Sep 14, 2011

10 Great Reasons to Study in Canada

As college tuitions continue increasing at rates faster than the overall cost of living, more and more U.S. students are beginning to look toward our ‘neighbor to the north’ for quality education at an affordable price.

And they are pleasantly surprised at what they find among Canada’s 4-year undergraduate baccalaureate programs.

“I decided to apply to McGill because I knew it was a good school,” explained Sarah Brooks, a local graduate of Walt Whitman High School in Montgomery County, Maryland. “I also liked the idea that tuition was much less than at a lot of schools in the States.”

The number of US undergraduate and graduate students crossing the border to attend college in Canada has increased exponentially in the past ten years, from 2500 in 2001 to over 10,000 in 2011.

And here are 10 great reasons why:

  1. Quality of Education. Canadian degrees are entirely comparable to those earned in the US. Colleges and universities maintain high standards of academic excellence and are consistently recognized in top international rankings.

  2. Value. International student tuition in Canada ranges from $8,000 to $26,000 (US), making studying in Canada a tremendous value for U.S. students. As an added bonus, Americans in Canadian baccalaureate programs are eligible for US federal financial aid as well as numerous Canadian scholarships.

  3. Educational Opportunities. Canada has over 90 universities and more than 150 colleges ranging from world-class research institutions to small liberal arts schools. US students can find just the right “fit” in terms of size, character, and the availability of specific programs and majors.

  4. SAT/ACT Optional Admissions. While Canadian universities will accept and consider standardized test scores, most do not require them. Grades and curriculum are much more important factors in determining admissions.

  5. Visas. Student visas are remarkably easy to obtain. American citizens studying in Canada can apply for their visa at the Point of Entry at major airports and border crossings.

  6. Quality of Life. Canada is an incredibly safe place in which to live and study. A low cost of living together with the scenic beauty of the countryside makes Canada very attractive to American undergrads.

  7. International Experience. Canada is close to home—but a world away! Without crossing an ocean or sometimes changing time zones, US students have the opportunity to explore a new culture as they engage in an international campus community. And the global perspective gained while studying in Canada will open doors around the world after graduation.

  8. Graduate School. Canadian degrees are recognized by all the top graduate and professional schools in the US as well as in Canada. The quality of a Canadian education will support applications to the best law, business, and medical schools.

  9. Employment. Canadian universities have outstanding job placement rates—both in Canada and the US. With a student visa, you qualify for employment opportunities in any of the provinces as well as closer to home in the US.

  10. Network. Thousands of graduates of Canadian universities live and work in the US, and the ability to connect with so many alumni is a real plus on many different levels.

Canadian universities follow same Bachelor’s/Master’s/PhD-Professional system as in the States. Canadian colleges, however, are more similar to US community colleges, granting certificates and diplomas.

Last year, Canadian universities educated over 1.5 million students and were responsible for over $10 billion in ongoing research. The schools are welcoming to American students, and the opportunities are every bit as attractive as those found at US colleges and universities.

“The experience of living in Montreal for four years and the quality of the education I got were definitely the best things about going to school at McGill,” said Ms. Brooks, who is currently a graduate student at Cornell University. “When it came time to apply to jobs and later grad school, the fact that I had studied in Canada was not a problem—people knew about McGill and that it was a great school, so it actually helped me.”

Specific application procedures and deadlines vary by institution. For the best and most current information on how to apply, contact individual colleges and universities directly (a complete list is provided on the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada website).

But in the meantime, to learn more about Canada’s colleges and universities, check out Maclean’s Magazine OnCampus or visit the Education au/in Canada website.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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