apply universities Canada

How to Apply to Universities in Canada (6 Steps)

Scholarships in Canada

Canada is considered one of the most popular destinations for international students. About 642,000 foreigners are studying in the Great White North, many thanks to its reputable institutions and safe learning environment.

If you’re thinking of studying at a Canadian university, you’ll be glad to know that the process is very easy – although it could be quite lengthy. All you just need to do is follow these helpful tips on how to apply to universities in Canada.

1. Decide What Subjects You Want to Study in Canada

Canada’s popularity with international students is largely due to the many options one can seek. Although this is the case, some foreigners decide to study 5 most popular degree programs in the country.

Topping the list is Medicine, which is a particularly fulfilling and profitable career. Although admission is competitive, being able to study Medicine in Canada can guarantee you a median salary of about CAD 130,000 or $102,000 a year.

The next on the list is Nursing, which provides an immediate venue of employment right after graduation. With a high demand for Nurses due to the pandemic, students get the chance to make about CAD 79,000 or $62,000 a year after graduating and passing the licensure exam.

Another popular choice is Engineering, particularly Civil and Mechanical. Students who finish this course get to earn anywhere from CAD 60,000 to CAD 71,000 ($47,118 to $$55,757).

Completing the top 5 list of the most in-demand courses for international students are Sociology and Business Studies. Both of these courses lead to lucrative careers in Canada – and other countries – just as well.

2. Pass English or French Profiency Exams for Universities in Canada

The most common languages spoken in Canada are English and French. And, depending on the university in Canada you’d like to apply to, you may need to show proficiency in any (or both) languages.

Since English is the primary medium used in the University of Toronto, applicants need to show proficiency through any of the following:

  • Cambridge Assessment – minimum of 180
  • Canadian English Academic Language Assessment – overall score of 70
  • Canadian Test of English for Scholars – total score of 4.5
  • Duolingo English Test – 120
  • GCSE/IGCSE English Courses – B
  • IB English – at least 4
  • IELTS – band 6.5
  • TOEFL iBT – 100 (22 in Writing)

Exemptions are granted to students who have:

  • Finished schooling in a Canadian school that teaches English
  • Completed education in a country where English is the primary language
  • French as a first language, and have studied 4+ years in a Canadian school

In the French-speaking province of Quebec, proficiency in French is the primary requirement to apply to universities in Quebec. As such, University of Montreal applicants need to take a French Admission test to be admitted.

As for its graduate programs, the University of Montreal is happy to offer English-taught courses. As such, Master’s students – depending on their degree of choice – need not be knowledgeable in French. Proof of English proficiency, of course, is required upon admission to such programs.

3. Meet the Requirments of Applying to Universities in Canada

The basic requirement for undergraduate students is a secondary school/high school diploma. At the University of Alberta, however, students are required to have completed five subjects as well. The courses that need to be taken will depend on the specified program.

Like most universities, grades are considered in the admission process at the University of Alberta. Due to the competition in some programs, higher GPA scores are required for the following degrees:

  • Medical Laboratory Science, Dental Hygiene, Dietetics: 2.7
  • Dentistry: 3
  • Radiation Therapy: 3.2
  • Medicine: 3.3
  • Pharmacy: 3.5
  • Law: 3.8

As for Masters’ students, the basic requirement of applying to universities in Canada is a bachelor’s diploma with other forms required by the university/program. At the University of British Columbia (UBC) for example, grades matter as Master’s applicants need to have a GPA of 1.75/B+ in their undergraduate course. They also have to submit their English proficiency test and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results.

Students applying for an MBA or MSc in Business will have to submit their Graduation Management test scores instead of the GRE.

4. Decide a List of Canadian Universities to Apply to

Canada has a total of 30 universities included in the World Rankings. Leading the list is the University of Toronto at rank 18, followed by the UBC (34) and McGill (40). Completing the top 5 list are McMaster University (69) and the University of Montreal (73).

At rank 6 to 10 are the Universities of Alberta, Ottawa, Calgary, Waterloo, and Western.

While each Canadian institution has its own specialization, the University of Toronto remains to be the top choice for students who wish to study the Arts & Humanities, Business & Economics, Health Science, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Law, Life Science, Physical Science, and Social Science.

Although the University of Toronto dominates most fields of study, the UBC is heralded the better school when it comes to the Psychological sciences. UBC also shares the number 1 spot with the University of Toronto as the best school for Social Science education.

Apart from these 2 top-ranked universities, it’s worthwhile to consider applying to other Canadian institutions for your studies. A good example is McGill University, which is in the top 3 list of the best schools in Law, Life Science, Physical Science, Psychology, Social Science, Arts & Humanities, Business & Economics, Health Science, and Education.

McMaster University is also a good consideration as it is the top 2 university in the Health Sciences. As for Computer Engineering, the Universities of Montreal and Waterloo are ranked 2nd and 3rd. They are ahead of the higher-ranking UBC and McGill, which are listed at number 4 and 5, respectively.

5. Apply to Cheap Universities in Canada if You Need Help Financially

Canada is quite expensive for international students, since tuition can range from CAD 20,000 to 30,000 ($15,700 to $23,550) annually. This cost is about 3 times more expensive than local students, who only have to pay about CAD 6,500 ($5,103) every year.

Apart from the tuition, a student will also have to shoulder his/her monthly living expenses. This can range from CAD 600 to 800 ($471 to $628) a year.

If you don’t have the finances to cover these costs, you can always apply to affordable Canadian universities, such as the:

  • Memorial University of Newfoundland – $8,150 a year
  • St. Stephen’s University – $8,400 a year
  • Canadian Mennonite University – $8,450 a year
  • Athabasca University – $8,515 a year
  • University College of the North – as low as $8,600 a year

6. Apply to Canadian Scholarships

Whether you have been admitted to an inexpensive or pricey university, you can defray the costs of your education by applying for a scholarship. Bursaries are often provided according to nationality, such as the SEED scholarship that is only open to students from the ASEAN. The same goes for Caribbean students, who may apply for a Canada-CARICOM scholarship program.

Exclusive bursaries are also available for Chilean students – as well as those coming from other Latin American countries.

Study in Canada scholarships, on the other hand, are awarded to applicants from select African, Asian, and European nations.

Apart from these institutional scholarships, provinces may provide financial assistance to foreign students as well. Such is the case for those studying in the territories of Ontario or British Columbia.

Apart from governmental scholarships, some private organizations may offer scholarships to foreign students as well.

After these research, you are ready to apply to universities in Canada! I hope that this article on how to apply to Canadian universities was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Canada Scholarships Page!