What are the Pros and Cons of studying in Canada versus in the US?

America has been a very popular destination for higher education for a while now. However, Canada is fast catching up as a similar, well-suited country for foreign students to pursue their higher studies. 

As a result, many students, especially in India, are faced with the tough decision about which country they should pick. 

Before choosing a particular place for higher education, it is important to keep in mind certain determining factors like criteria for eligibility, cost of education and living, potential for career, etc. 

In this article, we cover all the major pros and cons of studying in Canada and the US, along with everything else one needs to know before applying to universities in either country.  

Quality of education

12 out of the top 20 universities in the world are situated in America, while 8 out of the top 200 universities are in Canada. 

America offers a lot more variety and options when it comes to degrees and programs offered, while also being home to Ivy League colleges and other prestigious institutes. 

On the other hand, Canada has fewer universities which are not as well renowned as American ones. 

The quality of the education that the student gains therefore mainly depends upon the specific university that they are interested in, since only then will a direct comparison be possible. 

Financial comparison

The cost of education in the US is the biggest deterrent for international students. On average, a degree in America costs about 33,215 USD per annum

This is a huge financial investment for anyone. Students often need to take student loans in order to be able to afford their higher studies in America. 

Canadian universities are financially more suitable for international students, since they cost much less than American universities, with average cost of education being about 23,300 USD per annum.

Furthermore, the overall cost of living in Canada is much lower than that in the US, which can help reduce the overall financial burden on the student.

Potential for a career

Both the US and Canada have lucrative opportunities for students once they graduate, albeit for different professions. In the US, doctors,  software engineers, management executives, etc. get the highest salaries while in Canada, teachers, nurse practitioners, pharmacists are some of the most sought-after jobs. 

Furthermore, when it comes to working side-by-side studying, Canada is more suitable than the US. 

This is because it is easier to work part time in Canada as a student as compared to the US, due to the flexibility of its VISA regulations. 

Criteria for eligibility

Both America and Canada require students to complete 12 years of education and appear for the SAT for undergraduate admissions

While the criteria for undergraduate admissions is similar for both countries, the criteria for post-graduate degrees differs a bit. 

Canadian universities generally focus on a student’s GPA and their IELTS and TOEFL scores. Appearing for the GMAT or GRE is not always mandatory. 

This means that getting into Canadian universities is easier and less complicated than getting admission in American universities.

This is because most universities in the US require students to appear for the aforementioned exams to be eligible to apply for post-graduate degrees.  

Standard of living

While both the US and Canada offer an exceptionally high standard of living, Canada is widely acknowledged as superior. 

This is because Canada performs exceptionally well on various health, wellness and economic indices, and a particular draw for international students is its healthcare system

On the other hand, the standard of living in the US depends largely on the location and state you are situated in and therefore are not as uniformly high as those of Canada. 

Potential residency

American immigration and residency policies are known to be strict and complex. This means that it is tough for international students to find permanent work and settle down there. 

Even after finding a stable job and accommodation, students are required to fulfill many criteria and go through a lot of procedures before applying for residency. 

The residency process in the US can take a lot of years and is not very easy to manage. 

On the other hand, Canada’s is a much more viable option for permanent residency, since its immigration policies are much more relaxed. Hence, for students who are determined to settle abroad, Canada offers more promise and guarantee of stability. 

What are the pros and cons of studying in Canada?


  1. Canada is less of a financial burden, with lower average tuition fees and lower cost of living
  2. It does not require GRE or GMAT and thus has simpler eligibility criteria
  3. International students have higher chance of getting permanent residency and settling abroad 
  4. Canada provides free and comprehensive healthcare, even for students and has consistently high standards of living 



  1. Starting salaries in Canada are lower compared to the US
  2. Canada does not have as many well known and renowned universities as America

What are the pros and cons of studying in the US?


  1. America is home to some of the best universities in the world, which consistently rank high and are considered the gold standard
  2. Average income and starting salaries are quite high in the US, especially for professions in technology and engineering



  1. Tuition fees and cost of living is quite high in the US
  2. All students must appear for the GMAT or GRE in order to get admissions 
  3. It is tough to get permanent residency in the US

Which place is better for Indian students: US or Canada?

There is no blanket answer to this question, since that would depend on the student’s personal priorities and preferences. 

For a student who prioritises highly ranked universities and a wider variety in programs, the US is perfect. However, for someone that cannot afford a costly education, Canada is more suitable. 

Furthermore, with its strict immigration policies, Indian students can find it hard to find work and residency in the US. On the other hand, Canada, with its simpler eligibility criteria, lower costs and better residency options, can be very lucrative for Indian students. 

How much can a student earn in Canada?

Students in Canada earn about $18 per hour on an average. Students can work for upto 20 hours per week when classes are in session and for more during holiday seasons. 


It is clear that a number of diverse factors need to be considered before a student decides which country to complete their higher education in. 

While the US has been a very popular option until now, its higher costs and immigration policy can be a deterrent for many students. 

On the other hand, Canada has emerged in recent years as a viable option too, especially with respect to future prospects of immigration for international students as well as reduced costs. 

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