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You’re thinking about studying in Canada? Great, because in this article we’ll go over the whole admissions process for Canadian universities and colleges.
In this post, I’ll be writing from the experience of Samson Mercier, an international student from France.
This article is focused on bachelor’s (undergraduate) studies, and will approach admissions from an academics-focused student’s perspective.
Why study in Canada?
Canada is widely regarded as one of the safest and friendliest countries in the world, and that holds for its universities as well. It also has very affordable tuition fees and offers plenty of opportunities to explore the beautiful Canadian landscapes.
Canada is well-known for its great Computer Science and Engineering courses and offers plenty of job prospects in those fields. You can also get a job in Canada right after you finish your degree.
Canadian college admissions are very region-oriented, so you’ll have to do extra research depending on the locations of the colleges you are interested in. There’s no common admissions system and each university or region has its own website and process. Depending on the location, the language used during admissions can be English or French.
Admissions generally start in November or December, and results are sent via email in April or May.
I’ll use the word college to refer to academic institutions that provide bachelor’s programs.
Depending on the college, some can accept test results from the SAT, ACT, or other college tests, so make sure to check the standardized testing requirements for the college and program you’re applying to.
If you’re going to take the ACT or the SAT, make sure to check out our article on US admissions, where we go through the tests and preparation tips.
You’ll also probably need to do an English proficiency test, which could be the TOEFL, IELTS, or a Cambridge English exam. Make sure to consider what the minimum required scores are.
The applications generally need to be sent at the end of the first semester of the senior year of high school. They go through specific college or region admission portals.
For most colleges, the required documents are:
- Transcripts, including translation
- Motivational letter
- Language certificate
Some colleges require you to have an interview. You probably won’t face any hard math problems there, and it will probably be mostly so that they can get to know you better, or so that they can see your problem-solving process. They generally take place around February. International students are interviewed online.
Most scholarships you’ll meet probably won’t be need-based, as public institutions, like the University of Toronto, aren’t allowed to give financial aid to international students. However, there are some exceptions, like the International Scholar program of the University of British Columbia, which offers some need-and-merit-based scholarships. Make sure to check the pages of the colleges and programs you’re applying to.
There are also scholarships given by Canadian federal government departments for students from specific countries or in specific areas of study. You can see if you qualify for them on EduCanada’s list.
Some universities will require you to apply for scholarships using the CSS Profile, which we covered in our guide to US admissions.
Make sure to set aside around $100 for application and bureaucratic costs.
Living costs depend on your region and college, but as a general approximation, they range around $15,000 to $20,000 a year. The yearly tuition for international students ranges from around $5,000 to $20,000, although in some regions French students can get less expensive tuitions. Getting a study visa for Canada requires that you have CA$10,000 available.
Here are some resources to go from here:
- EduCanada – a useful site for all things Canadian college admissions
- Association of Croatian Students Abroad, who are helping us with this series of guides. They have a website and a YouTube channel (sorry, Croatian only!)
Huge thanks to Samson for helping me put together this guide.
Did I forget something? Do you have different experiences? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment.