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5-Step Guide to Studying in Canada

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Canada has become an increasingly attractive destination for many international students seeking to study abroad. The wide selection of schools and programs may sometimes cause the process to feel overwhelming. We have created this 5-step guide to simplify the process and get you started on the journey.


1. Select a program of study and school

Select a program of study aligned to your academic qualifications and/or work experience.

Review the various school options offering the select program and review the course offerings, campus life, location and other features about the institution and find the one that feels right for you. Each school has its own admissions requirements. Visit the school’s website to review program and admissions requirements.

Ensure that the school selected is a designated learning institution (DLIs). DLIs are schools which have been authorized by their governing province or territory to accept international students.

If you intend to gain work experience at the end of your course of study, also ensure that the school offers post-graduate work permit (PGWP) eligible programs to international students. You may review the referenced link to the IRCC’s website "Designated learning institutions list -" to confirm if the institution you are interested in is a DLI and offers PGWP eligible programs.

2. Set your financial affairs in order

Tuition fees in Canada are considerably less than other territories such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. International students should consider the following expenses when preparing their budget:

  • Tuition

  • Housing

  • Food

  • Transportation

  • Book, laptop and resource fees

  • Health Insurance

Many Canadian institutions offer scholarships and grants that may be used to alleviate tuition costs.

As of November 15, 2022 to December 31, 2023, international students are also able to work more than 20 hours per week off-campus while classes are in session and a maximum of 40 hours during holidays to defray their living expenses. Students may also obtain support from parents and sponsors to cover tuition and living expenses.

3. Apply to school

Once you have decided on your preferred school and program of choice, go ahead and apply early. Due to increased visa processing timelines, it is advised that persons apply to their institution of choice at least a year prior to their intended period of study. This will allow for sufficient time to receive an acceptance letter from the educational institution and for the processing of your study permit application.

Ensure that all requested documentation listed on the school’s website and program requirements are satisfied at the time of applying. Some institutions may require translation of your transcript or other official student records. Several schools also offer alternative testing options to candidates who do not meet certain pre-requisites, such as Mathematics and English Language requirements. Where these special circumstances occur, speak with the student advisors from the institution for guidance prior to submitting your application.

4. Apply for your study permit (if applicable)

Once you have received a letter of acceptance from your school of choice, you may proceed with applying for your study permit. Some international students may be exempt from this requirement, visit the IRCC’s website to confirm if you will require a study permit before travelling to Canada.

If your study permit application is approved by the IRCC, you will be required to submit your passport to them and await the return of your passport along with your permit and a letter of introduction. These travel documents must be presented to the Canadian Border Services officer at the port of entry.

5. Prepare to travel to Canada

Once you have received the green light regarding your study permit approval, you are now ready to make the necessary arrangements to travel to Canada.

Our pre-departure checklist which is included in all our premium packages provides a detailed overview of all the travel preparations to consider prior to your departure.

The school and study permit application processes may be overwhelming. We recommend using the services of a trained educational consultant, such as CareerQuest, to guide you through the process. CareerQuest provides a wide range of service offerings to students that are tailored to make each step of the journey hassle-free for you. Book a consultation with one of our expert CareerQuest advisors to explore our premium packages and select one that suits your transition needs.

*Disclaimer: The information found on this site is for general information purposes only and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.


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