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Can someone explain Canadian University to me please?

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So, in short, I want to get into a Canadian university (for the time being), but I am absolutely confused by the system,

 

basically, can someone clarify that

a) if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, when do you lodge your applications?

b) can you only apply for scholarship after you've accepted an offer? (I don't want to go broke...yet since my parents will not contribute a cent to my university education, which is fair enough)

c) what classifies you as having financial difficulties? (because even tho my parents are high income earners, they will absolutely NOT contribute anything, which means that I have to live off part-time jobs and possible grants)

d)Do you need to sit the ACT or SAT?

 

also, how much extra-curricular activity should I look at to apply for universities like University of British Columbia, McGill University and so forth?

 

I have participated in National Youth Science Forum, wrote a few essays for Sir Oliphants Science Award (won a highly commended and pending on others), am in at least 7 different clubs (of 1 I am the current president of, of 1 I was the secretary of, and of 1 which I used to be a captain of), am a Red Cross Ambassador, made it into the State Grand for Evatt (Model United Nation) and I have participated in Youth Parliament (basically, we wrote bills and debated about it in parliament).
 So, what are my chances of getting into a uni in Canada? (my predicted grades are around 38-39-ish)

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a) I think American Universities offer Spring admissions, but for Canadian Universities, I think you would have to apply for the fall session (Usually done in December~February). I'm not entirely sure though.

b) Most if not all universities offer merit based entrance scholarships based on your entrance marks, which means you will get these when you are offered admission. If you apply for external scholarships, then you can "cash" these in anytime. Major university scholarships (e.g. UofToronto Book Awards/National scholarships) are awarded just before the deadline to accept your offers. Try to apply for student loans if you immediately need funds to pay first year tuition.

c) Canadian universities offer little financial aid, especially to international students. Do not expect to get a full ride from a Canadian university, let alone huge grants. I'd say Low income household is <$50 000 per year. And even if you do manage to get grants/scholarships, remember that Canadian universities cost about $30000~40000 for internationals. 

d) I'm fairly sure that ACT or SAT is only needed for American applicants (i.e. students coming into the university from the American curriculum). 

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