North Island College
North Island College (NIC) is a public college which offers a wide range of programs including 1-year certificates, 2-year diplomas, 4-year Bachelor degrees in Business fields, and post degree diplomas (1-2 years).
Study in one of three campuses, located in the picturesque Comox Valley, Campbell River, or Port Alberni. At NIC, class sizes are small (average class size is just 18 students!) and tuition affordable. With an exclusive array of guaranteed admission agreements, NIC is also a great place to start your studies and transfer seamlessly to university.
NIC also offers a wide range of work-integrated programs, where students can develop work-related skills through co-op, internship, or practicum. In addition, industry experts are invited into the classroom on many of NIC’s programs.
For those students looking to start their Bachelor degree, North Island College offers 2-year Associate Degree programs in Arts and Sciences: these give access to a high range of majors within British Columbia’s universities, including business, political science, psychology, biology, chemistry and much more. Students successfully completing the Associate Degree will transfer into the third year of a Bachelor degree at one of British Columbia’s universities.
Alternatively, those students looking to study engineering can select NIC’s Engineering Foundation Certificate, which gives access to the second or third year of a Bachelor degree in Engineering at one of British Columbia’s universities.
Both the Associate Degrees and Engineering Foundation Certificate programs have the option of Guaranteed Admission to nearby University of Victoria, though you may also transfer seamlessly to universities on the mainland.
NIC also offers 2-year Diplomas in the fields of Business, Tourism & Hospitality, Fine Arts and Digital Design, as well as a full 4-year Bachelor of Business Administration with concentrations in Accounting, General Management and Marketing. All of NIC’s diploma programs have pathways into university degree programs, if you choose to pursue further studies later.
North Island College offers several Post Degree Diplomas in fields such as Business, Tourism & Hospitality, and Digital Design & Development – these are aimed at students who have already completed a Bachelor degree, either in Canada or in their home country. These vary between 1-2 years in length, though those students wishing to make full use of their post-study work rights, with the added possibility of applying for permanent residency, should opt for a 2-year program.
There are a number of scholarships, typically ranging between CAD $500 and $2,000, that are awarded based on academic merit. A full breakdown of the scholarships available can be found at https://www.nic.bc.ca/financial-support/scholarships/.
These scholarships are highly competitive so please do not be upset if you are not awarded one. North Island College’s tuition fees are extremely affordable and up to $20,000 per year less than at the University of British Columbia so, whether you are awarded a scholarship or not, as an NIC student you know that you are getting excellent value for money!
North Island College has three campuses (Comox Valley, Campbell River and Port Alberni) that are located 100 km apart on Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is a popular tourist destination offering beaches, mountains and lots of great outdoor sports opportunities, including hiking, kayaking, wildlife spotting (from bears on the island to whales off it) and salmon fishing.
The main city on the island, Victoria, is on the south-eastern tip of the island, about 200km from the main Comox Valley campus. With a population of approximately 370,000 inhabitants, Victoria is the main gateway to Vancouver Island – from here there are ferry and seaplane services to Vancouver and Seattle (USA).
Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver Island has a relatively mild climate compared to eastern Canada and its people are known for their warm welcome and friendliness. The campus locations are also rated as among the safest cities in British Columbia and Canada.
NIC’s Office of Global Engagement organizes regular activities, parties and excursions for international students. Although there is no fitness center on campus, there is a community swimming pool and gym just a few metres from the main Comox Valley campus offering reduced rates for NIC students.
As many of you will be living with local Canadian homestays, be sure to spend time getting to know your homestay and learn a lot more about Canadian culture at the same time. We also encourage you to make the most of the natural beauty on your doorstep.
North Island College does not have a student residence but instead has an excellent homestay program, which carefully places students into local Canadian families. This is a great way to learn about Canadian culture while, for those coming from non-English speaking backgrounds, you will also reinforce your English language skills at the same time! Your host family will provide breakfast and dinner daily and will also help you to discover Vancouver Island.
If you are under the age of 19 when arriving for your studies, the Province of British Columbia requires that you have a Custodian, who is responsible for looking after and supporting you. North Island College’s homestay program will help you meet these requirements by ensuring that your host family is also your custodian.
If you are 19 years or over, you may opt to look for your own apartment for rent. NIC’s Facebook page and Craigslist are popular sites to look for room-mates and apartments to rent.
What comes next?
North Island College offers a range of programs of varying lengths to help you earn a Bachelor degree. Most students will stay for one or two years, before transferring into the second or third year of a Bachelor degree at one of British Columbia’s universities: most students opt for either of the island’s universities, the University of Victoria or Vancouver Island University, but you can also transfer into one of British Columbia’s universities on the mainland. As highlighted above, NIC also has some Bachelor degrees in Business-related fields.
Students graduating from an Associate Degree or Diploma program at North Island College will have the chance to seek full-time employment. Students will be able to apply for a Post Graduation Work Permit for up to 3-years during which time they may apply for permanent residency.