Smiling happy girl holding Flags of USA and Flag of Canada

USA vs. Canada: Which is better for studying abroad?

The United States and Canada are two of the most popular study abroad destinations. Therefore, many international students face the ultimate dilemma; USA vs. Canada: Which is better for studying abroad?

When you’re pursuing higher education, it’s important to consider many factors. What do you want to study? How much does it cost? What are the courses offered? And more importantly, which university should you choose? But before you decide on any of that, the first step is figuring out where in the world you want to study. In this blog, we’re gonna talk about the top 5 distinguishing factors that will help you make the choice between the USA vs. Canada.

More and more students are travelling overseas to pursue higher education, and two of the most popular and prevalent education destinations around the world right now are the United States and Canada. There are some major pros and cons of studying in either of the two countries.

The US is and will always be one of the most popular destinations for students all around the globe. However, in recent times, Canada has worked its way up as one of the most sought after countries for international students.

1) Eligibility criteria

University executives choosing students based on their eligibility criterion
Most universities mandate a 16-year education as a criteria for applying for Masters

If you’re planning to apply for undergraduate courses, completing 12 years of education and appearing for your SAT exams is a common criterion for most American as well as Canadian universities. However, the criteria for pursuing a postgraduate degree varies for each country. It depends largely upon the program you choose to pursue. Education in USA universities requires the submission of scores of entrance exams such as GRE/GMAT, TOEFL/IELTS along with your GPA. While the Canadian universities put more stock into your GPA and IELTS/TOEFL scores than your GRE/GMAT scores.  As a result, getting admitted to Canadian universities is relatively easier.

2) The caliber of the Universities

With over 4000 universities scattered across the country, the United States is not only home to the Ivy League Schools but also, some of the top universities around the globe. 12 American universities rank among the Top 20 universities around the globe based on QS rankings for 2019. These institutions offer a wide range of degrees and courses, that are recognized and accepted worldwide. Not to be left behind, more than 8 Canadian universities are listed among the Top 200 World rankings 2019 list. Institutions such as the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and McGill University are widely regarded for their research opportunities and excellent faculty.  

USA vs Canada infographic

3) Cost of Education

Books and graduation cap balanced across the cost of education
The average cost of living in the USA and Canada is US$ 12,000 and CA$ 10,800 respectively

Education abroad can undoubtedly be one of the most expensive affairs. And one of the very first questions any student has before he decides to study abroad is the costs concerning the entire journey. The cost of education in American universities ranges on the higher side with approximately US$33,215 per annum for undergraduate students. 
On the other hand, the cost of studying in Canada is comparatively lower at approximately US$23,300 per annum.

Despite the high costs, however, there are several financial aid options offered to international students to make their education abroad affordable.

The US universities and other related organizations offer scholarships such as:

  1. Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation scholarships 
  2. Asian Women in Business Scholarship Fund  
  3. Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellowships

Some of the scholarships offered by Canadian universities:

  1. Canada Asia-Pacific Awards (CAPA)
  2. International Research Linkages funded by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
  3. Sauvé Scholars Program by the Jeanne Sauvé Youth Foundation

Have questions about studying abroad? Get experts to answer them for you. 

4) Employment opportunities

Half the appeal of pursuing an international degree is the number of career opportunities it opens up. And both the USA and Canada are both highly interesting locations on the map of employment possibilities. The United States ranks 3rd with Canada not far behind in 5th place. According to statistics, professions such as management executives, medicine, dentist, software engineer, etc. provide some of the highest salaries in the US. While Jobs like nurse practitioner, program analyst, teacher, pharmacist, financial manager, construction manager, etc. are some of the top jobs in Canada. The American graduates received an average first salary of 48,127 US$ in 2018. While the average first salary earned by university graduates in Canada was 36,895 US$.


5) Permanent residency

Man and Woman standing getting Permanent Residence
Permanent Residence in Canada is easier to acquire than that in the USA.

If you intend to settle in the country you’re studying in after education, you will need to acquire the appropriate Visa and work permits. Applying for permanent residency in the US is certainly possible. However, the process and duration of acquiring that are a lot more complicated than the one for Canada. Canada offers graduates of certain degrees the option to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. This work permit allows you to work in Canada after graduation. It also qualifies you to apply for permanent residency in Canada. However, in the US, applying for a Green card is a better alternative than working on getting sponsored by an employer or applying independently for a working visa.


While studying in Canada provides better costs and immigration policies, education in USA offers more varied employment opportunities and education options. You can decide between one of the two countries based on the top 5 factors mentioned above. These factors include your program of choice, scores, university expectations, etc. I hope reading this blog helps you make the choice between the USA vs. Canada. 

The decision to study abroad and venture out of your comfort zone is a life-changing experience. iSchoolConnect strives to help you choose the perfect country, university, and program for you based on your scores and expectations. We work towards helping you make the best of your educational experience by making the entire process seamless and stress-free. 

We also regularly publish helpful blogs for students who dream of studying abroad!

USA vs. Canada: Which is better for studying abroad?
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USA vs. Canada: Which is better for studying abroad?
Wondering which country to choose for studying abroad? USA and Canada are two of the top education destinations. Know which is better for you: USA vs Canada.
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Malavika Issar

A die-hard marketeer, blogger and an education industry enthusiast. Malavika loves traveling, meeting new people and is a full-time dog whisperer

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