Thursday, September 12, 2013

Canadian, German Colleges

Yes, college is free in Germany but you may need to know the language first. Here's some info.

Information about Canadian colleges on this page:
  • my visit to Bishop's University in Sherbrooke, Quebec, just 4 hours from Portland
  • a June 2009 NY Times article about the rise in interest in Canadian colleges among U.S. students
  • a database of all Canadian colleges
  • informal information from a Canadian counselor
  • info about Kings, Dalhousie and St Mary's of Halifax
You need a website that focuses on Canadian colleges ( does not): &

The only aid from the FAFSA that you can take to Canada are direct loans, not grants or work study.

I drove the remarkably quick 4 hours to Bishop's University in Sherbrooke, Quebec in April 2012. I was surprised it was so close! The college is on the small side for Canada, with 2200 students and a nice walkable, residential campus. The campus and people reminded me of Saint Anselm and Saint Michael's, 2 places I love for their friendly community. It is unusual in Canada to have a college focused on only undergrads, and that's one thing that makes Bishop's unique. It is a classic small liberal arts colleges, and there are few in Canada, but Saint Francis Xavier and Mount Allison come to mind.
Half are from Quebec and 1/4 speak French. Half double major. Education majors require a higher GPA for admission. (That is different from the US). Freshmen all live on campus. 96% of the sophomores, juniors and seniors live within a 10 minute walk if they live off campus. What does it cost a US student? $24,000 for tuition, room and board. The cost is determined by the government and there is no negotiating on price although you might earn $1,000-4,000 in entrance scholarships. Students led an initiative to vote for a $50 per student increase for library improvements.

Cheverus connections: Scott P '12, Will M '14, Grace B '16 attend Bishop's.

What to do for fun? Skiing at Jay Peak is nearby.

Student Panel

  1. a 2nd year honors student spoke about her service project in France for an archeological dig, then to Paris for research. History majors do research and internships and get jobs other than teaching. There were 5 students in her smallest seminar class this year.
  2. A Worcester Mass sociology major who will travel to University of Iceland in the fall semester to take classes and travel. She spent summer in Belize at an elementary school. She might like to do Peace Corps or UN work. 
  3. a business major from Montreal in his second year studying human resources. He plans to do 2-3 coop semesters including summers.
  4. a bio/chem major from Vermont who loves the skiing nearby and noted she was in a hard major due to the labs.
Admissions: Canadian colleges are on a later timeframe than US admissions, and look heavily at sophomore, junior and senior year grades. Looking for a B+ average, with 23 ACT or comparable SAT. What about visas? You need a study visa which is easy to get once you have an admission letter. You also need a Quebec visa which is harder to get and takes 6-8 weeks. Only your FAFSA loans, not grants, can go to Bishop's. 

I spent three days at a conference in May 2009 and spoke with a Canadian high school counselor who had these opinions about Canadian colleges:
During the Fall of 2007, the following colleges sent representatives to Cheverus to visit with students. Here are my notes:
University of King's College / Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • 1100 students
  • largest class size is 300
  • Great Books curriculum makes up the first year for arts, science and music
Dalhousie University / Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Two 2006 Cheverus grads attend and really like it here. Ross S '16 is there.
  • 15,500 undergraduate and graduate students
  • Majors: engineering, nursing, arts and sciences, architecture, pre-dentistry, marine bio, oceanography (they are located on the coast), informatics, Arabic, Mandarin, costume studies & design (theatre)
  • Grade 12 GPA and grades are most important
  • They take only 40 into journalism program. Portfolio of best work required and 3 letters of reference.
  • Housing guaranteed 1st year only
St. Mary's of Halifax
  • 35,000 students live in Halifax, home of many colleges
  • St Mary's has 6,000 full time students and 1200 live on campus.
  • 94 countries are represented
  • largest class is freshman year: 150. Average class size is 40-60
  • forensic science is popular major: brand new labs and funding for undergraduate research
  • Study Abroad programs in 30 countries
  • Can take engineering classes at St Mary's and then transfer to Dalhousie after 2 years
  • co-op programs are growing fast.
  • Tuition, room and board: $19,000
  • SAT optional; admissions base decisions on grades 11-12
  • The college was Catholic but is now non-denominational.
  • Three class of 2009 Cheverians intend to enroll here.
links verified 3/2020

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