Columbia International College (CIC) is the largest private boarding school in Canada for students who are preparing to study in universities. It was founded in 1979, having established a recognized Total Care Education Program deemed to be the most trustworthy education system for international students. In essence, students coming from abroad face many challenges in adapting to the new culture and education standards. As most parents tend to be worried, CIC's Total Care Education delivers a sense of responsibility in looking after students' well-being and providing a conducive learning environment.
The one thing about this school is that 100% of the graduates enter prestigious universities in Canada and around the world. CIC's co-operative efforts with Canadian universities bred an initiative called University Partners. This initiative offers significant benefits to CIC students. For example, University of Alberta offers an entrance scholarship of $4000 to students who achieve at least 80% average. To learn more about the rest of the members of University Partners and their respective benefits for CIC students, visit here.
CIC is also located near the world-famous McMaster University. CIC students have the privileged of getting access to the university library's extensive collection of books. As part of the Total Care Education program, the school has secured residences for girls and boys. Personally, I like the way we were being cared for at these dormitories. Even though they had late-night curfew hours, strict restrictions to visitors of the opposite sex, and no room for excuses on skipping classes unless you have a medical sick leave ... it was all for our own good. Let's face it, we are in a foreign country ... with no parents keeping a watchful eye on us ... it is easy to go astray. It gets annoying at this rebellious stage, but CIC has proven that they do care. Believe me, whatever that you do in school (bad or good) is reported back to your parents. And it's not just the e-ReportCard that they can access online. Here's a brief info on the students' residence:
|Residence for Boys||Residence for Girls|
|Internet Service|| Free via the school's internet server. |
Requires Ethernet adaptor
| High speed WAVE internet service |
via cable. Monthly fee is required
|Distance To School||On-Campus|| 10 minutes by public bus. |
One bus service.
No transfer needed
|Security||24 Hour Computerized|
|Single Room||Limited Availability||Not Available|
|Triple & Quads|| Eight triple rooms equipped with |
|Limited triple rooms and quad rooms|
|Sports|| Two squash courts. |
Free access to a first-class sports facility
2 blocks from the girls residence.
| Students have free access to a first|
-class indoor fitness and sport facility
which is located 2 blocks from the residence.
For a more detailed description with pictures ... see here.
Now, I will talk about the education programs offered in CIC. There are three intakes: January, June, and August. In a nutshell, there are three programs offered (adapted from Inter-ed.com):
High School Programme (Grades 9 to 12)
- Students with at least Form 2/Sec. 1/Junior Middle 2 are eligible to apply
- Graduates are awarded the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
- Offers work experience options (co-op) that allow students to explore career choices and make informed decisions
- Pre-U program is designed for admission to university in Canada, U.S.A., Australia & the U.K.
- Students now studying in Form 5/Sec. 4/Senior Middle 3/'O' Level are eligible to apply
- 7 month program (January or June intake) allows completion of 6 credits
- 10 month program (August intake) allows completion of up to 8 credits
- 'A' Level Students are eligible to apply for the shorter 2 month Pre-U program (June intake) or the 5 month Pre-U program (August & January intake)
- The AP is a program of post-secondary level courses and examinations that provide Pre-University students with the opportunity to receive advanced placement and/or credits in Canadian or USA universities
- Accepted by 34% of Canadian Universities
- Accepted by all American universities
I was enrolled in the Pre-U program for 7 months. My sister is doing the 10 month program now. During my time, I had to sit for TOEFL in M'sia. CIC now offers a TOEFL preparatory course in the school. As a foreign student, you need to have TOEFL to apply to any Canadian University.
Here is how it will work as an SPM student applying for the Pre-U Program:
To graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), you need to complete 30 credits from school. Let me explain in more detail ...
First, you will submit your SPM forecast/trial results. You will gain $200 scholarship for every A1 or A2 on mathematics (additional or modern), language (English or Bahasa or Mandarin), physics, chemistry, and biology. There are certain subjects that are not accounted for such as moral studies and EST. Your SPM forecast result holds already 24 credits as a pre-requisite to complete the OSSD. Therefore, students will need to take additional six Pre-U courses in CIC (equivalent six credits) to be able to graduate with an OSSD. Additionally, each prospective student needs to sit for CIC's entrance examinations (math and english). This will determine if you are eligible for the Pre-U English and Math courses. Sometimes, students do well in the math exam but not the english exam thus the student will have to go through Grade 9, 10 or 11 English depending on his/her test results. It is also likely that you can be exempted from this but you have to go through an appeal process. Also, CIC has implemented another exam that students have to pass to officially graduate. This exam is called the literacy exam. According to my sources, it is similar to an English exam ... but you will be surprised for not all Pre-U students can pass this test ...
The AP program is a higher level course. I have a friend who took AP Calculus, and she had the credits transferred into first-year university. Therefore, she didn't have to take Calculus again for her program of study in university. But it is challenging to be in the AP syllabus, especially when you will be competing with very proficient students from China. Please visit here to read in more detail about the pre-requisite subjects for university applications.
I will continue in my next post on living and education expenses. Stay tuned.
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