Located along the scenic shores of Lake Rosseau is one of Canada’s leading independent schools: Rosseau Lake College. It’s known for its smaller student-to-teacher ratio, a feature that lets kids excel academically and forge genuine connections with their teachers. It’s also a member of the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools and the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association.
In 2020, it also became one of the few schools to see an increase in interest among international families, despite pandemic-related restrictions. It’s a testament as to how they are doing things right. We caught up with Director of Academics Graham Vogt to learn the factors behind this, what Canada has to offer and tips for parents when choosing a Canadian boarding school:
According to reports, more international students are choosing Canadian unis over destinations like Australia over the last year. Are boarding schools in Canada seeing similar growth?
Yes, we have continued to see growth in our inquiries and enrollment from international students. We believe they choose Canada because of the quality of the education system and our reputation as a safe and tolerant country. We have also felt, at our school in particular, that families and students are looking for the environmental experience and adventure within the vast Canadian landscape.
Has there been more interest or applications to your college over the last year?
Relative to the condition of the larger world and the international pandemic that has caused a profound disruption to travel. Not to mention education at large, we continuously see growing interest from the international market.
Our small class sizes, large geographic expanse and general focus on the outdoors have allowed in-school learning to continue with relatively little interruption. We are finding the academic-focused but active experience in a highly-supportive environment has particular appeal to international students and families now.
What are the factors pushing parents to send their children to Rosseau Lake College?
Our small class sizes, rich academic programme and geographical setting — more than 50 acres of trees, trails and athletic fields on several thousand feet of frontage on one of Canada’s most picturesque lakes. Beyond that, the success with which our graduates succeed in the post-secondary programmes of their choosing.
We are a preparatory school that is intentional about preparing students for all aspects and challenges of life. Indeed, our graduates consistently find their way into vibrant, interesting, important and successful careers.
When looking at boarding schools in Canada, what are the main things parents should be aware of?
Families and students are always struck by the vast geographical expanse of Canada, as well as the extent of our multiculturalism. The truly great schools are the ones that actively embrace these rich aspects of Canada.
Our school, for instance, in some ways mirrors the Canadian identity. We celebrate and learn from other cultures which I believe parents find comfort in. Of course, we also place a huge amount of emphasis on the outdoor experience and exploring the history of the land.
How did the pandemic affect Rosseau Lake College? What were some of the challenges students faced?
Well, certainly the pandemic has made the international component of our school more complicated. Particularly in the early going, we had to learn new processes around applications and safe entry into the country.
That being said, we have also learned that because of our close connection to each of our international families, we have found great success in the process. For instance, our students have reported they truly enjoyed the quarantine experience we provided in late August of last year.
The pandemic has also limited travel experience and general cultural explorations that we would normally offer as part of our programming. However, due to our geographical placement, we’ve been able to offset those limitations by providing rich adventures on site.
What are the support services available for international students at your school?
Our long history of welcoming international students ensures that we are able to anticipate virtually all challenges a student may encounter in their experiences learning and living abroad. Our boarding and learning programme provides endless support on a wide range of issues.
For example, our enriched English as a Second Language programme ensures an accelerated acquisition of language. Also, each of our boarding students forms instant bonds with their house parents and assistant house parent.
On top of this, each of our students is provided with an Academic Mentor who actively supports all aspects of learning. Furthermore, we provide health services and counselling on site. House parents, mentors, teachers and our leadership team maintain constant communication with parents. This ensures each of our students are highly supported in everything from homesickness to setting up a Canadian bank account.