Of late, the political and economic climate has sparked a debate in the education world, about alternatives to the U.S. education. While a number of countries come to mind when you debate the educational alternatives, including the new-age college systems in India like Ashoka, the closest comparison often ends up being Canada.

The countries are culturally similar and offer similar options. But there is more to that decision than choosing the most attractive president.

Quality of Education: The first question is, are they equally good? A lot of people reference rankings here. Since rankings are done by university and not by country, there are a lot more US universities that show up in the first several spots. Then again, the US has well over 3000+ universities, Canada has about 98. In sheer numbers it makes sense that the US colleges and universities have a greater proportion.

So we compare and highlight specifics. In terms of a broad based, liberal arts education, the United States has been successful for a very long time. However, Canada has been keeping up. The differences arise in size for one. While in the United States, the private colleges like Harvard College and Stanford are often top of the list, in Canada, its Universities. And like most universities as opposed to colleges, class sizes are often larger.

Certain universities like the Rotman School of Business and Waterloo’s Computer Science Coop are well known amongst Indian students who understand the value of their education. But students shouldn’t disregard McGill and UToronto which are both fantastic in a variety of subjects including the liberal arts.

Factors for admission: American and Canadian universities generally differ in their approach to the admissions process. In Canada, the admissions process is transparent and straightforward. Students are primarily assessed based on upper-level grades in high school, and a supplementary application essay. Though, sometimes, for more competitive programs, SAT scores are required.

This seems far easier than the holistic system that the American universities use which requires a lot more data. Besides grades, SAT scores, there are numerous essays, letters of recommendation, not to mention an emphasis on a varied extracurricular experience (including internships and community service). There is one complication though. Canada does not have a Common Application which means students must submit separate applications to each university.

You may assume it is “easier” to get in. While in the past there have been fewer applications to the popular Canadian universities than to the popular American ones, it is getting competitive year by year so it is important to be realistic rather than pinning hopes on just one or two universities.

Finances: This may make your parents happy! Canadian universities are cheaper than American ones when it comes to tuition, often less than ¾ the price of American schools. However, they aren’t as generous with scholarships since they are public universities, something that is true of public universities in America as well.

Quality of Life (Weather): University of British Columbia is on the West Coast of Canada, close to Seattle and extremely popular with students from India because of similarities in weather, but it is safe to say that Canada doesn’t often the same diversity in weather that America does. Universities are largely in places where winters get very cold and there are not too many alternatives with the weather is a huge factor in your decision making process.

Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump. (Reuters)

After Graduation: This may be one of the greatest factors now that America seems to be tightening the opportunities to work there with the H1B restrictions and the travel bans. Even the student visa for America allows for 1 year of internships following graduation, removing some of the privileges the STEM majors had. Canada makes it relatively easier to work and stay in the country, encouraging talented students to work there. This factor resulted in a number of hilarious t-shirts following the recent presidential elections in America where disappointed voters expressed interest in moving to Canada. For this reason specifically we see more and more students seeking opportunities in Canada.

So, you see there is more than the battle between the presidents of these countries. This comparison is important to consider and you plan your future, and if you ever have more specific questions, we aat CollegeCore Education have over 17 years of experience helping students every year with their applications to these countries.