The number of Canadian students looking to study in the US is increasing, despite the political climate and high American dollar.
According to the IIE Open Doors 2017 Report, there were 27,065 students who went to the US to pursue higher ed last year, making Canada the fifth leading place of origin for international students in the US – but it could be higher.
While most American schools focus their time and budgets on recruiting students from the Chinese and Indian markets, Jenika Heim, EducationUSA Advisor in Canada, says there is a strong argument for why American schools should look more to their northern neighbour for student recruitment.
1. No Visa Application
One of the biggest selling features American schools have specifically for Canadian students is that Canadians don’t need to apply for a visa to study in the United States. They instead use a streamlined Certificate of Eligibility provided by their university or college of choice.
“Canadian students are provided the necessary documentation to study in the US when they are admitted into their American school of choice,” says Heim. “This eliminates a huge barrier to entry for Canadian students and makes the promotion of attending school in the states a lot easier.”
2. Language and Culture
Culturally-speaking, Canada and the US are quite similar. They both speak the same language, watch similar movies and tv shows, enjoy the same sports, eat the same foods… you get the idea.
The lack of culture and language barriers that Canadian students face when attending school in the states makes them a prime target for recruiting.
“Canadian students acclimate to life and school in the US a lot easier and quicker than students from other international countries,” says Heim. “This takes a lot of the pressure, costs and time off the shoulders of American schools recruiting international students.”
3. Canadian Education System
The Canadian education system is world-renowned.
According to Sean Coughlan at the BBC, “In the most recent round of international Pisa tests, Canada was one of a handful of countries to appear in the top 10 for maths, science and reading.”
“The tests, run by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), are a major study of educational performance and show Canada’s teenagers as among the best educated in the world.”
The level at which Canadian high school students are educated makes them excellent recruiting material for American schools.
“Often times, students from Canada are better prepared for university compared to their American counterparts,” says Heim. “The schooling system is also fairly similar to that of the US, meaning that Canadian students have completed all of the same core courses.”
4. Lower Costs to Recruit
This one might sound like a no-brainer, but Canada is right next door! Travelling to Canada to attend various recruitment fairs and events is a lot cheaper than heading overseas to locations like China and India.
But if schools aren’t willing to forgo their overseas travel for lower hanging fruit, and if budgets don’t allow for additional travel, then having a digital presence in Canada is the next best thing.
“I think having a presence online in Canada makes a lot of sense for American schools,” says Heim. “It would allow them to reach out to places where there is no time or budget to recruit in person.”
Online platforms like SchoolFinder and ScholarshipsCanada offer a low cost solution for recruiting Canadian students. These platforms combined have over 35,000 student members who are interested in studying in the United States. American schools can’t afford to miss out on reaching these students!
So how can American schools attract Canadian students to study across the border?
Aside from offering students prestigious programming, research opportunities and world-renowned varsity-level athletics, there are a number of other ways American schools can attract students from across the border.
A great selling point is in-state tuition for Canadians, rather than charging international tuition rates.
“Funding is one of the largest barriers Canadian students face when looking to attend school in the US,” says Heim. “Schools that offer in-state tuition make it a lot more affordable for Canadian students, and it’s a big draw for those students to attend their institution.”
American schools can also reduce the financial burden on Canadian students by offering scholarships specifically for them.
Aside from the cost of attending school, two other ways American schools can attract Canadian students is to offer and promote their niche programs and to have a simpler admissions process.
“Two schools that are doing really well with recruiting Canadian students is Minot State University in North Dakota, and Wayne State University in Michigan,” says Heim. “They both offer very niche programs that Canadian students can’t find elsewhere.”
Heim says that American schools should focus more of their time promoting these unique programs rather than programs like business or science, which are already offered at most Canadian universities.
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If you’re an American school looking for a cost-effective, digital solution to recruit Canadian students, the SchoolFinder Group can help! Our online platform, and community of over 1.4 million Canadian students, counsellors and parents, can provide with you student recruitment marketing solutions that don’t compromise budget or quality, and drive real results. Connect with us for more information!