Canadian Universities Recruiting U.S. Students

By Billups, Andrea | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 7, 2000 | Go to article overview
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Canadian Universities Recruiting U.S. Students

Billups, Andrea, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Canadian universities have stepped up their efforts to recruit more U.S. students, visiting hundreds of high school college fairs around the nation to tout what they say is a quality, affordable international education.

"We still send more students here than we receive, but we're trying to change that," says Paul Beel, an international recruitment and admissions officer at McGill University, a 16,000-student research institution in downtown Montreal.

Canada's top schools - the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, Queens University and McGill - have joined forces, marketing themselves to prospective U.S. students as Canada's Ivy League, he said.

About 24,000 Canadians attend U.S. colleges and universities, while only 6,000 U.S. students are now studying in Canada.

Part of that enrollment disparity is because Canadian schools have failed to market themselves aggressively to their closest North American neighbors, often concentrating their efforts abroad, recruiters say.

Now as the country has targeted education as a viable national export, Canadian schools are being welcomed here, for the most part, with open arms, observes Florence Silver, director of student recruitment at the University of Toronto, where 400 U.S. students are enrolled as undergraduates at the 50,000-student university, the country's largest.

"Our people keep coming home so absolutely enthused by the reception they receive. They say it's like they are unveiling a hidden treasure," Miss Silver said. "It's almost unbelievable to us the lack of knowledge about what's north of the border."

After only two years recruiting in the United States, applications to Toronto have nearly tripled, she said.

U.S. interest in McGill is also rising, notes Mr. Beel, who was recruiting in Virginia and the District this week.

Two years ago, McGill registered 300 new U.S. students, he said. Last September, they registered more than 500, to bring their total U.S. student enrollment to about 1,500.

Baltimore's Amy Morrison, 22, graduated from McGill University this spring, earning a degree in medical anthropology. She learned about the school - alma mater of Star Trek actor William Shatner, an English major - from a Canadian friend.

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