The A-Z of Canadian University Application

As an international student, the first step to being able to study in Canada is to know that you first need to be accepted at any recognized Canadian University before applying for your student visa or study permit. A study permit allows you to study and stay in Canada for the duration of your study period in the country. 

Before applying to a university, it is important to understand that you must do some deep research into the programs and courses you are interested in studying. You must also be aware of the requirements set out by the universities. This information can mostly be found on the university’s websites. Depending on which Canadian province you are interested in studying in, the admissions and or application process may vary.

However, applying to a Canadian university is relatively easy and straightforward. There are over 100 universities in Canada alone and each one of them is different in its own way.

The following are the five key steps of applying for a Canadian university.  

Understand the application requirements for each school

In Canada, the responsibility for education is mainly at the hands of the provincial government, which is why it is important to understand that when applying for university in Canada generally you are applying for each institution individually. Although there are exceptions, such as the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) where you can apply to multiple universities in one single application. There are some provinces that have similar systems to the OUAC, but usually, you will be applying to universities individually.

Apply online

Applications can be found and completed in full online. The entire process takes no more than one hour at most. Most applications only require your biographical information, educational history, and information such as your intended program of interest and start date. Usually, there is no supplementary information required such as reference letters, essays, or test scores. It is important to realize that even though this is the case, there may be exceptions depending on each individual university. 

Double-check on each university’s application deadline

Typically, Canadian university deadlines are later than in most countries. Most applications don’t open until October or in some cases, the deadlines range from January to June. Some universities are also known to have multiple start dates, this is to accommodate students studying in various countries or curricula. The usual start date is in September of each year, but some universities have January or even May start dates so there are many options for students.

Know what final requirements you need to enroll

Canadian universities will typically offer you a “conditional offer of admission”. What this means is that they are admitting you to the program you applied for (or an alternate program if you are not qualified for your preferred program), but there are certain conditions that you still have to meet in order to obtain full admission. 

These conditions usually include maintaining your academic average and successfully completing and graduating from your high school program.   

International students can also use these conditional Letters of Admission to start the application process for a study permit. All non-Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents are required to have a valid study permit to pursue studies that are longer than four months. 


Since education is the provincial government’s responsibility in Canada, there is no Canadian national standard for semester arrangements. Most universities and colleges usually run from early September until late April or early May. Usually, the winter session is split into two terms running from September to December and then January to April. A few institutions such as the University of Waterloo and Simon Fraser University, run a full tri-semester system providing full courses throughout the summer.

5 reasons why you should pursue university education in Canada

Canada, is home to 25 Nobel laureates, is also home to an average of some 200,000 international students each year. Canadian are welcoming and respectful of differences. Canadian educational institutions encourage new students from abroad to grow their international student population. The Canadian government strives to improve educational standards each year and is the only western country to spend more on education in its national budget allocation.

World-class universities

Canada is home to some of the world’s top-ranking universities, where students get global exposure and quality education. There are nearly 100 universities in the country four of which – the University of Toronto, McGill University, University of British Columbia, and University of Alberta are in the top 100 in the QS World University Ranking 2016-2017.


As an international student, studying in Canada can save you more money than if you studied in the United States or in Europe. Universities in Canada are known to offer a variety of scholarships, and the average cost of tuition is one of the most affordable in the developed world. Although living costs vary according to location their average costs are lower than those in the U.S.

In addition to that, most of the Universities in Canada are publicly funded, which means standards and level of excellence are the same across all institutions in the country.  

Easy student visa

Canada has an easy and hustle-free visa application process for international students. Once an individual receives an acceptance letter, you are required to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation (as required by the university), proof of funding, and proof of language proficiency.

Work opportunities

It is possible to work as an international student in Canada. You are even allowed to work on-campus or off-campus without the need for additional permits if you meet certain criteria. Most companies including those from the U.S are keen to hire graduates from Canadian universities upon graduation. Furthermore, there is an opportunity to work in Canada after graduation through the post-graduate work program. The post-graduate program also helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada.  

Long term possibilities

After graduating from a Canadian university, you are eligible to apply for a work permit from within the country. After working in Canada for a few years you will be able to apply for permanent residence and eventually Canadian citizenship.

Student visa

Canada is the only country among the developed countries that spends more on education and therefore has some of the world’s best universities, as confirmed by Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2015-2016 where 8 of them are ranked in the best 200. Canada’s universities and colleges offer plenty of opportunities for a world-class education.

International students who want to study in Canada are required to apply for a study permit. Once issued with a study permit, it allows the international students to study in Canada at an approved education institution for the duration of the specified course or program.

However, there are some cases where an international student does not require a study permit to study in Canada, and these include:

  • If the course program you intend to study is less than two months in duration.
  • If you are a family member of staff of a foreign representative to Canada.
  • If you are a member of a foreign armed force.

The Canadian student visa allows a wide variety of students either in an academic or vocational sector to grow within Canada’s bilingual communities. From simply learning French or English to earning a Post-Graduate Degree, a Student Visa allows international students to expand their knowledge and expertise. This allows international student to bring their rich culture, expansive knowledge, and various skills to Canada’s diverse classrooms and society as a whole.

With excellent and varied educational options, affordable tuition fees, a peaceful and multicultural society, and the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residence.