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Just north of the US is a land that promises one of the world’s best education experiences

education Updated: Sep 15, 2010 09:38 IST
HT Horizons Correspondent
HT Horizons Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Why Canada? For several reasons, including the fact that the country has one of the world’s best education systems offering options for high-tech research across all levels of study.

. A wide array of study programmes and the co-operative education programme. Most universities offer the co-op programme in various areas, particularly in
engineering. This offers students an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience from industry during their enrolment period. For more details, visit
. Value for money (vis-à-vis cost of education and living).
. Various policies and schemes to draw students and researchers.

You have the option of permanent immigration. Canada created an immigration programme called the Canadian Experience Class, specifically for international graduates. This programme is meant to help those with Canadian degrees and/or work experience in a skilled trade or profession or technical occupation in Canada to immigrate permanently. For more details, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website,

. Sizeable Indian population and friendly people.
. Beautiful country, considered safe, with a good quality of life.

The Indian student intake in 2009 was a little over 6200. It is estimated that the total number of Indian students in Canada is about 10,000. As for the previous year, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 3244 Indian students went to Canada, while their total population there that year was 7314.

In all, the country has 130,000 international students, according to official data.

Popular programmes
These include engineering (computer, electrical, mechanical etc), business (MBA and BBA), computer science and information technology, animation, arts (psychology, political science, international relations, sociology, gender studies etc).

Session commences
The university and college session begins in September. Some institutions have January intakes as well.

When to apply
Deadlines vary, but in general you should apply at least eight months before your desired programme commences. Check with individual institutions where you wish to study.

How to apply
Most institutions and provinces now have an online application form. Application forms for most institutions can be downloaded directly from their websites. Some provinces have a common application form. For Ontario, the central point is the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre ( while for Alberta, it’s the Alberta Learning Information Service (http://alis.alberta. ca). British Columbia has the Post-Secondary Application Service of BC (

Deadlines - UG and PG
For the fall (September) session, which has the biggest intake, the deadlines can be as early as December to March.

Popular courses like engineering and business get filled up quickly. If seats are available, colleges will accept applications till April-May.

Application documents
Every Canadian institution has its own policy on entry requirements. Therefore, shortlist your target university and contact it for details.

Generally, the following are required.
. Completed application form
. Mark sheets [Class X, XI and XII (pre-Boards) in case of UG aspirants or college/university results for Master’s or doctorate contenders] attested by your
school/institute. If your school gives you grades for XII, include these as well.
. TOEFL or IELTS score (if the test has not yet been taken, indicate its date). Some institutions prefer to receive test scores directly from TOEFL or IELTS.

Most Canadian universities and colleges do not require the SAT score.
. GMAT scores (for MBA studies, if applicable)
. Statement of Purpose (SoP) or study plan
. Recommendation letters
. Full portfolio (for creative subjects like animation, performing arts and fashion)

Annual tuition fees
The annual tuition and student fee for colleges and universities is somewhere around C$8,000 to C$18,000.

Visit for more details, including study costs.

Accommodation options
Available in most institutions. Room and dining costs may be around C$5,000 to C$10,000 a year. Private accommodation is generally cheaper.
The monthly rent for a one-room apartment can be C$500 to C$1100, depending on the city, according to You may roughly need between C$15,000 and C$30,000 for your tuition and living expenses. Contact your chosen college/university for more details.

The food
Being multi-cultural, Canadian cities present many palatable gastronomic options. You can find many restaurants dishing out Indian/sub-continental fare. Says Amit V. Tacker, a Carleton University alumnus, “In my time, (there was) not much availability of Indian food and culture but now the Indian community is much more widespread and visible…”

A number of universities offer entrance scholarships based on candidate’s Class XII marks. Graduate students have several options, such as scholarships, bursaries, teaching or research assistantships, grants and fellowships. For more details, visit

Part-time jobs
An international student is allowed to work on campus (without a work permit), and off campus for up to 20 hours a week during terms and full time in scheduled breaks, provided s/he maintains “satisfactory academic results”, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. For more details, log on to

Job opportunities
Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows international students completing eligible programmes to work there for up to three years across Canada.
The permit cannot be valid for more than the duration of your study programme. Further details on

Four steps to your Canada visa

Submit all the necessary documents along with the fee and rest assured about the visa

. Download a student form from

. Fill the application form. Go through the document checklist to ensure all papers (including IELTS test results taken in the last 24 months with overall band not less than 6.0) are in order.

. No appointment is required for submitting the passport and documentation at the VFS centre, high commission or the consulate. Submit your current passport, application with two recent, original passport-sized photos attached, application fees of R5,470 (the exact figure may vary depending on exchange rate), processing charge of R700 and the required documents at a VFS visa application centre in India, the high commission in New Delhi or the consulate in Chandigarh.
You may or may not be called for an interview at the high commission.

. You can track your passport online or through text message service or by calling the VFS helpline. Collect the passport once you find out it is ready for collection from the VFS centre or receive it by courier for an extra R200.

First Published: Sep 14, 2010 10:57 IST