With the boundaries between nations slowly disappearing, it is necessary for students to develop worldviews, experience different cultures, network with different people for their own personal growth and hence develop a stronger sense of self-confidence. All this can be achieved by studying abroad. With a plethora of career opportunities in different parts of the globe, studying in a foreign country will give you the advantage of working in international firms, interact with people from different cultures and hence give you an unforgettable life experience.
Canada, which gives affordable, world-class education with abundant research and job opportunities, has soon grown to be an educational hub. With a lot of respect given to multicultural societies and diversity, along with easy visa and immigration rules, students are flocking Canada. Hence, to get that acceptance letter from the top universities in Canada, you must really up your game and be one step ahead of your competitors.
In fact, a research carried out by International Students Admissions Service states that about 64% of students prefer Canada as their study abroad destination!
In case you too dream of pursuing your studies in Canada, here are some simple steps that will help you to apply to Canadian Universities:
1.Choose the Right Degree
The default step would be to choose a degree or a subject that you are really passionate about. Not only are you going to invest a significant amount of time in the degree, but you are also going to invest a lot of money to live abroad and attend college. Also, the competition for jobs is over the roof and unless you are well versed with the subject that you are studying, it is extremely tough to get recruited.
Hence, be wise and spend a lot of time introspecting as to whether the degree is right for you. Spend some time in thinking what your long-term goals are and accordingly craft short-term goals so as to be sure that this degree will help you in achieving all that. This will also help you in bringing your A game to succeed in applying to Canadian University.
2. Next, Decide The Right University
Once you are sure of what subject you want to study, it is time to make that all-important decision- to choose the right university. A simple Google search will yield you the required results as to which universities are highly ranked. But, the best college might not be the right college for you. In this competitive world where every university is trying to become better than it previously was, just looking at rankings is not sufficient. A university is so much more than that. The infrastructure that a university provides, the kind of resources available on campus, the companies that hire students from that university, extra-curricular activities, professional exposure, and training… The list goes on.
Here are some tips that will help you decide to choose the RIGHT university for you:
- Check the official website of the university and go through each and every detail given there, regarding the student life, opportunities to build your profile, on campus help to write CVs, placement statistics etc.
- With the advent of social media, universities now have their own Facebook page, YouTube channel and so on. You can also surf information about the university on Quora where you might find answers from students who are currently studying there.
- Talk to student ambassadors and alumni of the respective university and clear your doubts.
- Connect on LinkedIn and see where the alumni are placed or on what projects are the current faculty working on.
- Go through the placement statistics and check if your dream company recruits students from that university.
If any doubts still persist, contact the school admission committee to clarify.
3. Check If You Are Eligible
Once you shortlist a few Canadian universities that you found to be good, check if you are eligible for that particular course. Here are some pointers that you can use:
- Generally, Canadian universities require you to have a minimum CGPA to be eligible. If you do not have a CGPA, and instead have your result in another form (like a percentage), email the university as to what procedure must be followed to convert your result in the required form.
- Also, there might be a specific number of years of schooling that you must have completed before applying for the course. For example, a minimum of 3 years of undergrad is required for some universities for a masters degree.
iii. Some degrees require you to have a prior knowledge of a subject to be eligible for the course. For example, some universities require you to have previous knowledge of Finance, if you are applying for Masters in Finance. In this case, if you do not fulfill the required prerequisites, you are not eligible to apply for the degree.
It is always best to contact the admission committee when in doubt when you apply to Canadian universities.
4. Prepare The Application Package
Canada has some top-notch universities like University of Toronto, Ivey Business School, HEC Montreal, University of Waterloo… the list is endless. Canadian universities have garnered worldwide recognition and hence, the competition is cut throat. Therefore, one must strategically plan their prep for the application package.
Tip: Students can contact the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (cicic.ca) for more information on degree recognition.
Some universities in Canada require you to apply to their university through a central application service, while some require you to apply individually. Hence, be sure to check beforehand as to how to apply. Also, the application deadlines start before 8 to 12 months of the actual course commencement. Hence, applying well in advance will give you an edge over other competitors.
The application package consists of a set of documents that you need to send to the university. They usually consist of:
- Statement of Purpose
- letters of Recommendations
- Previous academic records
- English Language Tests
- Management Aptitude Tests
The above-mentioned tests themselves need a lot of time to prepare to score well. Hence, plan your prep well in advance, so as to not mess up. Do not underestimate the time it takes to craft your SoP, Resume, LoRs, and essays. They require a lot of edits and hence it is always best to give ample amount of time in preparing them as the admission committee gives a lot of weight to these documents.
5. Take The Next Steps
Once you receive the admit, you must apply for the student permit. A student permit lasts for the duration of your course, plus 90 days. Do note that, if your course of study is six months or less, you do not need a study permit. Additionally, to obtain the student permit, you must prove that you have enough financial funds to manage your tuition fees and living expenses. Check out this link to know more about the details of a student permit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/study-canada/study-permit.html
You can also get a health insurance done. This way, if you fall ill while studying abroad, your medical expenses are taken care by the insurance.
If you have to travel a lot during your stay abroad, get a travel insurance done too.
6. Hacks To Finance Your Studies
The main concern revolving around studying abroad is financial funds. Education loans are one of the most common way that students use to pay the tuition fees. But, the living expenditures are high, especially because you will be spending money in a different currency. Here are a few tips that will help in reducing the cost of living in Canada.
According to the visa and immigration rules, you are allowed to work for 20 hours per week during your semester and 40 hours per week during your semester break. Utilising these hours in the right way can help cut down on a lot of expenditures and also earn some extra pocket money.
Here are some useful hacks:
Internships at Canadian Universities
Contact the career service in your university and look for internships in companies of your domain. They will not only help you in searching for the right internships but also help in writing an effective CV.
Part Time Jobs at Canadian Universities
If you have excellent driving skills, you can work for uber when you are free and make some extra cash. You could also work in the nearby cafeterias and restaurants and make a few bucks. You can also work in the library in your university and get paid per hour.
Also, it is important that you live in Canada as a Canadian and not as a tourist. For example, avoid partying in expensive restaurants. Take the public transport. Use the student permit effectively. Shop in supermarkets which have discounts for students. Learn to cook on your own and avoid eating out. These may look small, but remember that these small tips, when implemented consistently, can help you cut back a lot on your expenses.
There are a plethora of options available to fund your studies in Canada. The above-mentioned hacks were just the tip of the iceberg. To read an in-depth analysis on how to fund your studies, Remember, applying for studies in Canada requires a lot of pre-planning, and following the above-mentioned steps, will help ease out the application process.