If you are considering going to university or college for nursing or allied health in Canada, your post-secondary planning process should begin as early as high school. Nursing and allied health programs in Canada are rigorous and can be quite competitive. Thus, it is important to plan your high school courses accordingly. Some of the classes that you will want to take are math, biology and chemisty to ensure that you are well prepared for the schools and programs that make your list. As well, make sure that you can meet the minimum English or French proficiency requirements by taking any English or French and communications classes in high school.

There are several additional things that international students can do to prepare and increase their chances of being accepted into nursing and allied health programs in Canada:
  • Validate your interest in nursing or allied health by spending time in a clinic in your home country as an employee or volunteer, or by attending a summer or spring break camp in a related nursing or allied health field. Most Canadian schools require that you have seriously considered the field by spending time in a setting where nurses or health care professionals are working.

  • Consider how you can develop leadership skills while you are still in high school. Admissions committees value international applicants who can demonstrate leadership potential. You can acquire leadership in school clubs, volunteer programs, and through an internship or summer job.  

  • Act on your interests and undertake to read and study independently. You will benefit from exploring your interests and learning your own strengths and limitations. Those who pursue their genuine interests are more likely to excel. This is a good way for international students to develop interests, expand knowledge and improve the vocabulary and reading comprehension skills needed for school in Canada. This will also help you if admission requirements include a personal essay, since you will be able to impress the committee with the knowledge you have built up of terms and issues specific to this area of study;

  • Admissions committees are often interested in international students' extracurricular activities.  Consider joining or even starting school clubs, athletics, musical activities, and arts and drama, especially if you have excelled in one or more of these areas. This is also a good way to develop demonstrated leadership skills, which are an important aspect of a competitive application.