There are many paths to immigrate to Canada, each with its own suitability and limitations. One of the best pathways to permanent residency in Canada is by coming as an international student first. In this blog post, we discuss 3 ways to study in Canada that will allow you to stay and work towards your permanent residence when you graduate!
If you have a “dream school” in mind and know what you want to study, the most common path people pursue is to apply and enter directly into a university or college. This route does require careful research and understanding of the entry requirements, application process and deadlines of the program you are applying to.
Most undergraduate and graduate programs in Canada have a GPA (grade) requirement, an English proficiency requirement, and study background or courses requirement. Sometimes the application asks for a letter of intent, references, or an interview, especially for Master’s programs. Art, design, hospitality, or other career-oriented programs might require a resume to demonstrate related experience, or a portfolio to showcase foundational skills in the area.
Got the requirements all figured out?
Meet the GPA requirements?
Obtained a score good enough on your English test?
Got your documents ready?
If your answers to all these questions are yes, direct entry can be the best route for you to apply and get a Letter of Acceptance to begin your education journey in Canada.
There are still many things to watch out for before and during the application process, such as picking the programs that are eligible for post graduation work permit, using the right application platform, application deadlines, admissions follow-ups, and payment deadlines.
It is quite common that prospective students do not all meet the entry requirements of their dream program at their dream school. Sometimes your IELTS or TOEFL test scores might lack a few points, sometimes your GPA might fall short of the minimum requirements, and sometimes your background does not align with what the program requires (e.g. an applicant with engineering background applying to a MBA program).
In these cases, you would want to apply for a “pathway” or “foundation” program to bridge your way to your goal.
If after taking a thousand tests, your English proficiency score is still not meeting the requirements (sometimes that 0.5 points can make such a big difference!), you can consider coming to Canada first to study English, and then transition into a college or university of your choice. This is called the ESL pathway where English language schools partner with universities and colleges to send eligible English program graduates to the partner schools. It can be a great way if you want to come to Canada to get familiar with the environment and explore academic programs when you are here, or to get a conditional letter of acceptance to apply for your study permit.
Foundation programs work similarly and cater more for those who do not meet the academic or GPA requirements. Normally, you might study 1-2 terms in these prep programs at the university or colleges first, and then enter the official program. A few examples are an MBA foundation program to an MBA degree program, or an international foundation program to first-year in university.
If you are coming to Canada with your kids and want to find a suitable school for them, Canadian high school, middle school and elementary schools are generally all open to international applicants. Seats for international students at a Canadian public school are limited and the schools are quite popular, so the schools might close its international application early.
Applying early is the key here. One thing to note is that the application should not be made to each individual school, but to the governing body that oversees the operation of all schools within an area (i.e. school districts).
There are also many private schools with distinctive features in Canada, ranging from international student exclusive schools, boarding schools, all boys or all girls schools and university preparatory schools. Due to the uniqueness of the programs at these schools and the option to live in school residences, the tuition fee is generally higher than public schools.
Kids need a study permit to study legally in Canada as well! So plan ahead for their education and secure a seat early in the school you would want.
And of course, if you need more help with your own studies in Canada or want to connect with Visto or Patrice, make sure to sign up for the free Visto portal here.