Applying to middle schools in British Columbia is a process with several steps. Some steps will differ from school to school, so you should contact the school you are applying to for their specific directions. However, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
Step 1: Choose a school
Your first step is to research middle schools and school districts, and decide which school or district will give you the education you are looking for. British Columbia offers a wide variety of choices for international students, so you should have no problem finding the school that is right for you. In some cases, middle schools cannot be chosen individually; rather, a student applies to the school district and is placed in an appropriate school program.
Step 2: Double check the entry requirements
Different programs at different middle school types will have different entry requirements, such as minimum grade, minimum age, letters from officials at your present school, a certain level of English, certain scores on specific language tests (TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS, CAEL, etc.).
Step 3: Find out when and where to apply
This step is the one that will differ the most between schools and school districts. Many middle schools in Canada with international programs have their own application form to fill out or application process to follow. You should contact the school directly to get a copy of the form or an introduction to their process. They may require transcripts or other supporting documents from you, including certified translations, if necessary. In other cases, you apply to the school district and, based on a review of your application, the school district will place you in the appropriate middle school program.
In both cases, you should be sure to find out if there is an application deadline, and give yourself plenty of time to fulfill this step.
Step 4: Pay your application fees and any other fees
Many schools will require you to pay an application fee and all or part (a tuition deposit) of the year's tuition before they will send you a letter of acceptance. As the letter of acceptance is absolutely required to obtain a Canadian student visa, this step is very important. Most institutions will refund your payment if for some reason a student visa cannot be obtained.
Step 5: Apply for your study permit
Once you have your letter of acceptance from a Canadian middle school, you can begin applying for your Canadian student visa, also called a study permit. This permit is required for all international students whose studies in Canada will last more than six months. The permit is issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The application process for this permit may take some time. Again, it is very important to leave enough time before the beginning of the school year (which usually starts in September) to apply for and receive your study permit. Be sure to find out about guardian requirements for minors.
Once you have your letter of acceptance and your study permit from CIC, you are ready to begin your middle school study in British Columbia.