FAQs

Programs

How do you decide which school to place students in?

We try to match student’s interests and goals with the best school for them. However, we also believe in providing a full immersion experience to each international student and try to evenly distribute students between all of our schools.

Do I have to take English Language Development (ELD) classes?

We encourage all international students to take ELD s for as long as needed. Most international students usually need a semester or two of ELD study. ELD courses are vital to your success in other courses, and the number of regular academic classes you take will increase as your English improves.However, students arriving with obvious English language ability may be exempt from taking an ELD course. Often, students from Europe and South America are able to integrate fully into our academic program, though some find that a first semester ELD class is still useful as support to their academic studies.

How do I decide which courses to take?

Elementary and Middle School students do not have a choice when it comes to their courses and take a mix of regular academic courses and electives.

In Secondary School, deciding which courses to take can be a more difficult process and will depend on the students’ educational goals. Once your application has been approved, high school students will receive a course booklet for the school where they will be studyingAll international students have appointments with their counselor before they begin classes to talk about their course planning. This occurs at orientation, and is one of the reasons why attending orientation is mandatory.

Do I have to maintain certain grades?

Students registered in a Sooke Schools International program make a written commitment ( link to student agreement) to their studies that includes a commitment to academic effort and success. While a certain grade point average is not specified to remain in the program, a student who lacks an obvious commitment to academic success may be dismissed ( link to refund policy) from the program.

Am I able to earn course credits?

If you successfully complete a course as a student in our academic program you will receive course credit. All academic program students who study with us for one complete semester or more will receive a completed transcript.

Am I able to attain a B.C. graduation diploma?

Yes, students in the Sooke Schools International Student academic program are able to earn a B.C. graduation diploma. The graduation program diploma has certain mandatory requirements and completion usually takes international students from two to three years Students are strongly encouraged to come in grade 9 or 10 if they intend to graduate; however, those with strong English may come in grade 11.

Can I attend North American universities after completing my academic studies in a Sooke School?

The British Columbian Dogwood Diploma is accepted all over the world, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Homestay

Will I stay with a homestay family while I study in Victoria?

Yes. We encourage all of our students to take advantage of our homestay program. We have a Homestay Manager who will place you in a safe, warm, caring and supportive local Canadian family who shares similar interests and lives near your school.

How are homestay placements made?

Our homestay families go through a extensive application and orientation process, and must meet stringent program expectations before becoming eligible to host our international students. Placements are made by our homestay manager based on information provided on the application form, student needs, school placement and homestay availability.We take care in matching you into an available homestay family whose interests most closely match your own. For this reason, we ask you to complete the homestay questions in our application thoughtfully and completely. We know how important the homestay experience is and want to do everything possible to ensure that you have a remarkable experience.

Applications

Do I need a study permit?

Yes, all international students registering for one of our academic program should apply for a study permit. Even if you are applying for a short-term academic program, you are strongly encouraged to apply for a study permit.Students who register for five months or less are not required to have a study permit to enter the country. However, students who register for five months or less often ask to extend the length of their stay. If you have not already received a study permit before you leave to study with us, you may find it either difficult or impossible to be approved for a study permit once you are in Canada.If you intend to stay for a period of five months or less as a participant in our English Language Development program or as a member of a Sooke SummerSide summer camp program you do not need to apply for a summer permit.

To find out how to obtain a Study Permit, contract the nearest Canadian Embassy, Consulate General, or Trade Commission, or go directly to the Citizenship & Immigration Canada website.

Is it possible to extend my valid Study Permit once I’ve begun my studies?

Yes, you may extend your valid Study Permit as long as you remain in a recognized educational program and send all of the necessary documents to Citizenship & Immigration Canada at least two months before your Study Permit expiry date. Once you are studying with us, the Sooke Schools International Student Program office will be happy to help you with the Study Permit renewal process.

Do I need a custodian while studying in the Sooke Schools International Programs?

Immigration Canada requires that all international students under the age of 18 appoint a custodian to act in their parents place. This is a legal requirement that must be met in order for you to reside in Canada. This notarized declaration must be signed by both the parents and the custodian. The Sooke School District is able to act as the student’s custodian without any additional charge.To find out how to obtain a Study Permit, contract the nearest Canadian Embassy, Consulate General, or Trade Commission, or go directly to the Citizenship & Immigration Canada website.

Do I need medical insurance?

Yes. To be a registered student within a Sooke Schools International program, you must be covered by medical insurance. The cost of this insurance is included in our program fees.

Students who are not on our Graduation Program, and who study with us for one year or less, will be covered by private medical insurance. Students who are on our Graduation Program will start their program covered by this same private medical insurance, and after a 6-month waiting period, will be switched over to the Medical Services Plan of British Columbia (MSP).

How long does it take to receive approval of my application to the Sooke Schools International Student program?

Applications are usually acknowledged within 48 hours after all of the elements (link) have been submitted. Applicants will normally be advised within one week whether they have been offered placement in the Sooke Schools International program.

Why are school transcripts required as part of the application process?

For admission into our academic program, students must include transcripts for the past two years, translated into English. Please also email or fax the original, un-translated copies of the transcripts.
Study in a language that is not familiar to you can be challenging. Students with a below average academic record are not likely to succeed.

We also look for evidence of your English language abilities. Those familiar with the IELTS should be confident of their ability to score at least the 4.5 level prior to applying. While no English language ability test is administered prior to your arrival, please be aware that our academic program is not for those who lack the ability for at least some study in English as a student within classes that are also being taken by Canadian students. Please see Program FAQ’s for additional information.

To find out how to obtain a Study Permit, contract the nearest Canadian Embassy, Consulate General, or Trade Commission, or go directly to the Citizenship & Immigration Canada website.

What is the refund policy?

If the request for a Study Permit is denied by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the total School Fee paid is refundable, less $500 administration costs. To be eligible for a refund of fees on this basis, the applicant must provide a copy of the visa application and a copy of the letter of denial from CIC.

If a student cancels before the program begins, two-thirds of the School Fee paid is refundable. If a student leaves the program within 30 days of beginning, half of the School Fee paid is refundable. No refund will be provided to students choosing to leave beyond the first month of their program. Nor is any refund available to those who are dismissed from the program.

The Sooke School District is not liable for losses/expenses that may incur as a result of the District being unable to provide education owing to labour disputes, inclement weather conditions or other causes beyond its control. If the student’s educational needs are greater than disclosed on the application, the District reserves the right to charge for extra support if such support is available. Any inaccuracy in the application submission is grounds for the District to terminate the agreement and send the student home without refund and at the parent’s own expense.