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How to study in Canada? (Updated 2019)

Source: ilscTV

If studying abroad is your plan, be it masters or PhD, Canada will be at the top of your list. There are few students who are still confused about how can one study in Canada. We are providing answers to all your questions of applying for a Canada Study Permit.

Why Canada?

One should understand that applying to a Canadian education institution requires an understanding of different requirements for schools and the courses they offer. Students need to conduct careful analysis of the rules and regulations applicable to the study permit application process. Ideally, you should start planning for your stay in Canada at least one year in advance. Common requirements for all universities and institutions include proficiency in either English or French, an updated passport, proof of passing language tests with minimum grades/bands, and documents stating that you can finance your study as well as the stay considering cost of living
in the country.

How to Choose Your Course and Institution?


The first step you should think of while choosing an institution is to determined by its status as a Designated Learning Institute. Only DLIs can admit international students. You will be required to decide a specific major when applying to study in Canada. The Canadian universities give a flexibility towards switching in between courses; however, it is best to compare the options in advance and choose a major that you are truly interested in pursuing.

Which tests are required?


In order to make it to Canada successfully, every foreign student needs to prove their proficiency in English or French. IELTS is the preferred test for proficiency in English, while some institutions also accept the scores of the Cambridge English: Advanced or TOEFL exam score.

For French, you can give tests like DALF, DELF, or TCF, although the TEF exam is the most common option. Choose the required test, pay the fees, and book your dates well in advance like a month or so. You have to brush up your language skills to make sure your application does not get rejected. We will see this in detail.

Choosing and Applying to Universities

  • By this time, you may have shortlisted universities you want to apply for. Having the choice of applying to a more than five universities can be beneficial but you need to take into account the application fee, which varies from $100 to $250.
  • Never apply to Universities at random.
  • Comparing your options, identifying your preferred course and university is always good.
  • Also, pick one or two alternatives as backups.
  • Be careful when filling in the application form and make sure you provide correct information backed up with all the documents required.
  • Once this is done, it is time to patiently wait until you receive your acceptance. Once you settle your interest, the university will send an acceptance letter.

Applying for the Study Permit   

Now that you have an acceptance letter and your institution ready to admit you, it is time to apply for your Canada Study Permit.

You can either apply online or visit your local visa application center. Your application must be ready with the acceptance letter received, valid passport, and documents to prove that you have sufficient finances to stay and study in Canada.
If you have applied to a university in the province of Quebec, then along with your acceptance letter you will also receive, a “Certificate acceptation du Québec” (CAQ). Make sure you carry this document in your study permit application.

Traveling Time

Once the application has been submitted and an interview (only if needed) has been conducted, the immigration officer will decide upon your study permit application. Once it is accepted, it is now time to start planning your travel to Canada.

Your permit will have a start date on it, which is the date from which the permit comes into action. You need to keep in mind that you won’t be permitted to enter Canada before this date. So, you need to plan your travel accordingly.

Final Action

The immigration officer will verify your documents and your permit at the port of entry prior to allowing you in entering Canada. This is the final step of the immigration procedures and you can now focus on starting your experience as an international student in Canada.

How to apply to a Canadian university

Now, let’s get into detail!

Applying to the universities in Canada can be very tricky because each program and university can have its own rules and requirements. And when we mean tricky we mean this: the grading system, the number of programs you can apply to, even the structure of the academic year – you may have 2 semesters or 3 trimesters, every university and geographical region has its own standard, so, if you want to stay informed, be close to your university and follow your e-mails regularly. And, before you take out the whole list of Universities and think of applying to each, you should consider the application fee that ranges from 100 to 250 CAD.


After applying, you will receive an e-mail acknowledging your application. This e-mail will either ask for more required information or other documents or give you a personal number, which you will have to memorize and never forget it.

Education in Canada

The universities are typically divided into semesters as follows:

  • For the first semester from September to December.
  • For the second semester from January to April.
  • For the third semester, the whole summer, only according to your major.

Cost of Studying in Canada

Tuition fees can range from 5.500 to 29.000 CAD/year depending on your university, the region you wish to study in, or even on your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Since you won’t be living in the university campus, you need to consider all other expenses which include:

  • Rent/Housing
  • Public transportation cost
  • Food
  • Books and studying-related supplies

Taking these expenses into consideration, living in Canada can take you to numbers around 13.800 and 46.000 CAD/year. You can refer here for information on Cost of living and studying in Canada.

Applying for a Canadian student visa

Canada has an online visa application process making it one of the most convenient countries you can apply to.
Here is a general overview of the Canadian student visa:

  • You can apply either online or in office
  • The general fee for foreign students is approximately 150 CAD
  • You may be required to submit your biometrics, which can add up to 83 CAD. Also, the whole list of documents you will have to submit in order to be accepted is:
  • An acceptance letter from a Canadian university
  • Proof of identity which can be ID card or your passport
  • Proof of financial support


This is not the end of the application process, but it gives you an idea of the necessities and the documents you will have to carry and present. For the students of India, you can visit the link here for more information: Canadian student visa for students from India

Working in Canada during and after your studies

Yes, you heard it right! Canada lets you work while you are studying! But it only lets you work part-time! Because Canada knows the value of time and the importance of having an education, it includes in its study permit the right to work, though only part-time, while you are studying. Which means that, for up to 20 hours a week, while classes are in session, you can work either on or off campus. But, during the breaks and holidays, you are allowed to work full time, yay!

You can work in Canada for up to three years after your graduation, only if you’ve applied for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

Financial aid to study in Canada

Scholarships, grants, and subsidies are available for foreign students wishing to study in Canada, at both under-graduate and post-graduate levels. These can include specific scholarships for sports and academic achievement, and subject-specific scholarships.

You may also be eligible to apply for a scholarship offered by the university exclusively at which you are planning to study. Although, in all cases, it’s important to apply as early as possible since scholarship funding is limited and highly competitive.

International students are also advised to research study abroad scholarship opportunities offered by organizations in their home country.

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About the Author

I am a study abroad content expert, associated with the study abroad industry since years. I am a firm believer that study abroad is once a lifetime experience and everyone should get a chance of having this experience.

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