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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Dr. House Offline
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University help - June 3rd 2009, 08:51 PM

I'm a Canadian high school student (in grade eleven). I am starting to consider university because I have to apply this October/November/December. I've done quite a bit of research on Canadian universities and with my marks and everything, I'm pretty much guaranteed entry to any program at any university that I want. Thing is, I don't know if I want to challenge myself more. There are several universities in the US that are very, very prestigious - more so that Canadian ones, despite the fact that there are indeed some very good Canadian universities. However in order to apply to the US, I'll have to take the SATs.

I don't know if it's worth it to do so. Not only will it take up a lot of time (studying) but also will cost money to take them and also to apply to these American universities (roughly $50-$75 an application). In addition, there isn't that much financial aid available to international students so that's another issue. University in the US will cost around $60,000/year depending on where you go. It might be a little more for international students. Compare this price to Canadian universities, where the cost is less than $20,000/year with everything included. Also, there are several scholarships available to Canadian students, especially those with statistics (grades, volunteer hours, extra curriculars, etc) that I have. I could potentially get at LEAST half of that paid for, which would put me in a pretty good position.

There are several scholarships that I qualify for. I have compiled a rather large list of available scholarships and if I play my cards right and things go my way, I could land a scholarship that could potentially pay for my entire undergraduate career. I plan to go to graduate school or law school, if that makes a difference. There are several good Canadian universities but they just don't compare to those in the US. Besides, going to the US would look extremely good on me and people would be really impressed. I don't know. Thing is, it doesn't matter where you go for your undergraduate degree, provided that you maintain a high GPA and everything. If you go to graduate schools, that's the only thing that matters - not where you get your undergraduate degree.
   
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Re: University help - June 3rd 2009, 10:04 PM

The cost for most US colleges (for US students- and I'm not sure if colleges charge) is closer to $50,000/year, but the point is- yeah, a Canadian university will be MUCH cheaper. I'm from the US but I have 4 friends going to McGill- none of them saw the price tag (which, even for students from the US, including travel, is much less than $50,000) as a negative!

A difference of $30,000 per year comes out to $120,000 over 4 years. Can you/your parents afford that? Remember, not all US colleges give financial aid to international students, although some do.

Law school isn't cheap, either. The less debt you have once getting out of law school, the better.

No one cares if you go to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford (some of the best universities in the US) if you get all Cs and don't take advantage of any of the opportunities (for research, networking, etc.). Seriously. Even if you're applying to law schools in the US, what matters most isn't the country where you got your degree, but how well you did in your courses. A US law school will almost certainly prefer a graduate of a Canadian university, with a straight A average, who took advantage of tons of pre-professional opportunities outside of classes (like research, internships, etc.), over a graduate of a US university with a mix of Bs and Cs, who didn't do anything outside of class.

A Canadian university will be cheaper for sure. If you're going to law school, that matters. The country where you did your undegraduate degree really doesn't matter. Not all US colleges are "extremely prestigious".

At the same time, don't close off your options. Look for US colleges that offer scholarships/financial aid to international students (if cost is an issue). I recommend buying the Fiske Guide to Colleges- it has descriptions of hundreds of US colleges, plus a handful in Canada- if you want to learn about specific colleges.


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Re: University help - June 3rd 2009, 11:13 PM

I'll be in 3rd year university and the cost for me (based off of my 2nd year courses) was around $5,000 for that entire year which includes all the extra costs. International students will always have to pay more, and if you live on residence or some other place you pay for, the cost will be even greater.

Canada and the USA have their own highly sought after universities, and if you wish to impress people, then do it by the knowledge you have attained. Impressing people based on where you attended is nice to look at for a few seconds but an employer will notice if you actually know something or not. If you go to a prestigious school, pay a lot but don't know a whole lot by the end versus someone who goes to a cheaper, less flashier school but knows a lot by the end, the employer would likely pick the second one.
   
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Re: University help - June 3rd 2009, 11:24 PM

I understand what you're saying but I have a big need to look good for family and friends now. I would work my butt off no matter where I go but I want to be able to say "I am going to x university in September" and receive a lot of very impressed looks and everything. I know that sounds a bit shallow but I don't know...
   
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Re: University help - June 4th 2009, 12:39 AM

Perhaps you're being too harsh on Canadian universities. There are several, especially in Ontario, that consistently rank in the top 100 and top 50 universities in the world. No one would (should) look down on you for going to the University of Toronto or McGill, for example. Unless you're going to Harvard (usually ranked 1st in world) there's always going to be other universities that are ranked higher than yours, but that doesn't mean they're bad universities - so just because Harvard ranks higher than Oxford, doesn't mean Oxford isn't a perfectly respectable and impressive place to attend. And the fact that there are 19 universities ahead of McGill doesn't mean McGill isn't a fantastic school.

You also want to look at a university's prestige in the program you want to take, rather than just assuming the a well known university is good for your interests. The top ranking university for people studying psychology might not be the same university that has the top rankings for people studying history, which might not be the same university that has the top rankings for people studying chemistry. For example, I'm from Thunder Bay, Ontario. The university there, Lakehead, isn't considered a high ranking school in many areas. I doubt it's on the list of top universities. However, there is one area that it shines in - it has a world-renowned paleo-DNA lab. Not impressive for anyone who doesn't study ancient organisms, but for people that do study paleo-DNA, that is the best university, bar none. For another example, the University of British Columbia typically has higher world ranking than the University of Toronto, but Toronto's archaeology program is much better. So rather than just look at the name of a university, I'd highly recommend also looking at specific programs, and which university is among the best for your program.


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Re: University help - June 4th 2009, 12:45 AM

I plan to get an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Philosophy. There really aren't rankings for Psychology, other than for graduate programs. I understand what you're saying but I don't want to be the 'typical' Ontarian student going to McGill or Queen's or something. I want to be unique and respected.
   
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Re: University help - June 5th 2009, 04:19 AM

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Originally Posted by Dr. House View Post
I plan to get an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Philosophy. There really aren't rankings for Psychology, other than for graduate programs. I understand what you're saying but I don't want to be the 'typical' Ontarian student going to McGill or Queen's or something. I want to be unique and respected.
You will be respected if you have knowledge and passion in what you like. Saying you go to some fancy university may impress people until they get to talk to you and know you. If you turn out to be a dunce, then despite you being Harvard-educated, do you think you'd still have that respect you strive to get? You'd have far less.

As my father says, "flashy stuff is to impress little/immature boys and girls". While that may be somewhat harsh, people who are very passionate in their work, such as a future employer would be interested in what is underneath the fancy layer. That is where true respect lies.
   
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Re: University help - June 5th 2009, 05:31 AM

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Originally Posted by molliegym View Post
The cost for most US colleges (for US students- and I'm not sure if colleges charge) is closer to $50,000/year.
I am sorry but this is just not true. This isn't the first time I've seen US university prices so overestimated on this site. I would really like to see some statistics for this.

harvard.edu - "This year, Harvard's tuition is $26,066 and the total cost of attendance, including tuition, room, board, and other charges is $37,928."

mit.edu - "Nine months' tuition and fees for 2008–2009 is $36,390. Additionally, undergraduate room and board is approximately $10,860, dependent on the student's housing and dining arrangements."

stanford.edu - "Stanford's undergraduate tuition will be $32,994, and total costs including room, board, books, transportation and personal expenses will average $47,000."

So... I am aware I did not include many other highly regarded US universities, but the fact that you said most US universities is rather interesting since these three well-known US universities do not even meet that figure.

Many, many, universities are much closer to the figure that YourNightmare has paid for his entire year.

collegeboard.com - Average college prices: "Private four-year $25,143, Public four-year $6,585."

Of course private schools charge a lot more than public.

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Re: University help - June 5th 2009, 03:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbandjay View Post
I am sorry but this is just not true. This isn't the first time I've seen US university prices so overestimated on this site. I would really like to see some statistics for this.

harvard.edu - "This year, Harvard's tuition is $26,066 and the total cost of attendance, including tuition, room, board, and other charges is $37,928."

mit.edu - "Nine months' tuition and fees for 2008–2009 is $36,390. Additionally, undergraduate room and board is approximately $10,860, dependent on the student's housing and dining arrangements."

stanford.edu - "Stanford's undergraduate tuition will be $32,994, and total costs including room, board, books, transportation and personal expenses will average $47,000."

So... I am aware I did not include many other highly regarded US universities, but the fact that you said most US universities is rather interesting since these three well-known US universities do not even meet that figure.

Many, many, universities are much closer to the figure that YourNightmare has paid for his entire year.

collegeboard.com - Average college prices: "Private four-year $25,143, Public four-year $6,585."

Of course private schools charge a lot more than public.
Okay, so I overestimated on Harvard, but MIT and Stanford are ~$47,000/year. Not too far from $50,000. There are many inexpensive private and public colleges in the US. But the quotes from collegeboard are just for tuition, not including housing, food, books, transportation, and other expenses- that will add, generally, at least $10,000.


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Re: University help - June 5th 2009, 03:44 PM

I love my structured school environment, but the moment I left school I started getting doubts as to whether Uni was the thing for me, Ive decided its not, and not having to pay huge bills is a great load off my mind, Im going to go get a job I enjoy, pay for myself quite comfortably living at home, build up a deposit for a house while living at home still... And enjoy it!



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Re: University help - June 6th 2009, 05:23 AM

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Okay, so I overestimated on Harvard, but MIT and Stanford are ~$47,000/year. Not too far from $50,000. There are many inexpensive private and public colleges in the US. But the quotes from collegeboard are just for tuition, not including housing, food, books, transportation, and other expenses- that will add, generally, at least $10,000.
I was just troubled by the fact that you said most US universities cost that much, which is why I chose to quote those three schools, which are some of the universities that are well-known as well as very expensive. They are certainly not average and do not constitute "most" US universities.
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