How to get into a Canadian University as an international student (2022 edition)

September 16, 2022
How to get into a Canadian University as an international student (2022 edition)

Canada being Canada- in all its glory, beautiful.

A country being famous for its ‘unyielding politeness’- That’s when we know it is meant to stand out in a crowd.

Maple syrup, Ice Hockey, surreal scenic beauty- Canada is famous for all.

There’s one more thing that needs to be talked about more often.

Its top-quality University education.  

What makes Canada one of the most sought-after study destinations among Indian students?

Well, apart from the testimony of the student’s learning there, the world rankings of the Universities are further proof of the quality of Canadian Education.

QS World University Rankings 2021 includes 26 top Canadian universities. Other world rankings rank over 30 Canadian Universities in the top 300 Global Universities of the world.

By the end of this blog, you will know absolutely everything about getting into a Canadian University as an International student.

So, let’s begin.

STEP 1- Find the course you are interested in and shortlist the best colleges offering the same.

You can obviously seek advice from a counsellor for shortlisting your options, but since this blog deals mainly with self-research, we are going to talk about that.

This step will branch out into two different categories.

You are passionate about a subject and already have a course in mind.

Great, since you have a subject in mind, you can directly jump onto shortlisting colleges offering the course you have eyes on.

You are yet to decide on a course.

This doesn’t have to cause much anxiety because there are many options available even if you are not particularly passionate about a subject. The next best thing is to find out about the most popular courses that align the closest to their related market.

Factors that matter while choosing a college

1. Popularity of the courses and colleges -

  • Pertaining to several factors, Colleges in British/Columbia/Ontario/Vancouver/Manitoba/Saskatchewan are most preferred.
  • A few popular courses in Canada are Business Management courses, cyberspace courses, Computer and IT, Finance and Economics, and Engineering courses.

2. Course duration -

  • Certificate programs are available at the Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels for a 1-year duration.
  • Diploma program Undergraduate qualification is available with colleges after 2-3 years of study.
  • Undergraduate/bachelor’s degrees are offered by universities/colleges after 4 years of full-time study.
  • Postgraduate/post degree diplomas/graduate certificate programs are job-oriented.
  • Graduate and Master’s Degree are two years in duration. MBA programs are also offered.

3. Finances -

Of course, money plays a huge role when you are selecting a college. Premium colleges like the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University can cost higher than other known universities.

So, always make sure you are informed about the finances of the college and the province you are selecting.

A Bonus tip - Skim through the curriculum of the courses you shortlist on their respective websites and find what clicks with you the most

Do you like what you read? If the answer is yes, then congratulations, you have reached a decision.

STEP 2- Check if the colleges you have shortlisted are a DLI.

What is a DLI?

Designated Learning Institution is a learning institution number given to a college by the Canadian Government to authenticate the said college to host International students.

How is it useful?

It allows you to understand the standing of the college. A college that is a DLI can be trusted to be an authentic one. 

A thing to note here is that DLI approval doesn’t necessarily guarantee a Post Graduate Work Permit. It only means that the college is Government approved.

"Scattered skies= pretty pictures.

STEP 3- Course set, college set. Before applying, check the document requirements.

Each college has its own document requirements as well as eligibility criteria. So, it is advised to not take this as an exhaustive list and always check with a counsellor or the college website when you are looking to verify.

But, you can always refer to this list to have a basic idea. Here are the documents that most colleges in Canada would require from you-

  • Academic Marksheets / Transcripts
  • Graduation certificate
  • Language proficiency score certificate
  • Factually correct application
  • Backlog information
  • Preferably, no study gap but if there, it needs to be justified
  • A valid passport

STEP 4- Know more about the language proficiency tests

When it comes to Canada, French and English are the two languages to talk about.

No, you don’t need to qualify for both. 

If you happen to choose a college in Quebec or Montreal, you would need to qualify for a French Proficiency test. Evidence of a valid Certificatd’ acceptation du Quebec (CAQ) is needed.

However, for VISA, IELTS is a prerequisite for all colleges. No individual band lesser than 6 with an overall band of 6, is a decent score to get qualified for a college. 

Check with the colleges you are applying to know their language proficiency requirements and prepare accordingly.

Beautiful architecture defining the country :)

STEP 5- Here comes the step you are waiting for


All documents in hand, all information gathered. Now what?

Know the best time to apply. 

The study abroad process is a long one. Everybody is running one step ahead of time here. 

For example, don’t wait till April to apply for the college’s May intake. Remember, the colleges start their May intake in January or before.

So, while it is advised to start the whole process a year in advance in which you are planning to get admission, it is better to start applying 5- 6 months in advance.

So, if you are aiming for May 2023 Intake, start your research by September 2022, and apply on or before December 2022. One needs to be watchful about opening for an intake for admissions as they are extremely competitive. This year, due to heavy rush, few colleges have already opened May intake and most might close it by November as there are deferrals from January to May.

A note to remember - If you are applying to a college in Ontario, you must get registered on the OCAS portal. (

STEP 6- What to do after you have applied for the college?

Apply for Scholarships and Study Permit.

  • How to apply for scholarships in universities in canada?

    When you apply to a college, make a special mention of your merit. Most colleges get back to you with the scholarship details if you are accepted.

    Another way is to keep an eye on the University’s website. A lot of them publish details of the same on their website for academically strong students.

  • When to apply for a study permit and how?

    Indian students can apply for a study permit under the SDS (student direct stream). To qualify under SDS, the student should hold an unconditional offer from a university /college that is included under the scheme. The study permit application must be made two months before the course start date.

    It is always recommended to submit your application at least three months ahead of your proposed date of travel.

Lighting up the city with its ever famous fire-y light.

STEP 7- Wait for your acceptance letter

Relax, you have done your bit. After a yearlong of hard work and persistence, now all you have to do is wait for your desired university to get back to you and meanwhile, do your research about the post-admission process. The accommodation, the finances, etc.

STEP 8- Are we missing something?

Yes, VISA.

There’s a checklist you must fulfil if you want to assure yourself of getting a Canadian Visa-

  • A valid passport
  • Acceptance letter from a DLI
  • Proof of your stable financial background
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Language proficiency scores
  • A proof of your non-criminal background (police verification certificate will be needed.)

Congratulations, you just reached the gates of your dream university!

Knowledge truly is a great power, isn’t it? Familiarity lessens the anxiety of starting a new journey full of unknown turns. And GeeBee hopes that it has been the same with you. 

The information included in this blog has been fact-checked by our counselling experts but it could alter in times to come. Hence, it is always advised to verify your research and application with a skilled counsellor.

Click here to book yourself a free call to take the next step to fulfil your study abroad dream.


Is it harder to get into university as an international student?

Canada is very welcoming to international students.

Which Canadian university accepts most international students?

Almost all top universities in Canada accept international students.

Which university in Canada is free for international students?

There is no specific university giving free education but certainly students can be considered for scholarships considering the strong academics.

What is the cheapest university in Canada for international students?

The cost of studying abroad depends on several factors but if we are talking about only University fees, then Memorial University and Dalhousie University could be a few good ones to mention here.

How hard is it to get into Canadian universities?

Getting into Canadian Universities shouldn’t be seen as a hard task. Canada makes sure it eases the application process for international students. As long as your applications are error-free and your intention genuine, getting into a Canadian university should be a breezy walk.

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