A letter of acceptance, or what can be known as an offer letter or offer of admission, is a mandatory document required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in an application for a Canadian study permit or ‘student visa’.
Every Canadian university or college has a different set of admission requirements and documentation expected from prospective students, which may depend on the intended program of study.
The first step to receiving a letter of acceptance is to submit a complete application to the Designated Learning Institution (DLI) you are interested in attending.
In addition to meeting general admission requirements, you may need to prove specific subject prerequisites, or submit a personal profile or statement of interest as part of an application to study at a post-secondary institution.
Therefore, it is advisable to apply to more than one institution.
1. Prepare your application to the Canadian school
To begin with, consult the website of the DLI of your choice and complete an application form. It is often the case that an institution’s website will direct you to the appropriate form depending on your situation.
Most institutions have a separate application form for international students.
Some of the common steps required in completing an application form are the following:
- Check the application deadlines for international students (may vary based on intended institution or study program);
- Set up an online profile in the institution’s unique student portal (if applicable);
- Gather the required documents;
- Academic records of all previous secondary and post-secondary studies
- Notarized translations of any documents issued in languages other than English or French
- Official transcripts from the high school attended or previous post-secondary institutions attended
- Depending on the DLI, it may be possible to upload the documents directly in the student application portal or documents could be sent by mail to the appropriate department at the institution.
Contact the enrolment office at the intended institution for further details on application requirements.
2. Understand how schools choose successful applications
When considering your application for study, the institution will verify whether or not you meet the general admission and program-specific requirements.
The general requirements may include English or French language requirements depending on the primary language of instruction at the institution.
Language requirements may vary based on the school you choose to attend. For example, if English is not your first language, you may be required to provide evidence of adequate language proficiency unless exemptions apply.
Program specific requirements are based on whether or not a prospective student has completed the required pre-requisites for the intended program of study.
In order to select prospective students a Canadian university or college may assess applicants on criteria beyond general and program-specific requirements, such as previous academic performance and perceived potential.
3. Find out if you are eligible for a conditional letter of acceptance
As a potential student, you be eligible to provide IRCC with a conditional letter of acceptance which indicates that you will be allowed to register to a program upon completion of a pre-requisite to the program.
For example, you may be required to complete an English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FRSL) course before pursuing the study program. In this situation, a study permit may be issued for the duration of the prerequisite program only.
After successfully completing the prerequisite, you may then apply for another study permit for the intended study program after demonstrating successful completion of the admission requirements.
4. Know what elements are required on a letter of acceptance
IRCC has produced a standardized template to be completed by DLIs issuing letters to potential students. You should ensure that a letter of acceptance includes the following information when submitting the document as part of a study permit application:
- Your full name, date of birth and mailing address;
- name of the institution and official contact;
- DLI number;
- telephone, fax, website and email information for the institution;
- type of school or institution (e.g., private or public and, in cases where the institution is publicly funded but not a university, indication as to whether the institution is a post-secondary college, a post-secondary community college or a post-secondary technical college);
- the field or program of study, level and year of study into which you were accepted;
- the estimated duration or date of completion of the course;
- date on which the selected course of study begins;
- the last date on which you may register for a selected course;
- the academic year of study that you will be entering;
- whether the course or program of study is full-time or part-time;
- the tuition fee;
- scholarships and other financial aid (if applicable);
- an expiry date indicating the date until which the letter of acceptance is valid;
- any conditions related to the acceptance or registration, such as academic prerequisites, completion of a previous degree, proof of language competence, etc.;
- clear identification of the educational institution, normally confirmed through its letterhead;
- for study in Quebec, the requirement of a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ); and
- where applicable, licensing information for private institutions normally confirmed through letterhead.
It is important to note that the issuance of a Canadian study permit and acceptance of a letter of acceptance is under the discretion of an immigration officer and further steps may be requested from you as an applicant.
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