Even though Canadian employees in the Canadian embassies throughout the world are still on strike and study visas are being processed ever so slowly, Canada is still a choice study abroad destination for September 2014. Strikes don’t last forever and the Canadian government is urging students to use the online application process when applying for a study visa. The processing time is quicker.
Especially if you are planning on taking a graduate program you must start your search and inquiries now. Many graduate departments state on their websites that it is advisable for a student, regardless if he/she is an international student or a national to start their process up to one year prior to the start date. It takes time to determine if a particular university offers not only the program, but also research in your interest area. It takes time to take all the necessary exams such as IELTS, GMAT, GRE or some other requirement. Some departments require the student to find a supervisor for their thesis even before they apply. It takes time to write to prospective supervisors and start building a relationship whereby they would take you on as a student. So for graduate programs it is essential that prospective international students start looking now.
Although undergraduate students do not have the lengthy processes prospective graduate students have, high school students too should start looking at potential programs. They should make sure that they know the admission deadlines which may be as early as February 2014. They should make sure that what they are studying will meet the requirements. For example, if you want to take human resource management at a Canadian university, are you taking the right courses to meet the university’s academic admission requirements? Also check out the marks you need to qualify for college or university in Canada; then strive for those higher marks.
Also remember that student visa processing takes time, especially if you live in Pakistan where it can take up to 3 months. So you should process your admission application about 5 to 6 months prior to the September 2014 start date. Many universities and colleges will even grant a conditional early admission confirmation letter based on your mid-term marks. This way you can still apply for your study visa while waiting for your final marks. Once the final marks are in, you send them off to the university. They will then send you a final confirmation of admission letter. In the meantime, you will have your visa permit and be ready to fly out to Canada. The only times your admission will be withdrawn is if you do not produce your final marks, or if your final marks fall below the admission requirements.
So, don’t procrastinate. Start thinking about where you want to study next year and then pursue your dream.