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By Josh Wingrove

Welcome to Ryerson, out of province student. Prepare to be disappointed.

The feeling will overwhelm you in three equally demoralizing periods. First, the pre-arrival interaction with Ryerson. Secondly, while here, you will be watching the dove in the right hand while the left steals your wallet. But that dove is pretty. It’ll take you a few terms to realize you’re being hosed. Finally, the period after graduation; you can’t escape Ryerson.

Beginning at the beginning. For out-of-province students, the Ontario University Applications Centre is common practice in Ontario and among the high school counsellors, but Alberta kids figure it out for themselves. We file the 105D form, start a Compass account and list our top three choices. Total: $100. Then, for many, communication drops.

Jonathan Balazs, a first-year Ryerson film student and Alberta resident, should be in second year. The first time he applied, he was accepted but a Compass error put his spot in jeopardy. The letter he received about the error arrived two days after Ryerson’s appeal deadline, with a contact name misspelled. He lost his spot. And the $100.

If you choose to maintain your original provincial residency and all you really need is to confirm your enrolment. At the University of Alberta, you can wait for 10 minutes and get that printed off. But at Ryerson, you fill out a form, get told you need to pay $10 per copy, walk over to the cashier, wait, pay, get a second form stapled to the first, walk back to the cashier, submit it and wait 10 business days. And while they set up special OSAP lines in the gym, your 10 days becomes 15 during peak times — the only times you need the form anyway — and your student loan stays with EDULINX. Beer money, damn it.

Residence priority is given to students “whose permanent address is the furthest distance from Toronto.” International students trump out-of-province students for the precious residence spots. It’s ridiculous that a Canadian university doesn’t prioritize the citizens who support it.

At Ryerson, the exam schedule comes out, give or take, during exams. I can’t book a flight home until mid-November, paying jacked up fees and fighting to find a flight with seats available. Still, I’ve endured.

Here I am, about to graduate and earn a degree that looks like a Lexmark product. Unless a company has had a particularly prolific Ryerson graduate in the past, employers will lump you in with the rest of the college grads.

The degree doesn’t look like, or carry the weight of, a University of Toronto or a Queen’s University bachelor’s degree, the latter of which is actually written in Latin. So, student beware. Ryerson isn’t the Holy Land. The tuition is higher, the rent is higher, there are far fewer scholarships and it’s a $500 return flight each term. If it wasn’t for the programs, we wouldn’t be here. And if it wasn’t for that magical dove, who knows how the programs would really seem.

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