Support for Family Members of Academy Canada Students
So, you have a child, parent or spouse headed off to College? At Academy Canada we understand that this is a time filled with mixed emotions. While you are undoubtedly proud of your new student and excited for their future, you also likely have some concerns and many questions.
Why Academy Canada?
In Newfoundland & Labrador there are 26 post-secondary training institutions from which to choose, including a university system, union schools and career colleges. There are thousands more schools across the country. Each fills a unique niche in the education system and offers wonderful opportunities for students to excel. We encourage students to investigate their options carefully and select the school/program that best suits their needs.
We feel that Academy Canada is an excellent option for individuals looking to build practical job-readiness skills in the most efficient way possible. We’d appreciate an opportunity to meet with you and your student to explain what we have to offer.
With 2,000 annual students, 15 modern campuses, 35 programs and 153 faculty staff we have a lot to offer. In fact, we are the largest and most diverse independent career college in the province. While our size allows us to offer a wide array of student services, we have also managed to maintain a close-knit family atmosphere that treats each student as an individual. We want your student to feel at home and able to talk to us about anything ranging from personal issues (like homesickness) to academic challenges and financial concerns. Our Student Support Coordinators, Instructors and Principals keep a close eye on anyone who might be at risk and are quick to put measures in place to help.
We would also argue that Academy Canada is the most progressive college when it comes to education. Our large curriculum department ensures that we are offering innovative and current programs, pursuing external accreditations and working with employers to guarantee that our grads learn what is needed on the worksite.
We have earned numerous awards for our commitment to students. We are also the only NL College to be nationally accredited by the Career Colleges Accreditation Program (CCAP) – an important endorsement for any graduate that wants national labor mobility. Our trades programs are accredited by the Provincial Apprenticeship and Certification Board (PACB); this allows us to offer training at all levels of the Apprenticeship system and help grads get to their Journeyperson status. Other programs offer students the opportunity to earn a Diploma but use their credits towards up to 50% of a degree program in the future if they are interested.
Our campuses are safe, professional and fully equipped with the most modern technology available. This ensures that grads have been trained on equipment that meets (or often exceeds) industry standards.
Academy Canada offers monthly starts and no waitlists so students are able to begin their program when it suits them. We think it’s unfortunate that some school require applicants to put their careers on hold for up to three years while they sit on a waitlist.
Our schedules allow students to attend school half-days so that they can get part-time jobs to help pay for their training or live up to their family commitments with minimal disruption. Many people find this very helpful!
The college offers a 21 Day Refund Program. This means that if a student decides (for any reason) that the program or Academy Canada is not for them, they can withdraw within three weeks of the start of the program with no financial penalty. They simply need to write a brief letter within 21 days of class registration saying that they are not continuing and submit it to the campus. Any tuition that has been paid will be refunded. If the student loves the college but not the program, they can also transfer to another discipline within 21 days with no penalty. We never want a student to feel trapped in a situation and do everything we can to help them get to the place they need to be.
Academy Canada students attend school under a wide variety of funding arrangements. Some pay monthly/semesterly with help from family or their RESP fund, others get sponsored by government or an external agency and many get a government or bank student loan. We’ll work with students and their families to create a payment plan that suits their unique circumstances.
Whether your student is highly social or a bit more shy, there are campus activities to help them get the most out of the college experience. We encourage them to take part in the annual Orientation week fun, join a sports team or club, participate in school outings and volunteer as much as possible. Not only will it build their resume but it will also create friendships that will last a lifetime. Equally important is the fact that … it’s a ton of fun!
Upon graduation, Academy Canada alumni do very well. Given the ageing workforce and tremendous potential in the Canadian economy, the skills we build will be in demand for many years to come. If your student works hard, follows our advice and wants to work we believe that they will get a great job when they finish. The success of our 30,000+ alumni give us great confidence in the future for our grads.
We think your student will be very happy at Academy Canada. We look forward to working with you to help them have the best experience possible!
What programs does the School offer?
Academy Canada programs are concentrated in the several fields, including those listed here.
How long are programs?
Programs range in length from 4 to 24 months. Most non-trades programs are either 12 or 24 months and entry-level trades programs are typically 9 months. See the program pages for details.
When do classes start? Are there waitlists?
Academy Canada has new intakes every month (except August), although not programs start each intake. Most programs do have new starts at least 6 times per year. We do not have waitlists. Our multiple starts and intake flexibility allow us to accommodate any students that meet entrance requirements at the time that suits them best.
How large are classes?
Classes range in size from 5-34 students with the average around 15. For safety reasons, shop classes are capped at 17 students/instructor.
How safe are your campuses?
Academy Canada campuses are incredibly safe. Over our 30+ years we have never had an incident of serious violence. Like any environment with hundreds of people, there is the risk of theft or other problems but we have been fortunate enough to experience very, very few situations. As a common-sense habit we do encourage people protect their belongings and use good judgment. The college has a zero tolerance policy for any crime against our students, staff or partner and deal with violators very harshly.
Is Academy Canada reputable?
Academy Canada is amongst the most reputable, established career colleges in the country. It has trained more than 30,000 alumni since 1984 and earned numerous awards for its contributions to the NL education system. The school (facilities, programs and staff) is fully licensed by the Department of Advanced Education, Skills, and Labour, nationally accredited by the Career Colleges Accreditation Program (CCAP) and maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. It has created articulation agreement with schools across Canada and earned endorsements from a wide range of independent industry associations. Trades programs are accredited by the Provincial Apprenticeship and Certification Board (PACB). Formal third-party feedbacks show that 95% of our students are happy with their career choice and would recommend the college to a friend. We’ve done everything we can to build a reputation that our grads can be proud of!
Are instructors qualified?
All instructors are reviewed and approved by the Department of Advanced Education, Skills, and Skills (AESL). Government requires teachers to have at least 6 years of education and experience in their field but we set our standards much higher. We recruit professionals with considerable experience and the highest level of academic training available. We think you’ll be impressed by their credentials.
How much is tuition? Other fees?
Tuition fees for a full program at Academy Canada vary and range from $3,470 to $21,675.
Students (or their funding agencies) are also responsible for a $30-60 compulsory fee, textbooks and any tools/equipment, if required. Many students purchase used books and tools/equipment to help offset costs. Please see your Admissions Officer for a Cost Breakdown on your specific program.
Why is Academy Canada more expensive than College of the North Atlantic?
Academy Canada is an independent college that does not receive grant subsidies from government to operate. All expenses, therefore, must be paid using revenue from tuition. Since College of the North Atlantic (CNA) receives millions of dollars per year in taxpayer subsidies they are able to charge a lower tuition that is not reflective of the cost of delivering training. Some reports suggest that up to 80% of the real cost of training is actually subsidized.
There are some CNA programs that are not subsidized and are offered on a “cost-recovery basis”. The tuitions in these cases are much higher than Academy Canada’s – for exactly the same program. The short answer is that tuitions are kept low at CNA because they are heavily subsidized.
It is worth noting that, if a student receives sponsorship to attend school, there is typically no difference in the out-of-pocket costs.
How is tuition paid?
Tuition is due at the beginning of each semester. Students paying their own way (with help from parents or RESPs) can also arrange alternative (ie monthly) payment plans if that is more convenient.
Sponsored students generally have their tuition cheques sent directly to the school.
Student Loan recipients have their loan documents sent to the college and are processed when received.
Academy Canada accepts payment by cash, cheque or major credit card.
Are there scholarships available?
Yes. Academy Canada has partnered with numerous community groups (ie VOCM Cares, Women In Resource Development, IBEW, NL Construction Association, etc) to offer scholarships specific to our students. There are also many scholarships that are offered to students attending any accredited school (including AC). Regardless, it is up to the student to apply based on specific criteria. More details can be found here.
If my child gets a student loan from Government Student Aid, am I responsible for it if they do not repay?
No. This is a loan between the student and the government lender. If your child is a dependent student you may be asked for your income information to help government determine how much they are eligible to receive. This does not commit you to repayment. It is for eligibility calculation purposes only. If, in the unfortunate circumstance the student defaults on their loan, your credit rating will not be affected.
If the student receives a loan from a bank (as opposed to government student aid) to attend school, they may require a co-signer. If you co-sign you may be assuming responsibility. Please check with the financial institution for clarification.
What books and supplies are needed?
Books and supplies obviously vary from program to program. When a student starts school they are given a book list and a supply list. Books can be purchased on-site at our convenient on-campus Book Stores. We typically recommend that students speak wait to purchase their books and supplies until they have met with their instructor for the first time. There is generally a wide selection of used books also available from former students. The Academy Canada Facebook page is generally a good place to find quality resources.
What are employment prospects? Is there help getting a job?
Our programs are designed to prepare students for successful employment. Our goal is for students to be ready to join the work force as soon as they leave our school.
Many of our programs have work terms or practicums. These have several benefits for students. First, they allow students to get great hands-on experience in their field. Second, they give students experience that they are able to place on their resume—this will help them in their job search later on. Third, they allow students the opportunity to network and make connections they can use in their career.
Many students may wish to have assistance with the job search as they approach graduation. Depending on whether or not they have completed an Apprenticeship Program or not, students may seek advice or assistance from Harding Road’s Apprenticeship Coordinator or Kenmount Road’s Employment Coordinator.
If you would like to find more information on career options that are available for each program, please visit our programs page and click on your program of interest. Each page has a section on Employment Opportunities for that career.
Where do students live?
Academy Canada does not have a residence although we do have an agreement with Grenfell University in Corner Brook that allows our students to live in their dorms.
Most students either live at home/with extended family or rent an apartment or house. They typically have roommates to help offset the costs.
Are students able to work part-time and go to school?
Yes. We offer half-day classes to provide students with an opportunity to work part-time. In most of our communities there are many casual jobs available for students. Please note that students receiving sponsorship or student aid may have the amount of income they can earn capped. Please check with your funding provider for details.
What is the learning environment like?
We strive to create a learning environment that can best be described as family-oriented, friendly and supportive with the understanding that there are high expectations.
Everyone at the college is treated as a group of equals who are working towards the same goal – graduate success. Everyone (Principal, Students, Instructors, Directors, etc) goes by their first name and interactions are generally very relaxed. At the school we like to say that “Every student gets an ID Number but they never need to know what it is”. The college offers a great atmosphere for students who want to be appreciated, understood and respected.
What important dates should we watch out for?
The key dates of every school year include Registration Day and Orientation, Exam periods, school holidays (ie Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Christmas Break, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter Break, Victoria Day, Canada Day) and Summer Break (typically starting in the first week of August and ending the first week in September). There are also a number of school-wide spirit activities and professional development days throughout the year. Check the Key Dates section of this website for specific details.
What support and services does Academy Canada offer to students?
At each of our main campuses we have facilities in place to provide students with support to help with all aspects of student life. Each of our campuses has a Student Resource Centre that is set up for students to prepare for their employment search. For additional employment help, our Kenmount Road Campus has an Employment Coordinator who assists with work term placements, conducting mock interviews, resume building, career counseling, and monitoring job opportunities. Similarly, our Harding Road Campus has an Apprenticeship Coordinator who is responsible for helping students doing Apprenticeship Trades at both the Harding Road and Corner Brook Campuses. We also offer Academic Counselling to help students with stress management, study skills and ways to copy with their busy student lives. Other services offered on-site at our campuses are a cafeteria that serves home-style cooking and free tutoring services that can be obtained by speaking with their campus Vice-Principal.
What if they start and it isn’t working out?
While most students adapt quite well to their program and college life, some have difficulty and decide that they can’t continue for any number of reasons. We never want a student to feel trapped in a situation and do everything we can to support them. To this end, the college offers a 21 Day Refund Program. This means that if a student decides (for any reason) that the program or Academy Canada is not for them, they can withdraw within three weeks of the start of the program with no financial penalty. They simply need to write a brief letter within 21 days of class registration saying that they are not continuing and submit it to the campus. Any tuition that has been paid will be refunded. If the student loves the college but not the program, they can also transfer to another discipline within 21 days with no penalty.
How does College compare to High School?
College is different than high school in that students are given more independence. Our students are adults and they are treated that way. At our college students are given a great deal of support but are also expected to take pride in completing their work and show responsibility and respect towards others.
Another major difference between college and high school is that students are there because they want to be—it is a student’s choice what they would like to study in their post-secondary career and many students find real happiness in their program because they are spending time learning about something they enjoy while also preparing for a rewarding career. It makes a big difference in a person’s life when they are spending their days doing something they enjoy. As Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
My student struggled in High School? They didn’t like it very much? Will their time at Academy Canada be different?
Life at Academy Canada is very different than High School and offers the opportunity for students to enjoy the success that may have alluded them in the past. Some of the key differences include:
- College students are enrolled in college because they want to be here…not because they have to be.
- There is a clear understanding of why college students are doing the courses in their program. Many high school students lose interest because they don’t understand how a particular subject is relevant to their lives.
- For most programs up to 50% of the training is hands-on and done in the shop, lab, salon, clinic, etc. Nothing reinforces learning and generates excitement in a topic than actually doing it!
- Post-secondary is a big financial investment. Students understand this and generally work hard to get the best value for their money.
- College students are older and more mature. Many parents are thrilled to see their underachieving high school child turn into an excelling college adult.
- By doing one of Academy Canada’s programs, students are able to see that they will get a great job when they graduate. Earning a high income doing something they love is a great motivator for many people.
- The college offers a wide range of student supports that are adapted to the needs of students with disabilities. This is very helpful for many of the people who attend our school.
- Academy Canada demands excellence. The programs are challenging and give a taste of the real world. Students either need to respond or they will not succeed. When we share these expectations with our students they tend to respond very favorably.
One of the things we are most pleased by is our team’s commitment to helping students with unique learning or physical disability challenges. Many people who have felt abandoned by the education system have found a home at Academy Canada. Our open-arms philosophy, clear policy, well-developed supports and nurturing environment has helped hundreds of students thrive in their programs despite having learning disabilities, mental delays, physical limitations, or mental health considerations. We are confident that we can help students … regardless of their needs.
How much homework can be expected?
The homework required will depend on many things, including the specific program/course, how much work the student does in class, the point within the semester (ie is it exam time?) and how easily the student can grasp the material. As a general rule, however, students can expect to spend an average of 1-2 hours per night reading, doing projects, on group work and preparing for exams. It is worth noting that many programs are very hands-on with the majority of learning in the shop/salon/studio.
How can I ease my loved one’s transition to College?
Whether your loved one is looking to jump straight into post-secondary school after high school, returning to school after a long absence, or changing careers, it is important that you both feel good about the decision. This involves everyone finding the answers to any questions and concerns they may have.
The best way you can help is by showing your support, enthusiasm and pride in their decision and in their progress. Show your interest in what they’re learning and give them your full support if they encounter any issues that they aren’t sure how to approach.
These may seem like small things but it will mean a great deal to know the people that they love are behind them cheering them on.
My child is leaving home to go to College. How will that affect me?
That depends on many things! It would be impossible to anticipate your specific reaction but there are several common emotions that most parents experience, especially if your child leaves home to attend college. They include:
- Excitement that they are growing up and starting a career.
- Fear for their success, safety and ability to fit in.
- Concern over their maturity level and ability to live independently.
- Questions about their academic ability.
- Trepidation about their career choice and whether it will lead them to their goals.
- Financial concerns and worries about how much it will cost.
- Empty nest syndrome – the sense of emptiness that appears when they leave.
- Frustration at being ignored when your child doesn’t call home as much as you would like.
- Sense of life crisis about what happens next for you….especially if there are no other children at home.
These are all very natural feelings. Rest assured, however, that millions of parents have gone through the same thing over the years and survived. Concerns tend to peak in the first semester but ease after that. Trust us…it will get better and you’ll soon be able to relax again!
Can I get information on how my student is doing in school?
We certainly understand your desire to know how your student is doing in school! Having said that, Academy Canada has a strong commitment to Student Privacy and their right to have information protected. Before we can release info to any third party, the student need to sign a simple release giving us permission. The form is available from the Campus Registrar. Once signed we’d be happy to share whatever has been authorized.
How to apply?
Students can apply online, in person or by mail.
- To apply online click here.
- To apply in person visit one of our Admissions Offices located at 167-169 Kenmount Road (St. John’s) or 2 University Drive (Corner Brook). Adult Basic Education students can also visit a Learning Centre within their community.
- To apply by mail call our Admissions Department to request a Program Calendar that contains an application form. Complete it and mail to the address noted.
To Learn More
It is important to us that you are confident with your loved one’s choice for their education. If you don’t find the answers to your questions about our programs or student life here we encourage you to:
- Contact our Admissions Department at 1-800-561-8000,
- Submit an Information Request on our website or
- Drop by our Admissions Offices to chat in person.
We look forward to hearing from you!