The Canadian university system is known for its high quality of education, diverse programs, and welcoming atmosphere for international students. Additionally, many Canadian universities have a strong reputation for research, particularly in natural sciences, engineering, and medicine. Recently Canada has seen an increase in the number of student applicants, and in Ontario alone, the number of applicants jumped from 212,460 in 2019 to 230,977 in fall of 2021. Here we look at the top Canadian universities and what it takes to get admitted there.
In Canada, "university" and "college" refer to two types of post-secondary institutions. A university is a degree-granting institution that offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Universities typically focus on academic and research programs and provide a wide range of disciplines, including the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and professional programs such as law and medicine.
On the other hand, a college typically focuses on applied and technical programs, such as trades, technology, and health sciences. Colleges generally offer certificates, diplomas, and applied degrees, which are shorter and more specialized programs than the degrees offered by universities. It's worth noting that some colleges in Canada have the authority to grant degrees, particularly in areas such as applied arts and technology. In these cases, "college" is used interchangeably with "university college."
Like the United States, the Canadian university system is composed of public and private universities offering undergraduate and graduate programs in various disciplines. The universities are primarily funded by the provincial governments but receive funding from the federal government, research grants, and student tuition fees. In terms of structure, the university system is divided into two main categories: undergraduate and graduate studies.
Choosing a university or a college depends on an individual's career goals and interests. A university might be the better choice if you're looking for a broad-based education in a wide range of disciplines. But a college might be a better fit if you're looking for a more focused, hands-on education in a specific field.
US or Canada?
While there are a lot of universities in Canada, the following are generally considered the top of the pile. Here is the definitive list from US News & World Report:
Known for its diverse and dynamic campus culture, the University of Toronto offers a wide range of academic programs, including law, medicine, engineering, and arts. The university has a strong reputation for research and is home to several Nobel Prize winners.
Based in Vancouver and Kelowna, British Columbia, the University of British Columbia offers a wide range of academic programs, including arts, science, and engineering. The university has a strong reputation for research and is known for its beautiful campus, outdoor recreation opportunities, and active student life.
Located in Montreal, Quebec, McGill University is one of the top universities in Canada and is known for its strong academic programs in medicine, law, and engineering. The university also offers a vibrant campus culture, with a variety of student clubs and organizations.
Located in Edmonton, Alberta, the University of Alberta offers strong programs in medicine, engineering, and arts. The university has a vibrant campus culture, with a variety of student clubs and organizations, and is known for its strong sense of community.
Located in a suburban neighborhood of Hamilton, Ontario, McMaster University has a diverse campus life with international students coming from 75 different countries. The university has six main academic divisions – engineering, health sciences, humanities, science, social sciences and the DeGroote School of Business
Based in Montreal, Quebec, the University of Montreal is one of the top universities in Canada and is known for its strong academic programs in medicine, law, and engineering. The university also offers a vibrant campus culture, with a variety of student clubs and organizations.
Based in Calgary, Alberta, the University of Calgary offers strong programs in medicine, engineering, and arts. The university has a vibrant campus culture, with a variety of student clubs and organizations, and is known for its strong sense of community.
Located in Waterloo, Ontario, the University of Waterloo is known for its strong programs in engineering, mathematics, and computer science. The university has a vibrant campus culture, with a variety of student clubs and organizations, and is known for its entrepreneurial spirit.
Located in the Canadian capital, University of Ottawa is a relatively new entrant into the top 10 list. The university is the largest English-French bilingual university in the world and offers a wide variety of academic programs, administered by ten faculties, including medicine, law, management and social sciences.
Based in London, Ontario, the University of Western Ontario offers strong programs in medicine, business, and social sciences. The university has a vibrant campus culture, with a variety of student clubs and organizations, and is known for its strong sense of community.
The general application process for Canadian universities is similar to that of the US. The application process may vary slightly from university to university, so be sure to check the admission requirements and process for each university you are interested in attending. Additionally, some universities may have specific requirements for international students, so be sure to research these requirements as well.
Research the universities you are interested in attending, as well as their academic programs and admission requirements.
Figure out which intake is correct for you. The intake process in Canada is generally conducted in the academic terms of Fall, Winter, or Spring.
Visit the websites of the universities you are interested in and check for the application process, application deadlines, admission requirements for international students (check country specific requirements if available). Ensure that you meet the academic and English language proficiency requirements for the universities you are applying to.
Most universities have an online application process that requires you to submit your personal information, academic records, and test scores (if applicable).
Some universities may require additional materials such as essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Be sure to check the requirements of each university and submit the required materials by the deadline.
Most universities require an application fee, which is typically around $100 CAD.
After submitting your application, you will receive a decision from the university. If you are accepted, you will receive an offer of admission and information about next steps, such as enrolling in courses and obtaining a student visa (if required).
You can apply to the scholarships available for international students to fulfill your financial requirements for the program. International students are offered with various need or merit-based scholarships to study in Canada.
Step into the Future at a Top Canadian University
Most universities in Canada require students to submit a variety of documents for application. Here is a list of documents generally asked for along with your completed application forms:
|University of Toronto||January 12|
|McMaster University||January 12|
|McGill University||January 15|
|University of British Columbia||January 15|
|University of Waterloo||February 1|
|University of Alberta||March 1|
|University of Calgary||March 1|
|University of Ottawa||April 1|
When it comes to tuition fees and costs, Canada trumps its competition. Unlike the US and UK, tuition fees in Canada are significantly lower even for international students and there are several opportunities for scholarships as well as work-study programs as well.
While tuition fees vary for each university and also based on the program you are going for, the average tuition fee for international students in an undergraduate program in Canada ranges from CAD 20,000 to CAD 30,000 per year. This tuition fee does not cover application or student visa costs.
On top of the tuition fees, most students have to pay for accommodation and other expenses like health insurance. The average cost of accommodation is usually between CAD 8,000 and CAD 10,000 per year, depending on where your university is located and what type of housing you select.
The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) offers a useful online tool which allows prospective international students to quickly calculate the costs of studying at different universities in Canada, as well as providing guidance on the documents needed to apply.
While costs are high, international students in Canada have a variety of financial aid options available to help cover the costs of tuition and living expenses. Some of the most common options include:
When moving to a new country it is important to prepare yourself for the new life. Here are five tips for international students going to Canada in addition to the college application process:
Canadian graduates have a wide range of career prospects depending on their field of study and interests. Some of the high-demand industries in Canada include healthcare, technology, finance, and skilled trades. Additionally, the Canadian government has various immigration programs and policies aimed at attracting skilled workers and entrepreneurs to support the country's economic growth. Overall, Canadian graduates have access to many career opportunities in various industries and fields.
For international students, you will need a work permit if you plan to stay in Canada after graduation. Graduates of certain designated learning institutions are eligible for the post-graduation work permit. There are other opportunities for work permits as well. Make sure you check all the requirements if you plan on staying in Canada.
Here is a list of the top 10 jobs in Canada in 2023:
If you're looking to increase your chances of acceptance to a Canadian university, here are some steps you can take:
Remember, competition for admission to Canadian universities can be strong, so it's important to put your best foot forward and showcase your strengths and abilities in the best light possible. It is important to take the time to research and prepare for the application process, and to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you for application to Canadian universities. It is important for you to consider your personal goals and preferences when making your decision. Use the tips provided here to increase your chances of getting accepted.
Crimson Education also offers an in-depth Canada service that will help you along every step of the way. Your strategist will help you identify the university for you and make sure you have all the necessary documents to fulfill your requirements. Book a free consult to begin your journey with us!