7 steps for students wanting to study in Canada
Studying abroad is fast becoming a must-have experience for students all over India. Not only does it offer access to top universities around the globe, but it also instils life skills like independence, responsibility, tolerance, acceptance, communication and leadership in the student. Apart from popular destinations like the US or UK, Canada has been emerging as a great place for international students to complete their higher education. Home to lots of excellent universities, reasonable tuition fees and lower costs of living as well as Canada’s high standard of living are all very lucrative for students wanting to study abroad. If one wishes to complete one’s higher education in Canada, here are 7 essential steps to follow:
Selection of universities
The first step to studying abroad in any country is the selection of universities you want to apply to. Students who wish to study in Canada should first identify their own interests and the field or degree they want to pursue. The next step would be going online and researching about the various top ranked universities in Canada and which one is best for the programme you are interested in. Once you have thoroughly researched both the courses and their criteria, you can shortlist your preferences for the rest of the process. Some of the best universities in Canada are University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, McGill University, etc.
Appearance for tests
Most universities in Canada have certain prerequisites that students must fulfil before applying. Certain universities are satisfied with simply your CGPA or percentage in your earlier institute, but some need test scores to standardised tests such as SAT, GMAT, GRE, ACT, etc. On the other hand, almost all Canadian universities require international students to pass English proficiency tests like TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, etc. While researching your preferred university, ensure you find out which of these scores are needed for the application and then appear for the necessary exams.
Once you have your list of shortlisted universities and the required test scores, it is time to complete your application. For most Canadian universities, apart from basic details and identification, the application requires students to submit previous academic records as well as the prerequisite test scores. Students will further be asked to write a detailed Statement of Purpose (SoP) and perhaps also a personal essay on any given topic. Students should take their time and write these essays carefully since they hold quite a lot of importance in the process.
Once the application is completed, you will receive the answer from the university shortly. When you have secured an admission, you can move on to the next step i.e. getting financial aid. Now, while this is not a mandatory step, it is helpful since studying abroad can be a financial burden for a lot of people. You can go through your university’s website to find out whether they offer merit and need based scholarships. You can also apply for government grants or financial aid programs that you might be eligible for. Since Canadian universities are eager to admit bright international students, there is a chance you might be offered significant aid.
After completing all the previous steps, securing admission and aid, it is time to actually begin the preparation to leave and the Visa application is an important part of the same. Once the date of the start of the semester draws closer, students must apply for a student visa, using all the documents provided by the university to prove that they have secured admission. Apart from this, you should prepare documentation related to your citizenship, identification, financial status, family background, etc. according to the requirements of the Canadian immigration department. This step is more of a formality since most students who have secured admission in a Canadian university are granted student visas for entry into the country.
This is the first step to be taken when you finally enter Canada and are about to begin a new semester. Finding accommodation is one of the main tasks to be completed before the semester actually begins and it can be a source of stress for some. Students can either opt for on or off campus accommodation in Canada. If you want to stay on campus, you have to inform the university before the set deadline. Otherwise you can also opt to stay in a rented flat or shared house with other international students. You can use social media sites or other such resources to find suitable places to stay as well as roommates and flatmates to stay with.
Students who want to study in Canada can also work part time along with their studies, to earn extra income to help with the living expenses there. According to the student visa rules, students can work up to 20 hours per week during normal semesters, and up to 40 hours per week during semester breaks or holidays. Once you settle in your new accommodation and start your college life, it is important that you start looking for a suitable part time job, since that would not only help bear the cost of living, but also give you professional experience. Students can opt to work at restaurants or cafes, as research or teaching assistants, secretaries, freelancers, etc.