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Applying to an English as a Second Language (ESL) program in Canada is a process that varies between programs and school type; ESL programs are offered by high schools, colleges, universities, and by private language institutions. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow.

Step 1: Choose a program
Your first step is to research ESL programs in Canada and choose the best program for your needs. Canada offers a wide variety of choices for the international student, so you should have no problem finding the program that is right for you.

Step 2: Double check the entry requirements
Different ESL programs at different school types will have different entry requirements, such as minimum grade, minimum age (different schools have different age restrictions), letters from officials at your present school, a certain level of English, certain scores on specific language tests (CAEL, TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS, etc.).

Step 3: Know when and where to apply
  • Apply early

  • Some ESL programs and institutions have specific application deadlines for international students, while others accept and process applications all year round. Because space is often limited, it is a good idea to apply as early as possible.

  • Apply directly to the program

  • This step may vary widely between programs, as each program will have a different set of application requirements and guidelines. The best way to find out about the application process is to contact the institution running or hosting the program. You may be required to complete an online application or mail a paper application; you might have to arrange for official transcripts to be sent from your home institution (including certified translations if necessary).

Step 4: Pay your application fees and any other fees
Most schools have an application fee, and some may require all or a part of your yearly tuition (usually a tuition deposit of between $200 and $800 C$) to be paid before they will issue a letter of acceptance. As you must have this letter to apply for your Canadian student visa (known as a study permit), this step is very important.

Step 5: Apply for your study permit
Once you have your letter of acceptance from a Canadian ESL program, 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, or 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 program to apply for and receive your study permit.
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  College Programs Preparing for ESL in Canada
  College Programs Choosing an ESL Program in Canada
  College Programs Applying to an ESL Program in Canada
  College Programs Canada Scholarships for International Students
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  College Programs Going from an ESL Program to University or College in Canada
  College Programs Common Questions About ESL in Canada
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