Which Intake Should I Apply for When Studying in Canada?

Studying in Canada can be both a life-changing and overwhelming moment in your life, but it certainly is worth it.   

Having a Canadian qualification will create amazing opportunities for you to not only gain a world-class education but will also open the doors to possibly stay and work in Canada and who knows, maybe even lead to a more permanent arrangement.   

Moving to a new country is no easy undertaking but knowing when to make the move to Canada to start your study program can help ease you into the Canadian way of life and take the edge off the initial culture shock.

So let's take a look at what your different options are for intakes at universities and colleges in Canada to help you decide when the best time is to arrive in Canada and start your educational adventure.   

Study Intakes in Canada

diverse students using ipad in library  | study in Canada

There are three main intakes in Canada:

  • Fall Intake;
  • Winter Intake; and
  • Spring Intake.

Fall Intake

Fall intake starts in September and runs through until December. It is the primary intake of the academic year which means more seats available in various institutions across Canada. All study courses and programs are available to international students and you’ll find that you have more of a choice with the Fall intake in comparison to the other two.

This is the most popular intake not only because of the wide array of programs available but because the weather is pleasant, giving you the opportunity to acclimatize to your new environment.

When applying for the fall intake be sure to apply early as spots fill up quickly. We would suggest that you apply as early as 12 months ahead of time. The application period usually opens between August and October but the deadline can run until December or even as late as March. Be sure to check the deadlines of your chosen institution as this could vary.

Winter Intake

Choosing to start studying in Canada in winter is probably the least chosen option among international students. The weather can be quite extreme and difficult to get used to, especially if you are coming from a warm climate.

The winter intake starts in January and runs until April. There are fewer institutes offering a limited amount of courses. This intake is also seen as a continuation of the fall intake as it allows you to enroll at your DLI without having to wait an entire year. 

If you are coming from a colder climate you shouldn’t have a problem but if you struggle with the cold you may want to invest in a good quality winter coat and some vitamin D as you won’t have as much time to adjust as your fellow fall intake students.

Deadlines for the winter intake are generally between September and November, however, be sure to check with your institutions of choice as it may be different. 

Spring Intake

The Spring or Summer intake has the least amount of colleges and universities offering the least amount of courses. The weather may be lovely and sunny but you will miss out on a lot more than your choice of study programs. Most students go home or on vacation over spring break which means that you’ll miss out on one of the best parts of student life - getting to hang out and meet new friends.

You will have until February to apply but once again, this may differ from institution to institution. 

How to Apply to Study in Canada

happy student applying to study online on laptop | study in Canada

Step 1: Don’t Waste Time. Apply Early!

The longer you wait to apply to study in Canada the fewer options you will have. Most Canadian colleges and universities have a first come first serve policy, especially for Fall intake. Before you start the application process, be sure to do some thorough research and shortlist your preferred colleges and universities.

Remember you will need to select a Designated Learning Institution or DLI to qualify to study in Canada.

Step 2: Prepare for Exams

To study at a college or university in Canada you will need to take an admission test such as GMAT, GRE, SAT, TOEFL, and IELTS. Most institutions will require some form of language test to show that you are proficient enough in either English or French to be able to follow your lecturer and take notes. This requires being able to read, write, listen and speak both fluently and quickly. It usually takes around two weeks to get your results for your language test but don’t leave it for the last minute. It’s best to leave an additional month just in case you feel you need to retake the test.  

Still aren’t confident enough yet to take your IELTS? Why not take our IELTS preparation course to ensure that you get the highest possible results. 

Step 3: Start Your Application

It's now time to prepare your application. Be sure to highlight your strengths and give the institution some insight into who you are. You will also need to submit a motivation letter or State of Purpose (SOP), outlining why you want to study at your chosen university or college in Canada. 

Not sure what this entails? One of the highlights of our services is that we have dedicated student advisors who will not only help you write your motivation letter but will also help you with your application.  

Be sure to submit your applications before the due date to avoid any disappointments. 

Step 4: Acceptance Letters and Interviews

Once you have applied to your university or college you will receive an acceptance letter stating that you have been successful. You will need this for your visa application. You will also need to do an interview, which will more than likely be a video interview if you are applying from outside Canada. You will also be required to pay a confirmation deposit. This will be non-refundable.

Need to know how to budget for studying in Canada? Take a look at how much it will cost to study in Canada as an international student.

Step 5: Apply for Your Study Permit Online

Now that you have all your documents assembled it’s time to get started on your application! You will need the following:

  • Acceptance Letter;
  • A Valid Passport; and
  • Proof of Funds (to support yourself while you’re studying in Canada).

Please note that you will also need a scanner or camera to create digital copies of your document to upload and a valid credit or debit card to pay for your visa fees. You will be required to create an online account and to make payment before you submit your application.  

Benefits of Applying for Your Canadian Study Permit Online

multi-racial students standing using ipads and laptops | study in Canada

When applying to study in Canada you will have the option of applying online or on paper. Although many students opt to send in their application via courier or mail, it is generally recommended that submissions be done online for the following reasons.  

1. Cheaper - you won’t have to pay expensive courier fees.

2. Quicker - no more lengthy mail delivery times. Your application will be received instantly.

3. Efficient - you will be able to ensure that your application is complete before submitting it.

4. Easier - not only will you be able to complete your application easily but you will be able to submit additional documents, if requested, via your account.

5. Stay Up-to-date - You will be able to track the status of your application and receive updates via your online account.

Study in Canada for a Brighter Tomorrow

when to study in Canada infographic | study in Canada

Canada has an array of great universities and colleges to choose from and making sure that you choose the right time to start your semester is key to making the experience an enjoyable one. The most popular student intake for international students in Canada is Fall when there are more spots available and the weather is good. The winter intake is generally the worst time to apply for as it has fewer spots available and Canadian winters can be quite harsh, making it more difficult to adapt in a shorter time frame. The least favorable intake period to apply to study in Canada is Spring. Although the weather is fantastic most students will have returned home or gone on vacation over spring break.       

Still aren’t sure where to start with your university and student visa application?  

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to stay up to date on Canadian immigration and visa news.