International student enrollment is on the rise at almost all Universities in North America. Students are wanting to study in Canada and the US because their Universities are constantly ranking amongst the best Universities and Colleges in the world.
Canadian University enrollment for international undergraduate and graduate students is rising for several reasons:
- Tuition fees and costs of living in Canada are amongst the lowest in the world
- Off-campus employment is plentiful and earns students valuable experience and money they could likely get nowhere else
- Canada already has large populations of people of all ethnic backgrounds so students are never completely alone
- Canada is very accepting of all people, providing opportunities they’d find nowhere else in the world
- Student Visa applications and approvals are much more efficient than many other countries
What You Need To Study In Canada – The Basics
Choosing Your School: Canada has a wide variety of Universities and Colleges you can choose from. For many students, tuition fees are a primary influence on which school they choose. For others, location and climate may be the primary factors. Lastly, reputation and prestige are often the main criteria students use to narrow down their school choices.
Canadian Universities will offer very similar varieties of courses and degree programs. Since all Universities and Colleges in Canada are accredited by the same committees, you can rest assured that there is no extreme difference in the level of training you will receive from one school compared to another. Some Universities have more private funding than others which affects the amount and prestige of individual research projects throughout the various fields of study. However, the academic side of each University receives comparable funding and thus, the quality of instruction and training does not vary by much throughout the Universities in Canada.
Applying to Your School of Choice: Once you’ve chosen the school you wish to study in, be sure to check their list of important dates for application deadlines. Most Universities offer online applications however some require a hard-copy application to be sent in along with any required documents. Be sure to submit your application and documents taking into account any time your application package may take in the mail or via courier to get to your school. It is often a good idea to apply to 2 or more schools just in case enrollment limits are reached at your first-choice school. Once this is complete, you may wish to begin gathering the documents listed in the following section. While acceptance is a primary requirement for applying to study in Canada, the other required documents can be gathered and prepared ahead of time. Once your letter of acceptance arrives you only need to make a copy and package it in with the rest of your documents for submission.
Language Tests: You may be asked to demonstrate your proficiency in English or French (if studying in Quebec) by writing a Language Proficiency Test. Your University application will contain information on where and how you can perform this exam.
Study Permits: To study in Canada, you may need the proper permits. Not all students require these documents however so check with your country’s Visa office for exact requirements. In order to apply for a study permit, you need the following:
- Letter of Acceptance from a University, College, or other accredited educational institution
- Proof of Identity document(s) – valid passport or travel document for you and each family member accompanying you
- Proof of financial support – proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, bank statements for the past 4 months, a letter from the institution providing your financial support, proof of payment of tuition fees
- Letter of Explanation – if you are applying for a short-term course and wish to continue studies after that, or if you will be working in between academic programs, you will need to submit a letter explaining your circumstances
Be sure to check the processing times for Student Permit applications on the Canadian Government website. Submit your application early and with plenty of time to spare before your academic program begins.
Temporary Resident Visa: Some students may need a Temporary Resident Visa in order to study in Canada depending on their country of origin. If you are applying for a Study Permit you can also apply for this Visa simultaneously without paying another application fee. If however you do not need a Study Permit but do need a Temporary Resident Visa there will be an application fee. In most countries there will be a Visa office where all of these forms and applications can be filled out as well as fees paid.
Arriving in Canada: Once you’ve received your official documents you are allowed to enter Canada. You may be asked to show some of your required documents so be sure to keep the following documents on your person at all times and do not leave them in your checked baggage:
- Study Permit
- Temporary Resident Visa
- Letter of Introduction from the Visa office
- Letter of Acceptance from your school
- Disclosure of finances
- Letters of Reference or any other documents recommended by the Visa office you applied through
Health Insurance: Health Insurance is required by law and is not provided for International students by the Government of Canada. Contact the school you will be attending for more information on Health Insurance options as they vary by Province.
Extending Your Stay: If at any time you wish to extend your permits to remain in Canada beyond their expiration dates, be sure to apply as early as possible. You should apply for renewal at least 30 days before the expiration of your permits. You can extend your permits while still in Canada but you may not extend them beyond the expiration date of your passport.
Enjoy Your Time in Canada! I’ve met many students from all parts of the world and they’re always excellent students and very friendly. The only complaint you hear is often about the weather but even Canadians will complain about that! You will often find large populations of students from your home country or native language so you will always have people there to make your transition easier. I think you will find Canadians to be amongst the friendliest people in the world and our Universities and Colleges to be very professional and efficient. Enjoy your stay and happy studying!