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 to a program. Finalizing the program or a university/college can be a daunting task for any student. It’s far more challenging for a foreign national who has never set foot in this country. It is important to do some research when making this decision. Thanks to digital information with the right approach, one can research and make an informed decision.

Here are some of the key things to consider when picking the right School and Program:

  • Programs: Universities offer Degrees on course completion whereas colleges 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. A number of short term (12-18 months) courses are available that enable students to become contributing members to The Canadian Job market and earn a respectable income. Sitting in distant countries like India, China, the 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 to the program that one desires, there is no guarantee of selection into that program, which is why one must apply to 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 relatively limited infrastructure and offer lesser programs. This difference in scale does not necessarily mean that colleges are inferior to 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 be Private Colleges and Public Funded Colleges. The student should ensure that the college that he/she is applying to is a Designated Learning Institute (DLI). For an institute to be included in 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.

Things to keep in mind:

  • 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. There is also the Winter Intake of January and the Summer Intake which normally starts around April.  Different Intakes in a course should be taken into consideration 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 picking the Right School and Program & 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. Apply online or submit a paper-based application for an extension of your study permit. The processing time may vary from time to time.

Picking the right School and Program

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