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Top 10 things you should know about studying in Canada


In my travels around the world on behalf of university and college members of the Canadian University Application Centre, the misperceptions and flat-out untruths that are told and believed about studying abroad and studying in Canada are many and varied. 

These perceptions mislead and cause ill-informed choices by students and their families. 

These mistakes can be costly in terms of finances, time and effort, and can curtail academic, career and other aspirations.

Here are ten important things that international students should know – they might dispel some of those misperceptions.


1. Almost all universities in Canada are public universities 

Most colleges and universities in Canada are also publicly funded and accredited.
This is in sharp contrast to the United States and other common study-abroad destinations. It is also often in sharp contrast to the international student’s country of origin. In those countries, the quality of the institutions and the value of the degrees offered can vary.
An undergraduate degree earned at any public institution in Canada will be recognized around the world. A college diploma earned at a public college will be recognized by Canadian employers as having provided specific and valuable skills and training.


2. International student tuition in Canada is expensive in real terms, 
but inexpensive relative to the many other countries 

International student tuition will vary across institutions, but the majority of undergraduate tuition rates are between $12,000 and $18,000 per full academic year. 
Tuition in the United States is often double or triple of the average tuition in Canada. 
Even a $20,000 scholarship to a US institution is not quite as appealing when you realize that the balance owing is still greater than the full tuition cost of a year at a Canadian university.


3. Canada offers students the opportunity to work in Canada 
while they study and after they successfully complete their studies 
and graduate

Only Canada offers the broad range of work opportunities granted to bona fide and academically successful international students.


4. It is relatively easy to gain admission 
to under-graduate programs in Canada

In India, students often require board exam results in excess of 95 per cent – and sometimes higher – for admission to top Indian universities. A student with 90 per cent will struggle to find admission to their institution of choice in India, but that same student is a likely scholarship award recipient and is even a likely candidate for competitive entry programs like Engineering in Canada.


5. It is relatively difficult to gain admission to professional programs in 
Canada such as medicine, dentistry, architecture, law

Most of these programs are not direct entry, meaning you must have completed at least one year of undergraduate study and often a first degree before applying. 
Many of these programs are closed to international students or have limited places. 
Do your research and know the facts before setting down a road that only the very, very best students will be able to pursue.


6. Canada has a stable and growing economy and vast resources 

A Canadian post-secondary education, whether at a university or college, can provide the skills and knowledge required to find success in Canada.


7. Canada’s public colleges are outstanding choices for students 

Perceptions of college diplomas as second-class could not be more wrong. Often colleges are the best choice for specific types of study that can only be found at colleges. College students have very high post-graduation employment rates. College students can often transfer to a university to complete a degree program.


8. You do not have to pay for the information and 
advice you need to make the right choices for you

Most primary information about university and college programs can be found on their respective websites. 
International students often pay unnecessary fees to third-parties. 
Fair, balanced and free advice and counselling is available to students direct from universities and colleges often in collaboration with organizations like the Canadian University Application Centre.


9. Bigger is not necessarily better

“I have to study in Toronto,” or “I have to study at the biggest university in Vancouver.” These are common refrains that we hear when we travel. These might be reasonable statements if you can live with relatives while you study (this can save as much as $10,000 per year, but can also come with drawbacks), or if that university or college offers a particular program or major area of study not offered in smaller institutions.
However, a student can save up to $40,000 in tuition for the same four-year undergraduate degree just by choosing a smaller university. A smaller university can also offer smaller class sizes, greater access to professors, under-graduate research opportunities, and smaller cities and smaller campuses with a great sense of community and safety.


10. The best university or college is the one that’s best for you

Taking all factors into consideration, selecting the right university or college is really a question of which will offer the best environment for you to excel and distinguish yourself.
Appeals to third-party university rankings, which are often based on a university’s research capacity and breadth of graduate programs, is a very poor substitute for taking far more important factors into consideration – factors that can make a difference in the student’s success.
Cost, program, location, size and type of institution, campus community and accommodations, your own aptitudes and interests, proximity to family and friends, and your  ability to adjust to different environments – these, ultimately, are the factors to consider while  making the decision. 

– Jason Brennan

• To find out more about studying in Canada, applying for Canadian universities as an international student and for more information on academic career in Canada, visit www.canada123.org.

Posted: Jul 31, 2013

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