Since many of the US university deadlines are in January, February is a great time to focus on your applications to universities in Canada. If you read our last on 10 Top Canadian Universities, you probably know which ones you want to apply to. Here are our top tips for completing Canadian applications.
1. Do your applications in 2 parts. Canadian university applications are usually two-parters. The first part is often a general information that can be completed pretty quickly, The second part involves all your supplemental materials (transcripts, test scores, etc.). The two parts have different deadlines. The information form will usually be due in January or February and MUST be submitted before you can submit part 2. Be sure to check both deadlines on your university website.
2. Get all your supplemental materials at the same time and get more than you need. We often have students who go back to their guidance counselor several times because they have decided to apply to more universities. Take it from us...this annoys them! If you're applying to 5 schools, ask for 7 transcripts so you have extras and don't have to bug the already busy school administrators again.
3. If there is an essay, take it seriously. Many Canadian universities do not require essays as part of the application. Often, your acceptance depends on your GPA and SAT scores only. If there is an essay required, expect admissions officers to read it and use consider it in your acceptance because they have decided it is a valuable part of the application.
4. Be sure to check program-specific guidelines. We find that Canadian universities often have specific application guidelines per program in addition to general requirements for freshmen and international students. For example, architecture majors may be required to submit a portfolio or personal statement that is not required by a history major.
5. Check whether you need to take the TOEFL or IELTS. Most students from Dubai applying to Canadian universities will NOT need to take the TOEFL or IELTS because they have attended high schools where the primary language of instruction is English. Be sure to check with each university because requirements do vary.
6. Don't assume you need recommendations or letters of reference. Canadian universities often don't require them and if the universities do they will either ask for the teachers' information and contact them directly (to submit a reference online using a special email or have you submit a written reference on school letterhead in a signed and sealed envelope.
Check out the admissions guidelines for the University of British Columbia, Vancouver campus as an example of Canadian university admissions requirements: https://you.ubc.ca/ubc/vancouver/admissions.ezc.