University Life In Canada & The USA: What’s The Difference?

With the two nations sharing a border, a language, and many aspects of each other’s culture, you could be forgiven for thinking that student life in the USA and Canada is very similar. But actually there are many differences between a period of study in Canada and the options offered by universities in the USA, so let’s take a look at a few of the most important.\r\n \r\n

The Institutions

\r\n\r\nWhen choosing somewhere to study in the USA or Canada it is wise to check the accreditation of the institution. Almost all of the Colleges and Universities in Canada are accredited according to national standards, due to the Government providing partial funding for tertiary Canadian education. \r\n\r\nIn the USA the accreditation system can vary from state to state, so make sure you investigate both the university and the accrediting body. However, at the top level American Universities occupy 17 places in the QS Top 50, compared to three Canadian institutions.\r\n \r\n

The Application

\r\n\r\nTo apply for a Canadian University students are typically expected to provide their upper-level education grades and an application essay, with SAT scores occasionally asked for. This is much simpler than the criteria expected at American institutions, which often require demonstrable proof of extra-curricular activities as well as references. \r\n\r\nHowever, one noticeable advantage of applying for American Universities is that many now share the Common Application process, whereas Canadian Universities require individual applications to each institution.\r\n \r\n

The Courses

\r\n\r\nBoth Canadian and American universities offer four year bachelor’s degree programs which come with honours, but Canadian schools also provide many three year courses, which are classed as bachelor’s degrees minus the honours. Depending on your post-university plans a three year course may or may not be suitable for your situation. \r\n\r\nFurthermore, unlike the USA, Canada also offers Associate’s degrees, which are one or two year programs that can be extended to full bachelor status if the student desires it. \r\n \r\n

The Price

\r\n\r\nBecause Canadian education receives Government funding their fees are far cheaper than American Universities, with students paying $5,000 per term on average, compared to $32,100 for students of American universities. However, international students in Canada must pay a higher fee than domestic students, which raises the tuition cost to between $12,000 and $25,000. \r\n\r\nThe cost of living in Canada is also far lower, with prices for renting, travelling, entertainment and grocery shopping all well below the American average. You will also be compelled to purchase medical insurance whilst staying in the USA, with Canadian healthcare provided free of charge to international students.\r\n \r\n


\r\nPost-graduate students in Canada can apply for a range of different permits if they wish to stay in the country after university. A work permit under the PGWPP can be issued for the length of the study program, and this period of residence can be used to assist qualification for permanent residence.\r\n\r\nIn the USA students with an F-1 visa can apply to remain for 12 months of practical training, or a period of 3 years working via the H-1B visa if you can find a sponsor company. However, it is deemed much harder for international students to remain in America unless they possess exceptional ability.\r\n \r\n

Student Life

\r\nWith its low crime rate and liberal, tolerant attitudes, Canada offers a more welcoming place to study than America for international students. They also allow common-law partners to relocate to the country using an open work permit, whereas only certain visas allow this in the USA.\r\n\r\nFurthermore, international students make up nearly a fifth of Canada’s university population, compared to less than 10% in American Universities. But with international student numbers increasing all the time in the USA, this statistic could be about to change very soon.\r\n