Frequently Asked Questions
What is your admission criteria for international students?
Acceptance into the International Student Education Program is by invitation and is based on overall academic achievement. Each applicant’s acceptance into the program will be determined by the following criteria:
- The applicant’s educational background and present academic standing as indicated on the transcripts/school reports and reference letter.
- The availability of space in the International Student Education Program as the school district must prioritize all local students before international students per the Alberta Education Act.
Does the student have to be Catholic in order to be accepted?
No. We welcome applications from students of all faith. Please understand that all our students must take Religion classes at all grade levels and they are expected to participate in religious ceremonies.
How do I register an international student?
See here for our Application Checklist and International Student Application Form.
How long does it take until I know my student has been accepted?
We process applications as quickly as possible. Our usual time frame is within one full week of receiving the complete application package. Timelines may vary dependent on the volume of applications.
Are students able to start classes at any time during the school year?
No. Elementary and junior high (kindergarten–Grade 9) international students can start in September.
Senior high (grades 10–12) international students have the option to start classes in September (semester 1) or February (semester 2).
What is the age cutoff for my child to study in your district?
The student must be under 20 years of age prior to September 1 of the school year they plan on attending in order to be eligible.
Do I need to take International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?
We do not require you to take IELTS or TOEFL but this is recommended for grades 9–12.
What procedure does my child follow once they have arrived in Canada?
An appointment should have been set up for your child prior to arrival at St John Reception Centre. Here the staff will register the child and the child will complete an English language test to determine appropriate programming.
Once testing is complete at St John Reception Center, the student will begin their studies at their new school.
Please contact the International Students department with any questions about this process.
Camps & Short-term Programs
Do you offer short-term programs?
We do not offer short-term programs under five months. Our minimum program duration is one semester (five months) for high school students in grades 10–12 only.
Do you offer summer camp or winter camp programs?
No, we do not offer summer camp or winter camp programs.
Do you offer Summer School credit courses?
Yes, we offer five-credit or three-credit summer school courses in July to current Calgary Catholic School District students only.
Custodians & Homestay
Do I need a custodian to study in Canada?
Minors under 18 years of age are required to have a custodian for the duration of their stay in Canada as per immigration’s requirements.
A custodian is not required if one parent will stay in Canada with the child for the duration of the school year.
Custodianship to any other individual will not be allowed for elementary students in kindergarten–Grade 6.
What responsibilities does a custodian have?
They act as a parent to the child while they are studying here in Canada. They take on the same responsibilities that a parent would have.
Who can I choose as a custodian for my child?
District policy states that the custodian must be at least 25 years old and they must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. Please choose a custodian you know will care for your child like their own child.
Does my child have to live with their custodian?
No; as long as the custodian is available for your child 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the child can live elsewhere. The custodian must live in Calgary or the surrounding communities of Airdrie, Chestermere, Cochrane or Okotoks. The custodian must be able to respond quickly if there is an emergency.
Do you offer homestay and custodianship services?
We work with Canada Homestay Network (CHN) to place students in homestays. Homestay services is offered to junior high and senior high students only. See here for more details.
What are the fees, refund and withdrawal policy for a homestay?
What are your rules and expectations for international students?
Attendance: International students will be required to attend classes and be on time. International students who have accumulated ten or more unexcused absences will not be considered for renewal for the following school year, and depending on the severity, may be dismissed from the International Student Education Program. Ongoing illness requires medical documentation.
Grades: International students will be required to maintain a passing grade of 50 per cent in all subjects. Supports will be available for international students who are struggling to maintain a passing grade. However, if no improvement is seen then the student will not qualify for renewal for the next school year.
High School Diploma
How long does it take for my child to receive an Alberta high school diploma?
Senior high school in Alberta consists of grades 10, 11 and 12. To qualify for an Alberta high school diploma, the student must successfully complete a minimum of 100 credits from the required and optional courses offered at the high school level. Typically, international students whose first language is not English will take three to four years to complete their high school education, depending on how well they do academically. Another factor to consider is your child’s level of English which might also lengthen the time needed to obtain their Alberta high school diploma. Our students must complete Religion 35 in order to attend the convocation ceremony. See here for more diploma requirement information.
Will my child's credits transfer?
The school counselor will evaluate the child’s transcript from their home country and will grant credit for courses that are equivalent to school courses in Alberta. We cannot guarantee that all of your child’s courses will transfer.
Does an Alberta high school diploma allow my child to attend university anywhere in North America?
In Canada, our quality of education is high. If your child performs well academically in a Calgary Catholic School District senior high school and receives an Alberta high school diploma, they will most likely qualify for entrance to a post-secondary institution in Canada or the United States. If they spend less than 3 years of high school in Canada then the English requirement changes for university and they may need an additional English test such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to apply for a post-secondary program.
Does my child need health insurance while staying in Canada?
All students will require health insurance coverage that they will purchase through Calgary Catholic School District's insurance provider only. Costs will be CAD 50 per month up to a maximum of CAD 500 for a year or CAD 300 for one semester. See here for more health insurance information in your preferred language.
How will a school be chosen for my child?
School placement is based on location of residence while the student is in Canada and facility and resource availability. We reserve the right to make the final decision for school and grade placement. Final school placement will be determined at our district’s St. John Reception Centre upon registration.
How will I know that it will be the best school for my child?
All of our schools have the same curriculum, same teaching standards and will provide the student with a great education.
How do I apply for a study permit for my child?
To be able to study in Canada, your child must have a valid study permit before coming to Canada. You can apply for a student visa at the Canadian embassy in your country. The embassy will need to see your child’s Letter of Acceptance from the school along with other documentation. The student visa approval letter will be issued by the embassy whereas the initial Study Permit will be issued at the first Port of Entry in Canada by an immigration officer.
Please visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for more details.
The student may be required to provide his/her biometrics.
Can an international student work while on a study permit?
By Canadian law, international students (kindergarten–Grade 12) are not permitted any type of employment while on a study permit.
Tuition & Fees
How do I pay the application, tuition and medical insurance fees?
We have partnered with Flywire to accept on-line payments for both the application fee and the tuition payments which includes many various payment options depending on the country that you are applying from, including credit card payments from most countries. Flywire accepts payments from outside of Canada only.
- Application fees will be accepted at cssdapplications.flywire.com
- Tuition and insurance payments will be accepted at cssd.flywire.com.
Please ensure that you are on the secured page with the lock symbol and that you access the website with a secure network connection.
What is the refund and withdrawal policy for the program?
See here for our refund and withdrawal policy, as well as our fee schedule.