Firstly, we praise your epoch-making decision of Undergraduate Study in Canada. We find most students staying back in our home country for their post-secondary (Undergraduate) education since at the age of 17-20, it feels better in home with families and friends. However, there are some dreamers who don’t want to bind themselves with barriers and want to explore new things and unknowns. Studying in a foreign country at your undergraduate level is indeed an adventure towards achieving your goal.
At a world class Canadian University, you’ll have the opportunity to think in a more critical way and to develop huge competences which you may not get if you choose to study in your own culture. Students from different countries with variable experience and diverse cultural background would form a great pool of classroom experience. Foreign degree will definitely enhance your personality with a side that will not only be interesting for your career, but also will deepen your own experience in life.
Undergraduate Study in Canada:
Occupying the northern half of North America, Canada is the world’s second biggest country. Known for its natural beauty – few nations in the world can boast anything close to Canada’s wealth of forests, lakes and mountains – it is also one of the most prosperous nations in the world, despite the fact that the entire country’s population is smaller than that of California alone.
Step – 1 : Things you need to know first
- For undergraduate, FUNDING is a big concern. As there are only a few scholarships for undergrads, competition is a lot tougher and no Canadian university offers need-blind financial aid to International students. So you need to discuss with your sponsor(s) or parents about the expenses related to your studies.
- Most students from the developing countries do believe in a myth that they can meet their tuition fees as well as living cost by doing part-time jobs. Listen, don’t fall into this trap as this is not going to work. Firstly, you can’t obtain work permit to do a job off-campus before 6 months. Secondly, there is huge competition for on-campus jobs and you need to be extraordinary to get those although the pay is not that good. Most universities offer co-op program for undergraduate students. This is like work-study. You will work as a full-time worker in an area related to your studies and it’s paid. However, there is no guarantee in here too. The cost for 1 year in Canada can be at least CAD 22,000 to 50,000 (Depending on your University tuition fees and living cost). So be prepared ! ! !
- There is no one who knows you better than you. So ask yourself about your strength, whether you can survive in the winter or you’ve the ability to keep pace with the Canadian learning environment. Yes you can, but for this you should have a solid background in your proposed study area.
- Competency in English is the big thing for those coming from a non-English speaking countries. Don’t come unless you’ve IELTS score not less than 6.5 (with no band less than 6) or TOEFL score not less than 80 (with no band less than 20).
Step -2 : Setting up your mind
- Don’t take any decision out of frustration. NOT everyone needs to go abroad in undergraduate level. You can go abroad in your graduate level also. Sometimes after taking a decision you may realize that you won’t be able to accomplish it, so decide wisely before you regret.
- Contact some international students who are currently studying in your proposed study program in your prospective University. These people can give you idea about the real environment out there.
- Never confuse immigration with higher studies. Most students make this mistake. When you want to pursue your bachelor in Canada, you should consider the after study-job/immigration opportunities, but never go for higher studies just to leave the country.
- Check your academic qualifications and typical qualification of an applicant [you can get some idea about this after reading the entire document].
- Determine your aim in life depending on your academic qualification, financial status, family issues and, overall, your own desire.
Step – 3 : Start early to prepare yourself for the admission
- We encourage you to make the decision of your undergraduate studies in Canada at grade 10 or 11. Early decision will make things lot easier for you and you’ll have more opportunities and preparation time than others. Remember time is the biggest enemy!
- Good Command in English, Excellent Networking and E-mail communication ability is a MUST, You need to be able to e-mail different authorities in different universities with your own questions, So keep it in mind, Some won’t recognize your qualification, you need to give them the reference and proof that you are qualified enough for the undergraduate level education in that particular university.
- Try to keep good grades in both of your junior and senior years. You admission ability will mostly depend on your Grade 11 and 12 results, meaning H.S.C and/or A-level grades.
- Maintain a good relation with your instructors, teachers, academic advisers, and with some high profile personnel of your school or college (like principal or vice-principal). These people may be your referees if you do apply for scholarships and their recommendations regarding your academic abilities will have very strong impact on admission decisions.
- Try to be involved in extra-curricular activities like science fairs, Math/Astro/Physics Olympiads or in social activities like voluntary work in charity/non-profit organization (e.g., NGOs). This can make you a strong candidate for various international undergraduate scholarships.
- Ask your parents to create an F/C account in a bank here in Bangladesh and to make an online transactional credit card against that account with which you’ll be able to pay the application fees in universities (like the U.S ones, Canadian universities usually don’t waive it). It’s not a big amount though; you may need around CAD 100 to apply to any University and its non-refundable.
- Decide who will be your sponsor(s). (You can’t rely either on scholarships or on part-time jobs). Tell your sponsor that you will apply to Canada and for the study permit you will need tax papers/ property documents and a healthy bank statement with a good transaction record. If they don’t have it, tell them to prepare these from that point of time. These things can create a lot of complications if you don’t start planning early with these.
- Make the habit of reading English novels, newspapers and watching English TV serials and movies. Don’t take it as a cultural dissonance; we do love our country but you need a lot of practice for a better and natural English competency and, being in a non-English speaking country, these will help you to build a virtual English environment since English language is a must for communication in Canada.
- Try to select two/three Canadian universities of your choice. Follow our guidelines in University selection.
- Remember to keep a backup plan as VISA can betray you sometimes; after all, there’s a thing call luck for getting the visa. Your backup plan can be some University in Bangladesh or another foreign University in some other country. Try to ensure the backup plan; otherwise, you can fall in a real trap!
- If you do not have a machine readable passport (MRP), then do apply for one as soon as possible because you’ll need a machine readable passport for hassle free travel.
- Keep a good travel record in your passport. If you do have money and time, try to pay visit in some neighboring countries. This will add an extra value to you travel document to the embassy.
Step – 4 : Undergraduate subject selection
- To keep it simple, when choosing a subject answer these main questions: Why study this subject? What do you expect to get out of the undergraduate and what do you plan on doing with it?
- But what is out there? Well, for the Province of Ontario ( where most of the universities in Canada are situated) visit: http://www.electronicinfo.ca/en/ .
- For all of Canada: http://www.aucc.ca/canadian-universities/study-programs/ . *** The e-info option is put up as it is a nice all in search (scholarships, residences, tuition fees and program all at once).
- A major distinction is a professional undergraduate (Law, Med, Eng, Teacher) and a normal undergraduate (B.Sc., B.A., B.Fa.). Depending on the type of professional undergraduate (Med, Law, Teacher), you will need to complete a minimum of a bachelor degree in order to apply. Thus it is suggested to read the admission requirements to a program as an international student.
This is a very handy tool! Extremely helpful!
“ALL THE ONTARIO UNIVERSITIES ARE THERE” – You can simply select your desired programs for undergraduate study in Canada in multiple universities and make just 1 profile – which may FIT ALL targeted universities in the list (and your chosen programs)
Step – 5 : Program selection
- Some programs may be offered in different Bachelor option. The main ones are Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelors of Fine Arts, and Bachelor of Business Administration.
- When a program is offering an “Honours” option opposed to the Bachelors, it means, you will probably have a thesis to complete, at the same time there is a higher GPA requirement, as well as an additional year. Honours is suggested if you intend on going to Graduate School.
- Which Bachelor is better? IN OUR OPINION, they are all useless if they are not professional (due to the saturation of people carrying the same degree as you). However, if you were given a choice between a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Art, it would really be up to you, as it is your degree and it is up to you to determine whether you like the more “social context” of the material or you are interested in the more fundamental parts of your undergraduate. I.E Psychology can be recognized as both a science and social science. However, if you decide you want to focus more on the biological basis of behaviour and cognition science – it’s B.Sc. If you are interested in wondering what causes the personality of someone or behaviour (like the psychology of women) – it’s B.A.
Step – 6 : University selection and funding opportunities
- As an international student, you are more likely to pay more than twice (or even more) the amount as the domestic students do. Yet you are eligible for the same of entrance scholarships as the domestic students. Thus, it is more likely that you have to pay for a portion out of your own pocket.
- Once you arrive in the campus, it is likely that you might end up taking a part-time job. Though to make it fair for international students, some universities have jobs for international students only (though I actually have no clue how they are).
- In Canada, University has no prestige in accordance to one and another in the undergraduate level, as all the Canadian institutions look at normal undergraduate program equally.
- However, there seems to be some sort of correlation with internal scholarships with the size of the University. At the same time, in smaller institutions you will get more chances to communicate with the professor up front. Feel free to check the size of the University by enrollment numbers by this link: http://www.aucc.ca/canadian-universities/facts-and-stats/enrolment-by-university/
- For funding go through the universities individually and keep a notebook with you to write down which has better funding for International students. Browse around 20-25 universities’ webpages (I know it will take a long time to browse them but I can ensure it will be worth it). Then choose your University according to your personal preferences like weather of that particular province, job placement rates, co-op job opportunities, unemployed rate, funding and scholarship opportunities, level of support for undergrads, tuition fees, living cost in that area, transportation availability, etc.
- Almost every Canadian university has entrance scholarship that worth maximum $5000 per year , But some does have some prestegious scholarships for International students which almost covers most of it, I encourage to search ILOT scholarship offered by UBC and also UAlberta and Ucalgary do have a few scholarship of that type, But you’ve to maintain a certain average each year to renew them.
Step – 7 : Match yourself qualifications with your desired University
- To get enrolled here you have to choose the University where you want to study. Before getting here it is mandatory to know the cost of University and other expenses (i.e. house, food, transportation, medical, etc).
- In Bangladesh, we count A+ (80-100), A (70-79) and A- (60-69) . If you want to go for engineering (that’s what most students do), you need to get at least A+ because they ask for a high score in this area. Sometimes it’s possible to get enrolled with an “A” but you might not get chance in the top universities i.e University of Toronto, Waterloo, Mcgill, McMaster, Alberta, York, etc. So the long and short is you need to have at least A+ or an A if you want to go for University studies in Canada.
- As we all know that in Canada you need to be fluent in English, so submitting a English proficiency score is must. IELTS is good enough for undergraduate studies. Try to get at least 6.5 (not less than 6.0 in any sections). If you get 6.5, it doesn’t mean that you can choose any subject you want because some universities have faculty/department based requirements (for e.g., Schulich School Of Business asks for 7.5 and not less than 7.0 in any sections in IELTS). So make sure to check the faculty requirements before you apply.
- If you transfer from another University, check which credits you need to take to complete you under-graduation because sometimes students end up taking extra credits which they don’t need to take . This means you are spending money but not getting the service. Try to consult with other students or faculty members.
- So if you find that you have the minimum requirements, apply to your desired University and make the enrollment deposit ASAP because it ensures your position or you will be de-enrolled. Also, try to apply before the deadline.
Step – 8 : Get ready to fill the application forms
- The application process might take some time, so it’s better if you start this at least one year in advance so you can submit all the documents.
- It’s better to check the University website first. They are likely to have all the details of application process. If you’ve any problem filling out the forms, just leave an e-mail to the admission authority and few other departments like your faculty/register, International recruitment officers, International students Advising or here in FB (We recommend to all the above first and later come to us ! ! !).
- Every province has different websites to make undergraduate application so here are some province-wise universities’ electronic application service.
–British Columbia: https://applybc.ca/
- Ontario Universities Application Center – http://www.ouac.on.ca/
- Ontario Colleges Application Service – http://www.ontariocolleges.ca/
- After you are done with your University or college choice that you are going to enroll, you should make contact with your institution’s admission office and ask them what particular documents they need to complete the whole process. The office of admissions will inform you of the documentation, translation, and visa requirements. The institution’s decision is usually announced four to six months after the application deadline but it can change without any notice.
- If you need help with the credentials, you can make contact with CICIC (Canadian Information Center for International Credentials) . If you don’t want to call then try the fax because it’s much faster and sometimes you might find the phone line busy.
Step – 9 : Waiting period for the acceptance letter and things to do in the mean time
- It may take around 4-8 weeks to hear from the universities regarding your acceptance. As you’ll apply to at least two universities, you’ll first consult with them regarding their international country specific admission requirements to get an idea about the admission averages in those universities. We recommend to apply for 1 with higher requirements and another one with lower requirements so that you can ensure your position in at least one University. For visa you’ll need the original hard copy of your acceptance letter sent from the University. The University will first release the result through e-mail and they will also give you the scanned version of your acceptance letter. Later they will send it to you in express mail services (Like DHL/FedEx/UPS) or in regular mail service (which can take at least 3 weeks to reach in Bangladesh). So ask for express mail service to your University register office and tell them about your emergency. Canadians are helpful, they will do it for you.
- In the mean time, try to ensure your position in a back up institution outside Canada and try filling out the scholarship forms (if they require individual applications).
- You can also start preparing for the initial part of your study permit application like gathering bank documents, complete the police clearance, etc.
- If you need to take the custodianship (if you’re a minor), arrange the custodian papers in the meanwhile.
- Apply for on-campus accommodation if you want to reside on-campus (for international undergrad students, we recommend to stay near campus, specially on-campus as things remain a lot closer to you). To get your position apply as soon as you get the offer letter in hand.
Step – 10 : Start preparing for study permit application
The study permit application is the same for undergraduate and graduate students
Congratulations!!! You have already made it this far, that means you are already on your way to Canada for your Undergraduate studies. If you have not made it yet, do not loose hope and keep trying. In search for your dream, do not forget the reality and the life and the people around you. Life in Canada may get lonely, try to adapt to situations you have never imagined; everything in this world changes, starting from your girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s attitude to the Immigrations Rules. You must become adapted with these changes and more importantly you must be mentally ready to accept these changes. All the best wishes to all the prospective and intended and new and old undergraduate students in Canada. Please feel free to ask any questions in this excellent and dedicated group, whose only intention is to provide free and accurate information and experienced comments about the things one might face in the quest of fulfilling his/her dream for Undergraduate studies in Canada. Wish all your grand success! ! !
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