Frequently Asked Questions

English Program FAQ


Yes. The Canadian government requires all visitors to Canada to have medical insurance. You may purchase medical insurance in your home country or you can purchase it through Sterling College. See Visa and Insurance Information.
The average age of our students is 22 years old but we accept students of all ages. We have special programs for young students and senior students at certain times of the year and our regular program accepts students 15 years or older all year. Our school does feel very much like a family - at any time of the year, we may have retirees (60+), empty nesters (40+, kids have left home), parents, dinks (double income no kids), young adults, older teens. This diversity of age (as well as nationality) makes our school life, especially classroom discussions, fun and interesting for everyone!
The youngest student we will accept into our year-round Power English Program is 15 years old. Several of our Vacation English programs are open to students aged 11-15. Students who are not old enough can often take special private lessons.


You can view a comparison of these courses on the Power English & Academic English page.

Power English is Sterling College’s general ESL (English as a Second Language) program. In Power English you learn grammar, reading, writing, pronunciation and speaking skills. This program is for students who particularly want to improve their fluency in English.

Academic English is an intensive, challenging program for students who want to focus on grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing and presentations. This is a great program for people planning to take a standardized test like Cambridge (FCE-First Certificate in English and CAE- Certificate of Advanced English) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Students who graduate from level 4 Academic English are eligible for entry into our Pathway partner programs without further standardized testing, provided other entry requirement have been met.

Schedules for each program can be found on the program's page in the main menu.

Power English for 11 - 15 year olds runs from 9-2:30 pm Monday to Friday during July and August. The Power English Adult Program runs from 9 am - 3 pm Monday to Friday. Academic English has a varied schedule - 9 am - 3 pm Monday through Thursday and 9 am - 12 pm Fridays!

You can take a “level up” test after completing 2 weeks of your current level. If you find the class too difficult you can change at any time to an easier level. All your classes (e.g. morning and afternoon sessions) must be taken at the same level.
We have testing and orientation for new students every Monday but we may be able to accommodate your starting on a different day.
Yes. You just have to fill out the “Vacation Request Form” and hand it in to Reception at least two weeks before you plan to be absent from classes. You can take one week of vacation for each four weeks of study time you study at Sterling College. If you tell us about a planned vacation before you register, it is possible to take a longer break in the middle of your studies.

NOTE: If you plan a vacation from Sterling College homestay too, you need to give at least 2 weeks' notice to avoid paying the full homestay rate while you are away. If you are away for 5 or more days, but you want to keep your homestay room, you will pay $10 less per day for the room while you are away.


You can register online, or by sending in a registration form. See How to Register.
Once you fill out the application, you will be sent an invoice for the cost of the program. You need to pay the registration deposit and homestay placement fee (if applicable) and then you will be sent a Letter of Acceptance. This will be required by Canada Immigration and Citizenship if you need to apply for a temporary resident visa or study permit. See Visa and Insurance Information.
You need to pay a registration deposit ($150) and if you require Homestay, the Homestay Placement Fee. See Pricing.
You can do a bank transfer, pay by credit card or pay with Pay-To-Study.
The Sterling College bank transfer fee covers the fee that the bank charges us to receive your payment by wire transfer. You need to pay all sender’s fees in addition to the Sterling College bank transfer fee.
Yes. You will receive a full refund (less the Registration Deposit and Homestay Placement Fee) if you are unable to obtain lawful entry to Canada for the purpose of studying at Sterling College. You must provide the letter from the Canadian Embassy stating that your visa was denied. If you applied through an agent, you must contact your agent for a refund. See our Refund Policy
PAL (Pre-Arrival Learning) is an online program provided to you once registration is accepted. The program includes a pre-arrival test, a free online English program, and an orientation about homestay and living in Canada. It is a great way to get ready for your trip to Victoria. It is possible to improve your English by a whole level before you arrive!
When you arrive at Sterling College you write a placement test to determine your level. The test includes listening, reading and grammar. If you are close to the next level, you may be asked to do a short speaking test.
Sterling College is certified with the BC Government’s Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) and has “Designation” Status according to the Private Training Act. This status makes it possible for Sterling College to be a Designated Learning Institution according Immigration, Refugees and Citizens Canada (IRCC) and for our students to receive study permits.

When you register for an English course at Sterling College, your program is “PTA Approved” or “Not requiring PTA Approval”. PTA Approved means the registration has a tuition price of CAD$4000 or more or the duration is 6 months or longer. “Not requiring PTA Approval” means that the registration is for a course that is shorter than 6 months in duration or it is less than $4000 in price. There are special rules that apply to PTA registrations, but the main difference from the student’s perspective is the Refund Policy. The Sterling College refund policy is slightly different, depending upon whether you have a PTA-approved registration or a registration not requiring PTA Approval.


If you plan to study for 6 months or more, you will need to apply for a study permit. See Visa and Insurance Information.
Yes. Sterling College is not authorized to provide counselling or advice regarding your visa application, but we can help you to understand the language of the forms (fee applies), or we can direct you to an authorized immigration adviser. See Visa and Insurance Information.
Yes - the Sterling College DLI number is 019279828772 and this appears on Sterling College Letters of Acceptance. Study permit applicants need Sterling College's DLI number on their study permit applications.
eTA stands for Electronic Travel Authorization. The purpose of the eTA is to pre-screen visitors before they arrive at a Canadian airport. Travellers are asked to provide basic personal information similar to what is currently collected when they arrive in Canada. The only difference now is that Canada will know the answers to these questions before their arrival.

From March 2016, if you are from a visa-exempt country, you MUST have an eTA to enter Canada. If you are from a visa-exempt country and you are applying for a study permit, you will received an eTA automatically with your study permit.

Click here to find out if you need to apply for an eTA and to apply for the eTA online.

DLI: O19279828772
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