Why study in Canada?
Canada, one of the largest developed countries in the world, is an ideal option for students of all interests and backgrounds to learn and explore. Being ranked at number 10 (one position ahead of the United States) in the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Index (HDI) 2016, Canada is considered one of the best countries for foreign students to live in. An amiable learning environment, research-oriented education structure, state-of-the-art infrastructure and immigration-friendly policies make Canada an ideal study abroad destination for Indian undergraduate students.
Here are the major points of attraction for undergrads opting for Canada:
• Affordable higher education
• Multi-cultural, friendly and safe student communities
• Post-Graduation Work Permit for international students (up to three years)
Canada’s high academic standards and rigorous educational quality controls have a direct impact on its undergraduate students, who earn a world-class education capable of opening doors to a better and fulfilling long-term career. Graduates’ success is also aided by the fact that a Canadian degree, diploma or certificate is globally well-recognized by employers around the world.
Canada’s educational institutions and polytechnics offer industry-aligned and career-focused programs with growing levels of applied research directed at solving current industrial problems. According to the Government of Canada, over 90% of its college graduates are successfully employed in their field of study within six months of graduation. Further, Canada ranks among the top Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in terms of its expenditure per student for post-secondary education.
In sum, these are the important highlights of a Canadian higher education:
• High-Quality Education: Canada is a study destination par excellence as it offers globally recognized Bachelor’s degrees with high educational standards and excellent career prospects
• Co-operative Education: Additional one year of study helps students to better understand their chosen market and/or industry, leading to enhanced job opportunities
• Student Work Permit Option: While studying, a student can work on-campus for 20 hours per week
• Affordable Education: Total cost of study is relatively lower than countries like the USA and the UK
• Cultural Diversity: Students from countries around the world apply to the Canadian universities, leading to greater cultural awareness and increased global exposure
• Safe Campus: Canada is one of the safest places to study with high standards of living and comparatively low levels of crime
Undergrads choosing Canada as their study abroad destination must be well-informed about the entry requirements of its universities. While eligibility criteria varies across universities, the common pointers to note are:
• Strong Academic Background: Performing exceptionally well (with a minimum of 70% marks) in high school is the most salient criteria required for admission to top Canadian universities
• Course-specific Requirements:
For Computer Science and Business Studies, successful completion of Grade 12 Math is required
For Engineering courses, successful completion of Grade 12 Physics, Chemistry, Math, and English are required
For Fine Arts courses, students must present a portfolio in support of his/her creative abilities
To apply to Canadian universities, a non-English speaking student must submit his/her results from English language proficiency tests that demonstrate the student’s competency in the language. Students must have a TOEFL score that ranges between 79-90 iBT and a IELTS score that ranges between 6-7.
Top Universities in Canada
With a well-established reputation among the world’s leading overseas study destinations, Canada is home to several notable elite universities. Geographically, the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia are the most preferred by overseas students as they are home to several top universities in Canada including:
University of British Columbia
University of Toronto
Notable features of a few top universities are as follows:
University of Toronto (U of T)
21 faculties and professional schools offer degrees in more than 300 fields of study
Most popular programs are Arts, Humanities, Life Sciences and Medicine
20% of its students come from 160 countries
University of British Columbia (UBC)
Boasts some of Vancouver city’s best cultural attractions and research facilities, including the Museum of Anthropology, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, the UBC Botanical Garden and the Centre for Plant Research
Offers options to study abroad at any of UBC’s 175 partner institutions in 42 different countries (including the United States)
UG programs: Undergraduate courses in Canada are for four years with two semesters of 18-20 credits per semester. Only a few top colleges such as the University of Toronto accept credit transfer and Advanced Placement (AP) Exam scores.
Co-op programs: These are structured programs that combine in-class training with periods of actual work. They offer undergraduate students networking opportunities and valuable work experience during the period of study.
Generally, the duration of a Bachelor’s degree in Canada is four years. However, co-operative degree programs have a duration of five years.
Canadian universities have a comparatively lower tuition fee than the US and other study abroad destinations as they receive public funding from the government in order to meet their expenses.
The average cost of tuition and living expenses for a Canadian undergraduate education ranges between 42000 – 53000 CAD* per annum.
*CAD: 1 Canadian dollar = 53.35 INR approximately
Student Visa Terms and Provisions
Canada provides an added advantage of allowing students to work while they study (though it is important to note that undergraduate students are not allowed to work during their first year). The total co-op work experience cannot be more than 50 percent of the total program hours. Canadian student visa requirements include proof of funds to support the student in Canada, in addition to proof of tuition fees. The living costs shown must be at least CND 10,000 per year of stay (CND 11,000 if applying to universities in Quebec).
Points to remember:
• Application must be made at least four months prior to the program start date
• Evidence of funds adequate to cover the study expenses must be provided
• Visa appointment and medical check-up will be followed by an interview (depending on the analysis of the applicant’s application)
• Average processing time for Canadian student visas is approximately one month
Upon successful completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Canada, students are eligible to apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). A permit may be issued for the entire length of the program (eight months being the minimum course duration) under the PGWPP. If the applicant opts for a Master’s program, an extension of the study permit must be sought by applying for permit renewal at least 30 days before the expiry of the current permit.
Work Permit Details:
• Students are allowed to work 20 hours per week
• A valid study permit is required
• Post Study Work Permit is provided for international students for up to three years
• Ample job opportunities are available in the fields of IT, Engineering, Science and Mathematics
• Recent graduates are in high demand
• Strong networking and references play a vital role in career establishment
• Early exposure to the prevailing job market is an important advantage
Checklist: Admissions Requirements
• Most universities require a minimum of 12 years of secondary school education(universities in Ontario and Quebec require 13 years)
• While SAT scores are required by some universities, in general it is not a mandatory requirement
• TOEFL/IELTS scores are mandatorily required, and those applying to independent colleges for diploma/certificate courses must provide their IELTS scores
• Programs like Architecture and other Fine Arts courses require the presentation of a portfolio
Deadlines and Intake
The deadlines for Canadian universities generally fall between January and March. Undergraduate students are advised to apply early to increase their chances of securing admission to the top colleges. Primary intake is in September/Fall Session, though a few universities do allow for a January/Winter Session intake.