Studying in Canada: Is Private Better than Public?

For an international student who wants to study in Canada, making a chose as to the right college or university for you can be overwhelming.  There are numerous options; college versus university, private versus public.

There are several factors to consider when choosing the place of study:

Will the Institution give me what I want?

You have to know what you want.  Do you want a degree, diploma or certificate?  What program do you want to study?  Will your documents from this institution be recognised internationally?

Universities are high on degrees and low on diplomas and certificates.  Their study programs are often theoretical versus practical, although many universities in Canada now offer co-op work experience and internship programs.  If you want mainly practical hands-on work experience, you might be better off studying at a college.

Some of Canada’s smaller universities offer mainly undergraduate programs as opposed to graduate programs but that doesn’t make them any less a qualified university.  For the most part all of Canada’s public universities have a set standard which they all must meet to get public funding.  So, a public university or college is probably your best place to study in Canada, although not necessarily so.

The cost:

Cost is a major factor when considering which university or college to study at in Canada.  There is a great deal of variation in cost whether the institution is public or private but colleges generally are cheaper than universities.  For example one public college in Canada promotes in its international student brochures that a student can save $4000 per year by studying at their college for the same courses they can take at a major university.

Do I want to work after Graduation?

This is a very important factor to think about when considering a private educational institution over a public one.  Immigration Canada has some very specific guidelines once it comes to their Post Graduate Work Program.

·         Whether a person graduates with a degree or a diploma or some other certificate; if the graduate has gone to a public college or university, he/she will be able to participate in the government’s PGWPP.  In this case what is important is the fact that the institution is public.  So for example if you study for a PG Diploma in Telecommunications, make sure you get it from a public college so you can get the necessary Work Visa for the program.

·         If the graduate graduates from a private college or university and does not graduate with a degree, he/she will not be able to join the PGWPP.  Therefore the only way you can participate in the government work program after graduation from a private institution is if you graduate with a degree.  The government will not recognise diplomas, certificates etc other than a degree from a private college or university.  So, using the same example, if you graduate from a private institution with a PG in Telecommunications you will not be able to take advantage of the PGWPP.

·         If you study in Canada to obtain a degree, it doesn’t matter if the institution is public or private; you will be able to participate in the Post-Graduate Work Program.

·         If you graduate from a private institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution (applies to Quebec only).

How does Immigration Canada view the institution?

Immigration Canada will issue a Study Visa to a student whether they have admission to a private or public institution as long as these factors are met:

·         The private institution in Canada is recognised provincially and federally.  See the list of acceptable private institutions.

·         The duration of the program should ideally be for 2 or more years.  Although this is not compulsory, your changes for getting your Study Visa for Canada are higher if you have a long enough study period.

·         The program you are registered in is an upgrade to your current educational status.  For example a B. Sc student will want to register in a post-graduate program such as a Master’s degree or a post-graduate diploma.

All in all, choosing a public educational institution has some definite advantages over private institutions.  So when making your choice, don’t ignore the private ones, but you better option might be a public institution.

Alberta Rose Education Centre is located in Lahore Pakistan and provides international recruitment services to students who want to study in Canada.  Their #1 consultant is a Canadian and knows Canada and its education system very well.

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