Admission and Re-admission

Admissions to all programs at Northern Lights College requires applicants submit a formal request for admission and demonstrate they meet the admission requirements as defined by the program.  Admission is based on first-qualified, first-accepted.  Applications are normally subject to an application fee.

Re-admission is required when a student has not attended approved courses in over 12 months.

The College reserves the right to deny admission to any individual, and to limit application to oversubscribed programs.

Admission Deposits

Qualified applicants the receive a Letter of Offer are normally required to accept their offer by payment of an Admissions Deposit.  See Policy F-4.03 Tuition Deposits, Deadlines, Refunds and Penalties.

For applicants that the admission deposit is a financial barrier, should contact NLC’s Financial Aid office.

For applicants that are formally sponsored by a third party, the admission deposit cannot be invoiced to the sponsor.

Admission Requirements & Post-admission Requirements

Northern Lights College seeks to ensure that applicants have the best possibility of success, and has established entrance requirements that is intended to ensure students are prepared.  Each program may have admission requirements that can include English language proficiency, academic preparedness assessments, and/or requirements from their academic history.  Applicants must meet the stated requirements in order to be admitted to that program.  Specific admission requirements may vary from program to program. Details of the program-specific academic or secondary requirements are referenced in the program listings.

In general, program admission requirements will identify high school-level courses or assessment testing that may be used to satisfy admission requirements.  Applicants are encouraged to discuss their academic history with an admissions officer prior to registering for assessment tests.

Post-admission Requirements

Post-admission requirements are additional requirements that must be completed by students in order to be prepared for their program of study and are expected to be completed before the first day of classes unless otherwise stated. These requirements are required after an applicant has been accepted by the College but before classes begin, to help them avoid unnecessary costs.  Details about post-admission requirements are referenced in the program listings.  It is important to note that if these requirements are not completed prior to the start of classes (or stated deadline), your offer of admission may be withdrawn.

Applicant Types

Applicants are encouraged to identify the basis for consideration of admission by identifying their applicant type.  By doing so, NLC can provide the best pathway to admission for each applicant.  admissibility is not determined by the applicant type.  Applicant types include:

  • Concurrent studies – for applicants planning to attend college while they are also in high school.  See Concurrent Admission for more information.
  • Graduating/graduated high school – for applicants that have already graduated high school or will graduate before they start at NLC.
  • Mature student (19+) – for applicants that have not graduated high school and are 19 years of age or older or have been out of high school for at least one year.
  • Post-secondary transfer or completion – for applicants that have already attended college (not NLC), university, or other post-secondary.  Applicants planning to receive transfer credit, please see the Transfer Students section.
  • Former student – for applicants that are current students of NLC or have been away from NLC for over one year and want to apply to a new program.  Current students selecting this category are encouraged to read Program Change before applying.
  • Exchange – for applicants coming to NLC on an NLC-approved exchange program.
  • Visiting – for applicants currently attending another post-secondary institution and have received a Letter of Permission (LOP) from your home institution.  See Visiting Students for more information.

Application Dates

Most of NLC’s programs open for admission as early as 11 months prior to start of classes.  Admission closes depending on the program requirements and demand; some programs remain open until the end of the first weeks of classes.

Domestic Applicants
SemesterApplications openPriority registrationLatest date to apply*Semester Start Date
Application DeadlineAdmission Deposit Deadline
Fall(includes vocational and EASL)October 1(April 1 for dual credit applicants)May 1(April 30 for dual credit applicants)May 30Add/drop dateSeptember
Winter(includes EASL)February 1(September 15 for dual credit applicants)September 30(October 31 for dual credit applicants)October 31Add/drop dateJanuary
SpringJune 1(January 15 for dual credit applicants)January 31(February 15 for dual credit applicants)February 28Add/drop dateMay
Winter(vocational only)February 1October 31November 30Add/drop date (20-week term)February
Spring – EASLJune 1December 23January 31First day of classesApril

* Applicant must provide all documents necessary to qualify for admission prior to the add/drop date.  Select programs may close earlier.

International Applicants**
SemesterApplications openApplication DeadlineAdmission Deposit DeadlineSemester Start Date
Fall(includes vocational and EASL)October 1May 31June 30September
Winter(includes EASL)February 1September 30October 31January
SpringJune 1January 31February 28May
Winter(vocational only)February 1October 31November 30February
Spring – EASLJune 1December 23January 31April

** International applicants already in Canada with a valid visa may apply following the deadlines for domestic applicants.  Note that capacity may limit availability.

Assessment Tests and Equivalencies

Where stipulated by the program, assessment tests may used for the purpose admission or course requisites.  Assessment and placement tests may not be used for the purpose of credit or graduation.

Test results are valid for a period of two years prior to the start of classes unless otherwise stated.  Assessment tests are not suitable for students still attending secondary (high) school for the purpose of admission.

Concurrent Admission

Students that are currently attending secondary (high) school may be permitted to enroll at NLC as Concurrent Studies students.  These students are often referred to as dual-credit; Dual credit means credit for course-work completed at the College is granted towards a college credential and towards high school graduation.  Dual credit students must be endorsed by their secondary school to receive dual credit.  Concurrent studies students do not require permission of their secondary school.

Requirements for undergraduate courses

Concurrent studies applicants intending to enroll in any undergraduate courses are required to meet the following admission requirements:

  • A Language Arts 11 with a B or higher; or
  • A Language Arts 12 with a B or higher; or
  • A Language Arts 12 with an interim grade of B (73%) or higher providing the course is completed prior to the first day of the NLC course.

In addition, each student is required to meet the course prerequisites as stated in the NLC Calendar.  Students with the prerequisite course(s) in progress are permitted to enroll providing they have an interim grade of B (73%) or better in the prerequisite course(s) prior to registration.

This requirement applies to all undergraduate courses (numbered 100-199).

Requirements for program applicants

Concurrent studies applicants that are seeking admission to an NLC program must meet all Admission requisites, including Post-Admission Requirements, as stated in the NLC Calendar. 

Additional information

  • Neither the NLC Writing Assessment nor the CCP Placement Tests may be used by dual credit students for the purpose of meeting admission requirements.
  • Qualifying for admission and meeting course prerequisites is not a guarantee of enrolment.  Course availability, capacity, and scheduling may limit access.
  • For this document, an Interim Grade is defined as:
    A percentage grade that reflects the achievement of a student at the end of a quarter (a minimum of 50% of the learning outcomes have been evaluated).
  • Exceptions require the approval of a Program Chair.
  • Admission deposits are set according to Policy F-4.03.  Dual credit students sponsored by a school are required to pay an admission deposit of the lesser of all unsponsored fees or the deposit amount set by the Policy.  See Tuition Rates  for more information.

Criminal Records Checks

The Criminal Record Review Act requires that all students in a program where they may be working with children and/or vulnerable adults, to undergo a criminal record check (CRC) by the Criminal Records Review Program (CRRP).

NLC requires students in programs or courses that require a CRC to complete a Schedule Type “B” CRC. The WORKS WITH category will depend on the requirements of your program (please check the specific requirements for the program you are applying for):

  • WORKS WITH: Children
  • WORKS WITH: Children and Vulnerable Adults

Students that have already completed a Schedule “B” CRC, may elect to share the result with NLC. Shared results must be for the same Schedule Type, and WORKS WITH category.

Under no circumstances are students permitted to complete any course-work where they are in contact with children and/or vulnerable adults without having a CRC on file with NLC’s Office of the Registrar. Failure to ensure a valid CRC is on file with the Office of the Registrar for the duration of a program or course, may result in a requirement to withdraw from the program. Students are obligated to report any Schedule B criminal convictions that occur after they authorize a CRC but are still enrolled at NLC.

CRCs are only required in programs or courses that specifically identify it as a requirement.  Admission to a program, registration in courses, and/or access to specific learning environments may be limited until the results of the CRRP have been received.

For all programs at NLC, we do not accept a CRC completed through your local RCMP or police office.

Criminal Record Check and new residents of Canada

Applicants seeking admission to a program that requires a Criminal Records Check that have not lived in Canada, are required to:


Applicants who have accepted an offer of admission may request deferral to a subsequent semester or intake that begins 12 months or less from the initial intake without penalty providing: 

  • The request is made prior to the end of the instructional period for the initial application semester or intake.
  • Applicants meet admission requirements in effect for the new semester or intake.

Deferral requests will not be adjudicated until the semester is open for admission. Every student can defer once per application with no additional cost.  Subsequent deferrals are subject to a processing fee. Applicants that are registered and request deferral are also subject to de-registration fees. 

Applicants must re-apply for admission, including payment of the application fee if: 

  • They do not have approval to defer a previous application for admission; or 
  • They do not have approval to defer an admission acceptance; or 
  • They do not enroll in a semester or intake to which they have been admitted. 

Applicants that have not been accepted must re-apply to a future intake.

Discretionary Admission

An applicant who does not meet one or more of the academic or non-academic admission requirements may petition the College and request an exception.  The request must be made formally, and submitted to the Admissions Office.  Allow 10 business days for processing.

General Academic English Language Proficiency Requirements

1. Overview

English is the language of instruction in all programs at NLC. Thus, it is imperative that NLC students meet minimum English Language Proficiency requirements.

In University Arts and Sciences and additional baccalaureate-level programs, students are required to have English Studies 12, English First Peoples 12, ENGL 050, or an equivalent course. Required final grades are specified by program.

2. Select Baccalaureate-Level Programs

The following English Language Requirement applies to the Associate of Arts Degree (general)1 ; to diplomas in Archaeology, Business Management2, Criminology, Interactive Technologies and Game Design, Land and Water Resources, and Social Services Worker; and to certificates in Business Management and University Arts and Sciences3

A. Domestic students4 and students from countries5 that practice Standard Written English must have official transcripts demonstrating that they have met one of the following English Requirements with a “B” grade or higher: English Studies 12, English First Peoples 12, English 050, or English 099; alternatively, any university-level English course6 with a “C” grade or higher. Students who do not meet one of the above English requirements must complete the NLC Writing Assessment for appropriate course placement.

B. International students and domestic students who received their secondary education in French or another language must show that they have met the NLC English requirement for baccalaureate-level programs specified above by demonstrating one of the following:

  • An IELTS result with an overall score of 6.0 or higher with no band less than 6.0. Students with a writing band of 6.0 are required to complete English 099 with a “B” grade or higher in their initial semester. Alternatively, NLC will accept a TOEFL iBT of 78, Canadian Academic English Assessment (CAEL) 60 overall band, Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment (CLBA) 8 in each section, Pearson Test of English (PTE) 57, Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) 76, Cambridge-Michigan Language Assessment (CaMLA) 69 plus NLC’s Writing Assessment.
  • Documented completion of a post-secondary credential that is assessed as equivalent to a similar program from a reputable Canadian institution with its own appropriate English Language Requirement.
  • Documented completion of the last two years of full-time Canadian secondary school education in English with a minimum grade of “B” in English 12, English Studies 12, English Literature 12, English 12 First Peoples, or equivalent.
  • Completion of NLC’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) 060-level Certificate.

Where international students and domestic students who received their secondary education in French or another language are unable to provide an appropriate IELTS score or equivalent, such students may be conditionally enrolled in an NLC program with permission of the Chair. Upon arrival at NLC, these students will be assessed by the ESL department and transferred to the appropriate level of the EAP program as necessary.


Not applicable to the Associate of Arts Degree (Health Studies) or to the Associate of Science Degree.
Not applicable to the Executive Assistant Diploma.
Not applicable to the Engineering Certificate, the Engineering Studies Certificate, the General University Arts and Sciences Certificate, the Indigenous Human Services Worker Diploma.
Except those whose secondary education was conducted in French or in another language.
Australia, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales, United States of America.
From reputable institutions in Canada or from the above list of countries that practice Standard Written English

How to Apply

All applicants must submit an application for admission using either EducationPlannerBC, or by completion and submission of an official Application for Admission form with payment of the application fee

Applications for admission will not be considered until payment of the appropriate application fee has been received.

Applicants must complete all required sections of the Application for Admission. Information collected and maintained as part of NLC’s student records is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act.  NLC gathers and maintains information used for the purposes of admission, registration and other fundamental activities related to being a member of the Northern Lights College community and attending a public post-secondary institution in the Province of British Columbia as well as broader safety purposes including ensuring security on all Northern Lights College campuses.  Information provided by applicants will also be used for non-administrative research purposes.  This research includes longitudinal research using anonymous linked records in the B.C. Educational Records Linkage File (Link File).  The personal records in the Link File are not identifiable and are not used for administration purposes.  For further information please contact the NLC Registrar.

NLC reserves the right to require official documents to confirm information submitted on the application for admission.

Guidance about names

Legal names:  This is the applicant’s legal name as it appears on their passport or birth certificate.  If the applicant is not a Canadian citizen, ensure the name provided exactly matches the passport or permanent residency documents.  All official communications will use this name. 

Chosen names:  Chosen names, including applicant preferred or nicknames, will appear on class rosters and in NLC’s online services, so instructors know what name to use in class.  It may be the same name as the legal name – or not.

Other/Former names:  This includes applicant former name(s), such as birth name or maiden names.  Providing former names helps NLC ensure applicant records are accurate and secure. Applicants with multiple former legal names (such as birth/married/dead names) should include all names.

Guidance about gender

NLC collects gender for statistical purposes; it is not utilized for evaluation of admission purposes.

Guidance about indigeneity

NLC collects Aboriginal information for statistical purposes; it is not utilized for evaluation of admission purposes.  NLC may offer supplemental services to applicants that identify as an Aboriginal person.

Guidance for Former Youth in Care

Applicants that are living or have live as youth in care in British Columbia may identify as such.  Identification is not utilized for evaluation of admission purposes.  NLC may offer supplemental services to applicants that identify as former youth in care.

Document submission

Most programs require additional documents to be submitted to support applications for admission.  Documents may be submitted concurrently with the application for admission, or immediately following.

Applicants who attended high school in British Columbia or the Yukon are encourage to submit high school transcripts using the BC StudentTranscripts Service (STS).  STS transcripts are normally received within 1-2 business days.

Documents submitted to NLC become the property of NLC.  Applicants with irreplaceable documents may request the return of their document(s) providing a letter making the request accompanies the official document.

Placement Tests

See Assessment tests and equivalencies 

Transfer Students

Applicants that have already attended a college, university, or other post-secondary institution and completed courses and/or a credential to be used as the basis of admission may apply as Transfer Students.  The basis of admission will be the course-work previously completed.  See Transfer Credit for more information.

Visiting Students

Applicants that present a Letter of Permission (LOP) from another post- secondary institution may be admitted as Visiting Students.  The LOP must indicate good standing, and indicate which course(s) have permission to enroll and transfer back to the home institution. Space permitting, NLC does not require official transcripts.  Course requisites are normally waived, however, statutory requirements, such as Criminal Records Checks, must be completed prior to registration.