The Canadian Option
In recent years, I have written about extraordinary colleges that students know little or nothing about, but should. All but one of those colleges are in the United States. Now I want to discuss higher education opportunities that are north of the border. Have you ever considered the Canadian option? Why not?
Here are a few reasons why you may want to:
- The quality of education and living standards in Canada are amongst the highest in the world, but the cost of living and tuition fees for are generally lower than comparable college costs in the United States. At the time of this writing, $1.00 US equals $1.33 CA. Therefore, the University of Toronto’s cost of attendance (COA) for non-residents is $46,530 (CA) but $35,363 (US). A comparable American university is $65,750. Most of the Canadian universities accept the US Federal loan programs, including the PLUS loan. But they do not accept US Pell or SEOG grants. From an affordability standpoint, this could make the Canadian option impractical because there is little need-based grant aid given to American students to fill the gap.
- There are around 100 major universities in Canada and 95% are publicly supported. There is a high level of respect given to secondary school teachers across the provinces and most students take their lessons seriously and some observers believe they are better prepared for college than their American counterparts. This translates into a positive peer environment for the mature teenager from the US who is going to college, not because “it is the thing to do” but to pursue an academic concentration that will prepare them for life beyond college. Learning does not stop after the degree is earned. It is a lifelong activity.
- Canada’s high academic standards and rigorous quality controls mean that there is more likelihood of earning a high-quality education that will open doors for your future and benefit your career over the long term. You want to be prepared. A Canadian degree, diploma or certificate is globally recognized as being equivalent to those obtained from the United States. There are also more CO-OP programs offered than in the US as well as accelerated three-year Bachelors degree options. (Keep in mind, however, that if a US graduate degree is pursued, the 3-year degree may not satisfy requirements for some US graduate programs.) Here is the latest ranking of the top Canadian colleges and universities. Now, settle back; grab a hot chocolate and take a virtual tour of them all.
- Study abroad opportunities abound in the US colleges. I encourage students to take a semester in another country if it includes taking classes in a university while there. But how about all four years in the “foreign” country above instead of abroad? With almost all of the world’s ethnic groups represented in Canada, it’s hard not to find ethnic foods and recreation activities associated with specific cultures. Canada has long had a welcome mat out to immigrants from other cultures. They have excellent
screening procedures, but there is little of the fear of “aliens” that has been instilled into the US population.
- You may have heard of or experienced Canadians’ friendly and open nature. During all my visits to Canada, I experienced that friendliness’. In fact, the United Nations consistently ranks Canada as one of the best places in the world to live. As an international student in Canada, you’ll enjoy all of the same freedoms which protect Canadians, respect for human rights, equality, and a stable and peaceful society.
By now you may be asking “This looks great but what are my chances of getting in and how complex is the application process?
Each university has its own application but it is much more straightforward than the Common Application, which only three private schools in Canada accept, by the way. You will need to do your AAA due diligence as you should be doing already. Keep in mind, however, that the admissions person you would have contact with is the International Counselor, not a regional counselor that you will find in private American schools.
Dan Seneker, Student Recruitment Manager at the University of Saskatchewan list the application steps here. Plus a plethora of information and eye-opening statistics here. Finally, here is a link that encapsulates the differences between the American and Canadian universities.
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