Tips for Writing Your Study Plan

International students who wish to study in Canada are required to have a “Study Plan” to support their study permit application. As the name suggests, a study plan is your written explanation of why you want to study in Canada and how earning a Canadian degree can help you in your educational and career goals.  

Your study plan is an important part of your study permit application and can make it or break it. It must be objectified, not too subjective – a visa officer will read your study plan and will help him decide wether you meet eligibility or not – too emotional words won’t sway him to give you a study permit. A study plan is a formal letter and should be treated as such, so you must be mindful of grammar and appropriate words to convey your thoughts. 

Here are some tips for writing your study plan:

1. Be specific and concise

A visa officer  handles hundreds of application and he/she will have only a few minutes to read your study plan and determine your eligibility – so make it concise and direct to the point. It is advised that your study plan must only be one page. 

2. Be factual and honest

A study plan is a legal document, fraudulent and misleading information, whether you stated it on purpose or may have been just lost in translation, will be held accountable and may jeopardize your study permit application. There is also no point to lie in your study plan since there are other requirements accompanying your application that the visa officer can countercheck with.  

3. Be mindful of your grammar

Of course, a visa officer is not a teacher that will grade your grammar and spelling mistakes, but you must be mindful of grammar because you want to convey the right message.  This is your way of speaking to your visa officer so correct grammar makes the communication clear.

There are also question guide at the official site of Canada to help you in making your study plan, and here are some tips how to answer them:

1. Why do you wish to study in Canada in the program for which you have been accepted?

Explain the reason why you chose Canada to pursue your program.  You can say good things about Canada – you can talk about the quality of life in Canada, the edge of their education system, how excited your are to be immersed in a multicultural society etc.

2. What is your overall educational goal?

Studying or pursuing any degree has only one goal, and this is to acquire knowledge, skills and credentials. Talk about how studying in Canada can help you academically, how it can build your career and grow as a person. You can say you wanted to get a higher degree that is why you are pursuing a master’s degree. You can also mention how getting this degree can leverage your professional progress – how is it useful for a profession you are planning to pursue?  

3. Why are you not pursuing a similar program in your country of residence or of citizenship?

Solid comparisons between Canada and your country of resident is necessary to strengthen your application. Although, saying negative things about your country is not encouraged, you must give clear differences between the two to establish the need for you to study abroad. You can talk about Canada’s high quality and globally competitive education system. You may also be taking a program that is not offered in your country, hence the need to study abroad. 

4. How will this program enhance your employment opportunities in your country of residence or of citizenship?

State the advantages you can achieve by obtaining education credentials in Canada. You can name occupation or professions that you are currently not able to apply for because it requires higher education and discuss how studying in Canada can open more opportunities for you. You can also mention about the demand of certain profession in your home country. 

5. What ties do you have to your country of residence or of citizenship?

Being on a study permit, it is understood that you are a temporary resident of Canada. It is expected that an international student has strong ties in his/her country of residence and that he/she will go home after finishing his/her program. You can talk about your family, a job offer waiting for you after completing your studies, assets and properties at home. 

Although post graduate work permits are available for eligible students by graduating in an eligible designated institution, it is not advisable to talk about this topic in your study plan as the main objective of studying in Canada is to achieve higher education and not working in Canada. 

However, should you wish to mention that you are planning to immigrate to Canada, it is perfectly legitimate to do so and Canada does not forbid you – this is in accordance to the principle of Dual Intent. Applications with dual intent can state their wish to come as international student first then later on apply for permanent residence. It is acceptable as long as you can satisfy the visa officer that you can abide by Canada’s immigration rules and that you can be a law abiding citizen that can contribute to its (Canada’s) holistic good. 

“Dual intent is present when a foreign national who has applied or may apply for permanent residence in Canada also applies to enter Canada for a temporary period as a

  • visitor
  • student
  • worker

Having 2 intents (1 for temporary residence and 1 for permanent residence) is legitimate. This section addresses how to apply subsection 22(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to the decision-making process.”

Making a study plan with dual content is perfectly legal, however it is not commonly practiced or advisable to do so – for the simple reason that you don’t want to complicate your student permit application. Remember your original intent – to study in Canada – is the main objective.

6. Provide details of your education history 

You must provide a comprehensive detail of your education and work history (if applicable) and this includes dates when the course started and ended, the name and address of the school, the course taken, qualification, degree or certificate awarded for the course, past employers and number of years worked, present occupation etc. You must have a related education and work background to support your application. 

A study plan is a tool for you to help you in your student permit application and making it shouldn’t be burdensome. Hope this article helps you in acing it!
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