Ladies and gentlemen, I was positively stunned when Isunu reached out to me on my Twitter and IG pages. She wanted to share her story on the blog about how she applied to a Canadian university from Nigeria, and subsequently a student visa. I’m used to people reaching out to me, to ask for help (which is fine by the way), so imagine how gobsmacked I was that she was willing to share names, details, and contacts from her experience. I enjoyed reading from her so much (the girl has skills) I decided to break it into two series. I truly hate it when Nollywood does this with home videos, so I promise her story would be worth it. Here it is…
If you are a ’90’s kid, chances are you’ll know the very famous Peak Milk advert featuring Kanu Nwankwo where he is speaking about determination and grit. DON’T GIVE UP should be your motto, your mantra for the next couple of months as you make the decision to take it upon yourself to apply for a Canadian study permit by yourself without the help of an unnecessary agent. In my opinion,what you need is God for favor and divine directions, a computer with active internet and your determination. ( “If you want something done right, do it yourself – Charles Guillaume)
To kid nobody, Canada is mostly attractive to a lot of us back in Nigeria because of the accommodating spirit of the Canadian Immigration system. Unlike the UK which I can authoritatively speak on, your chances are higher if you want to stay back after your studies to start a life in the abroad. This was one of the major reasons I decided on Canada for my masters program.
I was having a conversation with my fiancé one evening and we decided to try Canada for me since he was already booted out of the UK after his Masters-regardless of the fact that baba had an amazing job with good pay. After that conversation YouTube became our best friend. We started watching videos on how to apply for a study permit in Canada, and we found only one which fully explained the processes. This video directed me to www.ontariocolleges.ca for colleges and www.ontariouniversities.ca for universities and this is what I worked with.
Decide what Universities or colleges appeal to you and the course you want to study.
This websites allow you to apply to as many colleges and universities as you like with just one application fee. Once you sign in, there is a long form you fill, after which you are asked to pay about $85-$100. Once payment is confirmed by them, they send your application to the different schools you picked. During my application process, I took it a step further by sending emails to all the four (4) universities I applied to, stating that I had just applied for a particular course with ontariocolleges.ca with my University certificate, Transcript, WAEC certificate, Resume, and a copy of previous work done, as attachments. I even called all the schools that same day to speak with their international office to get directives on my application process.
I totally abandoned ontariocolleges.ca after I got replies from representatives of these schools I emailed and continued correspondence with them directly. However I still got a friend resident in Canada to help send hard copies of my documents to verify my application on their website. I started this process in January 2018 and I chose courses that were scheduled to begin in September 2018, and January 2019.
Please let me emphasize here the importance of asking questions: always send emails, or put calls through to the schools if any process is unclear to you. It might take a while but they will reply you with clarifications.
I got the first admission letter from one of the schools in March 2018 and was admitted to the other schools in April 2018. I got admitted by all four colleges for the the programs I applied for, and all it cost was the fee I paid on the Ontariocolleges website- as fee for applying to multiple schools at the same time. I filtered through the admission letters and eventually picked the program that offered Double honors. This course will give me a post graduate diploma and a M.A.
Don’t let any agent deceive you. The process is long, but you can certainly do it yourself!
Confirm your admission and make payment.
It gets quite interesting after you receive the acceptance letter. Included in this letter is a fee you have to pay to secure your seat in the class. From all the admissions I was offered, the fees varied. One school asked me to pay $1600, another wanted one semester fee of $6,703. Bear in mind that this fee is refundable if you do not eventually get admitted into the program, but the school will give you a clause which you have to familiarize yourself with before paying.
For instance, the school I chose states that “in the event that you do not get a study permit or you decide not to attend the school after payment has been made, you have to inform them not more than 10 days after school has begun and you will get a full refund of the fees”. After 10 days, biko forget your money. (Don’t submit anything or send anything without properly reading and understanding the instructions)
Like everything else you try to do in Nigeria that involves sending or receiving money from the abroad, best believe Nigerian banks will try to frustrate the day light out of you. It took almost one (1) month after my fiancé initiated the request to transfer funds to the school, for them to confirm receipt of payment, because my bank kept going back and forth about unavailability of funds.
Remember, I had received the last of my admission letters in April, precisely 20th of April. I waited 1 month and a half before deciding to start payment and at this point it was almost June 2018.
The delay with the bank caused me to almost lose the admission, because there is a deadline for payment after which you lose your seat. I kept calling the school to give them updates on the reason they had not received the full payment- trust me, this guys know the hustle to get FOREX in this part of the world, and because I had carried them along all the way I got an extension to pay the fee. Eventually my bank came through and the receipt was issued and the rest is history…
Gather your documents for your student visa application.
Now this is the part of my application process that prompted me to reach out to Akata/BMG to publish this post. Before even gathering documents, you need to know what exactly to gather and submit. This can be an absolute STRUGGLE. Too many conflicting information on the internet!
A great place to start is with the Canadian immigration website – www.canada.ca, https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/study-canada.html
Almost all the information you need is somewhere there, however I must warn that you re-read over and over again to ensure you haven’t missed anything.
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