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Undergraduate Students - October 2011

The full version of the September CAPSScoop can be found by clicking here.

 Articles in this edition

The Graduate School Application Process as an International Student

Thinking of Post Graduate Study in the United Kingdom?

Labour Market Information


The Graduate School Application Process as an International Student

By Eve Allemand, Masters of Counseling Psychology & CaPS Intern

I am an International graduate student from Switzerland entering my second year of Counseling Psychology (Internship stream) and would like to share my application experience with you.

The application process in this program was very competitive (only 10% of the applicants were accepted). I had to be evaluated on various criteria that were not always easy to get from a Swiss perspective. Indeed, I had to get an average GPA of 3.2 which converted to the Swiss grading system is quite difficult to reach. I was lucky to have been able to do an exchange at Concordia (Montreal) the year before entering grad school which allowed me to significantly raise my grades and finally reach to the required GPA at the end of my Bachelor.

Moreover, the program also required applying graduate students to get multiple experiences in the counseling field. However, the Swiss system does not especially encourage students (or allow them enough time) to volunteer or do some internships while following an undergraduate program at the University. Fortunately enough, I often spent part of my summers (max a month) doing some kind of volunteer work or internship related to the counseling field and I guess this helped me get into this program as well.

Finally, another tricky part was to be able to provide a letter of intent, a CV and letters of recommendation that would be written according to the North American way, meaning in perfect academic English and in a way that is more “to the point” and a little bit more “show off” than the Swiss culture is used to (e.g. showing GPA and awards on CV). Fortunately for me, a very good friend of mine who had previously been studying at McGill was quite aware about the North American way of doing an application and greatly helped me tailor my application to McGill’s expectations.
Therefore here are some recommendations that I would give to students that are currently applying international or not) to graduate students:

  • Action plan for your  grades/GPA you would like to achieve before you end your undergraduate program (by doing an exchange abroad if needed, that’s always extra experiences on your CV)
  • Getting program related experience, whether volunteer, internship or work experience during your undergrad or when taking a gap year.
  • And finally, do not be shy to ask for help from other people that have been through a similar application process as you. Someone might later ask your help for a graduate application and you might want to help way the same way you have previously been helped!

Good Luck!

Thinking of Post Graduate Study in the United Kingdom?

By Chris Little, Exchange CaPS Advisor from Lancaster University, UK

The UK offers some of the most varied and internationally recognized qualifications of the highest standard in the world. The application processes vary for postgraduate courses and some popular courses may fill up quickly. You may also need to identify and apply for different funding sources. It is therefore sensible to start your research at the start of your final year. Before applying to a course in the UK there are a few things to consider!  There is a vast array of post graduate courses to choose from, thus it is important to do your research before applying. Start thinking about what is most important to you, with so many factors to consider when choosing a course, preparation and research is key. Ultimately, we all study at university to enable us to have a better future in an area that interests us, so look at what graduates of your chosen program are doing now. Is there opportunity for work experience, exposure to employers or opportunities for further research?

How to apply:

In the UK postgraduate level applications are made direct to the institution. You can pick up prospectuses and application forms at education exhibitions and from university websites. Most UK universities have an international office that deals with applications from students from outside the UK. Once you have chosen a subject you need to find out which universities offer the courses or research programs you are interested in. The prospects web site   is a good starting point for finding courses: http://www.prospects.ac.uk/search_courses.htm .This online database allows you to search for programs by subject, institution, qualification and key word. Each entry includes information on course duration, a description of the course and information relevant to international students. Email links mean you can directly contact the course providers.

Fees for Post Graduate study?

Course fees vary depending on the type of course you wish to study and the university you attend. UK institutions will publish information about course fees and you should contact them for details. International fees will be higher than those of home students and it is the university that makes the final decision on whether you qualify as a home or overseas student.
Fees are only one element of the expenses you will incur as an international student, so good financial planning is essential. Using tools such as the UNIAID international student calculator   http://international.studentcalculator.org.uk/international/  will help you to budget for your education in the UK.

Sources of funding information include:

There are a number of scholarships available to international students, covering partial or full payment of fees and, in some cases, other expenses such as living costs. These can be government funded, university funded or from private or charitable organizations. Competition is likely to be strong and strict criteria applied, e.g. academic performance, so researching in advance and ensuring you meet all the criteria will help with making successful applications.

Funding Information:

Some international organizations and agencies, such as the United Nations and the European commission have their own http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/  http://ec.europa.eu/
You may also be able to get a grant or award from a charitable body or other organization. To find postgraduate awards, http://www.prospects.ac.uk/search_funding_bodies.htm


Labour Market Information

By Lisa Lin, CaPS Resource Consultant

This monthly bulletin aims to inform you of major news and trends in the Québec, Canada and U.S. labour markets. Your feedback is welcome caps [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca.

In this issue

  • Alberta topped all jurisdictions in North America for labour market performance over the past 5 years
  • As the US economy worsens, more Americans are knocking on Canada's door for jobs
  • Occupational highlight: Metallurgical and Materials Engineers
  • And more!

The good news

Canada’s employment outlook down, but still steady
The Province, 13 September 2011
Canada's employment outlook will get a little bleaker to close out the year, but there is still enough positive sentiment for a steady hiring climate.

N.B. adds 2,200 jobs in August: StatsCan
Telegraph-Journal, 10 September 2011
New Brunswick bucked the national labour trends last month, with unemployment levels dropping 0.9 percentage points to 9.2 per cent as the province added 2,200 new jobs in August.

La saison des salons de l'emploi est lance
La press affaires, 06 September 2011
As autumn approaches, there will be something for everyone in job and training fairs in Montréal and Laval.

Alberta labour market No. 1 in North America: report
Calgary Herald, 02 September 2011
According to Alberta Employment and Immigration, the unemployment rate in the province was 5.5 per cent in July, the second lowest in the country behind Saskatchewan's 4.9 per cent.

Emploi: perspectives généralement favorables au Québec
La press affaires, 24 August 2011
According to a study, the employment situation continues to improve and the Quebec market remains strong.


The bad news

Stagnant U.S. job market brightens Canada's appeal
Montreal Gazette, 14 September 2011
More Americans are knocking on Canada's door for jobs as their economy worsens and unemployment rates rise.

Time to address structural problem of youth unemployment
The Globe and Mail, 13 September 2011
An outcome of the recent global recession has been a significant pickup in youth unemployment in many advanced countries. Although the unemployment rate in Ontario is not anywhere close to those countries but it still is a concern.

Part-time workers bring down job numbers
Montreal Gazette, 09 September 2011
In an unpleasant surprise, employment in Canada actually decreased by 5,500 in August, confirming that the country’s job market has geared down from powerful gains in the first half of this year.

High jobless rates stymie recovery
The Globe and Mail, 08 September 2011
The world’s richest countries are confronting a harsh reality: There’s no quick fix to bring down punishing levels of unemployment.

Canadian women still hitting glass ceiling
Montreal Gazette, 05 September 2011
More women have joined Canada's workforce in the past 20 years, but many still can't move into management positions, says a new report from an organization that researches economic trends.


Other news

How Canada Performs 2011: A Report Card on Canada
The Conference Board of Canada, 28 September 2011
Ten “hot topic” analyses that take a closer look at selected key issues related to Canada’s economic, environmental, and social performance.

Statistics Canada - Study: Projected trends to 2031 for the Canadian labour force
17 August 2011
Using a range of projection scenarios, the labour force is projected to grow to between 20.5 million and 22.5 million by 2031. In 2010, the labour force numbered about 18.5 million.

Statistics Canada - Payroll employment, earnings and hours
June 2011 (preliminary) (Previous release)
In June, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased 0.3% from the previous month to $876.27. On a year-over-year basis, average weekly earnings were 3.0% higher compared with June 2010.

Statistics Canada – Labour Force Survey
August 2011 (Previous release)
Employment was little changed for the second consecutive month in August and the unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage points to 7.3%.

Statistics Canada – Labour productivity, hourly compensation and unit labour cost
Second quarter 2011  (Previous release)
The labour productivity of Canadian businesses fell 0.9% in the second quarter, after increasing 0.4% in the first quarter. The decline comes against a backdrop of temporary factors which affected output more than labour, including wildfires in Northern Alberta and a tsunami in Japan.

Occupational highlight

Metallurgical and Materials Engineers (NOC 2142)

Metallurgical and materials engineers conduct studies of the properties and characteristics of metals and other non-metallic materials and plan, design and develop machinery and processes to concentrate, extract, refine and process metals, alloys and other materials such as ceramics, semiconductors and composite materials. Metallurgical and materials engineers are employed in consulting engineering firms, mining, metal processing and manufacturing companies, and in government, research and educational institutions.

Job prospects in this occupation are fair.  Aside from a few annual variations, the number of metallurgical and materials engineers has increased significantly over the past few years. Trends in the primary metal manufacturing industry, the use of new materials and the increased importance given to productivity by company managers account for much of the increase. Given the growth expected in the primary metal manufacturing industry after the current recession and the increased importance given to productivity by company managers, the number of metallurgical and materials engineers should increase significantly after the recession.

For a complete profile of this and other occupations, visit Career Cruising http://www.careercruising.com/Default.aspx. Contact us at caps [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca for the username and password or login to myFuture https://csm-caps.mcgill.ca/students/index.php and search for Career Cruising under the tab View Career Resources.


Lisa’s Corner

Interested in finding out what you can do with your chosen career? 
Working in Canada (http://www.workingincanada.gc.ca/) is a tool that provides job and labour market information tailored to an occupation and location of your choice.  Simply type in the “Job Title” search box an occupation and choose a location, the tool generates a comprehensive report on jobs, wages, skills, qualifications, and job prospects.


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