All you need to know about pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Canada

A Bachelor’s degree is the first stepping stone of a successful career. It is the students’ entry into their higher education and it is the first time that they get to choose their discipline according to their interests. The undergraduate programme not only shapes the creativity, imagination, critical thinking and academic interests of a student, but it also helps them figure out which field they want to build their career in. Since the undergraduate level is so critical, lots of students choose to study abroad, in the world’s best universities, where their potential can really be fulfilled. Canada has been emerging as a popular destination for international students in the last few years. It is home to numerous high-ranking universities, ranks consistently high on all socio-economic indices and has a multicultural, tolerant culture, which makes it a perfect choice for any international student. If you are planning to complete your Bachelor’s degree from Canada, here is all you need to know:

Basic structure of a Bachelor’s degree

As mentioned before, the Bachelor’s degree is a stepping stone into the world of higher education. This is the first programme that a student earns after completing their high school or 12th grade. After the completion of a Bachelor’s degree, a student becomes eligible to work professionally in their chosen field, or specialise further through a Master’s degree. In countries from Europe or Asia, a Bachelor’s degree usually takes 3 years to complete, with certain exceptions. However, like the US, Canada too offers undergraduate programmes that are 4 year long. Apart from normal 4 year degrees, there are also others which might take a few extra years, such as a double major or honours degree or a law or medicine. The 4 year undergraduate structure allows students plenty of time to find where their interest lies and follow their passion. It also allows them to focus on the basics and build a strong foundation of critical thinking and academic research. 

Work experience

Apart from lectures and seminars in university, most undergraduate programmes in Canada also offer to include practical work experience as part of the degree. This is called a Co-Op Program and students who opt for this structure are required to spend one semester (about 4 months) in school and the other semester working as a full-time paid employee of their chosen company. This programme allows students to apply their knowledge practically and get an idea of how their chosen industry works. It also instils in them certain life skills like accountability and teamwork, while allowing them to earn extra income. Co-Op students therefore have a strategic advantage once they complete their degree, since they have work experience and practical training which others might not.

Eligibility and prerequisites 

The most basic requirement for application to an undergraduate programme in Canada, is the student having completed 12th grade of schooling with a minimum average of 65%. Different universities have different cut offs for accepting students and therefore the more highly ranked and competitive colleges only accept students with high scores in 12th grade. While 12th grade test scores are required during application, most Canadian universities also grant conditional admission based on 11th grade scores or predicted 12th grade scores. Once the 12th grade results are declared, the student is expected to submit the final transcript to get the admission confirmed. Apart from this, the only other common requirement is the English language proficiency test score. Canadian universities require all international students to take the IELTS test. The student must obtain a band of 6.5, with no individual band score less than 6, in order to be eligible to apply. 

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for Bachelor’s degrees vary a lot depending on the course one opts for, the length of the course, as well as the university one applies to. Tution in Canada is quite affordable as compared to other countries like the UK or US. On average, fees for a Bachelor’s degree in Canada ranges from 18,000 to 40,000 CAD. 

Financial aid

The tuition fees can present a significant financial burden for some, which is why there are various scholarships and financial aid programmes in Canada that can help international students. Once a student has secured admission in a college of their choice, they can then apply for scholarships to the university. Based on the merit of their application, the university might grant them scholarships of certain sums or in the form of a fee waiver. This varies from university to university and the students must undertake some research to find out how they can obtain financial aid. Some other common forms of financial aid in Canada are commonwealth scholarships, private or organisational scholarships, university grants, and provincial government scholarships. 

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