The three popular study destinations for students are USA, UK and Canada. These countries are home to numerous world’s best universities, and they offer a huge range of choices. Let us foray into some of the crucial factors to consider, that will help you decide where to study.
In the US, depending on whether you go to a public or private university the average tuition fee is about $28,000 a year, which can easily go up to $50,000 a year.
While in the UK, the rate of average tuition fees is much lower at $20,000.
Coming to Canada fees can be as low as $7,500 and as high as $26,000, depending on the course and university. Thus, bringing the average tuition to $12,000.
Rent and living costs range from $16,000 to $22,000 per year in the UK. Except for languages and medicine-related programs, most of the undergraduate degrees have a duration of three years in the UK. For the duration of a UK undergraduate degree program, that makes a total cost of living of $48,000 to $66,000 if you choose to study in one of the more expensive cities, such as London, this price is likely to further increase.
The average cost of living is $16000 per year in the US. This can further differ depending upon the location of your university (rural or urban) and whether you choose to live on campus or off-campus.
Although it can be as low as $8,550 or go up to over $13,000, the cost of living in Canada for students averages $10,000 per year.
In the USA and Canada, degree programs have a duration of four years. Thus, it makes the overall cost of living only marginally less expensive than the UK (barring Scotland, as it follows the 4-year system too).
For international students in Canadian universities, there is a broad range of scholarships and financial aid options available.
However, this does not apply for international students in British universities. Scholarships or financial aid in good British institutions are a rarity.
The case is different in the US, while merit scholarship opportunities are fewer as compared to the cost of study, there are numerous universities that offer up to 100% need-based aid to deserving students.
QUALITY OF EDUCATION
USA is home to five out of the top ten institutions in the world, such as MIT, Harvard, and Stanford. There are 170 USA universities ranked among the world’s best in total. There is a grading system in place via continuous assessments and submissions during the course of the year. Before finalizing a major, students can explore various interests.
Among the top 20 of the world rankings, UK has four of its prestigious institutions such as the Oxbridge. In the UK, your entire final grade is based on your end-of-term finals and classes are lecture-based and unlike in the US. The UK especially draws undergraduate law aspirants from India as the legal systems of both countries are very similar. The final degree choice is made during the time of applications itself.
Canadian universities have three entries among the top 100. British Columbia, The University of Toronto and McGill University are top-class universities for students to take up business management and STEM courses. In terms of being flexible, Canada is somewhere in between UK and USA.
ADMISSION AND APPLICATION PROCEDURE
Apart from academics, USA has the most wide-ranging application process evaluating leadership, community service, analytical abilities and so on. Going into creating a competitive application to a top US college includes standardized tests such as the SAT/ ACT/AP, multiple essays, teacher recommendations, interviews among others.
The UK on the other hand has a much simpler application procedure in comparison. A Statement of Purpose and a teacher recommendation should be submitted by the applicants they can apply only up to five UK universities through the UCAS portal.
Applicants in Canada should apply to each university separately. In Ontario, universities have a common form, OUAC. Every university needs few essays and/or video answers alongside transcripts and LORs.
Final admission decisions are sent by both Canada and UK, along with set conditions associated to the final Board marks, contrasting the USA that can admit the student unreservedly, even before the Board exams could finish.
UK requires only Grade 10 finals along with the Grade 12 predicted scores whereas both Canada and USA look at 9-12th Grade transcripts, including predicted grades.
SECURING THE VISA
Acquiring and preserving a student visa for the US is time-exhausting and complex.
Whereas UK has a lengthy process in place with a point-based system to attain a visa.
In sharp contrast, if applying for a Canadian visa is considerably simpler and shorter.
Through a program called the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), Canada lets international students to work there for a maximum period of three years after graduation. This opens a pathway to permanent residency, possible full citizenship and helps the students to find work in Canada.
In order to attract more students from abroad, the UK government recently changed its visa rules. According to the new rules, international students who begin studying in the UK in 2020 or later will gain from the new post-study work visa. This will let graduates to take up residency in the UK for up to 2 years and assist them to find a job after graduation.
In the USA, foreign students get a 1 year OPT (Optional Practical Training), whereas STEM graduates get OPTs valid for 3 years. In order to translate this work permit into a work visa or the H1B, it is necessary that the student be sponsored by a company or organization. But even after all this the process is exceedingly ambiguous and time-consuming.
In UK and Canada, the average annual remuneration for fresh graduates is around $40,000. Whereas in USA, though the tuition costs are high it offers a much higher average salary of around $60,000.