Choosing to study at a career college in Canada is an exciting and important decision! Travel and study abroad are always enriching, but choosing where to go and what to study has huge implications for your future career. There are lots of great career colleges to choose from across Canada, but don't let this decision become overwhelming. Break down your decision into smaller categories to help guide you; making a check sheet for each career college you're interested in can be a good way to compare schools so you can see which one best suits your academic and personal needs.
Aspects to consider when choosing a Canadian career college:
Credentials offered: Consider associate's degrees, diplomas, certificates or trades and apprenticeship training; consider duration, specializations, industry connections and whether they prepare you to write the relevant certification or licensing exams.
Programs offered: Does the college offer a program in the area that interests you? Consider the courses available, class size, instructor qualifications and credentials, specialized facilities, etc. Some career colleges specialize in English or French as a second language (ESL or FSL) programs: do they have the level or program that meets your needs?
Transfer options: Many community colleges and universities accept students who have completed some post-secondary work at any institution, including career college. If you're interested in continuing your studies, make sure you know how your career college credits will transfer to other colleges and universities. Find out if the career college has a specific University Transfer Program and what the requirements are.
Academic and language requirements: Consider what courses are required, whether you can apply directly from high school, which language tests scores they accept, etc.
Location: Consider the climate and the benefits and challenges of small towns, medium sized cities, and large metropolises.
Size and culture: Consider what learning environment best suits your personality: a more personal atmosphere or a large, bustling campus. In terms of a college's "culture," you might consider a school's religious affiliation and program focus (for instance technology or certain specific industries).
Cost: Consider basic living expenses, tuition fees and the cost of books and other supplies.
Scholarships and awards/ financial aid: Are there any scholarships, awards or loans for international students that you qualify for? How helpful is the college's financial aid office?
Housing options: Consider on-campus residence or dormitories, off-campus apartment rental and homestay.
Quality/ accreditation: Look for accreditation at both the institutional and program levels.
Student support and success: A good measure of a career college is the employment rate of its students, which is often posted on the school's website. Consider the college's financial aid and job placement assistance.
Other international students' experiences: Career college international student centres or other online resources can help you connect with international students who can share their experience and advice.