Top Picks For Best College In Canada

Every year, Macleans magazine publishes not one but two issues dedicated to recognizing Canada’s top universities. As of yet there are no such prestigious lists dedicated to recognizing the top colleges in Canada.

The value of a college education is on the rise, but with popular publications choosing not to dedicate the same attention to community colleges that they do to universities, Canada’s 130 community colleges remain somewhat indistinguishable from one another in the media.

There are many factors to look into when considering what makes a college the best in Canada, which is why Macleans dedicates an entire magazine issue to determining Canada’s top institutions. The main factors one has to look for in determining Canada’s best college are:

  • The variety of programs and credentials offered
  • Amount of specialized programs and industry connections
  • Academic accessibility/admission requirements
  • Scholarship and bursary availability
  • Expenses
  • Accreditations
  • Student life

Obviously some factors will have more weight than others and their importance will fluctuate for different individuals. A buzzing social student life and extracurricular offerings may be the most enticing aspect to some and expenses may be an afterthought. Others may not care much for an enriching social environment and would prefer a school that can provide almost every student with access to bursaries.

One college that chooses not to entice students with sprawling common areas and lush flora throughout the campus is Toronto’s George Brown College. With no student residences and academic buildings located in the middle of the city, George Brown instead focuses on providing students with diverse and specialized programs in business, engineering, design, performance and health care.

Of course, there are schools which boast the same academic diversity and student services while still attracting students with stimulating social environments, modern facilities and extracurricular offerings.

Olds College in Olds, Alberta has been named by several Canadian education blogs and websites as one of the best colleges in Canada. Olds is hailed for offering a diversity of faculties ranging from more academic programs such as business administration to hands-on apprenticeship and agriculture programs. To enhance these hands-on programs, the college houses facilities such as a highly modern greenhouse and sprawling meat cutting facility (including an attached retail store).

Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario is also a serious contender for the title of the best college in Canada. The college has been hailed by employers – specifically those in the technology sphere – as the best college in Ontario for producing employable and well-rounded graduates. The college offers a large student housing complex, six varsity sports teams and enough extracurricular activities to please students of all walks of life, and its notable alumni run the gamut from senators and Canadian members of parliament to comedians Tom Green and Norm MacDonald.

Many other Ontario colleges dominate the informal lists of Canada’s best schools – Humber (Toronto), Georgian (Barrie), Conestoga (Kitchener) and Seneca (Toronto) make the most frequent appearances. Humber has been praised for keeping up with the fast-paced changes to Canada’s social environment, offering an increasing selection of online correspondence courses and a full English as a Second Language program, as well as pre-university programs.

On the East coast, Nova Scotia Community College is also regarded as a top Canadian community college. With a commendable variety of degree, diploma and certificate programs, NSCC is well-known for keeping its class sizes small and maintaining a friendly atmosphere where students can interact with instructors on a more personal level.
On the other coast, Vancouver Community College’s programs cover everything from sign language to automotive collision repair. But the school seems most renowned for its exceptional student services including easy access to career and personal counselling, health clinics and daycare.

Whether an applicant is a high school student looking into attending college straight out of school or someone in their thirties seeking a career change, there is certain to be a community college in Canada that is well-suited to their needs. However, there is still a lack of critical examination of these schools from major Canadian news sources. Though this article should serve as an insightful guide to the best community colleges in Canada, tours of campuses are always recommended for potential applicants.

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