defend the figures. Rhonda Lenton, dean of the Faculty of Atkinson, argued that the results were astonishingly close to the targets, given all the variables that had to be taken into consideration.
Market share of Ontario high school graduates selecting York University as their first choice has soared to 11.2 per cent this year from 8.3 per cent in 1999, steadily increasing over the past six years. This marked the largest increase of any major Ontario university over the same time period.
York ranked second in market share of first choice students, after University of Toronto with 16 per cent, and just ahead of University of Western Ontario with eight per cent. Western had previously been in second place in 1999.
"The increase in market share that we experienced was because of a better recruitment process and particularly an improvement in our conversion rate," said vice-president students Robert Tiffin, while presenting the data during the year´s first Senate meeting.
Tiffin emphasized the team approach to the recruitment process, with the communications department launching a massive branding scheme and individual subject departments working effectively to promote their areas of learning.
York communications recently launched a controversial "theatre domination" branding campaign to promote the institution´s interdisciplinary approach to education, with thousands of ads on transit vehicles, magazines and Famous Players cinemas.
"Maybe this [target overshooting] is a signal that York University can indeed attract the brightest students, and we have had a lack of confidence in our ability to do so in the past years. Maybe we are starting to see York´s progress and effort in promoting our university," said Sheila Embleton, vice-president academic.
The grade quality of incoming students has also increased.
Roughly 86 per cent of York students accepted now have an average of 75 per cent or higher. Retention rates - the rate of students that continue their education - have increased in the third and fourth-year levels, but dipped in second year.
However, not everyone agrees with the increased quality of new students though.
"What assurances do we have? How do we know that York is getting the best students?" questioned economics professor Alan Shapiro.
Last Thursday, The Globe and Mail published an article highlighting the complaints of many professors about the lacklustre math and english skills of their students - even among those who have achieved stellar high school grades.
The article cited secondary school grade inflation, focus on visual learning instead of writing and a hurried high school curriculum as possible causes of poor student performance in the first year of university.
"York is doing the best it can to help new students that might be struggling, with background tutorials and extra help," said Embleton. It is unclear how these students are fairing in their classes at this early stage of the academic year though.
The university closed the application process early this summer due to the surge in interest, thus firming up class lists. Many students are now having significant inconveniences while trying to move around to other classes as the year begins.
York is already underway for next year´s cycle of recruitment with the Ontario Universities Fair 2005 this weekend. Approximately 65,000 prospective students are expected to attend the event at the Metro Convention Centre.
| (in reply to: York University = Embarrassing !)
It´s too bad you are too dumb to get into Schulich.
FYI: Rotman doesn´t include U of T in their business school name either, and that also applies to the Iveys, Molsons, Sauders, etc.