There was excellent chi in the gym last night for the Canadian University Event (CUE): free flowing energy from the admissions representatives, the parents, and the students, who together were exploring the range of diverse post-secondary options available in Canada. Yes, big research-intensive, highly regarded universities like UBC, Queen’s, Dalhousie, and McGill were there and were popular (UBC gave away 225 preview books!). But, there was also a whole host of fantastic and (often) lesser-known schools that deserve a second look. We are truly fortunate to live in a country where students can get a fantastic undergraduate education at any of our post-secondary institutions, and where they have many options to choose from when deciding on which one will be the right fit.
Here are some of the tidbits I gleaned last night from some of those “smaller” schools:
Bishop’s University (Sherbrooke, Quebec): You can’t help but notice their little, purple viewbook. It tells you it is 12.7cms square and says in bold white letters on the cover, “YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT UNIVERSITIES WITH BIG BROCHURES?”. It is a small, liberal arts university with a big heart and solid programs.
Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Ontario): Take notice of the significant scholarship money available, including an unlimited number of free tuition scholarships, renewable for four years (with conditions), if you have an academic average of 95% and above on admission criteria. Out here on the west coast, Lakehead is best known (and deservedly so) for its unique outdoor recreation degree program.
University of Saskatchewan (Regina, Saskatchewan): Did you know that university and college graduates in the province of Saskatchewan can qualify for up to $20,000 in “forgiven” loans if they stay to work in the province for 2 years post-graduation? And if you are an international student, you can get fast-tracked for permanent residency if you stay in Saskatchewan after graduation. It may be cold and flat, but there are good reasons to consider it…
Laurentian University (Sudbury, Ontario): Contrary to my dad’s stories of growing up outside of Sudbury, it is not a 10 hour drive from Toronto, it’s only 3.5, and it only snows 4 months of the year, not 9. But Laurentian does offer a unique bilingual, tricultural environment, combining French, English and First Nations perspectives. This is an informal place where students and faculty develop close-knit relations in small classes (many offered in both French and English), with programs ranging from Terrestrial Aquatic Ecology to Midwifery to Engineering to English to Forensic Science and everything in between.
University of New Brunswick & Renaissance College (Fredericton, New Brunswick): In addition to their two campuses (St. John and New Brunswick) and solid mainstream university programs, UNB has also developed its innovative “Renaissance College” program, which explores leadership through integrated knowledge-based and experiential programs in a whole host of disciplines (e.g., Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Humanities, Fine Arts and contemporary issues). Students will also take courses at the UNB campuses for their electives and take full advantage of the big campus amenities just a few blocks away.
Memorial University (Newfoundland): If I were going to judge a book by its cover, so to speak, I would put Memorial at the top of my list (right beside Bishop’s U). The website and viewbook are full of quirky and memorable lines, such as, “We are so far east we have our own time zone” and “Find your inner zagger”. A zagger, you say? I’ll give you the hint the reps gave me: some people walk in an orderly fashion, some people zig zag. Memorial is all about encouraging the latter. Check out the black and hot pink viewbook. You won’t regret it.
I could go on ad infinitum about the fantastic options you have here in Canada but I’ll limit myself to these ones today. We have lots of information in the University Counselling office if you want to see the colourful viewbooks or explore other possibilities.
Phone, email, or zig zag your way to your university counsellor to ask any follow-up questions!