For students who are looking to study in Canada, there’s probably nothing more difficult than choosing the right place to study.
Almost every college offers the same high quality of education in career-focused fields such as engineering, IT, accounting, and healthcare. Tuition fees and cost of living are, of course, factors to consider, but with the wide array of courses available across the Canadian college network, there’s likely to be a school that’s aligned with your values and financial affordability.
In this article, we’ve selected the 6 best Designated Learning Institutions in Canada that are well-suited for Indian students. From short skills-based courses to post-graduate diplomas and degrees, these colleges offer international students pathways to work in Canada after graduation.
What is a designated learning institution?
A designated learning institution (DLI) is a school approved by a Canadian provincial or territorial government to admit international students.
Canada has over 700 DLIs that offer Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) programs to foreign students. With a PGWP, international students can gain valuable Canadian work experience for a minimum of 8 months up to a maximum of 3 years.
Only DLIs can issue study permits to international students, so make sure to double-check that your school has DLI status before applying. The school’s unique DLI number will appear on both your acceptance letter and study permit. Satellite campuses or small colleges within a large university network may have different DLI numbers to their parent university.
It’s also important to note that your Canadian study permit is tied to the DLI you’re enrolled at for the duration of your studies. If you decide to switch to another DLI during your studies, you will be required to apply for a new study permit with a new letter of acceptance.
Factors to consider before applying
Before you apply to Canadian universities, you may want to research the kinds of academic degrees and job prospects each school offers.
Studying in Canada can be very expensive so the decision to study there should not be taken lightly. Recent data from Statistics Canada shows that the average tuition fee for undergraduate international students is $29,700 CAD (roughly $22,500 USD or 1,726,420 INR) per year.
Universities and colleges in Canada are all held to some of the highest quality assurance and accreditation standards in the world. While you’ll probably get a good education no matter which school you go to, you should still take some time to understand the specifics of different programs.
Some programs place a large emphasis on research, with opportunities for you to specialize further and gain doctorate degrees. Others allow you to combine work experience (co-op) with your degree. A few select ones may even give you a chance to go abroad on international exchanges. It can be wise to choose a program that aligns with your future career plans.
The location of your chosen university can have a large impact on your finances. Studying at a university in an urban center may come with higher public transportation costs, rent, and food expenses compared to schools in more rural or suburban areas.
In addition to location, you may also want to consider the availability of scholarships–especially those that Indian students are eligible for–and paid co-op or internship opportunities. Some universities may allow you to work part-time on campus, which can help you pay for textbooks and school supplies.
Being able to work in Canada after graduation is often one of the main reasons Indian students choose Canadian universities over US or UK universities. Fortunately, most DLIs offer PGWP programs that will help get you set up nicely for 1-3 years of work experience in Canada.
If you’re looking to go down this path, you may want to choose a course that has good links with the industry you want to work in after you finish your studies. Courses with mandatory co-op programs and a focus on hands-on learning are generally good at helping students explore career options.
Top designated learning institutions in Canada
In the guide below, we’ve selected the 6 best DLIs in Canada for Indian students. All of these schools offer PGWP programs and help their international students build the right work skills for jobs in Canada.
Lambton College is a publicly funded, non-profit university located in Ontario, Canada.
With the main campus in Sarnia near Lake Huron and two smaller campuses in multicultural Mississauga and Toronto, it houses over 10,000 home students and 3,500 international students.
Students can choose to complete certificates, diplomas, and post-graduate programs in 6 different fields including Education, IT, Management, and Law. Lambton strives to give its students practical, hands-on learning experiences as well as internship opportunities to help them enter the Canadian workforce quickly.
Upon completion of their academic program, eligible students can apply for up to a three-year post-graduation work permit.
Since 1969, CDI College has helped students from around the world gain essential work skills.
It offers academic certification in over 100 different subjects on 25 campuses across 5 Canadian provinces. Students can opt to study in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, or Manitoba. The college has multiple start dates for its courses to accommodate learners from different walks of life.
If English is not your first language, CDI College only requires Student Direct Stream applicants to have a 6.0 IELTS score. Lecturers and administrators will help you get up to speed with your English skills and gain valuable work experience in the business, technology, and healthcare industries. The class sizes at CDI College are limited to a few students per session to help students get more one-to-one time with their teachers.
Located in the heart of Montreal, Canada College prides itself on the vibrant student experience it provides its new students with.
The college is within walking distance of several museums, cinemas, shops, restaurants, and outdoor spaces including Mt Royal Park. Over 20,000 students from 160 countries have studied at this college since it opened its doors to students in 1976.
Canada College has 3 faculties offering a variety of academic certifications from medical English to computer science. Average tuition fees for a course at Canada College come to about CAD $10,000 (about 581,240 INR) per year. Though the college cannot help graduates apply for permanent residency after graduation, they can assist you with PGWP applications.
Established in 1967, Conestoga College is a leading provider of career-focused programs.
It delivers a full range of apprenticeship training courses, applied research programs, and accredited degrees for students interested in a polytechnic education. Students can select from over 200 courses in business, engineering, and hospitality, among many others.
To gain admission into Conestoga College, international students need to have a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 and a TOEFL score of 88. Students will also need to present advanced diplomas or degrees related to their field of study to be eligible for most courses.
In addition to its academic offerings, Conestoga College is also well known for its student facilities and extracurricular activities. Students can play volleyball, basketball, and soccer at the college’s Student Recreation Centre, and even participate in inter-collegiate competitions through the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association and the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association.
The Ontario-based Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology specializes in a wide array of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in global business administration, supply chain management, and health sciences.
It maintains 4 campuses across Ontario, each of which is dedicated to a specific branch of study. The Moosonee campus, for example, provides high skill training in various technologies and trades while the Timmins campus focuses more on business and the health sciences.
Unlike the other colleges on this list, Northern College provides students with a more rural Canadian experience. In their free time, students can go hiking around picturesque lakes, hunting for fossils, and camping in the wilderness.
Matrix College is a private career college in downtown Montreal that offers specialized degrees and certificates in business, technology, and engineering.
With a faculty of industry-experienced instructors, it organizes year-round accelerated training programs for in-demand certifications like SAP, Cisco, and VMware to help its students enter the workforce quickly.
Indian students who are looking to work in Canada after their studies can benefit from these job-relevant courses and the range of workshops arranged by the college on immigration information, CV and cover letter writing, and post-graduate work permit applications. If you’re thinking of working during your degree, Matrix College’s evening and weekend classes may be of some interest to you.
Unsure where to apply?
Express Entry can help you choose the right Canadian college to go to. With our one-stop resource for Canadian immigration and study advice, you’ll be ready to move to Canada in no time. On our website, you’ll be able to find guides on topics ranging from how to navigate the Express Entry program for Canadian Permanent Residency to applying for a start-up visa. We break down complex immigration procedures into easy-to-follow steps so you can get started on your applications right away. Visit us today to begin your journey to Canada.