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When to start applying to Canadian institutions

Here’s a detailed timeline on when to begin the process

For international students, Canada is one of the most popular study abroad destinations. Academic excellence, internationally revered institutions, a welcoming multicultural environment, and a promising job market are the top reasons that make it so enticing for students every year. To increase your chances at acceptance at your preferred college or university in Canada, it is always a good idea to understand the chronology of the application process and start on time. Here is an overview:

Intake season in Canada

Canadian institutions offer three intakes or semesters in one academic year. These are:
  • Fall: The Fall intake starts in September and is the most popular intake with Indian students

  • Winter: This starts in January and is your best bet in case you have missed Starts the September intake

  • Summer: This season is limited to specific programs and institutions available; the Summer intake usually starts around April and May  

Which intake to opt for?

The Fall intake is usually the most preferred one as it gives students enough time to settle in and adjust to the new studies and environment. It is however, better to wait for the Winter intake if applying in Fall requires you to work in haste.
Here are the intakes available for different programs in universities and colleges:




Undergraduate and postgraduate in a University

Fall – September
Winter - January

December - March
September - November

Diploma programs in colleges


August - September
January - February
February - April

Documents required

It is always advisable to have a checklist of must-need documents for your application and keep them organised. Students tend to make the mistake of leaving this part to the last minute and risk missing their chance at acceptance because of it. So, be prepared and keep the following documents handy:

  • Application form/fees
    Make sure you download the latest version of the form from the university or college website and fill it up in detail. Keep a valid credit/ debit card handy to pay the application fee
  • Marksheets/transcripts
    Keep these organised and scanned on your computer so that you don’t waste time while applying
  • Statement of Purpose
    It is important to write and edit this in advance. Our IDP experts can help you write an impactful SOP. 
    Read more: Everything you need to know about an SOP 
  • Letters of Recommendations (LOR)
    Make sure you give your professors/ employers all the details and give them enough time to write you a good LOR 
    Read more: What is a letter of recommendation 
  • IELTS Test Scores
    Start preparing for your English proficiency tests in advance and keep your scorecard handy to turn it in at the university or college

The application timeline

You will need to start planning your application at least a full year ahead of your target intake. Once you shortlist the universities, you should start preparing your application at least five to six months ahead of the intake. 

Studying in Canada can alter the very course of your career and get you closer to your dream life. Just keep calm and follow this timeline to make your best bet at acceptance. If you still have any queries, connect with IDP’s international education specialists and they will be happy to guide you.

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Note: Given the current COVID-19 situation, there might be some changes in the 2022 intakes. Don’t worry, our international education experts are here to guide you with the latest updates to help you apply to your desired course and institution. Feel free to connect with our experts for a free counselling session and keep posted about the latest COVID- 19 updates.

Updated on October 26, 2021

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