Picking the School and Program

Picking the right School and Program

There are literally hundreds of schools, colleges and universities that a student can pick from when applying into a program. Finalizing the program or a university/college can be a daunting task for any student, for a foreign national making this decision without ever having set foot in this country can be even more challenging. It is important to do some research when making this decision. Thankfully we are living in a time when this information is easily available to us over the internet and one can make an informed decision if one uses the right approach. Here are some of the key things to consider when choosing an institute:

  • Programs: Universities are mostly known to offer Degrees on course completion where as colleges generally offer Diplomas or certificates. Universities also often offer super specialization courses like a Masters Degree or a Doctorate/PhD etc. One must self analyze one’s career goals when deciding what course or program one must get into. Not everyone necessarily, needs to pursue years and years of continuous education. There are various short term courses available lasting 12-18 months that enable a student in becoming a contributing member of The Canadian Job market thereby earning a respectable income. Sitting in distant countries like India, China, Philippines etc. one must compare courses and understand the scope of employment associated with each course before making a decision. By looking up Job sites like LinkedIn and Indeed a student can find out the openings available in the job market in the field that one intends to get into.

Once the applicant finalizes a certain program, he/she must then shortlist a few different universities/colleges offering the same program. Keeping these choices open is like having Backup Plans. While it’s important to apply into the program that one desires, there is no guarantee of selection into that program which is why one must apply into various programs and different colleges.

  • Colleges vs Universities: Universities are known to offer a much bigger variety of subjects and specializations because of the presence of various departments within the university. Colleges, on the other hand, have a relatively limited infrastructure and offer lesser programs. This difference in scale does not necessarily mean that colleges are inferior to the universities. This could in fact sometimes mean that a college that specializes in a certain area like engineering or law is actually a better place for a student to gain a specific skill or specialization. Colleges also offer various bridging courses and vocational training that is directly relevant and helpful in gaining employment and the part time study option allows a student more flexibility to work while pursuing the program.

Colleges can also be further divided into Private Colleges and Public Funded Colleges and the student must ensure that the college that he/she is applying into is a Designated Learning Institute (DLI). For an institute to be included into the list of DLIs is like getting a stamp of verification from The Canadian Government which helps a student in a foreign land, make the right decision. Moreover, for obtaining a Study Permit, an acceptance letter from a DLI is one of the minimum requirements. The list of DLIs is constantly updated and can be found on this link.

  • Location & Campus: When researching the College or University, one must also consider which location he/she would be more interested in. Canada is a country notorious for harsh winters and this can take some getting used to, especially for those students who are moving from warmer parts of the world. It’s important to consider the climate in that specific location of Canada where your college or university of choice is located. Additional facilities like on-campus accommodation and public transit facilities in the region should also be considered.
  • Intake: Most courses and programs in Canada start at three different times of the year known as intakes. The most popular intake is the Fall Intake which is usually in the month of September. This is followed by the Winter Intake of January and the Summer Intake which normally starts around April. One should consider the different Intakes that are being offered in the course before finalizing plans.
  • Fee Structure & Scholarships: In addition to reviewing the fee structure of the desired course, one must also try to find out about the possibility of availing scholarships that help bring down the cost involved. For study permit holders, such scholarships are generally merit based and are offered by the college or university itself. For Canadian Citizens, Permanent Residents and certain Protected Persons like refugees, funding might also be available from the Federal or Provincial government and includes programs like The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) in Ontario.

It is imperative that one does a thorough analysis before finalizing the place of study. We at SAAB Immigration offer specialized services to international students to help you choose the right program and school based on your individual profile. Book an appointment with us to assess what option(s) may be available to you. Ipply online or submit a paper based application for extension of your study permit. The processing time may vary from time to time.

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