How to Apply to Universities in Canada as an International Student

As an international student, getting into university in Canada might seem like an impossible task, but it’s really not as hard as you think! With over 100 universities in Canada, it’s not easy to figure out which one is the best fit for you. There are plenty of things to consider, from tuition costs and acceptance rates to whether you’ll need to learn another language in order to get by on campus. If you’re an international student hoping to find your way through the Canadian university application process, keep reading to find out how to apply to universities in Canada as an international student.

How to Apply to Universities in Canada as an International Student

Now is the time to apply if you want to pursue your ambition of studying abroad in Canada. Provinces like Ontario welcome international students who want to enroll in programs at prestigious universities as the new enrolment period approaches. Many Canadian institutions are preparing for freshmen enrollment this autumn, with early applications beginning in October.

How to Apply to Universities in Canada

Here's how to discover how to apply to universities in Canada using these simple application methods and beating the enrollment rush.

Research your options

Make sure you have at least three possibilities for the universities you want to apply to, and do some research on the institutions you want to attend.

Check the admission requirements.

  • Admission times;
  • Language requirements;
  • Credit scores for the degree or program you want to apply for;
  • Application letter to the university; and
  • Personal profiles may also have to be sent; this is part of your student profile and takes around 30 minutes to complete. There are three questions the university gives you to answer with a short essay and two short videos.

Submit the required documents

  • A certified copy of your diploma or certificate;
  • A complete application form for your course;
  • An updated CV (if needed);
  • Letter of Intent (This states your intention to enroll in the college or university and any education course you wish to apply for);
  • Language results that are no more than one year old for English or French:
    • English tests that are generally accepted: IELTS, TOEFL, and C1 Advanced
    • French tests that are mainly accepted in Canada are: TEF, TCF, DALF, and DELF
  •  Proof of funds to show that you can support yourself and anyone who immigrates with you during your studies;
  • If you are applying for a Ph.D. or Master's program, you will need to have two letters of Academic Reference, along with previous Letters of Employment; and
  • If you did not study in Canada, you would also need to have your education assessed with an ECA (Educational Credential Assessment)

Moreover, the original documents must also be included with your application, along with a certified translation of each document into either English or French.

Receive an admission letter

After the university processes your application, you will get your Offer of Admission, also called an Acceptance letter.

Canadian Study Permit

You will have to apply for your study permit and prove that you:

  • Have enough funds to support yourself;
  • Have a medical certificate from an approved doctor from the Canadian panel of physicians (if you plan to study in Canada for longer than six months);
  • Have the intent to come to Canada for the sole purpose of studying;
  • Inform the Canadian Immigration Office that you intend to leave after your studies are complete; and
  • Provide Police Clearance, also known as a police certificate, to show that you are a law-abiding person with no criminal record (this includes DUIs)

Approved Languages Tests in Canada

Being able to speak either English or French fluently is essential for being considered an international student because these two languages will be used for the majority of courses and lectures. The journey doesn't finish when you know how to apply to Canadian universities. You must ensure that you can pass the language exam with enough points to demonstrate that you can grasp what you will be taught in Canada.

You must pass tests like the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TEF Canada (Test d'évaluation de français) to demonstrate that you possess the necessary language abilities. Just be sure to choose the Academic exam option rather than the General test if you take the IELTS or TEF.


IELTS reading, listening, speaking, and writing scores of 6.5 are accepted by some universities, including the University of British Columbia, although other institutions have higher language requirements of 7 or higher. Always check which language exams the colleges you wish to apply to accept before wasting your money, as these can be fairly pricey.

Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs)

The provinces and territories of Canada have given their approval to institutions that are allowed to accept foreign students. They are referred to as "recognized learning institutes" (DLIs). Therefore, if you need a study permission, the acceptance letter must come from a DLI. This must be done; otherwise, your application will be denied. The good news is that every top university in Canada is a Designated Learning institution, which means it is allowed to accept overseas students.

Top 5 Cheap Universities in Canada

The cost of studying abroad can be high, but there are many inexpensive universities in Canada that offer options that are far more cost-effective than those offered by the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), and Australia.

Some Canadian universities might be expensive depending on your degree program. This isn't required to be the case, though. Only what the Canadian government refers to as Designated Learning Institutions are open to international students (DLIs). A DLI is a learning facility that has been authorized by a Canadian provincial or territory government to provide educational opportunities to foreign students.

We've put together a list of some of the most affordable Canadian colleges for students from abroad.

Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN)

The Memorial University of Newfoundland is one of the most respectable and cost-effective DLI-approved colleges in Canada and the sole university in Newfoundland and Labrador. It takes great pleasure in having outstanding faculties of education, engineering, commerce, geology, and medicine. MUN prepares students for high-quality education in a variety of fields that can help them develop amazing talents because of its expertise in so many different areas.

One of the best and most reasonably priced institutions in Canada, MUN's annual tuition starts at about CA$11,500. The university offers a variety of scholarships for deserving international applicants in addition to its affordable tuition rates. As with all Canadian universities with DLI approval, there is a strong support network in place to make sure that you feel comfortable and secure while studying abroad.

University of Guelph (UofG)

The University of Guelph, located in the small city of Guelph in Canada's capital state of Ontario, provides an excellent alternative to the country's top university, the University of Toronto. The University of Georgia takes pride in being known as Canada's food university. Numerous departments of food science, food technology, and cookery are among the many high-quality educational opportunities offered by its numerous faculties.

International students will find the University of Glasgow to be very reasonable with annual tuition starting at about CA$10,700. The motto of the university is "Improve Life." The University of Glasgow's mission is to improve lives through its reasonable tuition, excellent standard of instruction, and solid connections with numerous businesses. Due to its extensive array of programs designed to help students enhance their English language skills, the university is very tolerant of international students. Additionally, it provides a wide network of mentors and advisors for international students to assist you in settling into your new nation.

University of Saskatchewan (USask)

Look no farther than USask if you want to pursue a scientific career in Canada and study there. One of the best affordable universities in Canada, the University of Saskatchewan is located in Saskatoon, the provincial capital. It has some of the top genetics and molecular biology facilities in North America and one of the greatest physical chemistry programs in Canada. Additionally, USask is a leader in sustainable development. Out of 1,400 programs focusing on sustainable development, it is ranked 58 internationally.

USask is near the bottom of our list in terms of annual costs, with yearly rates beginning at about CA$8225. Additional scholarships from USask are available to students from abroad. With the help of its International Student and Study Abroad Center, USask takes pride in its variety and initiative in creating a base for international students (ISSAC). With the aid of this center, international students can locate accommodation, mentorship, and other resources to help them settle in and get the most out of their degree programs.

University of Regina (UofR)

The University of Regina ranks among the Top 50 Universities Under 50 Years Old in the World, despite being a young institution. The University of Regina (UofR), which has its headquarters in Regina, Saskatchewan, takes pride in its programs that prepare students for real-world work experience in their chosen fields. UofR is one of the greatest DLI-approved universities in Canada if you want to study and work there.


With annual tuition starting at about CA$21,000, UofR is still less expensive than other colleges. Every year, it provides a huge selection of scholarships geared toward students from abroad. A sizable number of support networks are available at the University of Regina to improve the lives of international students. The 13-week English as a Second Language Program, which you can finish before starting your degree program, is one of its key features. By doing this, you can begin your academic career in the best possible manner and ensure that you have already experienced UofR culture.

Brandon University (BU)

One of the most renowned and regarded universities in Canada is Brandon University, a DLI-approved institution. It has a plethora of top-notch academic institutions, including a prestigious music school. One discipline is not all that Brandon University offers. Additionally well-regarded at BU are the schools of art, business administration, education, nursing, science, environmental science, and psychiatry.

The annual tuition at BU can range from roughly CA$4,013 to CA$18,150 depending on your degree, making it one of the finest affordable universities in Canada for foreign students. It has a long-standing commitment to provide chances for overseas students to study in Canada. Numerous programs are available at the university to assist graduates in finding employment when they graduate.


Furthermore, here are some of the frequently asked questions about studying in Canada as an international student.

What is the best university in Canada for international students?

The universities of Canada are among the greatest in the world. It makes sense that so many foreign students choose to study in the Great White North. The University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia are some of the most coveted secondary educational institutions. There are plenty others, though.

Can I afford to study in Canada?

Foreign tuition in Canada is less expensive than in many other wealthy countries, despite the fact that some Canadian universities are expensive. Additionally, you can seek for scholarships to aid in financing your study and find part-time employment to assist in covering your living expenses in addition to your tuition.

Will I be able to study at a university that is not a DLI?

No, the Canadian government only grants DLI designation to universities that permit the enrollment of foreign students. You cannot apply for a study permit in Canada with an acceptance letter from a non-designated college. The Canadian government maintains a list of DLI-approved schools that will permit you to study in Canada, and all of the institutions on this list are included in that list.

Will I be able to work part-time during my studies?

You are certainly permitted to do both as an international student studying in Canada. You can work a variety of attractive part-time jobs while attending school in Canada. You can find a few nice starting points in this post.

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