'We want to give you money'

Canadian university offering scholarships valued up to Can$60,000

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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ACADIA University in Nova Scotia, Canada, has consistently ranked among the top five undergraduate institutions in that country.

In fact, the university, located in Wolfville, ranks fourth overall among Canada's top primarily undergraduate schools, according to Maclean's University Rankings 2019, and second on the reputational survey.

However, acting director, student recruitment, Liam Dutton, noted that the school's administration is not caught up in rankings, but instead is focused on student development.

With only 3,500 students from more than 80 countries, Acadia promises an “incredible future”.

The university offers 30 different programmes within three faculties — Arts, Science and Professional Studies.

Added to that, Acadia's average class size is 28, which is very unusual at the tertiary level.

Dutton believes, as a result, students get the attention necessary to excel in their programmes.

“We have a phenomenal computer science programme. Our business programme is very, very popular. Kinesiology — the study of human movements — is an incredible degree. It's a professional degree, so you graduate as a professional kinesiologist and you can actually start working immediately,” Dutton offered.

“Our psychology programme is offered in both arts and science. That means students have a lot of opportunities [to] forge [their] path. Typically, with people in the sciences, they're headed into a more neuroscience area, maybe into clinical psychology. With the arts it's more of the softer sciences, where they are looking at counselling and therapy and things like that — social work perhaps,” he added.

He also positioned the university as one which offers a personalised education, acknowledging that, in order to be successful, different students require different types of support.

First-year students are assigned a student advisor to assist with the transition from high school to university.

Academic support is also available for students needing assistance to choose programmes and courses that suit their educational needs.

Similarly, students will have access to the student resource centre, which offers counselling and peer support, among other things.

The university has a large Caribbean population, Dutton informed, sharing that the majority comes from The Bahamas.

The Wong International Centre is available to them, offering support ranging from visa, study, custodianship, and pre-departure information to academic, personal and professional skill development.

“At Acadia, we help you figure out what your path looks like. A lot of people are interested in what job a particular degree helps you to get. The way we do that is within the streams of the programmes themselves. So every single programme has different streams and options... Then there's a lot of research opportunities. So, because we're a small school and we don't have any PhD programmes, all of our undergrads are participating in hands-on research. Seventy per cent of our science students graduate published,” Dutton said.

“In order to help you find your careers, we have one of the best co-op programmes in the country...on average our co-op students are making Can$10,000 per co-op term, which, if you're looking for affordability, that's paying for half your degree right there as an international student. Ninety-seven per cent of our co-op students that are not seeking further education are employed within one month in their field. It used to be six months; we cut it down to one, which is very special, and 80 per cent of them are graduating debt-free,” the acting director said.

Co-op or cooperative education is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience. A cooperative education experience provides academic credit for structured job experience.

“Going to school shouldn't break the bank for you. So we've got a lot of different ways to make your education affordable, but then to set you up for your future along the way. We'll help you out with all that you need, because we are a smaller school we have a lot of student resources, students' services available, professors available, at all times, and more, but the big issue I see is that students are afraid to ask,” said Dutton.

He mentioned, too, that the university helps to offset the costs students and parents face, offering some of the largest, most prestigious awards in Canada.

First-year student awards include renewable and merit-based entrance scholarships, as well as entrance scholar bursaries based on need and merit.

Entrance scholarships are available to secondary level and transfer students. Students with a minimum of 80 per cent average are automatically considered for grade-based scholarships. Transfer students need a grade point average of 3.67 and must be in their first-degree programme. Scholarships range from Can$500 to Can$60,000.

Students with a 95 per cent and above average who apply to Acadia are contacted with an offer for one of four, four-year scholarships ranging from Can$24,000 to Can$40,000.

In-course scholarships are also available.

“So we give over Can$4.3 million in scholarships and financial aid. We rank second in the country for student awards. So there's a lot of money available to a lot of students and the best part of it is you automatically get considered. We're not going to make you jump through a whole bunch of hoops. We want to give you the money, that's why we have it. The only thing that we ask is that you apply and have your documents submitted by March 1,” Dutton stated.

Tuition fee for international students is just over Can$18,000. This does not include other fees, such as those associated with health and residence.

Situated just an hour from Halifax, Atlantic Canada's largest urban centre, Acadia is part of a college town with streets lined with bistros, coffee shops, lively pubs, and quirky boutiques shadowed by the exquisite Annapolis Valley.

Ninety per cent of first-year students live on campus and 92 per cent of off-campus students live within one kilometre of the university.

Acadia is home to several clubs and 10 varsity teams, all of which students are welcome to join.

“Admission requirements are pretty straightforward. We're only looking for a minimum of [grade] three on CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination). For anyone doing A levels, two Cs. That's the minimum,” the recruitment director said.


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