By Zainab Chunawala
Step 1: Understand the Requirements
Successfully applying to a Canadian education institution requires an understanding of the different requirements for schools and the courses they offer.It also depends on whether you would like to apply to college or university, along with whether you are looking to complete graduate studies or post-graduation. Candidates also need to conduct a careful analysis of the rules and regulations applicable to the study permit application process.Onlyrecognized schoolsand periods of approved study will be meaningful if you are looking to build points for the Express Entry system in your pursuit for Permanent residence in Canada. If you choose to study in a private college, you will also not be eligible for a post-graduate work permit to find a job or continue to work in CanadaIdeally, you should start planning for your Canadian study permit at least a year in advance. Common requirements for all universities and institutions include an updated passport, proficiency in either English or French (proof of passing prescribed language tests with minimum grades/bands is a requirement), medical exam, and proof that you can finance your study as well as the cost of living in the country. Applications that don’t meet requirements or haven’t been submitted correctly are rejected, which is why each of these steps needs to be performed in a systematic and careful manner.
Step 2: Choose your Course and InstitutionIt is important to choose a field of study you would like to pursue. Doing some research into the job prospects in that industry is a great way to start. If you already have work experience from your home country and are interested in your field, pick some specialization courses that can make you an expert. The combination of your previous education, work experience and subsequent Canadian education will prove to be fruitful in the long run. There is also scope to change fields if you choose to study another subject but checking the prospects in that industry is important. The first step towards choosing an institution is to make sure its status as a designated Learning Institution. Only DLIs can admit foreign students. You can find the list of these on the Canada Immigration website. Always use caution about where you get your information online from- there are many places where there is wrong and outdated information. It would be in your best interest to use only Canadian Government websites for immigration-related questions. You will be required to finalize a specific major course when applying to study in Canada. The Canadian academic setup is flexible towards switching courses, although it is best to compare your options beforehand and choose a major that you are truly interested in pursuing.
Step 3: Take the Language Proficiency TestIn order to successfully gain entry into Canada, every international student will have toprove proficiency in English or French. IELTS (Academic) is the preferred test for proficiency in English, with some institutions also accepting the Cambridge English: Advanced or TOEFL exam score. For French, you can opt for DALF, DELF, or TCF, although the TEF exam is the most common option. Choose the test, pay the fee, and book your dates well in advance. Of course, you will have to brush up your language skills to ensure your application does not get rejected. There are youtube videos available to help you in preparing for IELTS that are a valuable resource. These exams are also expensive which is why it’s a good idea to book the test much beforehand and take lots of time to prepare and get a good score.
Step 4: Apply to Universities/CollegesNow it is time to contact you’re shortlisted of Designated Learning Institutions, obtain their application packs, and submit them well in advance. Having the choice of applying to a dozen universities can be advantageous but you will have to consider the application fee, which varies from $100 to $250.Do not apply at random. Compare your options, identify your preferred course and institution, and select one or two alternatives as backups. Application packets usually involve copies of you previous mark sheets and letters of graduation from your higher education institute. Make sure you only submit copies and all your original documents are with you the whole time. Be careful when filling in the application form and make sure you provide accurate information backed with documentary evidence. Once this is done, it is time to face the excruciating wait until you receive your acceptance. Once you confirm your interest, the university will send an acceptance letter, which plays a significant role in the formalities ahead. Another option is considering Education Agents like Edwise and IDP- they can take care of the entire admissions procedure for you and usually get commissioned from the College/university you decide to go to-which means their charges are free to the student. The catch is they will only present you with options that they have a tie-up with- if you chose this route: make sure to review where you would like to study and what courses/program; after which you can choose an agency (the big famous ones usually have partnerships with all colleges) Do not let them sway you into making different choices.
Step 5: Apply for a Study Permit’ ‘Now that you have an institution ready to admit you, it is time to apply for the Canada Study Permit. You can apply online or visit your local visa application centre. Your application must be accompanied by the acceptance letter received in the previous step, your passport, and documentary proof that you have adequate finances to study in Canada and medical exams completed. Only certain doctors and medical practitioners are authorized to conduct these exams for immigration and the list can be easily found on the immigration website. You may also need to include a statement of purpose explaining why you would like to study in Canada, what you plan to achieve in your time there and that you will return to your country after completing your education to further build your case into getting the study permit accepted. If you have applied to an institution in the province of Quebec, then you will also receive, along with the acceptance letter, a “Certificat d’acceptation du Québec” (CAQ). Make sure you include this document in your study permit application.
Step 6: Travel time once the application has been processed and an interview, if required, has been conducted, the immigration officer will decide upon your study permit application. If accepted, it is now time to start planning your travel to Canada. Your permit will have a start date, which is the date from which the permit comes into force. Keep in mind that you won’t be permitted to enter Canada before this date. Plan your travel accordingly. There are various blogs on YouTube to prepare you for your life in Canada.
Step 7: ArrivalThe immigration officer will verify your permit and other documents at the port of entry before allowing you to enter Canada. You will need to also get informed on your Social Insurance Number which you will need to collect at the airport or any Service Canada office in the city. You can work 20 hours a week as a full-time student. This is the final step of the immigration formalities and you can now focus on commencing your journey as an international student in Canada.