There are many good reasons for getting a degree in Toronto. To begin with, Toronto is one of the most exciting cities in North America. Plus, job opportunities abound in nearly every major field including business, law, technology, and the arts. Toronto boasts some of the top undergraduate, graduate, and PhD programs in the world, and is home to thousands of local and international students every semester. But, like any major educational and economic center, Toronto can present a few challenges for those who have never resided here. If you intend on becoming a student in one of Canada’s most glamorous, vibrant metropolitan areas, read the following tips about how to make your degree-seeking years less stressful.
Choose Your Institution Carefully
There are more than two dozen excellent universities and colleges in or very close to Toronto, so you have a great selection from which to choose. Make sure you choose a university or college that specializes in what you want to study. For example, some of the best schools include the University of Toronto, York University, University of Waterloo, Ryerson University, Humber College and McMaster University. Check each school’s website to verify that they have programs suitable to your field of study. The University of Toronto is often ranked as the best university in Canada, McMaster University is known for its excellent health sciences program while Ryerson University has an outstanding journalism program. The University of Waterloo boasts top mathematics and computer science programs while York University is known for its Osgoode Hall Law School, humanities, environmental science and physical education programs.
Arrange for Financing
Be sure to settle the money question before you decide on a school, or shortly after making your final pick. You should apply for grants within certain major programs of study as soon as possible as they are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. If your parents have a combined income of $50,000 or less, you may be eligible for an OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) grant. If you do not qualify for OSAP, consider using a private student loan to cover the rest of your education expenses. The advantages of private loans include no penalties for early repayment, competitive interest rates, and higher borrowing limits than regular loans offer.
Make a Budget
People always advise college students to budget their spending carefully. That suggestion goes double in Toronto, a city with a higher cost of living than most of Canada’s other major university locations. Plan on how much money you’ll need to spend each month and stick to your limits. Think about taking on a micro job of 10 hours or so per week to keep your bank account in the black. If you live on campus and have a meal plan, avoid eating in restaurants except on special occasions.
Set Up Job Interviews Well Ahead of Graduation
Unlike some smaller cities, Toronto is home to thousands of businesses. If you want to remain in Toronto after earning your degree, career choices are numerous. Try to land a job before graduation day by setting up interviews during your final year of university. Your university will also offer career fairs where you can meet with potential employers. Create a list of local employers that interest you and contact each one. Of course, you’ll want to include a resume and a few general questions in your initial contact email, as well as demonstrate some knowledge of the company. Most companies will appreciate the fact that you’re planning so far ahead and will offer specific guidance on how to schedule an interview before you graduate.
Getting a university degree in Toronto is a great decision. Following the above tips should help simplify your education journey.