Undergraduate crossroad: UBC vs. Waterloo


Hi Everyone,

I'm a University of Waterloo co-op student currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Architectural Studies. I'm currently on a co-op work term and am enjoying it a lot. I hope to pursue higher studies in Architecture after my undergrad and I am enthusiastic about doing so, but I've come to a bit of a crossroad. 


I'm originally from Edmonton and studied at the U of A for two years to obtain the necessary credits to transfer to UBC in Environmental Design. After the U of A, I applied to Waterloo just for kicks and I am now midway through my 2nd year at Waterloo. I chose to go to Waterloo because I wanted the co-op experience and the chance to finance some of my education. Although after almost two years, studying at Waterloo has proven to be more expensive than expected. 

I have 3 years left at Waterloo, which includes 4-5 co-op terms and 5 academic terms (one of which is in Rome). I estimate that the rest of my undergrad at Waterloo will cost a total of $45,000 - $50,000 which includes tuition, Rome program, materials and school-related trips. This doesn't include living costs or flights to/from co-op work terms, and flights home for the holidays.

The Catch

I decided to take another look at UBC's Bachelor of Environmental Design. Because of my prior studies at the U of A, I can complete a Bachelor of Environmental Design in 2 years and I anticipate it to cost $15,000 - $20,000 including tuition, materials and school-related trips, and excluding living costs. 

Well, shit.

So, my question is, would finishing a year sooner and at half the cost be worth foregoing the co-op and Rome program? And, can anyone comment on the quality of UBC ENDS and applying to a Masters program coming out of that program? I've accumulated a fair bit of student debt from the U of A and Waterloo over 4 years. I intend on going to grad school and would like to have the financial flexibility to attend a school in the States.

I assume that the quality of lecturers at UBC and Waterloo would be comparable. My concern with UBC is the quality of teaching and work, but the savings of time and money, and the location of the campus are appealing. Waterloo has proven to be a quality education, but I find myself pulling teeth when talking about living in Cambridge for another 3 years.

I'm not sure what else I'm discounting from either school, but I'd really appreciate any comment or critique of my comparison.

Thanks in advance!

Feb 3, 14 2:13 pm
Non Sequitur

I am a Waterloo grad and you are correct when speaking about the campus' location in Cambridge. Financial flexibility aside (I have a mini-mortgage to pay-off my own student loads that rival my friend's real mortgages), you need to consider what you want to do with your undergraduate degree. If your goal is to chase licensing in architecture, then you need to consider which graduate schools you want to apply to. Many accept students without BAS degrees.

The real catch here is what kind of portfolio and work exp will you have by the time you start applying for graduate programs. If you leave for another undergraduate degree, your future entrance portfolio will suffer, not to mention the loss of opportunity to learn valuable detail/drafting skills.

Feb 3, 14 2:35 pm

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