College in Canada? Why American Students are Heading North after High School (page 2)

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Updated on Jan 10, 2011

Research Application Requirements

Canadian universities might also appeal to students who aren't looking forward to submitting reams of paper and thousands of words with every college application. Even top Canadian universities like McGill and Simon Fraser don't require documents like application essays and letters of recommendation. Instead, they weigh class grades and test scores to decide who gets accepted.

"We're basing our evaluations on their senior-level courses and their grades," says Varachia of Simon Fraser, which allows applications as late as April 30 for the following fall.

That might seem especially late to Americans familiar with the Universal Reply Date of May 1, the deadline for students in the U.S. to tell colleges where they plan to enroll come fall. However, Varachia advises American students to turn in their applications by Feb. 28 so they can hear by May 1 whether they've been accepted.

Still, Americans do have some extra paperwork to fill out if they go north for school. Canada's government requires foreign students to get study permits, for which they also need proof of being able to support themselves financially. Students going to Quebec also need a Quebec Certificate of Acceptance.

Apply for Financial Aid

Financial aid from the U.S. government can also go toward the costs of a Canadian university, Massey says. Like American schools, Canadian institutions also offer merit scholarships and aid packages, often referred to as bursaries, for students who need financial help.

Keep an Open Mind

The best way for American students to make the most of their time at a Canadian university is to stay open to new experiences, Massey says, and venture off-campus during breaks from rigorous study.

"American students and their parents see Montreal as kind of a European experience within North America," she says, adding that students don't need to learn French before arriving at McGill.

And the weather in Quebec is colder than some Americans are used to, so Massey cautions students from southern climates to bring plenty of warm clothes.

Surf the Web

There are great resources on the Internet that help make making a decision easier. Here are a couple:

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada: Learn about different types of Canadian schools. Search among 95 schools by major, province and degree program.

Imagine: Education au/in Canada: Find universities, estimate your cost of attendance and learn about visa requirements.  

Whether your child decides to stay stateside or head north for College, it's important to weigh all of your options when it comes to college and your child's future. Canada might just be the new frontier in U.S. higher education.

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