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Can I transfer from a US community college to a Canadian university?

RecyclableBagRecyclableBag Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
A pretty strange question, I know.

I'm a California high school senior right now, and I'm probably going to my local CC next year to save money. Would it be possible for me to transfer from there to a Canadian university like UBC after 2 years? Do Canadian unis have similar general ed requirements as Americans do (and therefore transferable credits to finish school faster), or is it something completely different?

I'm probably going to be majoring in psychology, but I'm not completely sure. Also, I'm a dual citizen, but I haven't lived in Canada.

Replies to: Can I transfer from a US community college to a Canadian university?

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 4,542 Senior Member
    You definitely should check with schools that you are considering and see what they say. I do know one person who transferred from a US university to a top Canadian university and started over. In his case it was worth it (academically and otherwise).

    However, if you have Canadian citizenship, then you should also seriously consider just going directly from high school in the US to university in Canada. As a Canadian citizen, you will pay the Canadian price, not the international price. Also, the current exchange rate is quite favorable. You might be surprised how inexpensive it is. You might find that it is just as inexpensive or possibly even less to just do all four years at a university in Canada.

    Going straight to university would of course save the trouble of transferring. Also, from an academic standpoint I think that this would be safer -- you will know that you are up to speed after two years if you are staying at the same school. The fact that you have never lived in Canada mostly does not matter (differences are very small and some are in your favour).

    Do you have the grades to go straight from your US high school to UBC? There are multiple parents on CC who can recommend other very good universities in Canada also. There aren't as many as there are in the US, but there are still a large number of very good universities. Most are not well known in the US.

    Finally, do you have dual citizenship due to having a Canadian parent? If so, do you already have your Certificate of Canadian Citizenship? This can take quite a while to get. If you don't already have one and if you might want to start university in Canada in a year, then you should start the application now. If on the other hand you were born in Canada and have a Canadian birth certificate, or if you already have your Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, then you are ready to apply for a passport which is much quicker.
  • RecyclableBagRecyclableBag Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thanks for the advice, I suppose this is a question best suited for the specific university so I should call them.

    I won't get my citizenship certificate until after applications for most colleges are due.
    My grades are probably? good enough for me to get into UBC (3.5 UW, 4.0 UW so far this year), but my mom wants me to go to CC to be sure I know what I want to major in before going to university. My favorite class in high school was psychology, but I'm not sure I want to do it for the rest of my life (also, everyone tells me that the employment and pay is terrible).
    But the obvious reason I want to go to CC is to save money. I'd be saving over $10,000 a year if (big if) I can go to CC for 2 years than a Canadian university for 2 years. (My CC is about $3k USD per year, UBC is $19k (=$15.5k USD) per year with no scholarships).
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 4,542 Senior Member
    edited September 2017
    "I won't get my citizenship certificate until after applications for most colleges are due."

    You don't need the certificate of Canadian citizenship to apply. You need it to get your Canadian passport, and you need the passport before you arrive in Canada to attend university. You also need to show the university either the passport or a copy of the certificate of Canadian citizenship before you pay your first tuition bill.

    You definitely want to check about the ability to transfer credits. You obviously only save if you can transfer the community college credits to university. Will you be able to live at home while attending community college? Saving room and board does seem like the biggest advantage of the community college route (and could be significant).

    With a 3.5 unweighted I would apply to UBC, but would also apply to one or two other schools such as U. of Victoria or Simon Fraser (or any of perhaps 20 or 30 schools that would be a reasonable choice for a student with a 3.5 gpa). Grading at UBC is going to be tougher than you are used to. UVic and Simon Fraser will be closer to what you are used to.

    Your estimate of the price of UBC for a Canadian citizen sounds about right for me. We are paying about the same amount at a different Canadian university. It might be a small bit more with books and a laptop, but small merit scholarships are also possible.
  • gwnorthgwnorth Registered User Posts: 210 Junior Member
    I would reiterate what was said about carefully looking over the transfer credit policy for the schools you will be interested in applying to. In general undergraduate degrees in Canada have more required core courses in their major and far fewer gen-ed requirements. While there has been a trend in recent years at many schools towards more common first years with breadth requirements, this will still be less than what you will often find at US colleges/universities. You will have to check program by program however as requirements can vary even within same school. With that said, even for programs with common first years and/or breadth requirements, there will still be first year prerequisites necessary to be completed prior to declaring your major, and for non-direct entry programs, majors are generally declared for admission in second year. "Undeclared" at Canadian schools is not the same as "undecided".
  • RecyclableBagRecyclableBag Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    @gwnorth That sounds very complicated, but thanks for the info. I don't really know where to find that information about what classes are transferable and what I should take to stay on schedule, especially since I'm not sure the school I'd want to go to (i've been using UBC as the example) will accept me.

    I know going directly to university is the best/most effective route, but it's not an option for me because I have to pay for college without my parents' help (therefore I can only afford CC tuition).
    All of this is so confusing, and none of the high school or community college counselors know anything about it because this is such a niche question.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 4,542 Senior Member
    edited September 2017
    @RecyclableBag: We have asked questions of admissions at Canadian universities well before applying, and therefore well before we knew for sure that my daughters would get in. Admissions staff are happy to answer questions even well in advance of when you might be applying. Most or all of the questions that we asked were ones that high school or community college counselors in the US would not have been able to answer, but that Canadian university admissions staff could answer.
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 12,199 Senior Member
    Just a general comment about transfer credits. The Canadian universities with which I am familiar will not give you confirmation of what credits they will accept until after you are admitted, with a few not until you are actually enrolled. My guess is that you will not receive full credit for courses taken at a CC.
  • JeanJeanieJeanJeanie Registered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    @alwaysamom @DadTwoGirls @RecyclableBag @gwnorth
    Wondering if there are any updated thoughts on this?

    My son has a 4.0 GPA through 46 units in a Calif. community college, plus a 1580 SAT, but not much in the way of conventional high school transcripts. He's interested in UBC as a potential physics major (he visited the lab there a few years ago). We saw on the website that they won't accept credits from "junior colleges." Kind of amazed at that.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 4,542 Senior Member
    edited April 1
    "Wondering if there are any updated thoughts on this?"

    Not much. A couple of points:

    "3.5 UW, 4.0 UW so far this year"

    Your grades from grade 9 won't matter. You might want to compute your unweighted GPA for grades 10 and after. If you transfer after one year in community college, then I doubt that your grades from grade 10 will matter either.

    A GPA of 3.5 might or might not get you into UBC. This might depend upon the major. McGill and Queens would be unlikely with a 3.5. A few other schools (Waterloo, Toronto, McMaster) would be unlikely for computer science and probably unlikely for engineering. Otherwise you have a very good chance of getting into many other schools with a 3.5. Places such as U.Victoria, Simon Fraser, Concordia, or Dalhousie you would probably have a very good chance, as well as at many other very good universities. There are probably nearly 30 schools in Canada that would make sense for you. However, the west coast ones (Victoria, UBC, Simon Fraser) will be closer to California, with significantly milder winters compared to most other Canadian schools. Be aware that the top ranked Canadian schools (McGill, Toronto, UBC) are generally harder to graduate from than to get accepted to, in contrast to some of the top ranked schools in the US.

    You can google "Macleans university rankings" to get a list of schools.

    My daughter at a small university in Eastern Canada did get credit for her AP scores. I don't think that they confirmed this until she had accepted the offer of admissions.

    Also, for @JeanJeanie, you might want to ask the admissions staff at UBC whether "Junior Colleges" refers to CEGEP's in Quebec, Community Colleges in the US, or both, or something else. The word "college" is used slightly differently in Canada versus how it is used in the US. However, I am quite sure that UBC admissions staff are familiar with American community colleges.
  • JeanJeanieJeanJeanie Registered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    @DadTwoGirls thanks for that! I was really starting to wonder why they would balk at our "junior college" kids (especially those with 4.0 gpas after 40+ units). :)
  • gwnorthgwnorth Registered User Posts: 210 Junior Member
    @JeanJeanie, yes as DadTwoGirls has mentioned, community colleges in Canada are different and are for the most part 2 year diploma granting institutions (though a few have started offering 4 year applied degree programs). Courses at a Canadian community college are geared towards workplace prep and are far more applied than the theoretical courses offered through a university. The course work is not on par with university level courses. This will be different than the community colleges you have in California where many students do their first two years of study before transferring to a 4 year university.
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