How to Choose the right Canadian university as an international student can be strenuous.
You have to consider many factors, such as tuition fees, scholarships, location, climate, culture, language, programs, reputation, and other important factors.
How do you even start to narrow down your options and make the best decision for your future?
If you’re feeling stretched by this process, you’re not alone. Many international students struggle with finding the perfect fit for their academic and personal goals in Canada.
It’s normal to feel anxious, confused, and even frustrated by the sheer amount of information and choices available.
But don’t worry – we’re here to help.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through some of the most crucial steps and tips on how to choose the right Canadian university as an international student.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you want and need from your Canadian education and how to achieve it.
So let’s get started, shall we?
How to Choose the Right Canadian University as an International Student
If you want to choose the right Canadian university as an international student, there are some crucial steps to take to arrive at a good choice. They are:
1. Ask Yourself Some Key Questions
To choose the right Canadian university as an international student, the first thing you need to do is to ask yourself some essential questions about your preferences and expectations. These questions will help you narrow your search and focus on the universities that match your criteria.
Here are some examples of questions you should ask yourself:
(a) Questions that Bother on Academic Interests
What are your academic interests and goals? What kind of program do you want to pursue? Do you want a general or a specialized degree? Do you want to do research or co-op? Do you want to continue your studies after graduation or enter the workforce?
(b) Questions that Bother Finances
What are your financial resources and limitations? How much can you pay for tuition, living expenses, travel costs, and other fees? Do you qualify for any scholarships or financial aid? How will you fund your studies and manage your budget?
(c) Questions on Personal Preferences
What are your personal preferences and needs? Where do you want to live in Canada? Do you prefer a big city or a small town? Do you like cold or warm weather? Do you want to be close to nature or cultural attractions? Do you want to live on campus or off campus? Do you want to be part of a diverse or homogeneous community? Do you need to learn or improve your English or French skills?
(d) Questions on Career Aspirations and Opportunities
What are your career aspirations and opportunities? How will studying in Canada help you achieve your professional goals? How are the job market and the industry in your field of study in Canada? How easy or difficult is it to get a work permit or a permanent residency after graduation?
These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself before applying to any Canadian university. Of course, there are no right or wrong answers – only what works best for you. The more honest and specific you are with yourself, the easier it will be to find the university that suits your needs and wants.
2. Carry out Some Research
Once you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to do some research on the different universities in Canada. There are over 90 public universities in Canada, each with its strengths, weaknesses, specialties, and features. You can use various sources and tools to compare and contrast them, such as:
(i) The official websites of the universities: Here, you can find detailed information on the programs, admission requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, facilities, services, rankings, and more.
(ii) The online databases and directories of Canadian universities: Here, you can find comprehensive and updated lists of all the universities in Canada, along with their profiles and links. Some examples are Universities Canada, Maclean’s University Rankings, QS World University Rankings, and Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
(iii) The social media platforms and forums of the Universities: Here, you can find authentic and candid feedback from current and former students, faculty members, staff members, alumni, and others.
(iv) The online reviews and testimonials of the universities: Here, you can find unbiased and honest opinions from people who have experienced studying in Canada. You can also see the ratings and scores of the universities based on various criteria. Some examples are Niche, Studyportals, and Google Reviews.
These are just some of the sources and tools you can use to research the different universities in Canada.
Of course, you should not rely on one source alone – you should cross-check and verify the information from multiple sources.
You should also be critical and objective when evaluating the information – don’t let yourself be swayed by marketing gimmicks, biased opinions, or outdated data.
3. Shortlist Your Preferred Universities.
After doing your research to ensure you choose the right Canadian university as an international student, your next step is to have a shortlist of the universities that meet your criteria and interest you the most.
4. Apply for Admission
The next step is to apply to them. This is where things get a bit more complicated and challenging, as each university has its own application process, deadlines, documents, and fees.
You need to be very careful and diligent when applying to avoid any mistakes or delays that could jeopardize your chances of getting accepted.
Tips for Applying for Admission to Canadian Universities as an International Student
Here are some general tips on how to apply to Canadian universities as an international student
The application process can take several months, so you should start preparing and planning at least a year before your intended start date. This will give you enough time to research, choose, and apply to your preferred universities, as well as to arrange your visa, travel, accommodation, and other logistics.
Check the requirements
Each university has its admission requirements, such as academic transcripts, standardized test scores, language proficiency tests, letters of recommendation, personal statements, portfolios, interviews, etc. You need to check the specific requirements for each program and university you’re applying to, and make sure you meet them or exceed them. You also need to check if you need to submit any additional documents or fees for international students.
Gather Your Documents
Once you know what documents you need to submit, you need to gather them as soon as possible. You may need to request official copies of your transcripts or test scores from your previous institutions or testing centers. You may also need to translate or certify some of your documents if they are not in English or French. You should also prepare your statement, portfolio, or any other document that showcases your personality, skills, achievements, and goals.
Most Canadian universities accept online applications through their websites or a common application system such as OUAC or ApplyBoard. You need to create an account, fill out the application form, upload your documents, pay the application fee (if applicable), and submit your application before the deadline. You should also keep track of your application status and respond to any requests or updates from the universities promptly.
Apply for a visa
Once you receive an offer of admission from a Canadian university, you need to apply for a study permit, which is a type of visa that allows you to study in Canada for more than six months. You need to apply for a study permit as soon as possible after receiving your offer letter, as it can take several weeks or months to process. You need to provide proof of acceptance from a designated learning institution (DLI), proof of identity (such as a passport), proof of financial support (such as bank statements or scholarship letters), and other documents depending on your country of origin and purpose of study.
These are just some of the general tips on how to apply to Canadian universities as an international student. Of course, you should always follow the specific instructions and guidelines from each university and the Canadian government when applying. You should also seek professional advice or assistance if you encounter any difficulties or doubts during the process.
What to Do After Choosing the Right Canadian University as an International Student and Getting an Admission Offer.
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the application process and received an offer of admission from a Canadian university.
Now what? Well, it’s not yet Uhuru. There are still some things you need to do before you pack your bags and board your flight to Canada. Here are some of them:
Accept your offer.
Once you receive an offer of admission from a Canadian university, you need to accept it by following the instructions from the university. You may need to pay a deposit fee or sign a contract to secure your spot in the program. You may also need to confirm your enrollment or register for courses online.
Arrange your accommodation.
Depending on your preferences and budget, you may choose to live on campus or off campus in Canada. If you want to live on campus, you need to apply for residence through the university’s housing office as soon as possible after accepting your offer of admission. On-campus accommodation is usually more convenient and cheaper, but it might have limited availability and require an application. Off-campus accommodation gives you more freedom and flexibility, but it might be more expensive and harder to find. You can use online platforms, social media groups, or university resources to search for housing options and connect with potential landlords or roommates. Make sure you understand the terms of the lease and inspect the property before signing anything.
Plan your finances.
Studying in Canada can be costly, so you need to plan your finances carefully and realistically. You need to consider tuition fees, living expenses, travel costs, insurance, books, and other expenses. You can look for scholarships, grants, loans, or part-time jobs to help fund your studies, but make sure you meet the eligibility criteria and deadlines. You can also use online tools or apps to track your spending and budgeting.
Prepare for your departure.
Before you leave your home country, you need to do some preparations to make your transition easier and smoother. You need to pack your essentials, such as clothing, toiletries, documents, electronics, and medications. You also need to book your flight tickets, arrange your airport transportation, notify your bank and phone provider, and say goodbye to your family and friends. You can also do some research on Canadian culture, weather, laws, and customs to avoid any culture shock or misunderstandings.
These are some of the things you need to do before you start your journey as an international student in Canada. It might seem overwhelming at first, but don’t worry – you’re not alone. There are many resources and support services available to help you along the way. And remember – this is an exciting opportunity to learn new things, meet new people, and explore a new country. So enjoy it!