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College selection for Canadian citizen graduating high school from US

shaunavcreativesshaunavcreatives 8 replies2 threads New Member
We are canadian citizens and our son has been studying in US since Grade 9. He will be graduating from High school in 2021. His intended major is Computer Science/Computer Engineering. We wish to shortlist colleges that offer merit based scholarships to Canadian citizens and have a decent Computer science program. Any leads/recommendations are much appreciated. TIA
19 replies
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Replies to: College selection for Canadian citizen graduating high school from US

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6148 replies1 threads Senior Member
    What is your budget? What is your son's status in the US?

    As a Canadian citizen, your son would pay the "citizen of Canada" price at any university in Canada. The exception is that some universities have lower "in province" rates which might apply depending upon where in Canada you are from and some other details.

    It is likely that universities in Canada will in most cases cost less than universities in the US. Your in-state public schools might or might not be close, depending upon details such as whether you get in-state tuition, what state you are in, and what scholarships you qualify for.

    There are a lot of very good universities in Canada to choose from. More information about what you are looking for and your son's stats might help us to narrow down the choice.
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  • shaunavcreativesshaunavcreatives 8 replies2 threads New Member
    In fact, we moved from Canada on a TN visa and our son is on a dependent visa(TD). We don't have a green card or citizenship in the U.S. However, we have been in the U.S. for the last 3+ years(2 years in TN and 1.5 years in GA). I(father) have a full-time employment in GA and have been paying taxes. So that might qualify my son for some kind of waivers with a few universities. One of them is Georgia State University that I know of. Our first preference was Georgia Institute of Technology, but they have clearly denied any merit-based aid for international students. That makes it unaffordable for us. We also don't qualify for need-based financial aid.

    Our budget is around 20-25k per year. Since we are in the U.S. now, we would prefer U.S. universities over Canadian. However, we will surely apply for Canadian Universities as well. Considering UBC, Waterloo, Toronto, McGill, Queens, Alberta, McMaster, and SFU.

    If somebody has any insight into how likely it would be to get into those universities and any other universities in the U.S. that are generous with merit-based scholarships to international students, that would be a great help!

    His stats:
    4.0 GPA
    99th percentile PSAT
    1510 Super-score on SAT(800 Math, 710 English)
    6 Honors classes in 9th and 10th
    Will have done 8 APs by the end of High school(4 Jr. yr, 4 Sr. yr)
    Heavy on science and math(AP Calc BC, AP Stats, AP Chem, AP Physics 1 & 2, AP CSP & CS, AP Psych)
    Plays soccer
    Honors clubs in school
    Volunteers at library
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6148 replies1 threads Senior Member
    edited February 19
    "budget is around 20-25k per year"
    "We also don't qualify for need-based financial aid."

    Different states and different schools will vary in terms of whether they will give in-state tuition to students who live in the state but are not US citizens nor permanent residents. Unfortunately I am not familiar with the situation in Georgia.

    If you do not get in-state status in Georgia then I would be surprised if you can get the price even close to $25k with no need based aid at a US school that is comparable in strength and reputation to the Canadian schools that you mentioned. Certainly the Canadian schools that you mentioned are all very good and should come in well under $25,000 per year measured in US dollars.

    Computer science tends to be a competitive major. However, even with this I think that your chances at the Canadian schools are very good. I would expect your son to get into at least most of them. Coming from the US but with dual citizenship, we were 7 for 7 applying to Canadian universities with similar stats.
    edited February 19
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  • shaunavcreativesshaunavcreatives 8 replies2 threads New Member
    @ DadTwoGirls Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience. It is really helpful and much appreciated!

    We still have to find with Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Georgia if they will consider us in-state as they have given vague and contradictory answers over phone. But some universities like Geoegia state do consider us in- state for tuition since we have been paying taxes in Georgia.

    Considering your advice and experience, we are leaning more towards Canadian universities. However, Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the best for Computer Science in the US and close to home, so in case they do consider us in-state, we’ll definitely apply there as well.

    Another concern is that my son might be at a disadvantage at getting internship opportunities in college since he is not a US citizen or permanent resident. Even though considered in-state for Georgia. Any inputs on that?
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30166 replies182 threads Senior Member
    It looks like TD visa holders do not have work permission https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/tn-nafta-professionals So that could pose a problem with paid internships. Unpaid internships would be a whole different issue. You ought to run this by a TN/TD visa expert. If your child ages out of TD status, there should be the opportunity to change to an F1 visa in order to complete college here. F1 status has certain work permission while in school and during OPT after completing studies.

    The heads of the various international students offices at the universities on his list should also be up-to-date on the TD vs. F1 business, and they will know where their various international students have found internships and jobs. Don't forget to speak with them directly while you all are in the college list-making process!

    There are a few universities that guarantee admission and merit aid for specific stats, and extend that offer to international students. Here is the information for University of Alabama; https://gobama.ua.edu/international/scholarships/ If you ask in the Financial Aid Forum, you might get more suggestions.

    Wishing you all the best!
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  • shaunavcreativesshaunavcreatives 8 replies2 threads New Member
    @happymomof1 Thanks a lot for sharing your insights and the valuable info. I will definitely look into everything you suggested. It’s really helpful.
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  • shaunavcreativesshaunavcreatives 8 replies2 threads New Member
    @DadTwoGirls If you don’t mind, may I ask which Canadian universities you applied to ?
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6148 replies1 threads Senior Member
    My kids applied to McGill, and multiple of the small "primarily undergraduate" universities in eastern Canada. This included Acadia, Bishops, Mount Allison, and St Francis Xavier. This gets to 7 due to double counting (both daughters applying to the same school). Given their stats we were confident that they would get into any school in Canada that they applied to. However, they were not applying for computer science. We did visit all of these schools as well as several others (Concordia, Dalhousie, and a bunch of universities and LACs in the US closer to where we live). We focused on the east largely on the basis of geographic proximity to where we live (in the northeast of the US).

    The smaller universities are not well known, but I have been impressed by them.

    I have family members who have attended other universities in Canada, and have visited about half of the schools on your list.

    I will admit that if I were in your position the toughest thing would be trying to decide between multiple schools that are relatively similar in size and in quality -- and which all are quite good.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 15449 replies1040 threads Senior Member
    edited February 22
    As an example of cost as an out of province Canadian tuition and fees for this academic year at McGill is about US$7500. Add in room and board etc. it would align with your $25,000 budget. There is also some merit aid available.
    edited February 22
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  • shaunavcreativesshaunavcreatives 8 replies2 threads New Member
    @ TomSrOfBoston Thanks so much for sharing!! Could you please help me get an idea of how likely/competitive it would be for my son to get into McGill or any other top university like UBC and Uof T given his stats above. That will be a great favor!!Note that his extracurricular profile is not that strong. Wonder how much Canadian universities care about extracurriculars if your academic profile is really strong (I guess his academic profile is strong enough). Any insights are much appreciated!!
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6148 replies1 threads Senior Member
    "how likely/competitive it would be for my son to get into McGill or any other top university like UBC and Uof T"

    With an unweighted 4.0 (ie, nothing but A's) plus a 1510 SAT, if he were not majoring in computer science or engineering I would consider McGill to be almost a safety. I am not sure how much more difficult it would be given a CS major, but I still expect that your son's chances would be very good. 1510 on the SAT should be well over the cutoff. Assuming that he has good references, admissions will come down to GPA and you cannot beat an unweighted 4.0.

    For the smaller universities that my daughters applied to, they did not even ask about extracurricular activities. High school grades and references were very important. I do not remember whether McGill asked about ECs, but grades are going to be the most important thing, and having straight A's is going to help a lot.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 15449 replies1040 threads Senior Member
    edited February 23
    I agree with @DadTwoGirls that McGill would be pretty close to a safety. Reference letters are not required and EC's are not considered. McGill requires either the ACT OR the SAT with two subject tests. If the ACT is submitted then no subject tests are required.

    UToronto and UBC require references and they look at EC's for some majors. They are also not as specific as McGill regarding the minimum cutoffs.
    edited February 23
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  • SJ2727SJ2727 2409 replies8 threads Senior Member
    A little late to this conversation, and a slight digression. I know of other families where they have applied for F1 status for their children for college as they get (limited) work opportunities vs none on TD status. (He would have to get F1 once he ages out of TD at 21 anyway.) The process to get F1 status is quite easy for Canadian citizens from what I have been told. He is considered international on both TD and F1 so neither gives a funding or admissions advantage though, but a little bit of work authorization helps.

    I am not sure whether it is college or state dependent but the TN people I know have said they do not qualify for instate tuition with TD (another reason why there was no disadvantage to switch to F1).

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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30166 replies182 threads Senior Member
    edited February 24
    @SJ2727 - You bring up an important point. In some states, in-state status depends on state policies. In other states, each public institution sets its own policy. The family should verify the situation with the public colleges/universities in their state of residence.
    edited February 24
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  • shaunavcreativesshaunavcreatives 8 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you all for your valuable insights. It surely helps a lot !!
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  • boudersbouders 2553 replies177 threads Senior Member
    Waterloo and U of T will require more than excellent stats for admission. Engineering and CS at both universities are somewhat holistic. Essays and resumes are required for CS. Engineering will require interviews as well. Tuition+fees+room and board for 2019-20 runs about $30-$33K CAD at both universities for CS and engineering. The total will be about 10% higher by the time your son enters university.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24068 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Many states give instate rates to high school graduates of that state, or students who have attended high school for a certain number of years (2-3 usually). Georgia is tough. I'm pretty sure for Hope/Zell Miller you have to file the FAFSA, and without a SSN your son couldn't do that. That's for funding, but without that funding the schools may be too expensive and there isn't a lot of other money for scholarships (Stamps, outside private)
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  • International DadInternational Dad 331 replies8 threads Member
    If you are not a citizen or permanent resident you can’t apply to Fafsa, even if you have a SSN.
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  • shaunavcreativesshaunavcreatives 8 replies2 threads New Member
    @ bouders I wasn’t aware that even Canadian universities are that expensive. Thanks for letting me know. Do you have any idea about the possibilty of getting merit-aid ?
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