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TRACS | Study in Canada

WHY CHOOSE CANADA FOR HIGHER EDUCATION?

While America may have the “American Dream”, find out now why you should look a little further north and study in Canada.

Canada boasts some of the most picturesque landscapes in the world! No, it is not just chilling snow like you may have heard – seasons do indeed exist, with some areas never seeing snow and where temperatures can climb beyond 30 degrees Celsius. Canada has several modern cities including Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Once in Canada, you must take time out to travel across the country to explore the various provinces and experience a versatile topography. This will give you the opportunity to discover national parks & reserves, like Niagara Falls, Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains to name just a few, wildlife and views of hill tops and coastlines, all of which will make you go ‘wow!’

In fact, the UN has consistently named Canada for 20 years as one the best places to live in the world. While the scenery has something to do with this rating, there are a number of other factors too. Healthcare is free in Canada unlike America and it is also considered one of the safest and most peaceful study destinations of the world.

High quality of education

Canada offers a very high standard of world class education with qualifications that are recognized around the globe by employers and considered at the same level as degrees from America, the UK, and other top study destinations of the world. Some of the best universities are University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, University of Waterloo and McMaster University. All academic courses are regularly reviewed by the respective institutions to maintain standards of highest quality. Government bodies like the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) are also in place to ensure that universities are offering the best possible education.

Lower costs

For a major western country boasting several large cities, the cost of living in Canada is much cheaper than in the UK or in the United States. While Toronto is considered the most expensive city to live in, across the country, on average it is still considerably less than if you were to live in London. Canadian universities receive public funding and tuition fees are less than you would expect at an American university. Scholarships are also available and these can be explored by talented students.

Post-study plans

An important question for most international students when deciding where they want to study abroad is: ‘Can I remain in the country to work once I graduate?’ Some students want to completely change their lives rather than return home. However, you need to make sure you are allowed to remain in the country legally. In Canada, international students who graduate from a university or college can work in Canada for one year after receiving their qualifications. There is also some freedom for international students to work while studying. Approximately, 90% of graduates from Canadian institutions find a job within 6 months. Improving one’s job prospects is one of the key motivations behind most students’ decision to study abroad so this should come as great news.

Large number of universities and colleges

There are over 90 universities in Canada, offering students over 15,000 undergraduate (Bachelor’s) and graduate (Master’s and PhD) degree programs. Universities provide well-rounded academic education with theoretical and practical components. Due to the in-depth curriculum, undergraduate (Bachelor’s) university programs are typically three or four years long, though some two-year Associate Bachelor’s degree programs are available. A Bachelor’s degree is typically required for acceptance into professional programs, such as medicine or law, as well as for academia and research-based careers. A Bachelor’s degree is also required to pursue any postgraduate degrees, which can be course-based or research-based Master’s, followed by a PhD, which is the highest level of academic standing students can achieve.

Canada is also home to over 130 colleges. Colleges in Canada focus on applied and technical education that is specifically geared towards a career. Class sizes are small, with a lower student to instructor ratio, which allows teachers to provide per sonalized attention and more practical or hands-on learning opportunities. Students graduating from a college program typically earn a diploma, though some colleges are now accredited to offer degree programs where the hands-on, tech nical training is supplemented by academic course work.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS AND DEADLINES

Academic requirements

Successful completion of secondary school is a requirement for admission into an under- graduate program in Canada. In the Canadian context, this means that a student must have completed Grade 12 or equivalent to gain admission into a postgraduate diploma or certificate program. Some institutions may accept work experience as a substitute for the required circumstances.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Students will be asked to submit proof of degree/ diploma completion, as well as their transcript or report card, which lists the grades the student earned in each course. Typically, only the grades in the student’s last two years of study are taken into consideration for admission.

A student’s final Grade Point Average (GPA), as well as the type of courses taken, ultimately determine if a student meets the academic admission criteria. GPA requirements, on average, vary between 65% to 90% depending on the program and the institution.

Prerequisite courses

Some postsecondary academic programs require students to have taken Grade 12 equivalent courses in related subjects. For example, students applying for engineering programs frequently need to have taken Grade 12 level math and physics courses. The prerequisite course requirements vary by program and by school. Be sure to check the requirements specific to the chosen program before applying!

English language requirements

Since English is the primary language of instruction in Canadian post-secondary institutions (outside of Quebec), students applying from a non-English speaking country need to demonstrate English proficiency through an English Language Test as part of their admission applications. Standardized English language tests evaluate students on their reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. All Canadian institutions accept English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores as proof of language proficiency. Some Canadian post-secondary institutions may also accept test scores from other accredited language assessment institutes.

Language test score requirements vary by pro- gram and institution, and sometimes by the home country of the student applicant. Some institutions only look at the overall scores, while others have cut-offs for scores in each of the four skills sections. Typically, students need IELTS scores of 6.5 (7 for some postgraduate programs) or TOEFL (iBT) scores between 70.0 and 90.0 for admission consideration.

Application deadlines

In Canada, admissions are typically offered for entry in fall (September), winter (January) and summer (May). September is considered the official start of the school year and that’s when the biggest intake occurs. Many programs are only available for admission in the fall.

Private colleges and vocational schools often have new classes starting every one to two months. As a result, students can apply to begin their education at any point in the year. Application deadlines vary by institution, as well as by programs. General application deadlines are outlined in the table below. We strongly recommend checking the school’s for the most accurate deadline information.

Application Processing Times

When it comes to admission application deadlines, we recommend applying as early as possible to give students enough time to secure a study permit and visa. Schools can often take up to 60 days after the application deadline to process an application and issue a Letter of Acceptance (LOA), which is required to apply for a study permit.

Documents Checklist

As part of your application to a Canadian university, you will need to provide several documents. Ensure you have access to the following (providing either originals or translated copies where appropriate):

  • A valid passport (valid 6 months after your course completion date)
  • Evidence of how you expect to fund your studies and lifestyle e.g., notifications of scholarships and bursaries, bank statements (yours or your parents/ guardians)
  • A passport-sized photo of you (it is good to have a few of these when applying to study abroad you never know when they will come in handy)
  • Academic transcripts with grades achieved
  • Transcripts with scores from language tests
  • Resume or CV (sometimes)
  • Reference or recommendation letter x 2 (at least one being an academic reference)

Applying for a Study Visa 

Famous for its friendly locals and vibrant cities, Canada is often considered one of the safest places in the world to study as an international student. With its high standard of living and academic institutions providing top-quality education, it is easy to see the attraction. As with any country, applying for a visa may seem difficult at first but do not worry, it is well worth the effort. We are here to guide you through the process.

Study permit and visa

Getting admitted to one’s desired study program is a big milestone, but it is not enough to gain entry to and study in Canada.

A study permit is needed to study in Canada. Additionally, most international students also need a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) or an electronic travel authorization (ETA) – often referred to as student visa – to enter into Canada.

Students can submit an application for their study permit and their visa/ETA at the same time. The student visa will be automatically issued if the student gets approved for study permit. To learn more, visit the Government of Canada website for study permits.

Applying for a study permit & visa

Students can apply for their study permit once they have received an offer of admission and paid their tuition deposit. Applications can be submitted online; however, paper applications are also available and can be submitted at the Visa Application Centers (VACs) or to the Canadian Consulate’s Office in the student’s home country.

As part of the application, students need to provide:

  • A letter outlining why they want to study in Canada
  • Documentation which demonstrates that they have the financial means to support themselves and their education in Canada
  • Review the complete list of the documents required to get a study permit

Student Accomodation

You will need somewhere to rest your head each night, as well as housemates to share your Canada university experience with. Let us explain what options are available to you and how you can secure somewhere you are comfortable living while you study in the Canada.

In Canada, most students in their first year live on campus (especially for undergraduate students). Then, from their second year on they live off campus in the surrounding area

Your first year

Nearly all international students will be guaranteed accommodation on campus in one of their university’s residence or dormitory halls (known as “dorms”).

What is a residence hall? – This is a building comprised of double rooms which you share with a roommate (a fellow Undergraduate of the same sex). There will usually be a shared kitchen and bathrooms amongst a floor of students, with socializing areas of some kind too.

Sharing a room is a staple of American university life. If you really feel uncomfortable with this, you can request for a single room but this might not always be an option. You can indicate to the university some preferences for the type of person you would like to live with, which they will try to meet. The best thing about having a room- mate is that from your very first day, you have some- one with whom you can discover campus and university life with; this can be really helpful if you are quite shy when meeting new people alone.

How to choose accommodation? – Once you have accepted a university’s offer, they will send you all the information about their accommodation options available.

There will often be guides with images and virtual tours available on their website, which you can browse from your own country. Consider your budget for rent and living expenses as halls will vary in price depending on amenities (e.g., food plan or self-catered) and facilities. You will then have to indicate which halls are your preferred choices through an online application.

What furniture will be included? – Usually, you will be provided with a desk, chair, bed, chest of drawers and wardrobe. You will have to buy additional items like a desk light, extra storage, kitchenware and bed linen once you arrive.

What support is available? – Most universities have on-campus security of some form, while residence halls will have staff on site. Sometimes these will be 2nd and 3rd year students who have been trained to deal with any issues that may arise. If you are really not enjoying your living arrangements, you can ask to switch (though this will depend on what spaces are available).