say that the grass is always greener on the other side. Some Ontario
students are finding out if this is true or not by heading south of the
border to study in the United States.
what do schools in the States have to offer that Canada does not?
Students travel to the U.S. for many reasons, such as scholarships,
special programs and simply not having any other choice.
and academic scholarships are great incentives to study in the States.
Sacha Pavic found that to be the case after he played high school
soccer for five years in Hamilton, Ontario. Canadian schools did not
have the athletic opportunities he was looking for, so he enrolled in
Felician College in Rutherford, N.J., to study psychology. He was even
offered a scholarship. “I would use them for an education, and they
would use me for athletics,” he says.
to leaving for school, Pavic needed to obtain a visa to study
stateside. All Canadian students who make the move to the U.S. will
need an F1 visa, which allows students to study in the States for five
years. Upon graduation, you must apply for an H1 visa for what is
called optimal practical training. This visa lasts one year. In that
time, you must find a steady job and a sponsor who will allow you to
stay in the country.
life in the U.S. can be quite different from what you’d find in Canada.
There are generally more people on campus and a different curriculum in
Kirshenblatt found university admission criteria to be different in the
States than it is in Canada. In Canada, he says, it was all about his
marks. In the U.S., they were more willing to consider factors other
than his grades. After completing his studies at the University of
Western Ontario, Kirshenblatt applied to law schools across Canada and
the U.S. “My plan was to attend law school in Canada,” he explains.
“But admission to law school in Canada is purely a numbers game. I
didn’t have the numbers, so I had no choice but to head to the U.S. It
was either that or pick another career.” Kirshenblatt decided to attend
Villanova University in Pennsylvania.
enjoyed his time in the U.S., though it was hard to be away from his
family and friends. He notes that there are many benefits to living in
the States, including great shopping, outstanding sporting events and
the road-trip possibilities to other large cities.
Milcz chose to stay on the northern side of the border but attend
school in the States. Milcz lives in Windsor and commutes to
Detroit to attend Wayne State University for a pre-professional
pharmacy program. Few Canadian schools offer the program, so Milcz
jumps in her car each day to cross the Ambassador Bridge and attend
class. Crossing over the border each day requires a special visa and
costs $4 a day. And though she saves money by not moving to the States,
her tuition and commuting fees do add up.
fact, the cost of attending a university in the United States may cost
you a small fortune if you do not have a scholarship. But many schools
do offer scholarships to international students—some even especially to
Canadians. Milcz has had a great time reaping the benefits of the
huge budget American schools have. “I really do enjoy the school, and
feel that I am getting a great education. Most of the professors are
great and the campus is a lot fun,” she says, though she also admits
she could do without the hassles of crossing an international border
daily in a post-Sept. 11 world.
11 restrictions can pose hassles for Canadian students in other
countries. Kirshenblatt faced difficulties when he tried to get
Pennsylvania license plates. “To get those, I needed a Pennsylvania
driver’s license,” he says. “To get that, I needed a social security
card. Try getting a social security card with no work permit and alien
status in post-9/11 America.”
the normal challenges of moving to a different country, there are vast
upsides to attending a school in the U.S. Colleges and universities
there receive great funding, and there are outstanding sports programs
that allow students to catch some NCAA action. Sororities and
fraternities are much more popular there than in Canada, and there are
many specialized programs at universities and colleges available. If
you are looking for a high-profile education and career, then living in
the States gives you the opportunity.
Tips To Know
students applying to postsecondary school take standardized entrance
exams called the SAT or ACT. This requirement is often waived for
international students. Ask the school you plan to attend if you must
take the exams.
the States, students must apply to each school individually. Get
applications from each separate school. Or, check to see if the school
participates in the Common Application, one form that lets you apply to
several schools. Check it out at www.commonapp.org.
the U.S., the words “college” and “university” are used
interchangeably. It is common to say, “I’m going to college” when you
plan to complete a four-year degree. Most two-year schools are referred
to as “community” or “junior” colleges.
sure to ask the college or university’s financial aid office about
special scholarships or tuition discounts for Canadian students!