American applications to Canadian universities skyrocket after presidential election

U.S. students look for a way out after Trump’s unexpected win causes uncertainty.

Ashley Aalto, Staff Writer

With President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration into the White House now in eyesight, many Americans are becoming increasingly anxious at the thought of the possible changes that may occur over the next four years. Many Americans have been looking to leave the U.S. for fear of their country’s future. In fact, as the election results became clear in November, the Canadian website for immigration crashed due to the high volume of traffic. Sentiments of immigration to Canada continue amongst Americans, and are especially seen among university students.

Since the presidential election on November 8th, 2016, the rates of American applications to Canadian universities have skyrocketed. The University of Toronto saw a 70% increase in American applicants in contrast to previous years. In addition, their “Future Students” webpage saw an increase from 1,000 visits on November 7th, to 10,000 visits on November 9th.

This isn’t the largest increase a Canadian university has seen in interest from American students. University of Saskatchewan has seen a 392% increase in traffic on their “Undergraduate Admissions” page, and a 191% increase in the U.S. web traffic on their “Graduate Programs” admissions page since the election.

Though the election may have persuaded a much larger number of American students to attend a university in Canada, it is not unusual for Canadian universities to receive a substantial number of American applicants. Canadian universities are putting more focus on international recruitment than ever before. Due to the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, which accounts for a large portion of Canada’s population, the country is constantly looking for ways to encourage foreign students to attend Canadian universities. In 2014, the Canadian government stated its plans to double the number of international students by 2022. Canadian universities have been working hard to attain this goal by recruiting more within the United States. Because the U.S. is Canada’s neighboring country, recruitment tactics tend to be more successful than recruitment in other countries, as it promises an abroad experience that is not too much of a culture shock, nor too far away from home. Many universities in Canada offer a wide variety of classes and a diverse environment in which to learn; in addition to offering great programs and an international experience, if foreign students complete a degree at a Canadian university, it makes it easier for them to gain citizenship. This may be another appealing aspect of attending a Canadian university for international students wanting to immigrate.

This is good news for international students, but there are negative factors that affect all applicants. Due to the increase in applications, there will be more competition to gain acceptance from a Canadian University. Kim Barlett, the director of admissions at McGill University, states, “There’s a lot of world events that can have an impact on the number of applications, but admission requirements stay the same.” Like many other Canadian universities, acceptance at McGill is based on grades, and it does not have regulations based on province or nationality. This means that the number of American students being accepted may rise, causing some Canadian students to be denied.

However, there may be some positive effects of more American students attending universities in Canada. In 2014, international students spent approximately 11.4 billion dollars on tuition and personal expenses. This gave Canada’s GDP 9.3 billion dollars, which translates to approximately 122,700 jobs for Canadians. Canada’s economy has actually benefitted from international students, and the increase in American applications in recent months may continue to benefit Canada even more.


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