Guidelines For Studying Abroad In Canada

Canada boasts of some of the best universities in the world. With a comparatively lower cost of education, favorable work prospects for international students and a peaceful ambience, it has become a coveted education destination. Students from across the globe have Canadian Universities on their application list, hence, securing admission to a top Canadian University will be not be an easy task. Starting early, building the appropriate profile, collecting relevant information, and gaining a full grasp of the admission requirements are some of the critical areas that students must focus on before starting the application process. Here’s a list of essential things that you need to know to make your study experience in Canada an enriching one.

Why Should I Choose Canada? There are several benefits to studying in Canada ranging from developing diverse skill sets, to becoming independent.  But lets focus on our top 3:

  • Diversity; on campus, you will be engaging with students from across the globe. The multi-cultural environment will teach you how to think outside the box and expose you to different ideas and points of view.
  • ROI; Canada offers a more affordable education compared to other popular destinations even though it hosts some premier institutions with excellent facilities and faculty.
  • Job opportunities; Canadian Universities allow international students a means to support themselves. Through the study permit, you can work part time on or off campus during the academic year, and full time during academic breaks. And when you graduate, you can apply for a work permit that allows you to stay and work in the country for some years.

Which Colleges Should I Apply To? While browsing prospective colleges do not base your decision on rankings alone. Instead look at which colleges are strong in your subject and is your profile an appropriate match. Additionally, does the institution cater towards your professional goals and and address your personal preferences.  So before finalising your institution:

  • Look for colleges that provide courses and the academic base that you need, and where you can cultivate your other interests like sports, music, theatre, to name a few.
  • Think about your preferences. For example, of you want to stay within the precincts of the college ground, go for a campus university. If you are distracted by large crowd and expect a more focused, personal environment of learning, opt for a university that has a smaller teacher student ratio.
  • To avail of financial aid, apply to colleges that offer waivers or scholarships to international students.
  • Enquire about the placements secured by international students and if your companies of interest recruit on campus.

A university that caters to your inclination and needs will pay you off with a fulfilling college-life experience.

What Is The Application Process?: The application criteria varies across institutions. To get the exact details about the specific requirements, you must check the relevant university websites.  However, in general a complete application will include:

  • Application Form & Fee
  • English Proficiency Test Scores (e.g. TOEFL/IELTS)
  • Standardized Test Scores (e.g. GRE/GMAT)
  • Transcripts
  • Essay(s)/SOP
  • Resume/CV
  • Letter of recommendation(s)
  • Interview

Make a checklist to keep tab of the tasks completed. Brace yourself to leave no loose-ends at this vital stage.

What Is the Acceptance Process?: There are 3 potential outcomes when applying:

  • Acceptance; congratulations! You are accepted into your dream university! If you get accepted in more than one university, you really need to rally your critical thinking faculties to weigh the options without bias. If possible consult with alumni and current students of the institutions, glean facts about the positives and negatives of the universities, but above all, try to determine whether the culture, academic rigour, and subject combination will match your goals and expectations.
  • Rejection; after a long wait is heart-breaking, but it is an inevitable part of this process. Do not lose hope as there are many universities that offer late admissions. However, if you are not accepted by a university, you must assess what didn’t work, resolve it and start afresh.
  • Waitlisted; You might also be on the waiting list of your desired college which implies that the college has neither accepted nor declined your application. If all the seats are not occupied in a specific course, the college will then consider candidates on the waiting list. If you wish to pursue your waitlist college, you must correspond with admission officials, explain why you want to attend their college, be positive throughout and ensure to follow up with them. Nevertheless, apply to other universities as an alternative to secure a confirmed spot.

What Is the Cost?: When studying in Canada you need to factor in a number of costs including:

  • Tuition fees; which vary based on the university, duration and program. The average cost of a top undergraduate program is approximately US$17,000/year.
  • Living costs; including rent, room and board, transportation etc. On average they are approximately US$10,700/year
  • One time expenses; when you first arrive in Canada you will need to invest in good winter clothes, laptop and other essential items to help you through the program. Don’t forget to factor these into your cost projections.

The lifestyle that you choose to embrace will also make a marked difference to your overall expenditure. If you adopt a culture of saving, curbing down extraneous spending, you will not run out of funds easily.

What Are The Funding Options: Procuring financial aid is a taxing venture and are a number of avenues you can probe into to cover your education costs including:

  • One of the best sources of financial aid can be the college you attend. Universities provide aid through grants and scholarships which do not have to be repaid and can be offered based on need or merit.
  • Tap into external agencies including community organizations, companies, foundations, and Government agencies.
  • Apply for bank loans after receiving confirmation of admission.
  • Arrange for personal funding; have your own resources in place. You can also pool funds from family and close relatives.
  • With easy availability of work permit you can always opt to pay your bills by working while studying.

Choosing Canada as a study option will not only give you rich dividends in terms of education and employability but you can thoroughly enjoy your tenure as a student.

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