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Study in Canada

 

Canadian Education

The education system in Canada encompasses both publicly-funded and private schools, including: community colleges/ technical institutes, career colleges, language schools, secondary schools, summer camps, universities and university colleges.


Education is a provincial responsibility under the Canadian constitution, which means there are significant differences between the education systems of the different provinces. However, education is important to Canadians, and standards across the country are uniformly high.


In general, Canadian children attend kindergarten for one or two years at the age of four or five on a voluntary basis. All children begin Grade One at about six years of age. The school year normally runs from September through the following June but in some instances, January intake dates are possible. Secondary schools go up to Grades 11 or 12, depending on the province. From there, students may attend university, college or Cégep studies. Cégep is a French acronym for College of General and Vocational Education, and is two years of general or three years of technical education between high school and university. The province of Québec has the Cégep system.

 

High Quality Education
Education institutions are not officially ranked in Canada, but you will find quality institutions across the country. When choosing your school in Canada, consider the type, size and location of the institution. If you are interested in a particular area of study, investigate which schools have more to offer in that discipline.

 

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Education System in Canada

Universities
Canada has a large selection of universities and university colleges located in both urban and rural settings in every region of the country. Our universities are internationally known for the quality of teaching and research. Degrees from Canadian universities are considered to be equivalent to those from American and other Commonwealth universities. Canadian universities are largely publicly funded; as a result they are of a consistently high quality, regardless of location or area of study. As well, they all retain a high degree of academic autonomy.


Full-time student enrolments at individual universities range from over 35,000 to less than 1,000. In addition, most universities have a large number of part-time or continuing education students. They offer a broad range of courses and a full range of degrees from undergraduate to doctorates, and can also offer certificates and professional degrees. Fees for universities differ depending on the province, institution and program of study.
The university year usually runs from September to May. Some universities are on a semester or trimester system, with all courses available even in the summer. There is no Canada-wide entrance test: each university sets its own admission standards and assesses the qualifications of each applicant individually.
As Canada has two official languages - English and French - an international student can take a degree either at an English language or French language institution. Some universities offer instruction in both languages. However, students do not have to be fluent in both languages to attend a Canadian university.
To qualify for a degree program at most English-speaking universities, students for whom English is not a first language must have passed an English examination test. The TOEFL is commonly accepted but Canadian universities often have their own tests for students or may accept other English examination tests such as the IELTS.


Your local Canadian Education Centre (CEC) can provide valuable information on English examination tests acceptable to Canadian universities. CEC staff can also advise students on whether they may qualify for an exemption from English examinations. In addition, CECs have extensive materials on Canadian schools and can also provide counselling to students on finding the appropriate institution and applying for study in Canada.
If you are interested in studying at a French language institution, please note that there is no standardized French language test that international students are required to pass in order to qualify for a degree program. French universities, however, will determine the level of a student's French language skills on a case-by-case basis, and may choose to administer their own written tests if language skills are in question.


University Colleges
University Colleges combine Canadian university and college traditions, with a strong base of applied and academic programs offered in campus environments. As the name suggests, a university college offers university degrees as well as college diploma and certificate programs. Students can expect to find a wide range of program choices at university colleges, including English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.
As a component of the Canadian university system, university colleges offer students a choice of either academically-oriented university degree programs or the more practically-oriented college diplomas and certificates. As part of the Canadian college system, university colleges are distinguished by their strong student support services, small classes and strong campus environments. They also may offer combined degree/diploma programs and university transfer programs.


College and Technical Institutions
Colleges and Technical Institutions are popular education choices in Canada; they offer professional programs of 1 to 3 years (often including a work term) that are highly applicable in the job market. Some community colleges offer university transfer programs that allow students to take courses that are parallel to those offered for the first two years of a four year university program. Students must still apply to the university to gain admission to complete the last two years of the four year program.


The 175 post-secondary institutions which are members of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) are officially known by a range of titles, including Community College, College, Technical Institute, University College, and Cégep. All of these institutions have the primary function of responding to the training needs of business, industry and the public service sectors. They also meet the educational needs of vocationally-oriented secondary school graduates, employment-seeking university graduates, as well as the lifelong learning requirements of the adult population. Historically, these institutions offered diplomas as community needs change and evolve and at least 18 are now granting degrees and applied degrees.


The two- to three-year (or shorter) college programs typically offer specific, vocationally-oriented curricula, as well as general academic concentrations. In fact, a significant number of university graduates attend college upon completion of their degrees to acquire vocational skills for employment. Colleges typically have more vocationally-related curricula than universities, with smaller classes, off-campus course offerings, a greater ratio of laboratory space to classroom space, an interactive teaching style and inclusive entry criteria. Employment-related programs, including apprenticeship and continuing education courses, often maintain varying entry levels and range from the technologies to the creative arts. Colleges maintain renowned Centres of Excellence in many fields such as information technology, mining, the environment, and hospitality and tourism. They design curriculum and hands-on training for future participants in a skilled and specialized Canadian work force. Other full and part-time programs include health, business, academic upgrading, applied arts, social services, adult literacy, and university preparation.


The uniqueness of Canadian colleges lies in the combination of employer-centred curricula within comprehensive learning institutions which respond to national economic policy. Colleges are dynamic institutions, constantly changing to meet the economic and social needs of the communities in which they work. As such, several colleges have achieved ISO certification and all strive for quality and excellence in meeting the changing learning needs of society.


Career Colleges
Career Colleges in Canada are privately owned institutions that offer training programs that provide students with practical skills for the job market after a short period of instruction. Students seeking short-term training programs in multimedia, film studies, computer/internet studies, graphic design and hospitality to name a few, may want to consider applying to a career college.

 

A technical/career college is a privately owned and operated school with the main objective of preparing students for the job market after a short period of instruction. The emphasis at technical/career colleges is on practical skills over a broad range of programs. They may specialize in specific areas such as business, computers and secretarial skills. Although privately owned, these schools are provincially approved and regulated, ensuring that program standards and quality are maintained. Career colleges have highly competitive fee structures.

 

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Cost of Education

Studying in Canada is not free, but it is affordable. The average cost for a foreign student for one school year (8 months) in an Arts & Science program is C$ 11,903.

 

Canada offers the lowest tuition rates for foreign students compared to the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and the US.  Rates at U.S. public universities were almost 1/3 higher than fees for Bachelor’s degrees in Canada, while U.S. private university fees were more than double. 

*The Association of Commonwealth Universities 2003

 

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Accommodation and Living Expenses

Homestays
Many Canadian families welcome international students. This may be an effective way for you to improve your English or French, learn about daily life in Canada, and meet new, friendly people. Homestays also offer a more stable and secure environment for younger people coming to study in Canada. Typically, a homestay consists of a Canadian family hosting a student in their home while the student attends classes in Canada. Meals aNd a private, furnished room are provided in the home, and the host family welcomes and encourages participation in family and community activities.
Homestays are arranged by the school and students are matched with families who share similar interests. Amenities and location vary from home to home, but preferences can and should be indicated to the school so that a suitable match may be found. Many schools can arrange for a school representative or homestay family to meet you at the airport when you arrive.


Prices will vary according to location, and some homestay services will charge an initial placement fee of up to $200 CDN.


For more information, contact the school you will be attending.


Average cost of homestay accommodation: $400 - $800 CDN per month.


Residence/Dormitory
Many schools have accommodation conveniently located on or near their campus. Rooms can vary in size and in quality, and many dormitories have shared kitchens, toilets, showers and laundry facilities. There is usually an option of having either a shared or private room, and dormitories are usually separated by gender. In some cases, there are cafeterias and meal plans that can be included in the cost of the room. Most dormitories come furnished, and are an ideal way to become involved in campus activities and meet other students.
Average cost of residence/dormitory rooms: $3,000 - $7,500 CDN per school year. For more information, contact the school you will be attending.


2. Off-Campus Housing


Renting
Renting is an option open to students, but price, quality and availability vary greatly. Rents are often quite high in the major cities, and places are not always available. Many students share accommodation to keep costs down and usually find places to meet their needs and preferences. Many schools offer an off-campus housing service, which can provide affordable listings that are near the campus. At this service centre, those seeking shared accommodations can also find roommates. Once on campus, you will often find a variety of postings throughout the campus advertising nearby housing, but it is always best to make arrangements before coming to Canada.
There are different types of places you can rent as an international student. A house is usually too expensive for one student to rent, but many students share or rent suites (a self-contained unit with a kitchen, toilet, bath and bedroom) within a larger home. Apartments are another option, where one has a kitchen, toilet, bath, and one or two bedrooms. Most rental apartments do not include furniture or meals. Some, however, include the cost of heat and/or electricity in the rent.
Listings of available apartments or homes are published in local newspapers. It is the responsibility of the student to determine suitability as schools do not inspect these places nor can they make any other arrangements. Most landlords require a damage deposit and rent is paid on a monthly basis in cash or by cheque. Agreements with landlords should be made with care. Carefully examine and know the terms of any lease before you sign it. Carefully examine the apartment or suite before signing a lease to determine whether anything needs to be repaired by the landlord before you move in. If you experience problems with your rental accommodation, you should contact a provincial residential tenancy office.
Average cost of shared accommodations in Canada: $250 - $700 CDN monthly.

Average cost of a suite or apartment: $400 - $1,500 CDN monthly.
Things to remember when choosing accommodation in Canada:
• Try to make arrangements ahead of time but be especially sure to do so if you require accommodation during the summer months, and during holidays and festivals.
• If you are staying in a hotel or hostel, always inspect the room on arrival before making a payment. If you are unsure about the location, ask the local tourism association.

Prices can vary greatly according to location and time of year, so try to investigate before you leave. Canada is a friendly and wonderful place, and having made the proper arrangements, you will undoubtedly enjoy your stay regardless of where you choose to live in Canada.

 

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Required Tests

Canadian colleges and universities accept either TOEFL or IELTS scores  as proof of English proficiency. Depending upon the institution, the score requirements may vary - between 213-250 for TOEFL and  5.5 -7.5 bands in IELTS.


GRE is required for Master's level admission, and some universities and programs may need a good score in the Subject Test too. However, for MBA admission, good score in GMAT is essential, in addition to academic performance, other tests' scores and requirements as prescribed by the B schools individually.

 

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Work Prospects

Full-time students registered in a degree or diploma-granting course are allowed to work on the campus of the institution at which they are registered without the need for an employment authorisation. This includes on-campus employment for graduate, teaching or research assistants.


Spouses of full-time students are eligible for open or open/restricted employment authorisation, depending on medical requirements having been met.

 

Students whose intended employment forms an integral part of their course of study such as undergraduate co-op programs, some programs offered by career colleges or language schools and some high school programs.

 

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Documents Required
  • Completed Student Application form.
  • Completed Supplementary Questionnaire for students and postdoctoral researchers.
  • Official letter of acceptance from Canadian university, college or Technical Institute.
  • Certificate of Acceptance from the province of Quebec (Only if you plan to study in province of Quebec)
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores if applicable
  • Passport, valid for at least one year from the planned date of entry to Canada, plus valid passports of any accompanying dependants.
  • Bank Draft for the applicable visa processing fees

 

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Final Documents for Visa

Every applicant must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources available to them to pay tuition fees, maintain him/herself and dependants who go to Canada, and to pay return transportation costs without engaging in employment in Canada. For example, students without accompanying dependants must demonstrate that they have at least $10,000 Cdn plus the cost of tuition for a twelve-month period, plus the cost of transportation to and fro from Canada. Canadian $10,000 is the base amount considered adequate to cover all costs, other than tuition, for one person for a twelve-month period. Some educational institutions require that more funds be available; if the local cost of living is higher than average, more money may also be required.

 

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