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'We strive to provide prospective undergraduates with advice from professionals, as well as from students who have been there, to help them navigate and thrive in university,' says Canadian University Report magazine editor Steve Tustin.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

As we celebrate our country's 150th "birthday," this edition of The Globe and Mail's annual Canadian University Report offers a look at how universities have changed from their early versions, where students were mostly white men from wealthier urban families, school costs were about $160 annually, and you called your professor "Sir."

While looking back is important, the main focus in this magazine is definitely on the present – and the future. Today, we have universities across Canada with students from a myriad of backgrounds and from countries around the world. Though paying for postsecondary education is still a serious issue for many, we present a variety of ways to cover costs, including loans and RESPs. We also look at the issue of decorum and debate, which has become more complicated in our casual electronic age.

It's worth remembering that 150 years ago, women and people of colour were scarce at universities, and there were likely no Indigenous students. While we have made progress on those fronts in higher education, considerable challenges remain. In this report, we look at those vital issues, and also what energized and innovative students and faculty across this land are doing to address them.

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As always, we strive to provide prospective undergraduates with advice from professionals, as well as from students who have been there, to help them navigate and thrive in university – from mental health and adequate sleep to academic aid, extracurriculars and athletic scholarships.

What hasn't changed in the past 150 years is the need to make a good decision about which university to attend and how to determine which school is right for you. We hope our profiles of more than 70 universities across the country, including religious and French-language schools, will help prospective students and their parents narrow down their choices. This is the fifth edition of our popular profiles, compiled by Anya Zoledziowski.

I'd also like to thank Assignment Editor Christina Varga for her tireless efforts in helping to present what we hope is an invaluable guide to help you decide your future.

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