Colleges love featuring happy-go-lucky students in their brochures and marketing material. But have you ever wondered how happy their students really are?
We did. So, as part of our 2017 Canadian College and University Rankings, we asked over 40,000 students to rate their current happiness level as they studied at their school. Out of 63 colleges whose students we surveyed, the average happiness level was reported to be 73 (out of 100). While the poorest-performing school was rated a 59 by its students, we're focusing on the scores worth smiling about.
Here are the five happiest colleges in Canada. If you're curious which school we recommend for your unique personality type, try our signature school matching quiz (it's free!).
Brantford & Six Nations, Ont.
When it comes to happy students, Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) knows their stuff. That's because Canada's happiest college is on a mission to "positively contribute to the well-being" of those who share its land. SNP performed very well across several categories, including Friendliest Students (#3) and Most Diverse Student Body (#3). According to one student, SNP is "known for its authenticity of family, community, and is rich in culture." Originally, Six Nations Polytechnic was founded as a local training and education centre with focus for Indigenous students in Six Nations. It has since grown to include high school, college and university programs for everyone (not just Indigenous students).
Today, it has established partnerships with some of Canada's best postsecondary institutions (like the University of Waterloo, Mohawk College, and Western University) to deliver certificate and degree programs in production framing, police foundations, manufacturing processes, nursing, early childhood education, and even a Bachelor of Arts in traditional First Nations languages. "You really have to attend the classes otherwise you miss so much," says a current student, of the quality of education at SNP. SNP also offers students a six-year high school program, where the two last years count towards a real-deal college degree in software engineering.
Lloydminster & Vermillion, Alta.
Alberta's first agricultural college, Lakeland, is very deserving of its number two spot on this list. First, the school has a student-run farm. Lakeland also offers job-specific programs in agricultural sciences, business, energy and petroleum technology, fire and emergency services for students, and even runs a renowned interior design program. As one current student puts it, "there is a lot of student support from instructors and staff that are always willing to make your education better."
The college ranked #3 in our Best for Getting a Job category for colleges, and #2 for Most Skills-Focused Curriculum. "[Professors] try their hardest to make sure every student is happy," a student confirmed for us. Lakelanders also have the option of studying abroad in Asia, Europe, and Australia, adding to overall school satisfaction.
Accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, Briercrest College is all about offering academically excellent, spiritually formative experiences. With Bachelor's and Certificate degrees in tow. Many Briercrest students say this place challenges them, both academically and in their community involvement, but that, at the end of the day, the support they receive to be incredible. "There isn't co-op like at other schools, but many degrees require internships," a current full-time student tells us.
"The profs will help in securing those, and they often turn into long term jobs." Briercrest ranks #2 among Canadian colleges for Most Approachable Professors, and #3 for Strongest Alumni Network, meaning education here (which the university describes as academically rigorous) is worth its chops.
Founded by a hard rock miner in 1975, College of the Rockies (COTR) is a real gem. Located right in the midst of British Columbia's mountains, trails, and lakes (enough said), COTR offers programs ranging from hairstyling, to kinesiology, to health studies, to business. The college even makes it possible for students to walk out with a Bachelor's degree after four years, or get automatic entry into the Universities of Victoria or Lethbridge for the second half of their degree.
Classes here are on average 13 students large, and COTR's professors are the #6 Most Approachable, among colleges in Canada. "You were actually able to get on a personal friendly level with them and they supported you 100 per cent," adds a past student. Another alumni says, "Our class (teachers included) ended up turning into a little family."
Another awesome point about COTR is that admission is non-competitive, meaning as long as you meet admission requirements and there's still space in the program, you're accepted. None of that "moving bullseye" stuff like at many of today's competitive universities.
Home to Canada's #5 Most Friendly College Students, Oulton College seriously deserves its spot on this list. One reason for this might be because each of the school's 700 students are specially interviewed, to "ensure that what is offered is compatible with their goals." They're really serious about right fit here. "The teachers are Oulton honestly really care about their students and show it," an Oulton student explains to us. "They will offer you extra help if you need it, a listening ear if you need to talk, and will help you in any way possible to the best of their abilities."
Not only does the school (formerly called Oulton's Business College) offer programs in business, human services, health sciences, and IT, "even after you are graduated your instructors and student success advisors help you get a job and send you job opportunities," says a recent grad. We aren't surprised by this, since Oulton is rated the #2 college in Canada for Getting a Job.
Other morale-boosting qualities at Oulton include ongoing student activity offerings, like cooking and fitness classes, board game and movie nights. As another student puts it, "you won't ever feel alone at Oulton."
There you have it! The five happiest colleges in Canada, as rated by the students themselves. If you want to discover the best college for you, take our free MatchU quiz.
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