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Admissions in Canadian Universities

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Admissions in Canada

A Comprehensive Guide to Admissions in Canadian Universities

Black-blue lakes, numerous rivers, majestic western mountains, rolling central plains, and forested eastern valleys are enough to attract people across the world to Canada. No wonder why the number of international students is on the rise in the country. Last year, the country recorded a massive number of international admissions. With 550,000 new students getting admission to Canadian top universities, the country broke all records concerning international student admission. The top three universities are among the 50 best universities in the world as per the QS World University rankings. That is enough to attract students across the globe to pursue a course in the country.

With proven excellence in fields like engineering, telecommunications, aerospace, and other areas of education, the country is undeniably the best place for a great future. But how do you get admission to a university in Canada? What are the requirements? 
Don’t get worried. This blog will answer all these questions and learn how to apply for a university in Canada.

Let’s dive in!

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An Overview of the Canadian Education System

Renowned education system

The education system in Canada is well-known and preferred by all across the globe. The country has been recognized for offering quality education at all levels. The country’s provincial and territorial governments are solely responsible for education.

Academic excellence

In addition, the universities in Canada are listed among the top countries in the world. The universities offer courses that can offer a lot of opportunities and secure students' futures. You can apply to many top courses and apply for high-paying jobs in the country.

Cultural diversity

As the country welcomes many international students every year, you can expect a diverse culture. Students getting admission to Canadian universities have a global outlook and better intercultural communication skills, thanks to the country's diverse culture.

Career opportunities

Canada is known for offering some of the best opportunities to students graduating from universities. You can expect an excellent job in the county and continue your stay. The universities have strong connections with corporate houses and offer students great internships and job opportunities. Before moving on with the admission process, let's learn about the different institutions and programs available in the country.

The Types of Institutions and Available Programmes

Canada is known for offering world-class education to students. The country has many institutions offering the best education. However, the institutions are broadly divided into two major types:

Degree-granting institutes

You will come across degree-granting institutions in Canada, and that varies from one province to another. This type mainly comprises universities, university colleges, colleges, institutes of technology, and specialized institutes. These institutes mainly focus on teaching and research.

Non-granting institutes

Many mistake non-granting institutes as autonomous bodies not being able to offer a degree after completion of a course. Non-granting institutes are generally recognized public colleges or registered or licensed colleges. These institutes focus on diploma and certificate programs and are eligible to provide degree and joint diploma/degree courses. Now that you are aware of the types of educational institutions in the country let's understand the need to know about the admission process.

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The Significance of Understanding the Admission Process

Application requirements

When you decide to study abroad, you browse through everything to know about colleges and universities and shortlist the ones you want to be a part of. But will you get through the admission process if you don't know the requirements? The need to know the admission process is crucial to gain knowledge about the application requirements and prepare yourself accordingly.

Application deadlines

You have all the qualifications and have scored well on standardized tests but are unaware of the application deadlines. Your entire effort will go in vain if you don't know about the application deadlines. Knowing about the admission process is crucial to keep track of the application deadlines and submit them on time.

Entry requirements

You cannot choose a course and dream of getting admission if you don't meet the minimum requirements. Hence, knowing the specific requirements with respect to academic qualifications is crucial to move forward with the process. Go through all the requirements before you start filling out the form for a specific course.

Supporting documents

Colleges and universities ask for specific documents as proof. There are instances where students were unaware of the necessary documents and failed to get admission to a university. A good knowledge of the admission process will clear the air and help you be fully prepared with everything for admission.

Personal statement

Most universities ask for a well-drafted personal statement as part of their admission process. These statements help the panel understand students well and decide accordingly. If you are new to the process, ask for help from a renowned education consultant. Make sure to include one in the application to get admission.

Scholarships and funding

Canada offers scholarships and financial aid tseparate scholarships to stuo international students. You need to be aware of the deadlines for applying for these as part of the admission process. A sound knowledge of the admission process will help you learn all about them. Now that you understand the need to learn about the admission process let's take you through the effective ways to find the right university.

How to Choose the Right University to Study in Canada?

You will come across many universities in Canada. It is crucial to know about them and choose the right one for a better future. However, it is tough to check Canadian university requirements for all universities and find one. So, to ease the process, here are a few things you need to do:

  1. Decide your program
  2. Research on location
  3. Check the tuition fees
  4. Look for scholarship opportunities
  5. Check the rankings of universities
  6. Look at the campus life and cultures
  7. Check the Canadian university admission requirements
  8. Check the reviews from other students

You must understand the significance of all these steps and do your homework before applying to a university in Canada.

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General Admission Requirements to Study in Canada

The admission requirements to study in Canada vary with the course you choose. Here’s an insight into the general requirements for admission in Canada:

For Diploma/Certificate Courses

  • Flexible admission
  • IELTS score (As stated by the institution)

For Post-Graduate/Masters Courses

  • Minimum 3 years of work experience (full-time)
  • Scorecard of English language proficiency tests like IELTS (Minimum 6.5 in IELTS is necessary)
  • 4 years Bachelor’s degree with an average of 70%
  • Written samples, copies of published work, portfolio (not mandatory, some universities might ask)
  • Statement of purpose (SOP)
  • Letter of recommendation (LOR)

For Undergraduate/Bachelor’s Level

  • 70% in 12th grade
  • Must have math in 12th grade

If you meet all the requirements, start looking for a good Canadian university and apply to one without further delay. The following section will help you learn about the application process.

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The Application Process for Canadian Universities

Here are a few steps you need to follow as part of the application process for Canadian universities:

Conduct a Thorough Research

The first step is to find the right university. The country is home to many world-class universities. However, all of them might not offer the course you want to pursue. Hence, before you start shortlisting universities solely based on their ranks, consider going through the details. Understand what you need and choose a university accordingly. Here are a few well-known colleges and universities in Canada: 

  1. McGill University
  2. University of Toronto
  3. University of British Columbia
  4. University of Alberta
  5. Universite de Montreal
  6. Centennial College
  7. Durham College
  8. Humber College
  9. Seneca College
  10. Sheridan College

You can ask for help from a well-known education consultant to get admission to Canada. They will help you find the right university and follow the process accordingly.

Check Canadian University Admission Requirements

Once you have shortlisted universities based on your qualifications, you must check the Canadian university requirements. There will be a few documents that are common across all universities. However, some universities have specific requirements and need a set of documents to move forward with the admission process.

Hence, the next step in the application process is to gather all the essential documents and keep them ready for submission. Also, try sending soft copies of documents to the universities. If you are willing to send hard copies, go through the university website first. Some universities do not return the hard copies to students. 

Language Proficiency Tests

One of the prerequisites for admission to any Canadian university is language proficiency tests. You need to prove your knowledge of English to get admission to any of the universities. Generally, students need to sit for IELTS or TOEFL to apply to Canadian universities.

Deadlines and Fees

The success of the entire application process depends on the time of submission. You cannot miss the deadline for submission of the application. Here are the deadlines for intakes in Canada:

Intakes in Canada



August – September


January – February


February - April

You can check the university websites of the official website of the Canadian government to get more details about the same. The fees vary from one university to another. You might find some universities asking for an application fee while others are allowing you to complete the same free of cost. However, if you get selected by a university, you will be asked to pay a confirmation fee as proof that you will go ahead with the admission.

Apply for a Study Permit in Canada

A study permit is one of the crucial elements for international students. So, when you get a confirmation from a university, apply for your study permit. It is wise to look for an education consultant to get help with your study visa application. They will help you gather the necessary documents and ease the entire process. You need to follow all these steps to get admission to Canada. You need to prepare well and bag the correct scores to confirm your seat at one of the prestigious universities in Canada.

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Financial Considerations to Study in Canadian Universities

International education is a costly affair. While countries speak about charging low tuition fees, there are other things you also need to consider while calculating the costs. Here are a few things you must consider while calculating the studying costs in Canada:

Tuition Fees

A primary thing for all international students is the tuition fees of the university they are applying to. You must check the fee structure of the course you are applying to. The prices might vary from one course to another. Hence, it is wise to take that into consideration while calculating the costs.

Scholarship and Financial Aid

As mentioned earlier, the Canadian government offers financial aid to international students. Also, there are colleges and universities that offer separate scholarships to students. With international student admission in Canada at its peak, the government feels it necessary to offer things to keep up the spirits. You must check if you are eligible for a scholarship or financial aid and apply accordingly. Students willing to study in Canada must be well-versed in all these things and apply to universities accordingly. 

Visa and Immigration Process

The student visa is one of the important documents for all international students. Here’s what you need to know about it: 

Necessary Documents

Here are a few documents necessary for a student visa application:

  1. Letter of acceptance from the university you have got an admission
  2. All the documents necessary for the application
  3. Letter of explanation in case you miss out on any documents

As a study visa is one of the crucial elements, you need to understand the process from a consultant before you fill out the application form.

Apply Online

The student visa application has to be done online. You are not allowed to submit a paper-based application. Only in exceptional cases do the authorities accept paper-based applications. You need to be fully prepared to be on track and confirm your seat at one of the finest universities in Canada.

Do not make the mistake of taking things into your own hands. Ask an education consultant to help you understand the process and gather the necessary documents and apply to a university in Canada. Understand the visa processes and all other things to ease through the process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You need to consider a few things to find the right universities. You need to conduct thorough research to find a university that is appropriate for you. Also, it is crucial to check the academic programs, location, size, studying costs, campus culture, and extracurricular opportunities before zeroing in on any university.

International students need to qualify for some standardized tests to prove their English proficiency. Most Canadian universities accept an IELTS score of 6.5, with an average score of 6 in each band. Students can also sit for PTE or TOEFL score and score well to get admission to one of the Canadian universities.

You are allowed to apply to multiple universities in Canada. However, you need to know if all the universities allow you to apply in multiple courses. There are many universities in Canada that allow students to apply to three courses only. You need to check the university rules before you move ahead with the application.

Canada does not have any restrictions for international students. You can get a student visa, irrespective of your age. However, there is a minimum age requirement to study in foreign countries. A minor cannot apply for a student visa to study in Canada. So, if you are applying for graduate and postgraduate courses, you can go ahead with the application process.

Students need to sit for GRE to get admission to postgraduate programs in Canada. You have to qualify for the test and get the necessary score to be called by a Canadian university. The GRE tests a student’s aptitude, critical thinking skills, analytical writing, and verbal reasoning abilities.

You can get all your answers about the quality and ranking of Canadian universities on the internet. The QS World University Rankings, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities are some of the reliable websites to know about universities. Refer to them and shortlist a university that fits your requirements.

Students applying to Canadian universities must have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any discipline, preferably a 4-year degree course
  • Relevant work experience of 3-5 years in any related field
  • Minimum IELTS score for Canadian universities
  • A score of 500-700 out of 800 in the GMAT
  1. Canada accepts study gaps if there are valid reasons

International students have the option of availing of financial aid or scholarships in Canada. The government offers a few scholarships, and some Canadian universities also offer separate financial aid to students. You can check them online. Visit the Canadian government's education department website and the websites of specific colleges to get an idea and apply accordingly.

Here’s what you need to get a visa to study in Canada: 

  1. Enrolled in DLI
  2. Proof that you are financially capable of paying the fees and bear all expenses
  3. No criminal records get a police certificate
  4. Medically fit certificate
  5. Proof that you will leave Canada after your study permit expires

You can access multiple resources to get the necessary assistance with the admission process. There are well-known education consultants that can help you with the entire process. You can also access college admission websites to get hold of resources and learn the things well to apply to Canadian universities.

To get admission to Canadian universities, follow these simple steps –

  • Shortlist a few Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs).
  • Check if you meet eligibility requirements.
  • Sign up for language (English/French) proficiency exams.
  • Gather all essential documents.
  • Apply via a centralized application system or directly via university websites.
  • Attend an interview if required.

There are three main intake seasons in Canada –

  • Fall intake (September)
  • Winter intake (January)
  • Summer intake (May)

Of these, the Fall intake is the most popular amongst international students. Most universities open admissions for all courses (UG & PG) during this intake. You can start preparing for your applications in December. It goes on till March.

Once you send in your applications to your shortlisted universities, they assess the documents. You can expect to hear back from them in around 4-6 weeks. However, the time varies. So, don’t expect all universities to post their results so soon. Institutes with a lot of application volume can take up to 3 months to publish results.

If studying in a Canadian institute is your primary goal, then opt for universities with high acceptance rates. There are plenty to choose from. The best university, in this case, is Wilfrid Laurier University (acceptance rate 89%). But other options are –

  • Lakehead University
  • Brock University
  • University of New Brunswick
  • Acadia University
  • University of Northern British Columbia

The eligibility criteria for admission to a Canadian university vary. Each institute has its own criteria. But in general, you must meet the following –

  • Completion of 12thgrade from school under a recognized board (for UG admission)
  • Minimum 70% overall score in 12th(for UG admission)
  • IELTS/TOEFL/PTE Academic/DET score as stated
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation

The requirements for admission to Canadian universities are as follows –

  • Meeting the required educational qualifications
  • Having the minimum language proficiency scores
  • Completion of entrance exams as required

For an MBA degree, you might need to provide proof of work experience. Some institutes also require a work portfolio.

The documents you must submit when applying to any Canadian university are –

  • Academic transcripts of high school, UG program or PG program as required
  • Standardized test scores as required
  • Language proficiency test scores
  • Scanned copy of a valid passport
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Canada student visa
  • Updated CV
  • Proof of finances
  • Statement of Purpose

Yes, you can apply to multiple Canadian universities at the same time to increase your acceptance chances. There’s no rule that states that international students can apply to one institute only. Go through the eligibility requirements and check the acceptance rates and available programs thoroughly. You can even apply to multiple courses at the same university.

If you want to get admitted to a Canadian university, you must meet the minimum percentage. This varies according to the stream you’re from. For example, here’s a tentative minimum percentage you should aim for –

  • Science – approx. 70-80%
  • Commerce – approx. 70-80%
  • Humanities – minimum 65%

This is for UG admissions only. If you want to pursue a Master's in STEM, you must score 70-75% in your UG.

To find a suitable program and university in Canada, consider the following tips –

  • Take your preference into consideration.
  • Check if you’re eligible for the program.
  • Go over work opportunities in this field.
  • Shortlist universities based on faculty.
  • Check the acceptance rates of the institutes.
  • Consider other factors like safety, accommodation, etc.

If you score 50% in 12th, your chances of studying in Canada are slim. But it's not impossible. The average minimum requirement for UG and PG courses in Canada is 70%. However, a few BBA programs have a minimum 50% requirement. You can also opt for diploma and certificate courses in Canada.

To apply for admission to Canadian universities, you must follow these steps –

  • Shortlist the universities.
  • Ensure you’ve shortlisted DLIs.
  • Check courses available.
  • Go through eligibility requirements.
  • Give required standardized tests.
  • Apply to courses.
  • Attach all necessary documents.
  • Attend an interview if needed.

Standardized tests are a must if you want to seek admission to a Canadian university. First, you must prove your English skills. Consider one of the following exams –

  • PTE Academic
  • Duolingo English Test

Additionally, you might need to appear for –

  • GRE – for Master’s admissions
  • GMAT – for MBA and Master’s admissions

Canada is home to multiple institutes where you can opt for an excellent MBA program. To seek admission, you must follow these steps carefully –

  • Complete your bachelor’s degree from a recognized institute.
  • Obtain proof of work experience.
  • Get your English language proficiency test scores.
  • Appear for the GMAT exam.
  • Fill out the application form from university websites.

Once you’ve completed your 12th, you can apply for undergraduate programs in Canada. Make sure you conduct detailed research on the available institutes and courses. Check the eligibility requirements. If you meet all the criteria, fill out the online application form on the university website. The institutes take approximately a month and a half to publish results. So, keep checking the website.

A conditional admission letter is provided to international students who must complete a prerequisite course or program. You must complete this program before getting admission to your preferred course. In such cases, the DLI will provide this letter. For this, you must –

  • Complete the acceptance payment (first semester’s tuition fee)
  • Obtain your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of the course.

IELTS isn’t compulsory for seeking admission to Canadian universities. There are plenty of other options you can pursue. Take the following instances as examples –

  • Provide a certificate that English was your medium of instruction in your previous institute.
  • Show proof that you belong to an English-speaking country.
  • Register for an English language course at a Canadian university.
  • Opt for other English language proficiency tests.

Most institutes in Canada require students to have a minimum of 6.0-6.5 IELTS band for admission to UG and PG courses. However, you can get admission to a Canadian institute even if you have a 5.5 IELTS band. Your options will be limited. For example, the following institutes accept 5.5 IELTS band –

  • Canadore College
  • University of Alberta
  • Royal Roads University

To apply for a student visa in Canada, you must –

  • Have a valid passport, Proof of Acceptance from a DLI, Statement of Purpose, and a valid credit/debit card.
  • Provide proof of funds.
  • Get your Immigration Medical Examination done.
  • Obtain your English language proficiency score.

You can apply online or download the application kit and apply offline. Pay the visa processing fees and wait for the CIC to process your application.

The application deadline for international students in Canada varies from institute to institute. However, here’s a general idea of the deadlines -  

Fall intake – Deadlines can fall between December and March of the previous year

Winter intake – Deadlines fall between September and November of the previous year

This is applicable for UG and PG admissions. For MBA, most institutes have rolling admissions throughout the year.

International students must have health insurance for the entire duration of their studies. Now, the health insurance rules vary from province to province. Some Canadian provinces offer provincial health coverage. In this case, you must apply to the province for health insurance. In the absence of provincial coverage, you can opt for private health insurance or any other options your institute provides.

If you sign up for a 1-year PG Diploma course at a Canadian university, then a full-time job offer after course completion is your best bet to secure a PR. Gather skilled work experience for at least a year. Then, you can apply for PR. Make sure you meet the language requirements beforehand.

Once you have completed your Master's from a Canadian university, you can apply for a post-study work visa to remain in the country. If your Master's is for one year, your PGWP will be valid for a year. If it's for 2 years, you can get a maximum duration of three years for your PGWP.

Yes, you can begin your applications to Canadian institutes without IELTS if you meet the following requirements –

  • Your medium of instruction in your previous institute was English.
  • You come from an English-speaking country.
  • You are applying for an English language course.
  • You have scores from alternative English language proficiency tests.

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