In the heart of one of the most charming cities readily accessible from the Northeast U.S., McGill University boasts of top-rate academics and, consequently, very selective admissions standards.
Americans comprise about 8% of the student body, so admission is even more competitive for those coming from south of the border.
Unlike many small American colleges which offer much academic and campus-life support, McGill assumes independence from their students; you are expected to solve your own problems, within reason. The university is huge and the classes are large, but for a serious student who is independent, has a sense of direction, can learn in lecture-style classes, and wants the excitement of living in Montreal, with all it has to offer, I can think of no better alternative.
Be forewarned: When I visited this past Monday the library was full—and it wasn’t exam time, just a regular day at McGill, where students take their academics seriously and keep focused on their work.