In some countries like the US, college is much equivalency to university. However, in Canada, college and university are distinct in many aspects. This article will drive you through the differences between college and university in Canada and its impact on your educational, career, and immigration goals.
University V.S. College
University in Canada
Universities in Canada are degree-granting institutions that provide bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Universities typically focus on analytical skills and academic and professional programs. With a higher student-to-instructor ratio, university programs require more independence than college programs.
College in Canada
Unlike the United States, the college system in Canada aims to provide technical training and diplomas that respond to shifting labour trends and the demands of a changing economy. College programs can also offer additional practical experience through bridge-to-apprenticeship training options. In addition to the emphasis on employability, colleges also tend to have smaller class sizes, with a lower student-to-instructor ratio.
100-500 students in introductory courses
Smaller class sizes
Lower student-to- instructor ratio
Teaching & Learning Style
Large lectures, often supplemented by smaller tutorial classes
Small class-sizes with hands-on work
Academic programs with broad course offerings
Career-oriented, practical programs with courses in the chosen career field
Academic researchers (PhDs) as well as some industry professionals
Industry professionals with several years of working experience in their professional field
Five factors to consider
Length of program
It typically takes four years for students to complete an undergraduate program at the university. Students will obtain a bachelor’s degree upon finishing 40 credit courses.
On the contrary, college in Canada delivers class to students in the 2-year diploma program or 3-year advanced diploma program that is equivalent to a 4-year bachelor’s degree in terms of immigration purpose. Therefore, many international students or professionals with previous degrees, who are interested in a quicker set up in Canada, appreciate the shorter programs offered by colleges in Canada.
University degrees do come at a higher financial cost than college programs. Stats Canada reports that in 2019, the average cost for an international student to take a full-time undergraduate course load at one of Canada’s universities was $42,000, while a two-year design program in college will run you just under $20,000 a year in tuition fees. With the cost of living for the additional 2-year length of time, a 4-year university degree can be $68,000 more expensive than a 2-year college diploma.
So if you are planning to purpose university degrees in Canada, you must have a reliable source of funding such as your parents or scholarships.
Employment & Career
Career paths are incredibly diverse and different for individuals. Students at college are trained to fill a specific need in an industry, which means it is easier to secure a job upon or even before graduation.
On the contrary, the curricular in a university program are generally less practical and technical, with a focus on theory and breadth of knowledge. As a result, undergraduate students must prove that they can make an immediate contribution to employers in order to distinguish themselves from other graduates. Having said so, obtaining a university degree definitely can offer you more flexibility in your career path and is necessary for anyone interested in working in academia or research-based professions.
University life is very different from college. You will be exposed to sports and cultural activities, and you will get strong bonds with classmates as you will be associated with a group of the same people for more years.
At college, your days will be filled with career-focused learning in a very practical way. In short, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to practice your skills in real work environments.
The purpose of immigrating to Canada alone can be a pivotal factor in choosing university over college. For many international students, the inclusive community in Canada and its open, friendly immigration policies are way too attractive.
The 4-year bachelor’s degrees are set on a path that may lead to permanent settlement in Canada. Under many of Canada’s economic immigration systems and programs, international students at university will have a clear advantage for obtaining their permanent residency in Canada.
For example, international students in Ontario can apply for permanent residence under three programs: Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), and Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). A lot of more points are awarded to graduates of a Canadian university degree or 3-year advanced college diploma.
There is no absolute answer to whether you should go to university or college in Canada. It depends on your academic grades, goals, circumstances and how you build on those things. So, regardless of your choice, it is just the beginning of your fruitful, dynamic life abroad in this country. There are roughly 14% of first-year students in Canada dropped out of their university programs, according to the Transition Survey from Statistics Canada. College students can also transfer to universities at the cost of limited crouse credits being accepted.
Whatever you choose, we encourage you to start with your passion and goals.