McGill and its students take great pride in the institution’s prestigious reputation. This explains the immense popularity of shirts bearing the Harvard logo and the witty phrase underneath “America’s McGill”. This comparison, however, is extremely flawed. McGill is much bigger than Harvard, so there is a greater feeling of anonymity. Many introductory classes have upwards of 200 students, and lower level science classes tend to be around 600. McGill is one of the top universities in Canada, but this reputation comes mostly from its fantastic research opportunities, and talent is somewhat unevenly distributed amongst the different faculties and departments. Management and arts students often get flack from their peers in engineering and science for the comparative “easiness” of their programs, though these accusations are mostly baseless. Overall, there is a range of intelligence throughout the university, but in general, when comes to grades, everyone puts in serious work.
Another major reason behind McGill’s reputation is its excellent faculty. The faculty at McGill is both knowledgeable and approachable. Many professors know their fields inside and out, but on a whole, they are remarkably unpompous. Despite large class sizes throughout almost all first- and second-year courses, professors still engage the classes in discussion, and many have tried to learn their students’ names. Large courses are broken into weekly conferences or tutorials taught by TAs. TAs are the ones who do all the grading, so respecting them and participating in conferences is vital for success. Whether it’s the great faculty, the omnipresence of the grad students, or the mixed student body, McGill offers a really good education that is unique to itself and more than just an Ivy’s cousin to the North.