Universitas Blog

Why You Should Consider Canadian Universities

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
  Hello from warm and sunny Waterloo, Ontario in Canada.  I veer away a little bit from my usual US focus to write about universities in the Great White North.  I'm here bringing my son Tyler to college.  In a few days, he will begin his freshman year at the University of Waterloo.  He's in the middle of International Student Life 101 and I'm doing Parents Orientation.   The University of Waterloo is in a fairly large, well kept campus (404 hectares).  It is well known for its science, math and engineering programs as well as its cooperative education (co-op) program which is the largest in the world.  More on co-op programs in a later post. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="200"]University of Waterloo University of Waterloo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption] So why should you look at Canadian universities?   1.  They're cheaper than their American counterparts.  From the very beginning, my son's college search included Canadian schools primarily for this reason.  You'll pay about half of what you will pay to attend an elite American university with no drop off in quality.  And if you happen to be a Canadian citizen (as more and more Filipinos are) it's even cheaper.   2.  International students can work off-campus.  After six months studying in Canada, you can work the potentially more lucrative off-campus jobs.  In the US, international students need permission from Immigration to work off-campus.   3.  After graduating, Canada grants a 3 year work permit.  After graduation, you can be issued a work permit by the Canadian government to work in Canada for as much as three years.  You can then use this time to apply to become a permanent resident  In the US, you can work for only one year using your student visa (they call this "practical training") .  After one year, your employer must sponsor you for an H-1B visa.   4. Co-operative education is more of a fixture in Canadian universities.  This type of education, which sandwiches paid work terms with regular study terms, is much more widespread in Canada than it is in the US.  Since the students are paid real money, you can use the money you make to help pay tuition, making a Canadian education easier to finance.   University of Waterloo math & comp sci building
5.  Less liberal arts emphasis.  Depending on what you want from your college education, this may or may not be a good thing.  Canadian universities (following the British system of higher education) tend to skip over or at least minimize, the "junk" classes of American universities like English or political science.  If you want to study math, you get math, math, math, some physics, math, math, and maybe a little psychology thrown in your freshman year.  I think this is a terrible way of educating the college student, I'm a firm believer in the liberal arts tradition...but hey, what do I know, right? One big disadvantage of Canadian universities:  the weather.  Depending on where you decide to go, this can be a real issue.  If you choose to attend the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, you'll be in more temperate weather.  But if you go to school in Alberta or (like my son) the University of Waterloo, then pack some VERY warm clothes.  In January, the temperature is ALMOST ALWAYS below freezing in Waterloo.   Another big disadvantage for us Filipinos:  unless you are enrolled in an IB program or an American style or British style curriculum, Canadian universities will not admit you.  They're wary of our ten year pre-university curriculum (yes, I know you went to Grade 7 but still...)  Solution:  Attend a Philippine university for one year then apply to Canadian universities as a freshman.  You have to start over because those UP/Ateneo units will not be given Canadian college credit. Those two things aside, there's real reason to consider spending your university career in Canada.  For some reason, people get fixated on schools in the States.  At least keep Canada in mind.  You'd be stupid not to.        

John Sy, President and Senior Counselor
Universitas College Counseling
203A CM Recto Street
San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

johnsy@universitasph.com
+63 (917) 833-3825


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John Sy, President and Senior Counselor
Universitas College Counseling
203A CM Recto Street
San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

johnsy@universitasph.com

+63 (917) 833-3825

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