4 Reasons Why It’s Better To Go To College in Canada

When you were applying to colleges back in the fall semester of your senior year, you probably forget to include Canadian schools on that list. (You probably also forgot to include “schools with no Friday classes”…but that’s a blog topic for a later day.) Sure Canada is freezing, but that’s no reason to not go to school there. Think we’re wrong? Just check out our reasoning and tell me that you’re not debating transferring.

1. Cost. Tuition is a fraction of that at an American school so your chances of earning a degree are based on merit, not your piggy bank (or parents’). Unlike the States, almost all Canadian universities are publicly funded making tuition per program fairly standard at each university. The prestige of the institution and how much it costs to attend is almost entirely unrelated. Having attended private school all my life, it was refreshing to start university knowing we’d all had to earn it. There are obviously exceptions, but Canadian universities don’t typically accept students based on daddy’s most recent bank statement.

2. Drinking age is 19. It’s always confused me that at age 18, the US government considers you responsible enough to handle a gun in Iraq, or get hitched without parental consent, but you need another three years of maturation before you can legally drink wine with dinner. With the exception of Alberta and Quebec (where it’s 18!), the Canadian drinking age is a reasonable 19. Not that you need to be trashed to have a good time, but some of my best nights of sophomore year were spent at the campus pub catching the game with friends over a pitcher.

3. Free Healthcare. So you’ve had 5 too many, and you end up passed out in a snow bank. Not to worry, you can get your stomach pumped for free! Ok, maybe they’d charge you for that but check-ups, STD testing, emergency hospital visits etc are all covered by universal healthcare. Student life is stressful enough without having to worry whether or not your insurance will cover that unexpected trip to the campus clinic.

4.  Canadian Boys. Perhaps I’m biased but there is really nothing sexier than a hockey player (For reference please google Kevin Bieksa). Let’s note two gorgeous celebs (Carrie Underwood and Hillary Duff) have recently tied the knot to NHL beauties. In chilly Southern Ontario (home to a cluster of college towns), there is a bevy of hockey hotties with whom to practice your stick handling (couldn’t resist that pun). If athletes aren’t your type, maybe travel east to Quebec. There’s just something about the French that’s a little bit hard to resist.

So if you’re not convinced, come see for yourself!

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  1. J STADD says:

    great article. sexy writer too

  2. Audrina says:

    Haha yes! I'm canadian – great article despite all your silly stereotypes of Canada (We're no colder than the New England area in the US!!!). Although it is true that my home of Southern Ontario is filled with cute hockey playing boys :)

  3. Caitlin says:

    Well, it's not actually free. If you're a Canadian citizen you pay for it in taxes…

    Plus most top schools in the US are need blind, so it really doesn't make much sense to say that it's a result of "Daddy's Money". It just makes you sound bitter.

  4. Stephanie says:

    LOVE this article. I'm a Canadian girl who goes to a Canadian university but I can totally rep Canada for these reasons (and many more…). :) Canadianne – we go to the same school! :D

    1. Schoolmate you are!

  5. Heather says:

    Wooohooop! Canada Represent! And I'm going to the cheapest university in Canada (That's Memorial, if you're wondering) and loving it. Great Article :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Going to college/university up here in Canada really does have it's advantages. And if you come to Alberta, the legal drinking age is 18 ;)

  7. Sab says:

    I'm curious at which American schools the author of this article was comparing to Canadian schools. I work at my school's Office of the Registrar in Ontario and part of my job deals with fees and tuition. Unless incoming students have Canadian citizenship or Permanent Resident Status, they have to pay international fees. It's usually around $18,000 at my school, but some programs like Engineering, Business, and Nursing are more along the lines of $20,00 – $30,00 per year. I am certain the more prestigious Ivy League schools in the states have higher tuition, but what about the smaller colleges? I'd assume international tuition for Canadian schools would be roughly the same for those kinds of American schools (please feel free to correct that assumption if I'm wrong).

    With regards to health insurance, international students are no longer covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan), so international students still need to have a form of health insurance. My school provides health insurance plans to international students, but that's separate from the Ontario plan afforded to citizens. I'm interested in what the health insurance situation is like for international students going to school in other provinces (I'd assume it's much the same as in Ontario).

    I feel like this article had a great premise, but I was really disappointed by the lack of research and solid points, and the reliance on stereotypes. As Audrina pointed out Southern Ontario at least is about as cold as the northern states, and I'm going into my fifth and final year of undergrad and have yet to meet a hockey player at my school. The author could have included some points about the quality of education and the potential advantages in the job market after graduation or something along those lines to make a really convincing argument that does Canadian schools a solid, but instead the article came off silly and stereotypical. Overall, not impressed.

    1. Lola says:

      I go to a smaller college and the $20,000 is still cheaper than what I pay for a degree that is not Engineering.

    2. Robyn says:

      I have to agree with the tuition thing — I go to school in Alberta and took a couple of Spring courses this year. I paid about $1,200 for them, but the international student who sat next to me was paying $4,000 for the exact same classes!

    3. xred says:

      An Engineering degree at Northern US schools (I checked a couple of Big 10 schools) would run around $10k to $15k per year for in state tuition.

  8. Anon says:

    Sab is right on.

    As a public employee, I have to point out that international students are NOT entitled to provincial health insurance in Ontario. They have to rely on the university health insurance plans. OHIP eligibility is based on having Canadian citizenship AND being a permanent resident in the province (of Ontario) for at least 153 days in a 12 month period.

    Also, as Sab pointed out, tuition for international students is much costlier than for Canadian citizens. Tuition varies depending on the program, and then there is the cost of living to consider. It may be somewhat cheaper than attending a prestigious university in the States, but community colleges are comparable.

    Also, if you think it's chilly in southern Ontario, you've obviously never been to northern Ontario or to any other province in the country during the winter months. It's MUCH colder and harsher.

    Overall, aside from agreeing on the fact that hockey players are cuties, this article is not accurate. Sorry.

    1. Anonymous says:

      They don't call it "On-TERRIBLE" for nothing ;) Most people agree, best thing to come out of there is the road west!

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  10. louboutin says:

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  11. Gaston says:

    Out here in BC, UBC's campus has flowers and green grass most of the year. Think of us as the UC-Santa Barbara of Canada.

    1. Roger says:

      It also pours for a substantial part of the year.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I'm actually an American that will be going to graduate school in Alberta this fall and I can tell you that, yeah, the difference in cost is quite amazing. The other schools I applied to in the US were about twice the cost in tuition. And these were not even the "prestigious" type schools, just state colleges in the West/Northwest. Even paying the international student rate in Canada is half the cost of the state schools I was looking at attending. Also, in Alberta (I know it's different by each province) I get basic healthcare for free, which doesn't exactly cover a whole lot, but I only have to pay a $350 fee per year with my tuition for supplemental healthcare, which pretty much includes everything I need. Generally, in the US it would cost you about that much per month for health insurance if you weren't working full time with benefits. I can also say that since dating a Canadian for the last year, that yeah, they are pretty darn cute (even the non-hockey players).

    Now I'm just worried about that coldness part…

  14. Johnny Canucklehead says:

    Of course international students should pay more. Your parents’ taxes fund our education system while “intl” students’ parents lived in another nation where their taxes contributed not a single dime to Canada’s education system.

    By the way our healthcare system is not free nor ever has been. Taxes fund most of it and we do pay annual premiums for it here in BC. Plus a portion of some stuff like prescriptions we pay for out of pocket.

  15. Andrea says:

    Healthcare is only free if you are a Canadian citizen. If an American goes to the ER, they will be charged about $500, depending on the province. Most universities make students buy health insurance – it’s included in the tuition. It’s about $900 at my school. So no, there’s no free healthcare if you are international. You’ll most likely have to pay an insurance premium to cover you for a year.

  16. Megaaaan says:

    Drinking age is 18 in more than just Quebec and Alberta.. you might think about doing a better job researching next time

    1. Anonymous says:

      Um, check your facts. Drinking age is 18 in Alberta, Quebec, and Manitoba. Across the rest of the country, it's 19. http://www.ccsa.ca/eng/topics/legislation/LegalDr

  17. EAO says:

    The drinking age may be lower in Canada (not to mention England, France, Wales, and Ireland to name but a few); however, consequences for any infraction of drinking and driving result in the harshest of treatments in Canada. While a DUI is a misdemeanor in the US (especially a first offense with no injury or property damage) it is a felony in Canada, and you will be deported. This happened to a family member who had been in Canada several times and was going back to Montreal after attending a family event in California, and the Canadian version of INS stopped him, wouldn't let him back into the country due to a DUI conviction that was over 6 years old, and they deported him the next day. So much for the vaunted Canadian friendliness. It would be a horrible experience if an American student studying at a Canadian post secondary institution, had his or her education derailed due to a misdemeanor conviction (US) that would make the student a felon in Canada. Appeals have gone ignored or denied, and has killed any desire I had to visit Canada again. Pity.

    1. Jenna says:

      You do realize that America would be much much harsher to someone who broke the law while in the states and wasn't a citizen! I know someone who overstayed their 3 month visa waiver in the states by 2 days (didn't break the law, work illegally or do anything harmful) when they next attempted to enter the US they were arrested, locked up for two days, treated very badly during that time then deported.

      Drink drivers selfish endanger the lives of others, the fact that it's treated leniently under US law doesn't justify that.

    2. Canadian says:

      maybe your family member shouldn't have done something as stupid selfish and dangerous and driving while intoxicated? Seems pretty simple to me… don't do stupid shit that kills people, don't get deported…

    3. Freya says:

      I have absolutely no sympathy for people who drive under the influence, I really think it's one of the most selfish and reckless things you can do as a college student. I can understand your concern if you got caught with a bit of weed and was arrested for it, but I think a zero tolerance of drink driving makes perfect sense to me.

    4. Freya says:

      Also you do realize that the US has the same policy for foreigners that wish to visit your country? In fact I've known many students, particularly from countries like China that have had to interrupt their studies in the US for months because of problems with their visa (and these people had never committed any crime or violated the conditions of their visa at all).

  18. DualCitizen says:

    Canadian tuition is lower than American tuition even when compared to international tuition rates. McGill is the NYU of Canada (only it's bilingual), Bishop's and Mount Allison are like Colby (small, personal, undergraduate-focused, and picturesque), the University of Toronto is referred to as the "Harvard of the north" (after they discovered insulin they went on to discover stem cells), the University of Guelph rivals UVM and Tufts for agriculture and veterinary science, and Waterloo is the Canadian RPI. Seriously, I'm sure it' s only American ignorance about our neighbor to the north (and quotas on international student admissions up there) that have stopped American students from flooding Canadian schools in this economy. It certainly isn't the quality of education. As Americans, we have to stop equating a good education with a high price tag. Do you think because you didn't pay $200,000 for it that it can't be excellent? And did I mention that you can get your BA in three years? They've been offering that option for decades.

  19. Marco says:

    As the others have said, International students (and yes if you are from the US you are an international student in canada) pay a lot more than the Canadian students to attend Uni there. They also are required to purchase health insurance since Americans are not covered under Canadian Universal Healthcare. The writer should have checked her facts before she wrote this. Shame on Huffington Post for suggesting people read this. It is a very misleading article.

  20. McGillgrad says:

    Replying to dual citizen: do a little more research yourself. Mcgill is the only one with the reputation worthy of being called the harvard of canada, and its really the only Canadian uni that carries any weight stateside. It’s also completely Anglo- the school is not bilingual. As a recently employed mcgill grad, I can tell you that it carries as much weight as an almost ivy like tufts, but very few will recognize any other Canadian university back in the states.

    1. Canadian scholar says:

      McGill is a great school and isn't bilingual, but there's not much truth to the rest of your statement. Canada has many great universities that carry their reputations with them into international milieus. Also, I'm not sure why you feel the need to discredit other Canadian universities. Also, you might want to reconsider your grammar, punctuation, and capitalization before you speak to the unique credit of your university.

      As to the article, this is a very poorly written and researched piece. I'm sure the sentiment of the article is appreciated, as Canada is indeed an excellent place to attend school. However, like others before me, I am angry that the author suggests that Canadian healthcare is "free" to international students. We have a different system of taxation in Canada than in the United States and this means that health care and university tuition are paid for differently. This doesn't apply to non-tax payers, and it shouldn't.

  21. Esty Efu says:

    This is just pathetic.

  22. Mark ( BA, BEd) says:

    Its pretty obvious the author has not got to the part about researching the facts before writing the term paper. I wonder if she is gonna graduate or just snag a goalie?

  23. Jason says:

    This article is so poorly researched, subjective, and pathetically fluff, the editors should pull it in respect for professionalism. Seriously, whatever editor allowed this to go to post, should not be doing journalism professionally. It is embarrassing.

  24. Jenna says:

    I love this article because not only is it giving you reasons that college in Canada is better, it pretty much tells you why life in Canada is better. I Love the United States for many reasons but it has a few fatal flaws…
    -Gun control for one (If you go to college in Canada you don't have to worry about being shot on campus due to new laws letting students carry guns and you probably don't have to worry about getting shot in general)
    – Government subsidized Health Care is not a communist plot, its a way of bringing good health care to the masses because health care is a basic human right.
    – Government subsidized education is (once again) not a communist plot because access to education (once again) is a basic human right.
    Don't rag on the author for getting her facts wrong, rag on your government for not giving you the opportunities you deserve.

    1. Aisling says:

      Uhh, you don't have to worry about being shot? Sorry, that's always going to be a concern, really.
      This year, the college I go to will have a memorial for a shooting that happened five years ago where a student was killed and tons more wounded.
      Oh, yeah, this happened in Canada (Montreal, specifically).

    2. Joe says:

      The author should be ragged on. Her article is poorly written and inaccurate! If she's serious about writing then she needs to do better research into her topic. It's too bad that American citizens aren't afforded the same privileges as Canadians, but attending school in Canada won't afford them the rights to affordable education or access to free healthcare either.

    3. Guest says:

      The notion that gun control prevents deaths is insane. If someone on a college campus wants to shoot someone, they will do it, even if its against the law to carry a gun on campus. With actual facts, prove that tight gun control has actually reduced crime.

      The health care in canada, while free, is still full of problems. My aunt nearly died because she could not get a basic surgery in canada. The doctor was not going to work on weekends.

      I of course agree that the price of a college education, especially in America, is just way to high. There are some colleges that spend very large amounts of cash on their sports teams (ie. Foot ball). While not all of the funding comes from the students, a good portion does.

  25. Kelly says:

    I can see why some people may be upset about the way this article was published and conveyed, and kudos for everyone for sticking to their guns and putting their opinion out there but I feel as though some people may be looking too far into this… The writer of this article may have written this with very few pinpoints about reasons why to go to school in Canada because the writer may want to stimulate peoples brains for conversation and for them to do their own research if they are interested. Also, those pinpoints may not be completely correct, which granted she could have put a little bit of more effort into researching those, but the writer obviously pin pointed those topics to try and reach out to a certain audience.

    As for the issues comparing Canada, the United States, and other countries and their legal system, I feel as all though we as Americans are unfortunately lenient on some subjects that should be taken with more seriousness but I think it’s a little extreme for our country to deport people for a visa going out just as I think it’s a bit silly to deport people who may have a DUI offense in America. Yes the particular topic of DUIs should be taken very seriously because it also puts innocent people in danger but to deport someone who had received a DUI in a different country 6 years prior to entering another country is a bit excessive too. Just because someone drank and drove and got caught once doesn’t mean they keep constantly doing it. It is a problem in our country and punishments are becoming more and more severe every year in our country so I would hate for people to have silly thoughts such as people getting away with slaps on the wrists. All governments may be a little bit corrupt… Whose to say other countries and governments are not corrupt, such as Canada. Canada is a great country but their legal system and government isnt all easy and French fries and gravy- they may have lenient laws in other areas…

  26. Anon says:

    The author should be held accountable for the accuracy of the information she is providing. The purpose of the article is to inform American students about the reasons why they should consider obtaining their education in Canada and why that would be a good idea. However, the reasons are frivolous and inaccurate.

    As it has been pointed out, tuition is not the same for Canadian citizens and international students. Americans may save money on attending a Canadian university compared to some community colleges or the more prestigious schools. And, they have to pay for the cost of living while attending school, so the costs are still quite high.

    Health coverage is a universal right for Canadian citizens and Americans are NOT entitled to provincial health coverage. Yes, Canadians subsidize the costs of health care through their taxes, but international students cannot enroll into provincial health coverage, but rather they would have to opt-in to the plan offered by the university. These plans do not cover the same expenses as provincial health plans, so it is recommended (and rightly so) that international students purchase additional private insurance. In the province of Ontario, students can only enroll in OHIP and by pass the mandatory 3month wait by proving they were full-time students during the course of their studies and by providing documentation that they are making Ontario their permanent home after graduation.

    The fact that the author cites a lower drinking age and cute boys as reasons for attending school in Canada is a joke. The author could have cited much better reasons and done research into some of the following areas: the quality of education, high levels of research and innovation, value in the job market, recognition of Canadian degrees by other countries, etc, etc, etc… There are many more important considerations to make when choosing an educational institution than if you can get a free std check-up or if there are cute boys to hook up with. If those are the considerations, then maybe one should consider delaying entry into the world of higher education and spend some time maturing.

    The author should be embarrassed. I can only speculate on the quality of her work in academia…

  27. kendra says:

    Bullshit it's not colder than New England.. I'm from Saskatchewan and a few years ago, it got below -60 with the windchill.

  28. Steph says:

    I wish I'd known this a year ago – my boyfriend is heading to UBC in a few weeks, and it's absolutely beautiful. As much as I like UT, I'm insanely jealous.

  29. Emily says:



  30. Person says:

    Wooooooooooooo Queens

  31. msmelanie says:

    First of all the prestigious colleges in the US are privately owned so it is expected that they will be more expensive. The state schools in the US are cheaper and are roughly the same in Canada. I'm from Jamaica so I'd find it much cheaper to go to a university in America than Canada if you weigh in travel expenses, international fees etc. I don't think you can compare financial aid between a privately owned institution versus a state owned institution. Its not a fair analysis

  32. Brian says:

    I forgot how cute toothless neanderthals can be! Seriously, some hockey players, like me, are not remotely attractive. People, like the author, love to fantasize and drool from the stands while watching a game, but as soon as they get a close up view, they scream bloody murder! Whenever I received any attention from the ladies, their underlying purpose has been status seeking. The one exception was this knock out, gorgeous madame who showed genuine interest, until she admitted that she sought me out to fulfill her rape fantasy!

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