Why Study With CISS

Your High School Programme in Canada!

You can study in a Secondary School in Canada for a short-term experience all the way to graduation. CISS, a Canadian Organization, supports students and families from around the world takes to find the RIGHT placement for each applicant.  We cooperate with well-established public schools (including publicly funded Catholic schools), as well as with select private schools, both boarding and day schools.  All our schools are carefully selected to offer the best high school option for international students in Canada.

We care that each student is happy in their school and family, and our team of dedicated coordinators ensure that the students in their care have the tools needed to do well in school and to overcome challenges.  Parents can be sure that their child will have an advocate voice in times of need, but will also be given opportunities to grow, mature and learn from their full Canadian experience.

High School Placement Specialist

CISS is partnered with over 50 school districts across four Canadian provinces. We have over 400 schools to offer, including select private schools. With offices in Toronto and Vancouver, and local teams in all communities and regions, we offer the knowledge of each location to recommend the best placement for each student.

Variety of Options

We offer placement options in small towns, moderate cities or big metropolises, in schools of different sizes, with a great variety of subjects and extracurricular activities. We work with families of varying compositions and interests, who are able to host students with different needs and goals. The more you tell us about yourself, the better the overall match for you!

Homestay Experience 

With our internal homestay department, MLI Homestay, we select and train families under strict standards and policies, ensuring students in any of our placement communities have a private bedroom in a welcoming home environment. We also monitor other student placements, ensuring no more than one other international student is in the home. Our ultimate goal is your safety, comfort and overall experience.

Learn more about the homestay experience.

Best Canadian Experience

CISS looks after you from start to finish. After reviewing your application form, we strive to provide the best placement. From selecting host families, finding the best-matched communities and schools, advising students and supporting partners around the globe, we then oversee the arrival of students and supervise them throughout their stay. CISS seeks to deliver the best experience in Canada for all our students.

Student Care

Together with our partner schools, CISS coordinators are in constant contact with their students. From texts, calls, and personal visits, our teams spend a lot of time both sharing in the successes of our students, as well as mentoring students to work through struggles. CISS offers 24-hour emergency telephone assistance to ensure that emergency situations are handled promptly.

High School SpecialistsToronto and Vancouver teams offer knowledge and best recommendations
Variety of OptionsLarge city to small town, public or private, east or west? We help you decide.
Homestay ExpertiseInternal homestay team means high standards for host families in all our locations
Best Canadian ExperienceWe look after all our students from start to finish, ensuring an amazing experience
Student CareCISS counsellors mentor their students through regular communication and visits


Which experience best meets your needs?

Whether you have just a few weeks or are seeking a high school diploma, we have a programme that will provide what you need.

The Classic

Our classic experience is the one most typical for international students. This option provides the maximum degree of flexibility and choice when it comes to placement city and school.

Ages 12-17
5 or 10 months
All levels of English

Download Brochure


Le Français

Le Français is a programme for students seeking more than just one French class in their timetable. CISS can arrange this in three different ways: Bilingual Experience, French Immersion and Francophone Experience.

Ages 12-17
5 or 10 months
High level French 
(French Immersion)

Note: all schools offer French language classes. This option is for a more intensive French experience.

Download Brochure


The Graduate

Our Graduate programme is intended for students whose goal is to obtain a high school diploma from a Canadian Secondary School / High School and continue to a Canadian or US university.

Ages 14-16
2 years+ (min)
Intermediate+ English

Download Brochure


The World Student

The World Student is one who seeks to take either AP (Advanced Placement) classes or be accepted into an IB programme for the purpose of furthering their university placement options in universities around the world.

IB:  Age 16
AP:  Age 17
2 years for IB
5 or 10 months for AP
High level English

Download Brochure


The Experience

The Experience programme is designed as a non-academic, short-term integration to give students a sampling of life in Canada and in a Canadian School. Programme is non-credit with durations of 8, 12 or 16 weeks.

Ages 12-17
8, 12 or 16 weeks
All levels of English

Download Brochure


Students learn best by doing. Canadian education is focused on a HANDS-ON learning approach that combines theoretical and practical study with learning experiences. Core academic skills are augmented by arts, technology and other skills based on each student's intended career goals. Continual assessments allow students to monitor their results and adjust their studies ahead of final course exams.

Specific options below vary by school.

Typical daily schedule in a public high school

8am - 9am Classes begin
most classes are 70-80 min in duration
4-5 class periods daily
12pm - 2pm Lunch period
Typically 40-60 minutes
2:30pm - 3:30pm School day ends
After school sports or clubs meet until approx 4:30-5:00pm

Learn More

Canadian Explorer 

Public High Schools

Private High Schools

For Parents

Does my child need a visa to enter Canada or to attend this Programme?

Students planning to attend a full-year school programme (6 months or more) will require a Canadian Study Permit. This permit must be received prior to the student’s arrival in Canada. Students coming from certain countries may also require a Temporary Resident Visa (TVR). Please refer to the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration website for a complete outline of the requirements and policies for study in Canada: www.cic.gc.ca

For study in the province of Quebec:  an additional study permit known as the CAQ (Certificate d'acceptation du Quebec) is also required, in addition to the Canadian Study Permit.  The CAQ must be applied for and received prior toapplying for the regular Study Permit.  CISS staff assist students to obtain the CAQ from within Canada, while the Study Permit must then be obtained in your country of residence.

Does Canada have any restrictions on the number of Study Permits (visas) given to international students? 

No. Unlike other countries where the government restricts the number of study visas for school placement, Canada does not impose such restrictions. Provided the student satisfies the requirements of Immigration Canada, he/she is eligible to obtain a Study Permit. This permit/visa can be extended for continued study past the first year.

Do we have any choice as to where our child will study?

Yes. As a family you may select the province and region or city in which you would like your child to study. You may also select the length of time your child wishes to study in Canada – short term (8-16 weeks), one semester (5 months) or one year (10 months).  Specific start and end dates apply for semester and full academic year options.  Credits may be earned provided the student remains for an entire semester or full year, and writes the final exam in their course.

Who will receive my child when he/she arrives at the airport? 

CISS staff or your child’s host family will meet your child at the airport upon arrival. 

If your child is registered as an Unaccompanied Minor (UM), the person CISS has designated during the UM registration will personally receive your child.

What is the minimum level of English needed to apply to a Canadian School? 

CISS recommends that students have at minimum an Intermediate level of English proficiency to fully participate in a school programme. However, we do offer schools with comprehensive English as a Second Language (ESL) programmes. In these schools, students may apply with a lower English proficiency and can expect to have some or the majority of their classes in an ESL-supported environment.  Lower English proficiency may hinder a student's ability to be placed in courses required for covalidation (depending on the country).  Students intending to apply to the final year (Grade 12) must have a high proficiency to be considered.

NOTE:  Students who require covalidation, especially at the Grade 11 or 12 level, must have a high English proficiency to have the best chance to be placed in the required courses and grade level.  Students applying for grades 11 or 12 with a lower proficiency may still be accepted, but specific courses required for covalidation are not guaranteed.

Do I need to purchase emergency travel medical insurance for my child?

All students attending a school programme in Canada must be covered by emergency medical and dental insurance. In many locations, you may purchase your insurance for your child, either through a company in your own country, or through an insurance company in Canada. CISS works closely with Guard Me offering a comprehensive and affordable plan.

** NOTE:  In some provinces or cities, the school district mandates that the child must be covered by either the school’s or the provinces health plan. In these cases, students cannot arrange for other insurance and must purchase the insurance as offered through the school. 

Please discuss the requirements with your agent prior to arrival in Canada.

Does my child need to wear a uniform at school? 

Most schools in Canada do not require a formal uniform, although all follow a dress code reflecting good judgement and taste. Offensive slogans, torn jeans, and hats are generally not permitted at school.

In Montreal schools, as well as most Ontario Catholic schools, students are required to wear a prescribed uniform, available for purchase at a specified store or online.

My child needs to co-validate his/her transcripts at the end of the stay. Is this possible? 

Provided your child has attended one full semester (5 months) or a full school year (10 months) at his/her Canadian school, has written all necessary exams, has successfully completed all required work, and has obtained a passing grade, he or she will be granted with a credit for each class completed. In most provinces, students take 4 classes per semester.  All academic results will be provided to you on an official school transcript. CISS will assist with the co-validation process here in Canada which includes authorizations by both the Canadian government as well as your own country's embassy/consulate. Please allow six weeks to eight weeks from end of the school year/semester for this process to be completed in Canada.  Additional fees may apply if official translations are required.

If your child has attended for a short-term only, transcripts cannot be issued and co-validation is not possible as he/she will not have completed all requirements for credit.

NOTE:  Students who require covalidation, especially at the Grade 11 or 12 level, must have a high English proficiency to have the best chance to be placed in the required courses and grade level.  Students applying for grades 11 or 12 with a lower proficiency may still be accepted, but specific courses required for covalidation are not guaranteed.

Can my child graduate from a Canadian high school? 

Yes, provided he/she completes the required components for the high school diploma.  Most High School programmes follow a 4-year programme, beginning in grade 9 and ending in grade 12.  In each grade level, students complete a set number of mandatory courses, as well as a set number of elective courses.  Depending on the age, grade level, academic  and English proficiency with which an international student arrives, he/she should expect to spend a minimum of 2 years - grades 11 and 12 in a Canadian high school to complete all requirements.  For this reason, we advise students be no older than 16 if intending to apply for the diploma pathway and have an intermediate or higher English proficiency.

NOTE:  It is not common for a school to accept students who are already 17 or 18 years old, intending to complete just their final year in a Canadian school with the expectation of a diploma.

CISS will not accept students who are already 18 years old or older at time of programme start.

Must the student maintain a certain grade point level to remain in the programme? 

The minimum standard in Canadian schools is generally 50%. Anything less is considered a failing grade. Provided the student maintains over 50% in most of his/her classes, the student will be able to remain at the school. If the student wishes to return for another year schools may require a grade point of 60% or higher to consider the student for re-enrollment. 

Must my child begin school in September and end in June? 

If the student intends to study for the full academic year (10 months), then yes, he/she must begin in September. However, the public school programme offers flexibility. Students may choose to come for the full year (September – June), one semester (September - January or February - June), or even as few as a few weeks (8, 12 or 16 weeks). Only the full-year and semester programmes have specified start and end dates. Students coming for a short-term stay (8, 12 or 16 weeks) may arrive mid-term provided it is not during holidays or exam periods

NOTE: if a student must  receive credit (and co-validate), then only a Full Year or Semester programme should be considered.

School Year:
Begins: early September
Ends: late June

My child is very involved in his/her school’s sport teams and social clubs. Will he/she have this opportunity in Canada?

All schools encourage international students to become involved in school teams and clubs. Selection of sport teams and clubs will depend on when the student comes to Canada and how long he/she stays. School teams may require that the student be enrolled for the entire duration of the sport season. In all cases, students must “try out” for school sport teams and show sufficient skills to be selected as a team member. Unfortunately, CISS cannot guarantee that a student will be selected for a competitive sports team.

Exception: if a student is already graduated from his/her home country, the student is ineligible to compete with a Canadian high school team.

What is a typical school day in Canada? 

Schools in different provinces and regions have slightly different time schedules. In general however, students will follow a timetable similar to this: 

Monday - Friday
School begins between 8:30 and 9:00 am  

Typically are 70 to 80 minutes in length & students usually take four or five classes daily  

Usually one class period or one hour in length – between 10:30 and 2:00 pm  

School Ends
Between 2:30 and 3:30  

How will my child travel to and from school? 

Most students take public transportation or if depending on the distance, a school bus arranged by the school school. In cases where the student lives close to the school, he or she will walk to school.