Most students think going away to college means leaving the state; however, another option to consider are universities in Canada. There are a number of reasons steering some students to Canadian universities, including culture, international programs and cost.
The application process to schools located in Canada is somewhat streamlined compared to most colleges in the U.S. According to the undergraduate admissions websites at McGill University and the University of Toronto, U.S. students are only required to submit standardized test scores and transcripts. Admission does not consider personal essays and extracurricular activities as part of the admission decision and this simplified approach can offer a better option for some students.
One of the potential benefits of attending a Canadian school is “…being exposed to another area of the world. Depending on the exchange rates, sometimes it can cost less,” said Mrs. Luciana Mandal, College Advisor. Canadian colleges request high school transcripts and standardized test results to see what students have done to prepare for their majors. They can have strict cutoffs depending on GPA and test scores.
For senior Vanya Kohlweg, several factors led her to apply to a Canadian university, “I want to leave my comfort zone as soon as I graduate high school. I decided to pursue an education in Canada to explore a new country completely on my own and immerse myself in a different culture,” she explained.
Kohlweg has been accepted to McGill University, located in French-speaking Montreal. As an International Development major, Kohlweg was drawn to McGill’s global community, cultural diversity, and size of the international student population (24%, according to McGill University website). She is excited to learn French and experience a new culture while pursuing her college degree.
Selecting a university in Canada caused a bit of concern for friends and family at first, according to Kohlweg. “My friends and family were very supportive but concerned about the cold weather. I have lived in Florida my whole life, and I often need to wear a jacket when I walk past the meat aisle at Publix. Canadian winters will undoubtedly be a challenge,” said Kohlweg.
Another senior Maria Estefania Ruiz also chose to apply to a college in Canada. “I am excited to live the experience of being an international student, while still enjoying a similar lifestyle that I’ve had in the U.S. I look forward to getting to know more about the different cultures, ways of thinking, and traditions that are present there,” said Ruiz.
After enjoying her visit in Toronto last summer, Ruiz decided to attend an informational meeting at the University of Toronto the day before leaving Canada. “I chose [to apply to] this school based on its cosmopolitan feel, diversity, and strong academic reputation,” said Ruiz. She is also looking forward to the school’s residence system which offers many colleges similar to the “houses” in Harry Potter. “I chose one of the seven colleges based on their separate ‘personalities’ and the activities that they host,” said Ruiz.
According to college advisor Luciana Mandal, very few (about 1%) students apply to Canadian universities. One source to gather information about studying abroad in Canada that Mrs. Mandal suggests is the website StudyinCanada.com. This website provides information about Canadian schools, programs and careers. Although the weather may require an adjustment, attending a college in Canada can offer a rich cultural experience and a quality education that students should consider.