How to Choose Universities for Studying Abroad in Canada?

3 minute read

Welcome study abroad aspirant! I’m writing today about a popular study-abroad destination Canada. This blog is about “How to Choose Universities for Studying Abroad in Canada”. In order to address this, I could simply provide a list of Canadian universities with some comments on rankings. But I’m not going to do that! Why? Because lists are easily available online. An expert’s advice should tell you more so that you can make smart choices when you consider those universities. I’m basing my comments here on research I have done as well as, my extensive international teaching experience.

Big Question: How to Choose Your Subject Area?

This question is the easiest and also the toughest! If you plan to continue the subjects which you have already been pursuing in high school or college, then your choices will be easy.  However, if you want to branch out to a different subject domain, then I recommend discussing with a counsellor who can assess your aptitude and direct you accordingly about what to pursue. 

Why do I Need a Deep Overview of Higher Education in Canada?  

Canada has a huge higher-ed program. Therefore understanding the variety of options will help you to make a smarter choice. Canada has a mix of state-funded and private institutions. There are many models of colleges, universities and institutes. Although Canada is considered a part of the continent of ‘North America’, higher education in Canada and the US is very different. Eligibility requirements are different so are the fees. Thus understanding some overall key features will help a student to make smarter choices.

Key Points About Canadian University Education

Canada is a vast country and the college sector is extremely varied across its 10 provinces including Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta, New Brunswick Nunavut,

And Northwest territories. Options range from “short-cycle” programs of just a few months to 4-year degrees. The quality of the programs varies. All programs may not lead to high-paying jobs. Tuition fee policies also differ dramatically. Quebec has generally the lowest tuition fees in Canada. Read on for more pointers.

What is the Difference Between University, College, Vocational Programs, and CEGEP?

Colleges and universities are not the same. University programs (3-4 years) award degrees. Universities like McGill and the University of British Columbia are top global universities. They offer dual degrees or double majors so that a student can acquire strong academic credentials. All subjects from STEM to Finance, Business and Social Sciences are available at these universities. However, all colleges (1-3 years) do not award degrees. ‘Institutes’ have lower academic standards and offer basic vocational programs. These are shorter and focus on skill-building (driving, hairstyling, culinary training). The CEGEPs are mostly in Quebec (French-speaking region). These are pre-university and vocational programs available straight after high school. Vocational Programs can lead to quick entry-level jobs but may not have possibilities for high-paying jobs in future.

Tip: Read the websites very carefully before choosing a program! 

Why is the Location of the University Within Canada Important?

Higher education is part of public investment in Canada. However, it is decentralized which means that provinces are not bound to follow national standards. Thus, the quality of education you get may be excellent at some institutes and quite average at others. This affects a student’s learning and employability. Ontario and British Columbia are rated as the best regions for higher-end options. 

In this blog, I have shared some key features of Canadian university education so that students can think more deeply when looking at a program or college or institute. These pointers will help students to make more informed choices before they shortlist and apply to Canadian universities. 

Final Tip: Research carefully, read online student reviews, understand placement options and then make your final choice!   

We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr Maina Chawla Singh. Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you. 

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