Donald Trump’s victory in the United States’ presidential election on Nov. 8 has triggered increased interest in McGill from international students, both in America and abroad.
According to Director of Admissions Kim Bartlett, McGill received 400 applications from American high school students in the week following the election. A total of 1,900 U.S. applications have been submitted as of Nov. 18, 600 more than the previous year. This year, there are 2,381 undergraduate American students at McGill, making up 10.31 per cent of the student body. In total, 3,000 overseas applications have been sent in, a slight increase from the 2,600 applications received in the same time last year.
According to Bartlett, the increase in application numbers cannot be directly attributed to the Trump victory. There was, however, an unusually high traffic on McGill’s social media websites on election night and in the 48 hours that followed.
“I think people were reaching out for reassurance and to express their point of view more,” Bartlett said.
Natalie Marusiak, a Grade 11 student at Belmont High School in Massachusetts, said that the election result has piqued her interest in applying to McGill and the University of British Columbia.
“The amount of hate that has surfaced even in just a few weeks of Trump being elected is very scary,” Marusiak said. “[As students we are worried about] all the things that have happened and could potentially happen. Student debt is also a big thing for a lot of people and it’s a bit scary to think about the implications for that with a Trump presidency.”
Since the election results, Rohita Ramayanam, U3 Management and an American student, has been considering seeking employment in Canada after graduation.
“My decision will ultimately depend on where I find employment, but I’m definitely more open to staying in Canada because of the election results,” Ramayanam said. “Now that I’m here, I wouldn’t want to go back to live in an environment where people like myself don’t have the same rights as others. If the U.S. continues down a path that I completely don’t agree with, there’s nothing stopping me from staying here.”
Margot Silberblatt, U3 Arts and an American citizen, said that the election results have decreased her interest in returning to the U.S. after graduation.
“Before the election, I thought I would have preferred going back to the U.S., but after the election, I’ve become 100 per cent more invested in considering my options abroad,” Silberblatt said.
The election has also increased interest in McGill from international applicants outside the U.S.
“Whatever happens in the U.S. doesn’t just affect U.S. applicants, but it affects people worldwide,” Bartlett said. “Many international students have in their mind the U.S. as their university destination and so if people are nervous about something happening in the U.S. they might consider Canada where they haven’t in the past.”
Bartlett doesn’t believe that increased American interest in McGill will drastically alter the composition of the student body.
“We don’t look at citizenship when we’re evaluating applications, so I don’t anticipate a major shift,” Bartlett said. “There has always been a substantial representation of U.S. students and probably will continue to be.”