Looking into Computer Science at UofT Scarborough?
Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Sajid Rahman is a second-year student at University of Toronto Scarborough. He’s doing a specialist program in Computer Science in the Software Engineering Stream. He’s currently working on his first co-op term in downtown Toronto.
What drew you to Computer Science at UofT Scarborough, and why did you choose the program?
UofT is a highly regarded school for computer science so I wanted to challenge myself to get the most out of my university program. Scarborough is the only UofT campus that offers co-op with their computer science program which is why I applied to the Scarborough campus for computer science. The Scarborough campus is smaller and less crowded than in comparison to St. George and Mississauga, so I felt the smaller environment and class sizes of 200–300 students was also a major factor of my decision.
What was your perception of the program going into it, and how did that change after your experience there?
Going into it, I thought that it would be hard to get to know people. However, the environment was better than I expected; I was able to meet a lot of friendly people. There’s also a good variety of clubs here and the sports centre, Pan Am, on campus was useful. I expected an easier course load in terms of academics because of rumors that say St. George is the harder campus. However, the course load is rigorous, and the computer science professors teach extremely well. Students wanting to stay in the program must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA over a combination of courses which can be challenging as the courses move quickly. Overall, Scarborough is a good computer science program if you want to have co-op experiences and graduate within four years.
Can you talk us through your co-op experience?
We have three co-op terms in total, and the length of the program is four years. I just completed my first three semesters of academics, and I’m currently on my first co-op term. I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but we were required to pass co-op courses during our first three semesters which gave us things such as resume tips, cover letter help, and interview practice. During the third semester is when we did the job searching. There’s a website where there’s a listing of co-op jobs where the school already signed with the specific company that works like any other job posting site. The streams for co-op are flexible which is a major plus, and had I decided to not do co-op I could have easily moved to a non-co-op program. I’m currently working my first co-op term at a financial company in downtown Toronto as a java software developer which has been a really good experience.
What are you involved in on campus, and how did that benefit you?
I was involved in Computer Science Enrichment Club where they taught algorithmic problems at educational meetings which helped a lot for technical interviews when searching for co-op. I felt I was able to answer those questions because I had practiced them all year which gave me to a certain degree a leg up against some other candidates.
What has been one of your favourite experiences at UofT Scarborough?
I really enjoy the small events on campus that pop up on campus. There’s gaming nights which are pretty awesome. It also with people I enjoy hanging around, so you can’t go wrong there. It’s also usually after big midterms so the experience is always a good stress reliever.
On the same note, what has been one of the hardest experiences in university?
I lived off campus first year in my own place, so it was hard adjusting to taking care of myself. The hardest part was during first semester because it was more difficult for me to make friends. It wasn’t like people who lived on campus and were able to see each other constantly; It also wasn’t the same as people who were from the area and knew many people coming into Scarborough. I had to go out of my way to meet people, but at the end of first semester I made some good friends that I clicked with.
Is there any advice you would give high school students about your program?
In my opinion, UofT Scarborough has a more rigorous computer science program because of the in-depth and theoretical courses. At the same time, this provides a strong background which will be beneficial in the future. The co-op experience is also invaluable as you’re able to earn some money and gain connections to companies and people from different parts of the field. Overall the computer science program at UofT Scarborough is great for those who want to graduate in four years from a computer science program that also provides co-op terms.
Interviewed by Lucille Xiong
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