Although readers have an inclination toward enrolling in a US college, Canadian students always include domestic options because, well, you never know, and there are certain distinct advantages.
It doesn’t matter if the value of the Canadian dollar sinks against the US dollar. Your costs will not be affected, at least not by that uncertainty.
It probably won’t be a huge challenge to get back and forth from university. If you go to B.C. from the east, you’ll prefer to fly. But Toronto students often use caravans of cars from Halifax to Toronto for holiday travel, and, as well as bus and plane service, VIA rail comfortably takes you through the corridor from Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, London and Windsor. Most cities have good public transportation when you get there, so you won’t need a car.
While we know programs at big universities like first year biology, psych, political science and sociology will have as many as 2,000 students, it is possible to choose smaller faculties once you survive first year. One McGill student explained that although there were 1,700 in her physics class, she found her major in Italian Studies very congenial, with a small friendly faculty.
You can find other ways to find a smaller reference group, such as choosing Trinity College at U of T where they offer great support from the “don” system, or Huron College at Western.
Supposing you’re an adventurous soul. You’ve lived in the same place all your life, and you want a different experience. No North American city could be more different from Toronto than Montreal, home to McGill and Concordia, plus the Universités de Montréal and Québec à Montréal if your French is good enough. In Ottawa, international embassy representatives and well-educated civil servants insist on sophisticated cultural activities also available to students at U Ottawa (courses in French and English) and Carleton. Though Kingston feels British, students at Queen’s and Royal Military College enjoy a beautiful and lively university town on Lake Ontario.
And if you’re even more adventurous? Even sophisticated Torontonians have enjoyed their years in Halifax so much that they return for every reunion. It’s really a great college town, with Dalhousie, St. Mary’s and Mount St. Vincent to choose from, with all kinds of history, the ocean, and music ranging from Scottish/Irish to blues to reggae. Merri-timers are very friendly and will stop their car in the middle of the street for you to cross.
Not far enough away? UBC is a dream for many who love Vancouver and the Pacific. And probably the best weather in Canada is at U Victoria, attracting our top rowers. Winter athletes know that U Calgary boasts the only covered Olympic speed skating oval in Canada, while both Calgary and U Alberta in Edmonton are the places to go for petroleum engineering.
Note some high-ranking highly competitive phenomenal programs that if you got an acceptance, you should probably take it: Each year, 10 high school stars get an offer for the Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) wherein they progress directly to medical school after two undergrad years, no MCAT’s needed. Only slightly less competitive is McMaster’s Health Sciences 1, an effective entrée into med school for many. For business, the Ivey School of Management at Western always is high in world-wide rankings, though Schulich at York, Queen’s Commerce, McGill Management and Rotman at U of T are well regarded, as is UBC. Wilfred Laurier has been focusing on their business program over the last few years, with very positive results and student satisfaction. For Sports Management, you’d want Brock U. Computer sciences and engineering students flock to Waterloo, knowing their Software Engineering is truly amazing. Also stellar are U of T and Queen’s Engineering Science, but be prepared to have no free time.
Wishing for the US-style small college liberal arts experience? Mount Allison in Sackville, NB (40 min. from the Moncton airport) prides itself on this approach, as well as their excellent support for students with learning differences. Acadia U in charming Wolfville, NS (1 hour from Halifax) is emphasizing their liberal arts, together with their progressive business as well as outdoor and adventure education programs. And no school is more welcoming than historic U. P.E.I.
For a true non-profit liberal arts (and sciences) college with small classes, a block-style academic year like Colorado College, without the formidable U.S. costs, there is 11-year-old Quest University in Squamish, BC, between Vancouver and Whistler. Thanks to visionary founder Dave Strangway, former president of UBC, Quest enjoys additional opportunities such as the option of a UBC business admin. certificate.
Did I forget to mention U Windsor’s excellent acting program? York’s Fine Arts department? Career-forming co-op opportunities at such schools as Waterloo? Film studies, fashion design, creative industries, and interior design (no, it’s not just matching throw pillows) at Ryerson? Biological sciences at Guelph leading to veterinary medicine? Journalism at Carleton? Art at OCAD? Forensic Studies at Simon Fraser? Laval’s football team? And I’ve missed countless options.
As we always say, it’s not where you go; it’s what you do when you get there. Do your research online, visit campus, meet with professionals including university reps when they visit your school, and initiate informal communication with graduates from your school enrolled in programs you might like.