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(only 37 million) and more than 80 percent live
in urban centers, which are home to the major
universities. Because of the expectation that
the student will likely live at home and pay
public tuition (almost all Canadian universities
are public), families save with this in mind.
Tuition varies by province and is approximately
$3,000 to $10,000 CAD per year.
Although it's difficult to compete with local
costs, according to the 2019 Open Doors
report from the Institute of International
Education, 26,122 Canadians are currently
studying in the United States and 12,470
of those students are undergraduates. This
makes Canada the fifth leading country of
origin for international students studying in
the US. So what are the motivations that
can draw a Canadian south of the border?
After interacting with thousands of Canadian
students and college counselors, here are the
factors I've found that make a difference.
Prestige: A degree from the Ivy League or other
highly selective US university is a powerful draw.
Thousands of Canadians are concentrated in the
highest ranked American institutions. The most
important thing to know about students applying
to highly selective institutions is that they will
draw a very specific line in comparison with their
own local options. For example, if an Ontario
student wants to pursue engineering, they may
only apply to US universities that they perceive
to be ranked higher than the University of
Toronto, ranked 18 in the Times Higher Education
World University Ranking. This, of course, will
only be a small number of elite US institutions.
Competitive athletics: There are
currently 4,190 Canadian NCAA Division
I or II athletes attending US colleges and
universities, accounting for a full one-third
of undergraduate Canadian enrollments. If
you consider Division III, NAIA, junior college,
and club divisions, competitive athletes
account for at least half of all Canadian
students pursuing undergraduate education
in the United States. I once spoke to an
international admission officer who said,
"We have 20 Canadians on campus and I have
no idea why!" to which I responded, "Do you
have a hockey team?" Low and behold, all
20 Canadians were athletes. I guarantee you

have at least one Canadian student-athlete
on your campus right now.
Niche majors: Canada has 100 universities
and 150 colleges with excellent programs in
traditional and popular majors such as science,
engineering, psychology, and business. But what
about the student who wants to build musical
instruments, manufacture scientific glass, or
pursue a dual degree in the arts? These are all
real examples of students who have looked to
the United States because they simply cannot
pursue their intended major in Canada, or, if
they can, they have to move so far away that the
United States is the closer (and warmer) option.

The opportunity to learn English: Don't forget
that French is the primary language for 7 million
Canadians. Learning English in the US, especially
for Quebecers, is an attractive option. Canada
also has an ever-increasing international student
population at all academic levels. Clearly these
international secondary students have higher
education options within Canada, but studying
abroad in yet another country-the US-is an
exciting draw.
Now that you can envision a few archetypal
Canadian students, how should you approach
recruitment in maple country? Here are some
steps to take when creating a Canadian
recruitment plan.

Networking opportunities: It is not lost
on Canada's youth that the United States
is their country's biggest trading partner. In
almost any profession, having close US ties
is an advantage. Many of the Canadian
students I work with are interested in pursuing
education in large city centers that are tied
to international commerce and employment
opportunities. They also want internships, coops, or any hands-on experience that will help
them gain an edge when they return north.
Currently, more than 3,500 Canadians are
pursuing their Optional Practical Training (OPT)
in the US, demonstrating the attractiveness of
this post-graduate work option.

1.	 Reflect on what makes your institution
unique. What is your university truly
good at? What are your niche majors and
work opportunities? What sports do you
have and which coaches are recruiting
internationally? What unique clubs and
community experiences do you have?

Small class sizes: Canadian universities
are public institutions and tend to be medium
to large. This means that a student who has
become accustomed to a small, individualized
experience in high school (particularly students
at private or Montessori schools) will not find the
same environment at the top-ranked Canadian
options, all of which have more than 20,000
undergraduates. US liberal arts colleges can be a
draw for these students and their families.

3.	 Target your demographic. After
completing the audit, lean into the spaces
that you can fill. This may mean going
to high schools with highly specialized
programs, like culinary arts, environmental
specializations, or musical theater. Or it
may mean connecting with organizations
with a specific focus like robotics,
cheerleading, or HOSA (a club for future
health professionals).

A truly American college experience:
Canadian universities' identities have been
formed around local commuter students and
educational access. Campuses traditionally
de-emphasize athletics and school spirit, and
there is no Greek Life. The United States is
a draw for students who want a residential
campus, a college-town atmosphere, or the
energy of "the big game."

4.	 Consider Canadian specifics. If you are
able to make changes to your admission
webpage, consider creating a section for
Canadian students. There, make it clear
that Canadian students don't need a visa
to study in the US and provide information
about TOEFL exemptions. These are the
two biggest hurdles for most international
students and they simply don't exist for

2.	 Conduct a Canadian audit. Choose a
major Canadian city, survey what the local
universities offer, and see what you have
that is different. I suggest going due north.
Snowbirds tend to fly directly south. It's not
logical for everyone to go to Toronto first
just because it is the biggest market.




NACAC - Spring 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NACAC - Spring 2020

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