HOW TO EVALUATE AGRICULTURE AND BIO-RESOURCES SCHOOLS

Choosing an agriculture or bio-resources school or program in Canada can be a difficult and time-consuming choice for international students. At first you will need to make many decisions: whether you wish to pursue a degree, diploma or certificate; study on a full-time or part-time basis; what majors and areas of specialization interest you; how important special features such as co-ops are to your decision; and the importance of cost, location and other similar factors. Once you have decided on these, you will still need to undertake a significant exploration and consultation to focus your interests and choice of agricultural studies program.

Here is a step-by-step process to help you evaluate each program:

  • Visit the university's, college's or program department's website. Most institutions provide detailed information about their programs - i.e., which diplomas/certificates are offered, amount of tuition and fees, admission requirements and intake times, student demographics, faculty qualifications, industry experience and research accomplishments, and more! Often the university's, college's or school's website will provide a "Q&A" or FAQ page which will answer the most common questions about it and its programs.

  • Speak with an admissions counsellor or academic advisor: they have a thorough knowledge of the curriculum and study programs that can lend a perspective to your decisions, and sometimes lead you in new directions.

  • Research other sources of information. There is a wealth of things that you can do here:
    • Find or ask to be put in touch with past graduates of the university, college, school or program and talk with them about their experiences while a student. Consult the school's international student office as well to see if they can put you in touch with any current or former international students in the program.

    • Confirm which organizations have recruited graduates in the past and talk with their human resources departments to determine their satisfaction with the institution's graduates and programs, whether they continue to recruit from the university, college or school, and whether they value it over others on a regular basis.

    • Search the Internet for information on awards and achievements bestowed on specific agriculture schools or programs - competitions won, faculty honours, research grants, etc.

    • Consult Facebook and other social networking sites that may provide testimonials and other student comments on specific agriculture and bio-resource programs and the universities, colleges or schools that offer them.

    Then match these facts and figures against the agriculture and bio-resource programs that you are evaluating.