School Policies

Admissions Policy

Sterling College welcomes students from around the world into our English language programs, whatever their needs and whatever their level of English. Our programs are appropriate for students aged 15 and up, with special seasonal programs being available for students aged 11-14, and private classes being available for younger students. Students must complete an initial placement test, and must complete a level-up test to move to the next level.

Attendance and Punctuality

In respect of your teacher and your fellow classmates, please do NOT be late for classes, especially if you leave the school during breaks or the lunch period.

  • If you are late, your lateness will be recorded by the instructor.
  • If you are habitually late (meaning any number of minutes late, two or three times in a two week period), you will be warned to correct your behaviour. If the behaviour continues, the teacher may refuse to let you join that portion of the class.

To improve your English, you need to attend classes consistently. If you will miss a class, please call us and let us know.

  • If you are sick and want your absences to be excused, you will need a doctor's note.
  • You will receive a warning letter from the College Director if your absences are too frequent.  You will receive a second letter if you continue to be absent.  A third letter will be a Notice of Dismissal from Sterling College.
  • You must attend 85% or more of your classes to receive a Graduation Certificate.


Reasons for dismissal from Sterling College and/or the Sterling College homestay program may include, but are not limited to:

  • Three or more consecutive days’ absence without notifying Sterling College or without providing a Doctor’s note.
  • Repeated use of student’s native language at school
  • Mentally or physically abusive, disruptive, lewd or indecent behaviour in class or in the school, towards staff or students. This includes bullying in any form.
  • Cheating or plagiarism
  • Forgery, alteration or misuse of school documents, records or identification, or knowingly providing us with false information
  • Physical abuse or theft of school or student property
  • The use, sale or knowing possession of restricted or dangerous drugs or narcotics
  • Being intoxicated or drinking alcohol on school property
  • Encouraging or assisting another person to commit any act which would result in another student being dismissed.
  • Violation of Canadian law or Canadian immigration law.

Dispute Resolution Policy

Sterling College provides an opportunity for students to resolve disputes of a serious nature and grade appeals in a fair and equitable manner.  This policy governs complaints from students respecting Sterling College and any aspect of its operations.  Students will not be subject to any form of retaliation as a result of filing a complaint.

The policy applies to all Sterling College students who are currently enrolled, or who have been enrolled in the three months prior to making the complaint.  The student making the complaint may be represented by an agent or lawyer.

Procedure for Student Disputes:

  1. When a concern arises, you, the Student should address the concern with the staff member most directly involved.  
  2. If you are not satisfied with the outcome at this level, you should put your concern in writing.You must provide the written complaint to the College Director who is responsible for making determinations in respect of complaints.  If the College Director is absent or is named in a complaint, you must provide the complaint to the Senior Education Administrator.
  3. The College Director will arrange to meet with you to discuss the concern and desired resolution within 5 College days of receiving your written concern, or as soon as practicable.
  4. Following the meeting with you, the College Director will conduct whatever enquiries and/or investigations are necessary and appropriate to determine whether your concerns are substantiated in whole or in part. Those inquiries may involve further discussion(s) with you either individually or with appropriate Sterling College personnel.
  5. The necessary enquiries and/or investigations shall be completed no later than 10 College days following the receipt of your written concerns. The College Director will do one of the following within 10 days of receiving the student’s written concerns:
    a. Determine that your concerns are not substantiated; or
    b. Determine that your concerns are substantiated in whole or in part.
  6. You and the institution’s personnel involved will receive a written summary of the above determination. All parties should sign a copy of all documentation relating to each of the student’s complaints.  A copy shall be given to you, the student, and the original will be placed in the student file.
  7. If it has been determined that your concerns are substantiated in whole or in part the College Director shall include a proposed resolution of the substantiated concern(s).
  8. If you are not satisfied with the determination of the College Director, you must advise the College Director within 48 hours of being informed of the determination.  The College Director will immediately refer the matter to the Senior Education Administrator who will review the matter and meet with you within 5 College days.
  9. The Senior Education Administrator shall either confirm or vary the determination of the College Director in writing. At this point the College’s Dispute Resolution Process will be considered exhausted, and will have taken no longer than 45 days.

If you are or were enrolled in a Private Training Act Approved program, are dissatisfied with the determination, and have been misled by the Sterling College regarding any significant aspect of that program, you may file a complaint with the Private Career Training Institutions Branch.

Grade Appeal Policy

The policy applies to all Sterling College students who are currently enrolled.  Students will have 30 days from the date the grade was received to submit their concern in writing to the Academic Director.

Grades on the following assessments may be appealed: assignments, projects, tests, exams and final grades.

If the student is or was enrolled in an approved program, is dissatisfied with the program, or has been misled by the institution regarding any significant aspect of that program, he or she may file a complaint with the Private Career Training Institutions Branch ( ).

Procedure for Grade Appeal

  1. If a student is dissatisfied with the grade received for an assessment and can provide evidence that a higher grade is warranted, he/she should discuss this with his/her Instructor.  The Instructor will reconsider the grade and, if warranted, assign a different grade.
  2. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of his/her appeal to the Instructor, he/she should submit a written appeal to the Academic Director.  (If the Academic Director is also the Instructor, the appeal should be submitted to the College Director.)
  3. The Academic Director will obtain a copy of the assessment from the Instructor and will have the assessment re-marked by another Instructor.
  4. If the assessment achieves a higher grade on re-mark, the higher grade will be assigned to the student.  If the assessment achieves a lower grade on re-mark, the original grade will be retained.
  5. If the Academic Director reviews the grade appeal, the grade assigned following the re-mark and review will be final and cannot be appealed further.

Personal Information Privacy Policy

Sterling College is committed to protecting your privacy and collects, uses and discloses your personal information in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) and other applicable legislation.

In accordance with Part 4(10)(1)(a) of the Personal Information Protection Act, we hereby notify you that your name and personal identification information, the name of your program of study, and the amount of the tuition paid will be forwarded to the Private Training Institutions Branch for the purpose of administering the Student Training Completion Fund.  This information is collected by the PTIB under section 26 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.  For more information about the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information, visit the Agency’s website at

Sterling College will collect only that personal information for which it has a legal authority to do so. Information not expressly required for the operations of the school must not be collected.  If information is collected from anyone other than the individual, the individual must be informed. The individual must give express consent if the information is to be used for purposes other than for what it was collected.

Forms, paper or electronic, used to collect information should include a notice of legal authority, purpose/use of the information and a contact officer for further information.

Information collected about an individual must be held for one year.

The College must correct your personal information if you request it, or make a note beside your personal information showing the correction you requested.

The College will make reasonable security arrangements to protect your personal information from unauthorized access, use or disclosure.

Third party information, either personal or economic, will be reviewed under Section 22 of the Act to determine whether such information may be released or would be an unreasonable invasion of the third party’s personal privacy.

Respectful and fair treatment of students policy

Sterling College is committed to ensuring that its learning environment promotes the respectful and fair treatment of all students. 

This policy reflects an understanding of the contribution needed to ensure the successful achievement of your desired goals and promotes respectful and fair treatment for both students and staff.

Sterling College Commitment to you, the Student

We will:

  • Work with you on an individual basis with respect for your needs and abilities
  • Facilitate your learning in an interesting, safe, supportive and positive manner
  • Fairly and impartially grade and evaluate your performance
  • Rapidly report your grades on tests and projects
  • Clearly state information relating to the assessment process, assignment requirements, timetable and textbooks
  • Start all classes on time with prepared faculty
  • Provide access to appropriate members of staff to discuss related concerns
  • Respect your personal dignity, including sensitivity towards cultural needs and freedom from any form of harassment or coercion from others
  • Support our official policies and processes and make them widely available and accessible to all students.

Your Commitment to the College

You, the Student, will:

  • Complete the registration process and make arrangements for the payment of any applicable fees before attending classes
  • Attend punctually all scheduled classes in which you are enrolled
  • Complete all required homework assignments on time
  • Demonstrate integrity in all transactions of admission, enrollment and course of study, and not engage in false information-giving, cheating or plagiarism
  • Follow standards of hygiene and dress appropriately to the profession of study
  • Request assistance when necessary
  • Speak with Instructors over any issues you may have
  • Turn mobile phones and other audio devices off during class
  • Have a positive attitude, show respect and consideration toward Sterling College, other students, the faculty, and staff
  • Manage conflicts effectively (with mediation, if necessary)
  • Refrain from harassment of, abuse of, or discrimination against any person or group of people
  • Observe particular regulations governing the use and misuse of computing equipment including software piracy, emailing, accessing or downloading any prohibited or offensive material
  • Observe current legislation that prohibits the use or possession of illegal drugs or other methods that alter a student’s state of mind.  Any student suspected of carrying illegal drugs or other methods that alter a student’s state of mind on Sterling property will be reported to the police and will be subject to the Student Dismissal policy
  • Refrain from bringing alcohol on to Sterling property, and not attend any class under the influence of alcohol
  • Adhere to all policies outlined in the Sterling College Student Binder.

While on campus premises or during activities or events hosted by Sterling College, you are required to behave in a responsible manner, outlined in the commitments noted above.  Activities that are prohibited and are grounds for dismissal are either commitments not upheld listed above or are identified behaviours that are outlined in the Dismissal Policy.

Safety Policy

Sterling College is committed to providing a healthy and safe working and learning environment for all employees and students. This policy applies to all Sterling College employees and students.

As most Sterling College students are new to Victoria and Canada, general safety tips regarding money, renting, personal safety for women and swim safety are detailed in the Student Orientation information.  Students are encouraged to talk with any of the administration staff if they have safety or other concerns.

Procedure for Fire Safety:

  • The College Director is responsible for ensuring that
  • adequate fire suppression equipment is available as needed throughout the campus
  • a qualified inspector inspects all fire suppression equipment at least annually
  • all employees and students are aware of Sterling College fire evacuation procedures
  • emergency exit instructions/route maps are posted in each classroom at the campus with the exit from that room specifically noted in a coloured highlight.

In the event of a fire emergency,

  1. the College Director or responsible staff member will dial 911 and advise the fire department of the location of the College and details of the type of fire (if known)
  2. The College Director or responsible staff member will advise all employees to evacuate the campus.  Instructors will escort their students to assemble in the paved area next to Sterling College and the YM-YWCA on Courtney St., ensuring that he or she takes the class list with them.
  3. Once in the assembly location, the Instructor will check the students present against the list of students in attendance that day and will immediately advise the College Director if anyone is missing.
  4. The College Director will act as a liaison between fire officials and students/employees during the emergency.  If necessary, the College Director will authorize College closure.
  5. No student or employee will re-enter the campus until the fire officials have authorized re-entry.

Procedure for Earthquake Safety:

The College Director ensures that

  • adequate precautions are taken throughout the campus to ensure that injury due to falling or unstable items during an earthquake is limited
  • all employees receive training in the College earthquake evacuation procedures
  • emergency instructions and exit route maps are posted in each classroom at the campus with the exit from that room specifically noted in a coloured highlight.

In the event of an earthquake emergency,

  1. All staff and students will take cover and remain under cover until the shaking stops.
  2. When it is deemed safe to do so, the College Director will advise all employees to evacuate the campus
  3. Instructors will escort their students to assemble in the paved area next to Sterling College and the YM-YWCA on Courtney St., ensuring that he or she takes the class list with them
  4. The College Director will act as a liaison between rescue officials and students/employees during the emergency. If necessary, the College Director will authorize College closure.
  5. No student or employee will re-enter the campus until the rescue officials have authorized re-entry.

Special Policies for Students 11-17 years old

If you are under 18 years old, special rules apply to you while you are at Sterling College.

  1. You must know who your supervisor is, and they must know where you are.

    During class time, your Teacher is your supervisor. 
    During activities, your Activity Coordinator is your supervisor.
    When you are out or at home with your Host Family, they are your ‘supervisors’.

  2. Students aged 11-14 may not leave the school during school hours (including lunch period) without direct permission from the College Director and an approved adult to accompany you.
  3. You must carry your Sterling College ID card with you at all times.
  4. No teen student is to be alone in the company of any one adult, including a teacher, without permission from the College Director.

Please remember that this is for your safety and well-being, and make sure a responsible person always knows where you are! 

If you are ever uncomfortable with any staff member (or other student) at Sterling College, please talk to the College Director, the Homestay Coordinator or any office staff member.

Withdrawal Policy

Students who wish to withdraw from Sterling College must immediately notify the school by completing a Program Change / Cancellation Request Form included in the student binder, or available at the reception desk. Simply not attending classes is not considered an official withdrawal, and may result in academic and/or financial penalty. Once completed and signed, the form must be returned to the front desk. The official date of withdrawal will be on the day the reception desk receives this form. A refund (if applicable) will be calculated from that date. Please see our Refund Policy for details on refunds.

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