Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

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Isabelle77
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Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Isabelle77 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:23 am

Did anyone here attend college in Canada and then return to the States? How did it affect your career prospects or grad school acceptance in the US? My husband and I were discussing this yesterday and while it’s not totally relevant for us yet, I thought I’d ask the board.

We have a daughter that is just beginning high school this year (It’s early to think about this I know). I am a Canadian citizen as are our children, although they’ve never lived there. We live near Portland so the west coast Canadian schools aren’t that far away. My husband is American.

Our daughter is a good student because she works very hard for good grades. She has a math learning disability and her standardized test scores always reflect it. She will struggle in math and likely science in high school. She is almost certainly not going to be headed for a top tier school in the US. However with pretty good grades she could be accepted into decent schools in Canada at about 25% of the cost.

We wouldn’t force her in any direction but my husband is concerned that a degree from somewhere like University of British Columbia may be worth less in the US than say Washington State.

I think we also have to consider the cost, less than 20k (Canadian)including room and board at most west coast Canadian schools vs say 50k+ a year for somewhere like Gonzaga or University of Portland. Even in state would be pricier.

Any thoughts on this?

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by Alexa9 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:30 am

I think it sounds like a great idea. UBC is the #3 university in Canada (#45 Global) though so U of Alberta and U of Calgary could be backup plans. Due to her citizenship, would she be an international student in the US then and domestic student in Canada? Also depends on what she wants to study. I would go to the best school she can get in to. Obviously if she wants to be a teacher, nurse, or social worker it's not as important as a lawyer, engineer, or doctor. Where she wants to work and networking is important, but maybe she'll want to move to Canada after school.
Last edited by Alexa9 on Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by Isabelle77 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:33 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:30 am
I think it sounds like a great idea. UBC is the #3 university in Canada (#45 Global) though so U of Alberta and U of Calgary could be backup plans. Due to her citizenship, would she be an international student in the US then and domestic student in Canada? Also depends on what she wants to study. I would go to the best school she can get in to. Where she wants to work and networking is important, but maybe she'll want to move to Canada after school.
Thanks Alexa! She’s a dual US/Canadian citizen, so domestic in both countries.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by DoTheMath » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:36 am

I agree that this would be an excellent option. Canada has excellent universities (not at the level of the very best US schools, but it sounds like those are off the table already). I wouldn't hesitate to send my kids to one. I can't imagine a realistic situation where a degree from a comparable Canadian school would be a disadvantage.
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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by Alexa9 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:46 am

Isabelle77 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:33 am

Thanks Alexa! She’s a dual US/Canadian citizen, so domestic in both countries.
I see your point looking at the rankings of Oregon Universities. Even in state tuition may not be worth it. I would really research what she wants to do for a career and have a few choices and a plan B. Then visit campuses.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by livesoft » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:55 am

I have many Canadian friends who went to grad school in the US and on to great jobs. They got undergrad degrees (in no particular order) at UBC, UToronto, SimonFraser, McGill, McMaster, Dalhousie, .... And even though they are working in the US, they all would not hesitate to send their kids to a Canadian university.

I think a degree from UBC would NOT be worth less than a degree from Washington State. No way, no how.
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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by truenorth418 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:56 am

I'm a dual citizen US/Canada. I went to graduate school at a top university in Canada. The cost of the Canadian university education was a fraction of what I would have had to pay in the US at even a crappy American school. However, my concern at the time was that I would not be able to translate my Canadian degree into a job/career in the US. However, since I intended to return to the US upon graduation, I laser-focused my internship and job search on Canadian offices of US multi-nationals, and I ultimately landed an internship in the Toronto office of a US-based company, and they moved me to a full-time job in their Chicago office once I finished my degree. So these things can work out if you plan accordingly.

Your daughter would get a great education at a much lower cost, and she'd get unique experiences and fresh perspectives in an international university environment. She'll either end up returning to the U.S. and battling it out in the tough U.S. job market like every other American graduate, or she'll score a job in Canada which is also a great place to live. Not much downside when you really think about it.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by rob65 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:49 am

If she’s going to major in something that requires certification or licensing (teaching and nursing come to mind at the undergrad level) double check on reciprocity agreements. I don’t think that will be a problem with a Canadian University, but definitely something to check on ahead of time.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by Cheyenne » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:54 am

I have friends in Canada. Based upon what they have told me I'm not sure if she'd want to go there now. Maybe in a few years.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by happyisland » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:01 am

Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:54 am
I have friends in Canada. Based upon what they have told me I'm not sure if she'd want to go there now. Maybe in a few years.
Please explain.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by student » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:12 am

It depends on what she wants to major in. For example, in tech, most big companies are well aware of large Canadian schools with excellent engineering programs such as Toronto, McGill, Waterloo and UBC. As for whether a degree from UBC will be perceived as worth less than WSU, it is hard to say. I would say the following: If she intends to apply to graduate schools, then having a degree from UBC is unlikely to be seen as a disadvantage when comparing to WSU.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:13 am

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (career guidance). I also retitled the thread.

I also recommend our sister Canadian forum Financial Wisdom Forum. You'll get expert advice on US / Canadian cross-border issues.

They have an excellent wiki: finiki, the Canadian financial wiki

Disclaimer: I'm a member of both forums.
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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by Isabelle77 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:56 am

student wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:12 am
It depends on what she wants to major in. For example, in tech, most big companies are well aware of large Canadian schools with excellent engineering programs such as Toronto, McGill, Waterloo and UBC. As for whether a degree from UBC will be perceived as worth less than WSU, it is hard to say. I would say the following: If she intends to apply to graduate schools, then having a degree from UBC is unlikely to be seen as a disadvantage when comparing to WSU.
It definitely would not be anything engineering and probably not science or medical. Her learning disability will pretty much eliminate those fields. She’s a beautiful writer and as a 14yr old is interested in public relations or hospitality. But she’s 14 so that will likely change.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:10 am

happyisland wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:01 am
Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:54 am
I have friends in Canada. Based upon what they have told me I'm not sure if she'd want to go there now. Maybe in a few years.
Please explain.
We can discount physical danger -- if you look at the record of the 2 countries, US universities are significantly less safe. Since Ecole Polytechnique (1989) AFAIK there has not been a significant incident on a Canadian university campus. On the other hand, you just had Toronto (North York) and that was pretty shocking on what is an ordinary suburban main road- -that happened just in March/ April.

Legalization? Well, kids will, or they will not. I somehow doubt the legal status, and whether it is sold to 19+ year olds in government controlled stores (that's the current plan AFAIK) makes much odds.

Drinking? Yes, most Canadian states (provinces) are age 19, AFAIK (Quebec might be younger). Again, most kids do their heaviest drinking before it is legal so to do.

"Political correctness"? Well one person's PC is another person's assertion of fundamental human rights.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by Isabelle77 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:30 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:10 am
happyisland wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:01 am
Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:54 am
I have friends in Canada. Based upon what they have told me I'm not sure if she'd want to go there now. Maybe in a few years.
Please explain.
We can discount physical danger -- if you look at the record of the 2 countries, US universities are significantly less safe. Since Ecole Polytechnique (1989) AFAIK there has not been a significant incident on a Canadian university campus. On the other hand, you just had Toronto (North York) and that was pretty shocking on what is an ordinary suburban main road- -that happened just in March/ April.

Legalization? Well, kids will, or they will not. I somehow doubt the legal status, and whether it is sold to 19+ year olds in government controlled stores (that's the current plan AFAIK) makes much odds.

Drinking? Yes, most Canadian states (provinces) are age 19, AFAIK (Quebec might be younger). Again, most kids do their heaviest drinking before it is legal so to do.

"Political correctness"? Well one person's PC is another person's assertion of fundamental human rights.
We’re not concerned about any of these things currently . I grew up in Toronto with a lower drinking age without issue and we already live in a “legal” state near Portland which is as progressive (in perhaps a different way) than anywhere in Canada.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:34 am

Isabelle77 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:23 am
Did anyone here attend college in Canada and then return to the States? How did it affect your career prospects or grad school acceptance in the US? My husband and I were discussing this yesterday and while it’s not totally relevant for us yet, I thought I’d ask the board.

We have a daughter that is just beginning high school this year (It’s early to think about this I know). I am a Canadian citizen as are our children, although they’ve never lived there. We live near Portland so the west coast Canadian schools aren’t that far away. My husband is American.

Our daughter is a good student because she works very hard for good grades. She has a math learning disability and her standardized test scores always reflect it. She will struggle in math and likely science in high school. She is almost certainly not going to be headed for a top tier school in the US. However with pretty good grades she could be accepted into decent schools in Canada at about 25% of the cost.

We wouldn’t force her in any direction but my husband is concerned that a degree from somewhere like University of British Columbia may be worth less in the US than say Washington State.

I think we also have to consider the cost, less than 20k (Canadian)including room and board at most west coast Canadian schools vs say 50k+ a year for somewhere like Gonzaga or University of Portland. Even in state would be pricier.

Any thoughts on this?
https://www.macleans.ca/education/unive ... ings-2018/ you can most definitely get the hard copy of this, too, and it's the indispensable bible (albeit not always accurate) to Canadian universities. A must have.

[edited some personal stuff]

So what I have admired America for is its 4 year liberal arts colleges, that seem to offer significantly greater levels of individual attention and instruction- -real involvement in the learning process at an undergraduate level. They also cost a small fortune (or a large one) -- as I understand it.

Big American public universities are, I suspect, similar to the experience one would have at UBC or Toronto or York or Simon Fraser. And I would have found the "Greek culture" of the fraternities quite alienating. Also the football game as a totem of collegiate life. AFAIK Canadian universities are just not like that (Queens U perhaps a bit more so but note it does not allow fraternities)-- fraternities are a minority interest, university athletics (as spectators) are just not as big.

As an academic and personal experience, I would rank UBS as very similar to U of Washington (can't speak to Washington State) or another big state university. First and second year lectures will be huge and it's easy to feel like a number in a machine. It really depends on what you want to study, and whether you fall in with a group of similar minded students-- either via living accomodations, shared extra curricular activity (sports team, etc.) or academic programme (engineers for example tend to stick together; Arts & Science students are more scattered).

Career services etc. would probably be worse than US equivalents-- and not aimed at the US market. US colleges and universities seem to have more money to aim at that sort of activity. Conversely, the sports programme at no Canadian university would have anything like the spending that some American schools seem to lavish in terms of facilities, coaches etc. Athletics just not take that priority.

One significant difference is that the percentages of Asian kids will be much higher at UBC Toronto etc than perhaps at comparable American universities? Part of Canada's immigration strategy. Important though to make distinctions: if those kids came to Canada under age 10, say, they'll be fully integrated Canadians, indistinguishable from their peers (although like all children of first generation immigrants, probably pretty hard working). It's more the foreign students studying who tend to be 1. very hard working 2. associate more with their fellow nationals. That latter point is not universal, but the gap between East Asian languages and cultures and the predominant North American ones is very large. A lot depends on subject area, too.

A few anecdotal points about universities:

- U of Alberta (Edmonton) is cold. I mean really hard to describe cold. It's probably worth paying a visit in the winter months, just to make sure your daughter is up to it.

- U of Calgary is also cold. But it's generally much sunnier, ski slopes are closer etc. Again it's worth seeing it in winter (you sometimes get the Chinook winds in Jan-Feb which move the temperature to close to freezing)

U of C has a lot of money (by Canadian standards). And is anxious to attract good students.

Of Alberta I should say that whenever I have met Albertans they were very nice and friendly people-- quite strikingly so. Canadian niceness.

- UBC - it's the most God-given beautiful setting a university could have. it also has a somewhat suburban location, in a truly exceptional city (but an incredibly expensive one). I imagine, though, that it's got the issue of being a big public university in terms of class size etc.

- Simon Fraser U - suffers from being the number 2 university in Vancouver

- Victoria U - amazing place for those interested in Marine Science etc. Fabulous location. Victoria is a small city with a lot of retirees, but lots to offer young people (and cheaper than Vancouver).

- Queens - a much smaller university (and Kingston Ontario really is a small place) which has a sense of cameraderie (in its Engineering and Commerce Faculties, perhaps less so in Arts & Science) - it's also much less well heard of outside of Canada and will have fewer non Canadian students

- Toronto - a fantastic university for graduate study, with some world-leading departments (eg Medieval Studies, Engineering etc.), if your daughter has a dream subject she's already totally passionate towards and focused on, Toronto may be the right place for undergrad. Ditto for its professional schools (Engineering etc.). But it's easy to get lost in an Arts & Science programme (the 1600 person Psych 100 lectures are very real, not just a story). Because it's such an expensive city, students often commute very long way to university each day, and commuting in Toronto really is hell

- McGill - amazing campus, Montreal is a fantastic city, Univ is well known in USA. However Quebec has a history of underfunding its universities, tuition fees are very low. McGill has compensated by packing in visa (ie foreign) students

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Wilderness Librarian » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:26 am

I had a longer version of this but for some reason it didn't submit (not sure what I did wrong).

I have always been a US citizen. Grew up in a college town very very near WSU. Recently retired and moved back. My parents took our family to BC for American Thanksgiving (not a holiday therefore not many tourists). From that I got the idea of going to a Canadian university for undergraduate. Also wanted to do something more exotic than go to college in my hometown.

In 1970 went to Trent University in Peterborough Ontario. Always worked in US never Canada. Never felt Canadian degree was a disadvantage. Biggest disadvantage was that at that time most Canadian universities not on the semester or quarter system. The classes you started in September went to May. Simon Fraser was about the only one different then on a trimester system. This meant that if you got a bad class wanted to drop a class or change majors you either slogged it out or had an awkward and possibly lengthy transition. I knew people that had to come back for an entire extra year simply because they made a minor correction at some point. I slogged it out which was a mistake.

The calendar system may be different now but I would look into this very very carefully. I went to a graduate program at a US campus on the quarter system. For a young person who does not really know what they like or want the quarter system can be virtually ideal.

I think you are too worried about comparing UBC to WSU or other US campuses. UBC is well known and respected throughout the US. WSU is a fine university but (hopefully don't offend anyone) as you probably know it has a long standing reputation as a party school for undergraduates (Remember I grew up here)

I will be glad to try to answer addition questions you might have.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Isabelle77 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:40 am

Thanks Wilderness, I really just chose WSU and UBC randomly, I’m not positive she could get into or would want to attend UBC, she is only 14. It is my husband’s concern that an undergrad degree from a Canadian school could make finding employment or attending grad school more difficult.

My feeling is that a mid tier school in the US would be about the same as a Canadian school and in many cases the Canadian school would be better. She might also have a better chance getting into a good Canadian school as many of them do not require SAT or ACT scores which will likely be low for her.

I don’t know. She’s 14 so a lot could change. It was just a conversation that my husband and I were having that made me want to ask for others’ experiences and opinions.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities

Post by Cheyenne » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:58 am

happyisland wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:01 am
Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:54 am
I have friends in Canada. Based upon what they have told me I'm not sure if she'd want to go there now. Maybe in a few years.
Please explain.
They say there is a lot and anti-American sentiment.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:44 pm

As a reminder, political comments are off-topic. See: Politics and Religion
In order to avoid the inevitable frictions that arise from these topics, political or religious posts and comments are prohibited.
Please stay focused on the educational / personal finance aspects.
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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Pacman » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:07 pm

Is it true that Canadian universities are harsher with grading & curves, etc.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by dm200 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:10 pm

It has been a long time since I was acquainted with Canadians, but I thought I recalled that High School in Canada went through Grade 13 - as opposed to Grade 12 in the US. Does that affect entering students at Canadian Universities?

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:14 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:10 pm
It has been a long time since I was acquainted with Canadians, but I thought I recalled that High School in Canada went through Grade 13 - as opposed to Grade 12 in the US. Does that affect entering students at Canadian Universities?
I think in the last 50 years that was only an Ontario thing (Quebec has CGEP which was similar)?

Ontario ditched that in the early 1990s, from memory. The last jurisdiction in North America to have a Grade 13 - which was originally intended for the 98% of high school grads who would not proceed on to university.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by dm200 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:26 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:14 pm
dm200 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:10 pm
It has been a long time since I was acquainted with Canadians, but I thought I recalled that High School in Canada went through Grade 13 - as opposed to Grade 12 in the US. Does that affect entering students at Canadian Universities?
I think in the last 50 years that was only an Ontario thing (Quebec has CGEP which was similar)?
Ontario ditched that in the early 1990s, from memory. The last jurisdiction in North America to have a Grade 13 - which was originally intended for the 98% of high school grads who would not proceed on to university.
Thanks. The Canadians we knew were from the Province of Ontario.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by truenorth418 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:31 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:10 pm
It has been a long time since I was acquainted with Canadians, but I thought I recalled that High School in Canada went through Grade 13 - as opposed to Grade 12 in the US. Does that affect entering students at Canadian Universities?
Grade 13 was a university prep year but only in the province of Ontario. It was phased out many years ago.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:48 pm

Does your daughter receive accommodations via an IEP or a 504 plan in her current high school? If so, please investigate whether/if/how those accommodations are handled in Canada. (In the US there are not IEPs for college but most students on an IEP can be transitioned into some form of a 504 plan, though some accommodations are not generally permitted at the college level. For example, an IEP that specifies that a student's writing will not be evaluated for spelling or that a student is not required to memorize math facts will not usually be continued into college. An IEP or 504 plan that allows a student to take tests in a quiet setting, over extended time, or that provides laboratory adjustments for a student who is blind will generally be supported.)

Also, check into housing -- UBC promises to provide on-campus housing for international students during their first year; housing is not guaranteed for domestic students. If she counts as domestic that may mean finding a living arrangement.

Canadian colleges seem to be more heavily focused on academics and less the all-encompassing environments found at many US residential colleges. That's neither good nor bad -- but it is a difference worth exploring.

PS: Add Montreal to the list of remarkably cold places in the winter. I froze visiting McGill one February -- and I live in Colorado and thought that cold weather was not going to be a problem. :oops:

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Wilderness Librarian » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:56 pm

At 14 she has a long time to decide on these matters. What most people seem to be saying is don't worry about messing up potentials for graduate school or career.The exception might be for careers such as law which I actually looked into as a student and were possibly sensitive to that issue.

One interesting observation I made as a student (1970s) is there seemed to be a cultural difference how Canadians approached undergraduate education. They tended to view college more as a utilitarian matter and go a relatively short distance for a particular curriculum or career path. Americans including myself were more inclined to view college as a unique lifestyle experience extending much beyond the particular coursework or campus. Mind you I do not mean a party life. Instead I mean doing things like I did - take courses in Canadian history, geography and politics and live in a totally different landscape. After my BA I went to a graduate program in Atlanta Georgia - chosen not only for the curriculum but in part because I had never lived in a big city and never seen the south.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by obgraham » Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:22 am

I am another dual citizen.

In our family we have young people who have recently attended Universities across Canada and also in the US, from small liberal arts schools, to big state schools and at least one to an elite eastern college.

I can safely say that presenting a degree from Canada has never once been a problem or choice limiter. Most graduate and professional schools treated them equally, as have employers.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by hmw » Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:18 am

This may not apply to your daughter. Two of my wife’s cousins graduated from UBC CS program. They didn’t have problem getting very desirable jobs in the US. One used to work for Microsoft, and the other one is working for Apple.

McGill seems to be very well known in the US, especially on the US east coast. I personally think U of Toronto is better than McGill. I would think that UBC is known in the US Pacific Northwest.

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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:34 am

Wilderness Librarian wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:56 pm
At 14 she has a long time to decide on these matters. What most people seem to be saying is don't worry about messing up potentials for graduate school or career.The exception might be for careers such as law which I actually looked into as a student and were possibly sensitive to that issue.
I know that one of the big Canadian universities not only supplies grades, but also your percentile ranking within your class - thus giving a better picture of what the grades mean. Historically Canadian universities were much tougher graders than American ones (my touchpoint of evidence was a former valedictorian of the class at one of Yale/ Princeton/ Harvard/ Stanford who said "yes, our grades were inflated") and that would hurt a Canadian applying into US professional schools. I believe now that's less of an issue-- Canadian universities may have inflated grades, there's no longer a "grade according to the curve" culture (Engineering may be an exception).

I had a friend who attended a big Canadian university w a high average, and was able to attend a top 15 US law school over 20 years later and is now a successful lawyer (in the US).

On US medical schools I don't know - the neighbour's kid had an ice hockey scholarship to one of the above colleges (for undergrad) and is now in medical school (in the USA) but that's about recognition of high school achievements.
One interesting observation I made as a student (1970s) is there seemed to be a cultural difference how Canadians approached undergraduate education. They tended to view college more as a utilitarian matter and go a relatively short distance for a particular curriculum or career path. Americans including myself were more inclined to view college as a unique lifestyle experience extending much beyond the particular coursework or campus. Mind you I do not mean a party life. Instead I mean doing things like I did - take courses in Canadian history, geography and politics and live in a totally different landscape. After my BA I went to a graduate program in Atlanta Georgia - chosen not only for the curriculum but in part because I had never lived in a big city and never seen the south.
I think it's true that university is less of a "total experience" than USA. Utilitarian is perhaps a good word - probably more Canadians go to university at or near their home town. But comparing a large US state university to a Canadian one, I suspect the differences are fairly small with the exceptions of fraternity life (there are fraternities at most Canadian universities, but they are not central to student life) and the big sports culture I observed at U Virginia, say or Ohio State.

There's no Canadian university that would be able to spend the money on athletics that many American state universities seem to spend.

It's worth searching the Maclean's magazine guide for some clues as to student life in different universities. A lot boils down to who you live with and how in the first 1-2 years because they tend to be your peer group in the last years of university and when you start working.

Valuethinker
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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:05 am

hmw wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:18 am
This may not apply to your daughter. Two of my wife’s cousins graduated from UBC CS program. They didn’t have problem getting very desirable jobs in the US. One used to work for Microsoft, and the other one is working for Apple.

McGill seems to be very well known in the US, especially on the US east coast. I personally think U of Toronto is better than McGill. I would think that UBC is known in the US Pacific Northwest.
Toronto is definitely a more prestigious university than McGIll *now* although it depends upon programme. At the post Bachelor's level, Toronto has an extraordinary number of world class departments - Elec Eng, Computer Science, Medieval Studies etc.

The US awareness of McGill is very true and it extends across the Atlantic, too.

However McGill has that amazing campus and it's definitely much easier for a student in Montreal to live close to Campus, thus be more involved in campus activities, etc. McGill has a lot of "school spirit". Montreal is just a great city for a young person (although a smattering of French will definitely help - the city is very bilingual, but you can find places and times where being able to switch to French is very helpful).

Toronto is just bigger. It really depends on whether you have an affiliation with your college (eg first year residence) or your faculty (engineers are tightly knit; ditto architecture, say). You can get lost as a commuting student in the horde that is Arts & Science. Toronto is a big, expensive city and a lot of people commute and commuting is generally, hell.

(I am talking downtown campus. Don't know much about UT Mississauga or UT Scarborough I suspect they are even more commuter campuses).

The fact is, for an undergrad, the programmes will be quite similar in content, teaching etc. What matters is the "fit" for the individual.

EDIT - I think the Maclean's special issue is worth consulting. Reputations lag what is actually happening. Two people involved in higher education in Canada have told me that the Quebec restrictions on higher education funding have really hurt McGill. But, neither of them teaches or works at McGill (we were generally all agreed the campus is great, and so is Montreal).
Last edited by Valuethinker on Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Isabelle77
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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Isabelle77 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:41 am

Thanks all! Appreciate all of your thoughts.

cheapskate
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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by cheapskate » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:36 am

There are a lot of kids I know in the Bay Area who are at UBC. Reputationally, UBC seems to be in the same league as large US state universities (I know dual-citizen kids who have got into U of California campuses, but have preferred to go to UBC). If your daughter has any interest in Business or combining Business with a degree in the Faculty of Arts at UBC (like say International Relations or Political Science), UBC offers a 4.5 year undergrad+MS in Management, which seems quite interesting. Anecdotally, the Business school at UBC (Sauder) seems to be well connected to companies (in terms of making internships/jobs available).

Since you are in the PNW, best to make a quick visit to UBC. One problem, as others have pointed out, is that UBC only guarantees housing the first year. After that students have to fend or themselves, but hopefully Canada resident tuition will help offset the crazy Vancouver cost of living.

Valuethinker
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Re: Thoughts on Canadian Universities [Dual US / Canadian citizen]

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:05 am

cheapskate wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:36 am
There are a lot of kids I know in the Bay Area who are at UBC. Reputationally, UBC seems to be in the same league as large US state universities (I know dual-citizen kids who have got into U of California campuses, but have preferred to go to UBC). If your daughter has any interest in Business or combining Business with a degree in the Faculty of Arts at UBC (like say International Relations or Political Science), UBC offers a 4.5 year undergrad+MS in Management, which seems quite interesting. Anecdotally, the Business school at UBC (Sauder) seems to be well connected to companies (in terms of making internships/jobs available).

Since you are in the PNW, best to make a quick visit to UBC. One problem, as others have pointed out, is that UBC only guarantees housing the first year. After that students have to fend or themselves, but hopefully Canada resident tuition will help offset the crazy Vancouver cost of living.
A couple of the profs at Sauder I know from past lives. Great scholars, but very mathematical in orientation.

Sauder will be fairly mathematical in approach I am pretty sure-- and it will only be in the later 2 years that you can steer away from that onto "softer" course areas*. OP noted that is not her daughter's strong suit. It's also pretty competitive to get into - I know for example that at Queens (Ontario), it's harder to get into undergrad business/ commerce than it is to most engineering (!).

I am a big believer that if one does undergrad business, business with a language or some other dual major creates a broader person who will have a better business career in the long run.

Calgary has the money among Canadian universities, at least by reputation. UBC or U Victoria has the lifestyle. Although if one is a skier, Calgary is probably unsurpassed ;-).

* even things like marketing nowadays are heavily Data Science driven, I think.

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