Monthly Archives: September 2015

Education in Canada

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Over the last few weeks millions of students around the world have received GCSE O-Level and A-Level results. With this highly sought-after credential in hand, a large number of ambitious students are seeking to continue on to higher education, with many looking abroad for the best opportunities. Canada, as ever, presents some unique advantages. For individuals interested in studying in Canada in 2016, the big question is how to best leverage their O- or A-Level results for entry into a quality Canadian college or university.

Below we have some great considerations when opting for a Canadian International education;

Things to Remember:

  1. Many universities and nearly all public colleges have January intakes. The deadlines begin as early as the end of September, 2015, so all candidates should begin the research and discovery process immediately.
  2. International students will have wait for acceptance letters arrive before applying for a study permit, which can take considerable processing time (depending on the visa office).
  3. In addition to general admissions requirements, each faculty (Science, Arts, Business, for example) will have its own specific entrance averages and on occasion, supplemental requirements, such as essays or an interview.
  4. For families investing in private A-Level boarding school education in their home countries, it may be more sensible financially to fast-track an entry to Canadian post-secondary through one of a number of high school completion programs.
  5. Language Proficiency:  GCSE O-Level English (or GCSE English Language B) is commonly used to meet the English language requirement.
  6. Always submit certified true copies when perfecting your application. However, many schools will accept PDF scans for the basis of initial acceptance, so students should start with those.
  7. Canada presents some unique post-graduation advantages over other developed countries, including the three-year post-graduation open work permit and options for permanent immigration.
  8. Each institution may chose to arbitrate foreign credentials differently. Schools will be the final arbiter of what’s accepted for credit in Canada.
  9. Within Canada there are regional differences in the delivery of education. Notably, Quebec uses its own Senior Secondary and College/Pre-University system, while each of the other provinces has slight variations on the delivery of senior secondary coursework.

Canada’s Best University Subjects

When it comes to Canadian universities, three names tend to be bandied about pretty regularly — that’s the University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of British Columbia. And it’s for a good reason. These three schools are consistently at the top of global university rankings, and have some of the toughest admissions in the country.

Most recently, U of T was ranked 17th and 20th in the world by two global surveys.

But with back to school on the horizon and university students streaming onto campuses, it made us wonder — which subjects, exactly, are the forte of which Canadian schools?

According to the QS World University Rankings, which ranks 36 academic subjects according to criteria that includes academic reputation and paper citations (for example, how much importance a professor’s research has on the subject), Canadian institutions feature prominently in at least 17 subjects.

In fact, Canada’s higher education institutions are ranked in the top 50 for every subject, with the exception of Communications and Media Studies.

We’ve broken down the data for the subjects in which Canadian universities excel — Below are thought to be ten of the best subjects in which to study in Canadian Institutions;

Architecture

Computer Science & Information Systems

Mathematics

Agriculture & Forestry

Medicine

English Language & Literature

Biological Science

History

Psychology

Development Studies

International Students add Brainpower to Research

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They’re bright young minds from around the world — India, Mexico, China — and a record number have been lured here this summer to add brainpower to some of Canada’s most cutting-edge research.

Some 750 international university students — nearly 60 per cent more than last year — are here under a federally funded program called Globalink that pays undergrads to come to Canada for a 12-week summer research stint.

Some 64 are working in the GTA this year, and 357 have come to Toronto’s universities over the past three years.

“The objective is to attract highly qualified undergraduates to do research with a Canadian professor at a Canadian institution, with Canadian research,” said math professor Alejandro Adem, head of the national, non-profit MITACS program that runs Globalink and other research partnerships between Canada and the world.

“Our goal is to attract them back as grad students with fellowships, because in the global competition for talent, this pipeline is very competitive; we’re up against places like Stanford and MIT.

The federal government has provided $20 million over three years to Globalink to bring students to Canada. Students come largely from India, China, Brazil, France, Mexico and Australia.

Here’s a taste of the research one young man is working on in the GTA.

Gustavo Ramirez:Designing robots to land on asteroids

Gustavo Ramirez has come to Canada for research that’s out of this world.

A space buff and computer whiz, the third-year student at Mexico’s Tecnologico de Monterrey won a summer spot on a University of Toronto aerospace engineering team that is designing robots they hope can someday land on asteroids.

The goal is to send small robots to land on some of these mineral-rich rocks and try to redirect their orbits to bring them closer to earth so we can mine their treasures.

“People immediately think of sci-fi movies, but it’s a very serious plan; space companies see asteroids as a huge source of minerals and also resources like oxygen and hydrogen,” said Professor Reza Emami of the U of T’s Institute for Aerospace Studies. If the oxygen and hydrogen could be extracted they could provide fuel for space craft or oxygen for astronauts without having to come back to earth.

“A major drawback in space exploration is that the spacecraft runs out of fuel and becomes dysfunctional, so being able to refuel a spacecraft or satellite is a very critical task,” said Emami.

MITACS student Ramirez is helping develop a simulator that runs the landing part of the mission and shows Emami’s team how the robots could be positioned to apply enough thrust, said Emami over Skype from his research office in Sweden.

To the 21-year-old, this is an opportunity to be part of something he could not have experienced back home.

“I wanted to come to Canada because I heard universities here have a lot of investment in research and we don’t have as much aerospace research in Mexico. I believe we need to stay investigating space to make new things in the world and advance our technical knowledge.”

The mission, called Redirect Asteroid, is to bring asteroids closer to earth so they’re convenient to mine — ideally between the Earth and the moon, said Emami. While still at the conceptual phase, a mission with the United States and Europe is being planned for 2018.

Is it worth it? One asteroid, labeled 1986DA, has been estimated to contain 100,000 tons of platinum and 10,000 tons of gold, said PhD student Michael Bazzocchi, one of Emami’s team, “and that has been said to be worth $5 trillion U.S.”

Yuhong Duan:Seeking shopping secrets of Baby Boomers

As Baby Boomers age, are retailers serving them well? Ryerson University Professor Hong Yu fears many stores focus so much on young shoppers, they fail to consider the needs of the biggest, most lucrative market. It’s a dilemma Yu’s team is researching, and Chinese undergraduate Yuhong Duan has come to help through MITACS’s Globalink program.

“Nowadays the attention is often given to ‘millennials,’ and strategies have not been focusing on Baby Boomers or their parents, who are in their 70s and 80s,” said Yu, an associate professor in Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Retail Management.

“A lot of countries are facing the challenges of an aging population. Baby Boomers are seen to be the most profitable group with the most discretionary money, so how do you engage better with them?” asked Yu, who will have Duan help conduct interviews of consumers over 50 years old to see what services they want — and which they don’t.

Her research focuses on options to traditional “bricks-and-mortar” shopping, a variety of “platforms” she said retailers call the “omni-channel” approach, with online shopping options, in-store apps, social media marketing, catalogues and websites.

What’s the best “channel” if walking to the store is no longer as easy, asked Yu? “Is it e-commerce? Telephone and delivery? A lot of European stores have (cyber) sensors that can read your shopping patterns from your smart phone and then push information targeted to your interests.”

Duan, a third-year e-commerce student at China’s Wuhan University, has been checking out stores in the Eaton Centre and along Queen St. to see which ones offer more options, and has found the smaller, independent stores are more likely to be more flexible.

“I’m interested in consumer behaviour and I can bring my experience here back to China,” said Duan. “It’s a good opportunity to experience life and the culture of Canada.”

She got a surprise the weekend she arrived — it was Pride Weekend and Duan watched the parade.

“In China, you won’t see that. So that’s the first thing that impressed me about Canada.”