Can International Students Transfer Schools?

transfer student legs and backpack

It’s not unusual to want to change schools in between your post-secondary career. Don’t think because you are an international student that you can’t transfer to another institution. There are some important steps you have to take, but here’s all the information to get you started. 

How to Transfer Between Canadian Schools

Can international students transfer between institutions? In short, yes, just make sure you prepare accordingly.

First things first, in order to qualify as a transfer student (and be able to transfer your credits), you have to have spent at least one year in a post-secondary institution. 

Once you’ve met that requirement, you’re then going to have to prepare your transcript and go through the same application process as you do with any other school. You’ll have to determine if you meet a school’s admission requirements, such as having a certain GPA.

Before you start your application process, there are some things you have to double check. Make sure that your target school is a DLI and that you haven’t enrolled in any new courses.

If you have enrolled and just started your program, you can withdraw, but be sure to confirm the deadline to withdraw as well. You will put your GPA and wallet at risk if you withdraw after the deadline, so don’t drop all your studies in the middle of a semester. 

Because it’s like applying for a university again, you’ll have to pay the application fees and run the risk of rejection. However, if you have it set as your goal to transfer, then put all your energy into getting a good GPA during your first year. 

You’ll also have to wait for a response from your target school. During this time, it’s really important that you’re not idle. Keep in mind, you must fulfill the requirements of your study permit which is to maintain your status as a Full Time Student. 

General Requirements of Transferring

Each school will set their own requirements to transfer, but you can count on there being these certain factors:

  • Finish at least one year’s worth of post-secondary education
  • Have a good standing GPA– minimum may range from 2.0-2.4

Make sure you check the school’s specific program requirements too because they may require:

  • Equivalent courses already finished
  • A higher GPA than the general requirement

If you haven’t finished a semester or a year, no credits will be counted, you must prepare the same requirements as if you are applying the first time.

Why Change Schools?

Sometimes, the school isn’t a perfect fit for the student. That’s why it’s really important that you choose the right school. It could be the culture in the school, the environment, or the program they want to continue isn’t offered. 

Other reasons include wanting to transfer from college to university. That’s a common pathway for many students. Typically, students want to graduate from a university and not from a college, so they spend a year or two in college before moving up to a university.

What’s Different for International Students

The most important detail that absolutely must be accomplished is to inform the government that you will be switching schools. If you fail to do this, there are some consequences. Not reporting to the IRCC could lead to you being forced to leave Canada or be unable to enter Canada. 

If you’re already in Canada and at school, there’s also no need to re-apply for a study permit again. Your study permit is valid for any DLI in Canada, some conditions may apply, so read it carefully. You’ll just most likely have to present your valid study permit when you do apply for transfer.  

What if I get Rejected?

The chances of getting rejected are quite low, especially if you’ve been keeping your grades up. If you do get rejected, you can always enroll back into your original school. There’s no process to remove yourself from a school other than to not enroll two semesters in a row. If two semesters have passed, then you’ll have to reapply. 

Source: IRCC Changing Schools How to Change Your School 

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