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Record number of Americans choosing Concordia

Applications from students in the United States rise 15 per cent
August 28, 2014
By Sarah Buck

The Loyola Campus in autumn Biology major Kateland Simmons of Eastland, Tex., takes a study break at a café in downtown Montreal. Simmons says part of the appeal of “an adventure up north” is spending less on tuition than she would in her home state.

More American students are arriving on Concordia’s campuses this fall than ever before. Applications from students in the United States were at an all-time high in 2014, up more than 15 per cent from last year.

The university’s recruiters travelled to more American cities than they had in the past, including first-time visits to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, California and Texas. Making the case for choosing Concordia is easy, says director of student recruitment Matthew Stiegemeyer, a native of Memphis, Tenn. The idea of getting an international education relatively close to home, in one of the world’s best student cities, holds enormous appeal for American students, he says.

The ivy-covered historic buildings and tree-lined grounds of the Loyola Campus are exactly what third-year biochemistry major Gabi Mandl pictured when she thought about going away to college. “It’s so beautiful!” says Mandl, who came to Montreal from Irmo, S.C.

But Mandl’s main reason for choosing Concordia was the sense of community she says she noticed when she first toured the campus. “I genuinely felt like I would be a part of something wonderful, and coming from a different country, not knowing anyone, that was really important to me,” says Mandl. Small class sizes were also key for her. Seventy-five per cent of all undergraduate classes have fewer than 60 students.

The cost of earning a degree is also a major draw for American students. Tuition in Canada compares favourably with what students would pay to attend most state schools in the U.S., says Savvy Papayiannis, manager of student recruitment. “Generally speaking, it’s a good deal.”

The Loyola Campus in autumn The Loyola Campus in autumn. | All photos by Concordia University

Affordability was a serious consideration for Kateland Simmons of Eastland, Tex., who started her biology degree at Concordia two years ago. “It’s definitely a lot cheaper to go to school in Canada, even with paying international fees,” says Simmons. Another big part of the pull towards Concordia: the idea of having “an adventure up north.”

For some students in the U.S., “Canada” is synonymous with “cold.” That’s when some straight talk about the weather from Papayiannis is in order. “I tell students, yes it gets cold, but what’s great about Montreal is there are so many ways to enjoy our distinct seasons, like Igloofest and snowboarding in the winter,” she says. “In the summer, it’s hot, and then it’s prime time for going to outdoor festivals, the beach and the restaurant patios that pop up all over the city.”

Concordia recruiters also highlight the university’s flexible, interdisciplinary programs, plus the opportunity to gain paid work experience through the Institute for Co-operative Education (Co-op), something that’s not always available at American universities.

But for Papayiannis, the best reason to choose an international education at Concordia is the student experience. “You’re in this big college town with other students from all over the world, people you may never have met otherwise, and they become your friends,” she says. “It just adds to your learning experience.”

For more profiles of American students who’ve chosen Concordia, see the Viewbook for Students in the United States.

Let a Concordia student take you on a campus tour, offered year-round to interested students, parents and friends.

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