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American going to CANADIAN college/university??

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, I'm currently a senior in high school. I'm not the best student, however, I'm trying to get as many A's as I can this year since it is my last year of high school. Overall, my GPA is roughly a 2.5, take some or leave some.

Now, I don't exactly fit the requirements to go to a University directly after high school so I would have to go to a community college, then transfer. I've been looking into Canadian colleges and it's A LOT easier to get into. I've been looking at Humber & Seneca in the Toronto area.

My mom isn't too fond of the idea of me going to a college out of state - hell, even out of the country for that matter. I live in CA, I have a part time job at Old navy. My mom doesn't work. Basically, our income is NOT abundant.

Going to college in Canada is a LOT cheaper than going to a private university here (hello, USC) or even a public school (hello CSUN down the street!). It's roughly $20,000-$25,000CAD for international students (w/board+food plan), slightly less since right now USD is higher than CAD. I also realized that American FAFSA/financial aid will NOT transfer out there. Only loans, which goes back to the problem that my family is err.. broke?

Has anyone ever gone the huge leap to go to college in Canada? Is it worth it? I'd love to hear experiences - even about students who to go college over in the Toronto area. How would one take all their stuff over there? I have a lot of crap so that's a major question. Also financially.

Also, if I decide to go to college there, I wouldn't have a job anymore so I don't know how I would fund my expenses there.

My mom also worries that a Canadian degree wouldn't be valid in the US. Does anyone know if this is true? Experience stories would be great as well.

I'd like any advice in general. I know this is a very diverse, international forum so any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

I was looking into the Chemical Engineering Technology program at Seneca, which takes place on the York University campus. It's a 3 year program for a degree, however, I can get a Bachelors if I transfer out to a university like York U. BUT, they have a partnership with SUNY Buffalo (University of Buffalo) in New York, which would mean I can have FinAid (yay!). So I'm thinking if I get accepted at Seneca, do two years there, then transfer to SUNY Buffalo for my bachelors in Chemical Engineering.

I want to work in product development for cosmetics so if anyone has any info on that too, that would be more than perfect

Any help/advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks.
post #2 of 13

Re: American going to CANADIAN college/university??

I went to McGill University and we had a lot of American students. Even with paying international fees, it was cheaper for them than attending a comparable university in the States.

But it's not true that all Canadian universities are easy to get into. Like the US, some are very hard (comparable with Ivy League) and some are easier. It has a lot to do with the reputation of the school, the ones with a better rep have a much higher criteria for acceptance rates.

I've never heard that Canadian degrees are not accepted in the USA. I mean it's Canada, not the Congo or something.

BTW I would check out the annual MacLean's University Ranking. It's a special edition magazine that comes out once a year and they review many of the top schools in Canada. You might be able to find the latest one online

http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/rankings/
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Re: American going to CANADIAN college/university??

I was looking into McGill but as I said, my grades aren't *THAT* great. So I probably would not get accepted. I have a state university down my street and I barely meet their minimum requirements tbh.

I didn't expect it to be easy to get into *all* universities in Canada, but some are easier (the colleges compared to universities) to get into than state universities in California.

My mom's worry about the degree is because some of our family members got their degrees elsewhere internationally but when they moved to the US, their degree wasn't valid here (I'm talking about nurse degrees, dentist, etc) so they had to start schooling all over again here. Sometimes I think she just tells me that to scare me off from going to college there.

I don't know if its going to be worth the loans though. It's cheaper to go to a community college here and transfer out but I want to experience the international experience somewhere else. Also, if I have the option of going to a 4-year school straight after high school, then I think that would be better for me. But then, I have my (part time) job here.

I'm also not too sure on how experience life is in Canada, based on the fact that books are about $5 higher for a paperback book than it is here makes me think that it is fairly expensive.
post #4 of 13

Re: American going to CANADIAN college/university??

Coincidentally, I went to Seneca AND York.

I'm not sure how much university/college tuition is in the States, so I can't comment on price comparison.

Like MissChievous said, some Canadian universities are easier to get into than others. I think York is in the middle. If you have average marks, they may accept you, but that all depends on the applicant pool for that year. Seneca's a college, so it's obviously easier to get into. With a 2.5 GPA, I think your plan for 2 yrs at Seneca and then transfer to SUNY Buffalo is a better choice. Plus you get your financial aid.

Here's my experience with the 2 schools if you are interested. York was so-so for me. I was younger, so I didn't try as hard in university. Plus lectures put me to sleep if I didn't get enough sleep - students never get enough sleep! It's a good university IMO. I had some really amazing professors, and quite of few that needed to retire LOL.
I went to Seneca after, and graduated with flying colours. That being said, I was also older, and I was there for my career field. Maybe that's why I tried harder? So if you're planning on coming up, I hope you'll find the motivation and drive to kill every course you take b/c it's a BIG step. And I LOVED Seneca btw. Not sure if it's b/c of the program I was in, but if you enroll in a program you WANT to be in, I'm sure you'll put the effort to do well.

You're right, not all Canadian degrees are recognized in the States, such as the BEd (Bachelor of Education). If you're worried about your program, contact Seneca and York to ask about it before you enroll.

Chemical engineering sounds fantastic! There's a company called Cosmetica Laboratories in Toronto. They deal with formula development, stability tests, quality control, etc. My friend use to work there. If you decide to stay in TO after your studies, this company sounds perfect for you.

HTH!
post #5 of 13

Re: American going to CANADIAN college/university??

A degree earned at a university in the US/Canada/Australia/New Zealand/United Kingdom is generally going to be accepted in the other countries because educational standards are similar/same and English was the language of instruction. For example, I graduated from veterinary school in the United States. But I can get a license to practice in all of the countries listed above without having to repeat veterinary school.

I wouldn't be worried about the legitimacy of a degree that you received from a brick & mortar school in any of the countries listed. But be careful if you choose an online school that you've never heard of; there's a lot of scammers selling worthless degrees.

You seem awfully worried about taking out student loans; I wouldn't be. A college education pays for itself over the course of your working lifetime if you make wise choices. Don't borrow $100,000 to earn a degree in medieval Icelandic art & history, for example.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Re: American going to CANADIAN college/university??

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenee.sum View Post
Coincidentally, I went to Seneca AND York.

I'm not sure how much university/college tuition is in the States, so I can't comment on price comparison.

Like MissChievous said, some Canadian universities are easier to get into than others. I think York is in the middle. If you have average marks, they may accept you, but that all depends on the applicant pool for that year. Seneca's a college, so it's obviously easier to get into. With a 2.5 GPA, I think your plan for 2 yrs at Seneca and then transfer to SUNY Buffalo is a better choice. Plus you get your financial aid.

Here's my experience with the 2 schools if you are interested. York was so-so for me. I was younger, so I didn't try as hard in university. Plus lectures put me to sleep if I didn't get enough sleep - students never get enough sleep! It's a good university IMO. I had some really amazing professors, and quite of few that needed to retire LOL.
I went to Seneca after, and graduated with flying colours. That being said, I was also older, and I was there for my career field. Maybe that's why I tried harder? So if you're planning on coming up, I hope you'll find the motivation and drive to kill every course you take b/c it's a BIG step. And I LOVED Seneca btw. Not sure if it's b/c of the program I was in, but if you enroll in a program you WANT to be in, I'm sure you'll put the effort to do well.

You're right, not all Canadian degrees are recognized in the States, such as the BEd (Bachelor of Education). If you're worried about your program, contact Seneca and York to ask about it before you enroll.

Chemical engineering sounds fantastic! There's a company called Cosmetica Laboratories in Toronto. They deal with formula development, stability tests, quality control, etc. My friend use to work there. If you decide to stay in TO after your studies, this company sounds perfect for you.

HTH!
Thank you for sharing your experiences The chemical engineering (co-op) program takes places right on the York campus! I'd dorm there and all if I decided to attend Seneca, so it would 2-in-1 in a way.

I can see why a BEd wouldn't be accepted here since the education systems are different in both places. I think I will do the transfer though, Seneca -> SUNY. Which program did you do at Seneca?

Also if you don't mind me asking, how expensive is it over in Toronto? How much is a water bottle for example, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captodometer View Post
A degree earned at a university in the US/Canada/Australia/New Zealand/United Kingdom is generally going to be accepted in the other countries because educational standards are similar/same and English was the language of instruction. For example, I graduated from veterinary school in the United States. But I can get a license to practice in all of the countries listed above without having to repeat veterinary school.

I wouldn't be worried about the legitimacy of a degree that you received from a brick & mortar school in any of the countries listed. But be careful if you choose an online school that you've never heard of; there's a lot of scammers selling worthless degrees.

You seem awfully worried about taking out student loans; I wouldn't be. A college education pays for itself over the course of your working lifetime if you make wise choices. Don't borrow $100,000 to earn a degree in medieval Icelandic art & history, for example.
I'm actually doing high school online right now but don't plan on doing college online. I want the full college experience! I'm scared of getting myself in debt or not being able to pay it off or something. I don't know how long it would take me to pay it off, too. I'm 17, I have a credit card so I'm slowly building up credit by using it. I also wouldn't be sure on how much I would take out per year as I wouldn't have a job in Canada to help fund my entertainment expenses for example. Or even additional food in case the food plan doesn't cover me completely, buying water bottles, etc.

I have a job out here but that can only pay for so much. I can't exactly rely on my mom/family to pay for college either because my mom is disabled (arthritis) and my dad is out of the picture. I'd be majoring in Chem Engineering so the loan would be worth it imo!


I'm also curious about a college related question, has anyone double majored before?
post #7 of 13

Re: American going to CANADIAN college/university??

The loan is definitely worth it if you plan on being any type of engineer. When I graduated in 1997; I owed $59,000. If I had graduated this year, I suspect it would have been in the $120K range. It took 9 years to pay off my student loan, and I bought a house a couple of years before the loan was paid off. It will truly suck for the first few years after you graduate (I drove a base model Geo Metro) but over the long term the debt is worth it.


And let me put in a plug for the SUNY system; it's excellent quality and the price is really low compared to many state universities. I lived in Rochester, NY for several years; was admitted to SUNY Brockport but didn't attend. Have you considered asking your job to transfer you to some place in upstate NY? You would qualify for in-state tuition after living there for a year. The cost of living in upstate NY is also low compared to many places, especially SoCal. You could just move, get a roommate, and continue working for a year. And then you could enroll in SUNY and probably bypass the CC route altogether. And you would definitely be eligible for student loans because you would still be in the US.

You might actually be eligible for US student loans if you go to school outside the US. The school has to meet US Department of Education guidelines in order to be eligible. I got a graduate degree while living/working in New Zealand and attending the University of Otago; I was able to use my Montgomery GI Bill veterans benefits, which meant that the program met US requirements. It's likely that most schools in Canada also meet US requirements; you might want to explore this option a little more. You may not automatically be disqualified from US financial aid just because you are attending school outside the country.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Re: American going to CANADIAN college/university??

Doesn't SUNY have minimum requirements to meet for entrance? I don't think I'd meet those. I don't even meet the ones in the California system - I have CSU Northridge down my street and work part time at Old Navy. I barely started working here since August so I'm not sure if I could get transferred as easily compared to someone whose worked there longer. I live in a decent area in the San fernando valley area - fairly cheap living compared to where I used to live (Glendale, CA). I wouldn't worry much about a car as I don't drive (yet), but when I do, it's more than likely that I will get my brother's car. So, that's one less expense that I would have to worry about.

To be honest, my junior year has the worst grades (shame on me). The rest of my grades are all over the place. US loans would probably be the only financial aid I could get if I decide to go out of the country. Do you know if it has a low interest? I wouldn't plan on buying a home on any time soon - if anything I would be paying off the loan after I graduate and get a job. Save the rest or pay any expenses I have at the time.

Edit: I just looked into the SUNY website, campus housing for community colleges there? Unseen in Cali!
post #9 of 13

Huron and Seneca are both community colleges.  You could just save the moving expense and enroll at an American community college.  Community colleges make sense from a financial standpoint.  However you'll have to meet the transfer requirements, as a two year college education is not valued highly by most employers.  In the end, it's the student, not the school.  Whatever college/university you choose is not as important as the work you put into it.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wittynickname View Post

Huron and Seneca are both community colleges.  You could just save the moving expense and enroll at an American community college.  Community colleges make sense from a financial standpoint.  However you'll have to meet the transfer requirements, as a two year college education is not valued highly by most employers.  In the end, it's the student, not the school.  Whatever college/university you choose is not as important as the work you put into it.



Yeah I'm aware that they're both community colleges over there. However, the CCs here don't offer BAs, only Associates, which I'm not interested in so if I were to attend a CC here, I definitely would transfer. However, I want a different scenery from here. I'm still trying to figure it out. I might send an application to Humber and see if I get accepted or not and figure out if I'm going to go. Humber's international businesses degree offers a paid internship-type thing over the summer after the 3rd year I believe.

post #11 of 13

From what I've seen on the Seneca website, it doesn't offer a Bachelors without transfer either- you get an Advanced Diploma after 3 years.

 

I'm currently studying a 4 year Bachelors in Chem Eng (in Australia). How good are your marks in chemistry, maths and physics? Chem Eng covers surprisingly little chemistry aside from understanding; it really gets heavily into maths and physics, and if they're subjects you're poor at or don't enjoy, you'll really hate Chem Eng. Its also not for the faint of heart- at Seneca, as its a community college, it might not be so rough, but at university/college it will be tough, mentally and physically, and as you describe yourself as having a reasonably checkered academic history I wouldn't recommend studying it. Are there options to study a chemistry as a science/through a science department, rather than Chem Eng? Its much more hands on chemistry and a lot less maths, and admission criteria are a lot less stringent (here). If any of your local universities have a Chem Eng faculty, see if there are any open days and go and have a chat. You might not have the grades to actually attend that particular university, but picking their brains about subjects you'll cover and where you can go with it is valuable knowledge.

 

I personally don't think that heading out of country for a community college education is worth it. I don't know much about the education system there, but the idea of heading out of area (expensive) for something you may not like or be able to do intellectually (likely with Chem Eng) seems like a poor idea to me. I'd work my arse off at a community college locally to demonstrate that you've overcome whatever was at play that gave you poor marks in high school, then transfer to university after that.

 

Finally, I share a similar overall goal towards product development, especially in personal care (but not necessarily cosmetics- very small industry here). My plan is (if I decide to not go ahead and do PhD/Masters research) to start at a quality assurance/quality control job in a similar field (eg: pharmaceuticals), then work up to formulation and development. QA/QC means I'm handcuffed to a machine that goes ping for a few years, but I enjoy instrumental analysis so that's less of a concern for me. For that sort of role you'd want to have especially good marks in instrumental analysis courses and organic/inorganic synthesis.

post #12 of 13

I go to UB (University at Buffalo). If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask

post #13 of 13

How does and American students get financing for a college in Canada?  We are looking at Algoma and they say they can not help us.  We have checked several banks and none seem to deal with Algoma.

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