The Ultimate Guide to Canadian Universities 2024

Getting into top programs is increasingly competitive. Our Ultimate Guide to Canadian Universities is here to help.
Sarah Fulford
A lineup of graduates in blue robes and caps, with orange sashes

My teenage son spent this past fall working on university applications. The process was intense. He was applying to film production programs, and each application required extra elements on top of his transcript. Some schools asked for essays. Two asked for a resumé. One school wanted a reference letter. Another asked for a short film based on a provided theme. Some wanted three-minute portfolio submissions, others wanted five-minute ones. One school asked applicants to make a three-minute personal video essay—a cinematic memoir in which the teen describes the events that have shaped them. Each school had different deadlines. It was a lot to juggle.

Getting into Canadian universities is much more complicated than it was back in my day. Thanks to widespread grade inflation, it’s not enough anymore to get marks in the mid-90s to guarantee acceptance. Some of the most competitive programs—in computer science, engineering and health sciences—turn away straight-A students. Extracurriculars matter more than ever. Plus, schools are finding new and creative ways to assess students. A friend’s daughter spent the fall doing live digital essay- writing exams as part of her applications. (The schools were trying to stop kids from cheating with ChatGPT.) 

How should people navigate this new reality? My advice for parents of high schoolers is to immediately order the new edition of The Ultimate Guide to Canadian Universities from Maclean’s. The guide provides everything they need to know about post-secondary education in 2024: picking a school, paying for school and, yes, the ins and outs of the new application process, including a story about how to create supplemental material, the type of thing my son and his friends spent the fall working on. 

The guide also provides information on the best programs, the top schools, how to win scholarships, and the trends in higher education—co-ops, work-abroad programs, online learning and more. And it offers guidance on what students should study if they’re thinking about med school or law school. We also feature a story about how admissions officers are dealing with the use of AI in application essays. (Spoiler alert: not all university administrators think it’s such a bad thing.)

Maclean’s is uniquely qualified to provide advice on post-secondary education: for decades, we’ve been chronicling campus life and, since 1991, we’ve ranked universities using a carefully developed methodology. This guide provides all the resources students will need to make the right choices for their education, submit winning applications and prepare for university life.



Sarah Fulford, editor-in-chief

Here’s a preview of what you can find in the guidebook:

💰How to win a big scholarship
💵My budget as a university student in Canada
💲How to Pay for University: A Comprehensive Guide
🧐ChatGPT is everywhere. What’s fair use for students trying to get into university?

The Maclean’s University Guidebook 2024 is available now for just $19.99. Order your copy here.