FAQ

What other accommodation can Cornerstone provide for students?

Cornerstone has several partnerships with local residences for students. Some of them are available throughout the year. Please contact us for full descriptions. Cornerstone can also place students at Roomstay, where students are provided a furnished room and bathrooms and kitchens are shared.

If I want to switch homestay families, can I do that? Do you charge any service fee?

Switching homestay families within the first week of arrival is acceptable. However, if students wish to move to another homestay family after this probationary period, they must give Cornerstone’s Homestay Coordinator and their host parents at least 2 weeks’ notice. Students requesting to switch host families must provide sufficient reasons to the Homestay Coordinator. If proper notice and reasons are not given, a switch will not be possible. Students are allowed to change their homestay family a maximum of 3 times. After that a fee of $100.00 will be charged by Cornerstone for each change.

How far away are homestays from Cornerstone?

The average is 30 minutes using the public transportation system in Toronto. Remember that once you get in the transportation system, you do not have to go outside to get to the school.

Does Cornerstone have a written guide for these rules?

Yes. Students receive ‘Living in Toronto’ and ‘Studying at Cornerstone’ guidebooks which include a lot of useful information about the school, programs, homestays, and Toronto. Our Homestay Coordinator always willingly helps students and makes them confirmable staying with a family. Please never hesitate to speak to the coordinator or one of our staff.

Are there any rules in the homestay?

Yes. Students are explained the rules by the homestay family on the first day. Students are expected to follow the rules. All the rules are common sense ones, for example, “call the family when you do not need dinner”; “use a calling card when you make an international phone call” etc.

Where do most homestay families live?

All homestay families live near public transportation such as subways, busses or streetcars. Students take these to get to the school everyday.

What type of homestay families are they?

They are middle class families who welcome our students as family members.

Does the homestay coordinator monitor each family?

Yes. Our coordinator always communicates with both students and families in order to provide a comfortable stay. The coordinator also gives students a homestay orientation on the first day.

How does Cornerstone choose the Homestay families?

Our Homestay Coordinator visits every homestay family before we send any students there. There are many requirements each homestay family must meet and Cornerstone evaluates them strictly.

Which activities should I attend or where should I visit during my stay in Toronto?

It’s totally depends on your interests; however, we do recommend visiting the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, French Canada, and maybe New York. We recommend you experience this multi-cultural city as much as you can. Visit local events and have conversation with local people using English that you have learned.

What should I do when I want to join an activity?

Simply book activities you want to join at the reception and pay before the due date.

Are there any activities that Cornerstone staff join?

Yes. Every Friday activity is supervised by an activity leader.

Are there any free activities?

Yes. Cornerstone offers Open Conversation every Monday and Wednesday. All students are welcome to attend. Cornerstone also offers Open Tutor every Thursday which is a free extra lesson taught by our ESL teacher, so students can ask questions and receive extra materials.

What kind of activities does Cornerstone offer?

Cornerstone offers many types of activities to make students’ lives happy. The activities include visiting the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, French Canada, New York, going to watch NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS games, local events and festivals, pub nights and more!

Can I get a certificate or Diploma upon completing programs/courses?

Yes. All students who successfully complete programs/courses, by achieving over 70% on their evaluations and by having a good attendance record, can request a certificate or Diploma. Cornerstone has graduation ceremonies every Friday to congratulate graduates and give them the opportunity to have one last unforgettable memory. The graduates have the opportunity to give a short speech. Some students thank friends; other students express appreciation for their experience in Canada, some cry, some make others laugh. It is always a great ceremony!

I am planning to arrive in Toronto on a working holiday visa. I want to find a job or volunteer by myself. Do you help with that?

Yes. Toronto offers many types of volunteer work and jobs throughout the year. Our activity coordinator provides lists of information on a monthly basis for our students’ interests.

Do you have an educational counsellor who can give me advice about what to take after ESL?

Yes. Our counsellors and Academic Director are here to help with your academic decisions.

I want to move up to the next level faster? What should I do?

Do your best. Students who come everyday, do homework, are active in class and pass all exams and/or short quizzes during a session may be able to move up to the next level earlier if the instructor and Academic Director agree; therefore, do your best.

How do you determine my English level?

Students will take a placement test on the first day to determine their English level. The test includes grammar, listening, reading, writing and an oral interview with our instructor. It takes an hour to complete.

How do you evaluate students’ performance?

Students receive an evaluation every 4 weeks. The evaluations include marks on attendance, participation, homework, understanding of the subjects, and test scores. Students must achieve over 70% each month in order to be able to move to the next level.

How many ESL levels does Cornerstone offer?

Cornerstone offers 8 levels of ESL from Beginner to Advanced. Levels 1 to 5 take 8 weeks each to complete, and levels 6 to 8 12 weeks each. Sometimes students are allowed to move up to the next level earlier, e.g. if their evaluation is high enough and they are very motivated.

What English programs does Cornerstone offer?

General and Intensive ESL
Intensive Business English Diploma
Real Speaking Diploma– focuses on improving Speaking ability
TOEFL preparation
TOEIC preparation
TESOL Diploma – ATI certificate
TEYC Diploma – ATI certificate
CEEP – College Entrance Exam Preparation
Youth program (age 7 – 17 years old) – elementary and high school transfer preparation
College Transfer Program (CEEP)
Summer Camp (Age 12 – 17 years old)

How many students are there per class?

Class are small; on average 8 – 12 students per class. Max 16 students.

Will I learn English from the same teacher all day?

Students learn and speak English with 2 different teachers, if you register for the Intensive Program.

What is the class structure?

Cornerstone’s classes vary according to the program:
General Program: 8:45 – 12:30 (20 hours / week)
Intensive Program: 8:45 – 15:45 (28 hours / week)
Afternoon Program: 13:30 – 15:45 (10 hours / week)
Over 90 % of students studying at Cornerstone register for Intensive programs

Do you have an English Only Policy?

Yes. Cornerstone thinks it is very important as a language school that all the students speak English only during their stay. Cornerstone informs all the students of the English only policy. For more details, please visit the policy page. English only policy page

Do you have a system for controlling the quality of the teaching?

To ensure the continued quality of the teaching, teachers are monitored regularly. They are evaluated by the students each session and receive feedback from the Academic Director about these evaluations. Teachers’ lessons are regularly observed by the Academic Director and strengths and areas to be improved upon are discussed in a follow-up session. Finally, Cornerstone holds regular professional development workshops for teachers in-house and provides a professional development budget for teachers which can be used to attend conferences and workshops outside of the school.

Tell me about teachers

The teachers at Cornerstone are not only qualified certificate holders and university graduates, but also have a passion for teaching English. They are always willing to help students. Our teachers:

TESL Certified
University Degree
Friendly and have a passion to teach English
At least 4 years of teaching experience, some over 20 years. AVG 8 years
Prepare tight and well-planned lessons every day

What are the main nationalities at Cornerstone?

We have students from Korea, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, followed by Russia, Turkey, Taiwan, Colombia, Venezuela, and Spain and a few other countries such as Italy, Germany, Poland, Swiss and more. Cornerstone has accepted students from 37 different countries.

Does anybody at Cornerstone speak my own language?

Cornerstone staff can speak/understand Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, and French.

Which facilities does Cornerstone offer in its campus?

24 hour security, business building with modern facilities
Student cafeteria
30 computers with free access to high speed internet
FREE wireless internet available at the campus
FREE practice software installed on each computer, TOEFL preparation software and Pronunciation software
Huge screen TV for students’ presentations

Tell me about the facilities

There are 11 classrooms in the main campus and 5 classrooms in the second Scollard Campus. The classrooms are comfortable and designed to allow all students to see and interact with each other and to be able to pay attention to the teachers. Each classroom is equipped with desks and chairs.

What’s happening in the area?

This location is in the prestigious & exciting Yorkville area of downtown Toronto where many prominent people such as Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes, and popular politicians like to socialize. During events such as the Toronto International Film Festival, many celebrities visit the area, so you may be able to have unforgettable memories.

Where is Cornerstone located in Toronto?

Cornerstone is located on the 8th floor in a full-service, 24 hour security, business building directly above BAY subway station. Students do not have to go outside to get to the school. There are two exits from Bay station. Students should take the Bay Street exit. You will see the entrance to the 80 Bloor Street West building right behind the fare booth. Walk down the hallways, take an escalator at the end of the hallway and you will be in our building. Take an elevator and come to the 8th floor where the Cornerstone campus is. This indoor route is something you will especially appreciate when winter arrives in Toronto.

Do Cornerstone have any college/university pathway partnerships?

Yes. Currently we have partnerships with Centennial College, Algonquin College and Lambton College.

By whom is Cornerstone accredited

LC (Language Canada) / In Process
AILIA (Association of Language industry)
American TESOL Institute
TKT Testing Centre (Cambridge ESOL)
ETS Authorized TOEFL iBT and TOEIC Centre

How can I confirm that you have received my payment?

Cornerstone will send you a payment confirmation sheet and Letter of Acceptance after we confirm payment at Cornerstone. The payment confirmation sheet and Letter of Acceptance indicate that you are accepted to Cornerstone Academic College.

When can I arrive in Toronto? How long before my course starts should I arrive?

Most students arrive in Toronto on Saturday or Sunday and will start on Monday; however, some students arrive in advance, and Cornerstone has no problem with earlier arrival as far as students inform us of their arrival date in advance. If students are doing a homestay, they can check in any date they request; however, students who stay residence might only be able to check in on weekends.

How far in advance should I book my course?

You should book your English course/programs at least 3-4 weeks before the starting date, if you also request accommodation. Students who only book English course/programs can be accepted at the last minute, 2 days before starting dates. Students who need to apply for a visa to be able to come to Canada should have enough time to apply for the visa.

What should I bring on the first day?

Passport, Pen, Visa, Lunch, and Letter of Acceptance.

What time should I arrive at Cornerstone on the first day?

Please arrive at Cornerstone main campus by 8:50am. Orientation starts from 9:00 and includes a placement test.

Tell us about the Transportation system in Toronto?

Toronto’s transportation system, called the TTC, consists of subways, buses and streetcars. Depending on length of study, you can buy passes or tokens. Prices are below (2011 Feb). Passes allow their holders to do unlimited travel within the system, thus, you can transfer from subway to bus and/or streetcars.

Transportation fees are
Token / Tickets: 5 for $12.50 or 10 for $25.00 **1 token / ticket for 1 trip. Do not forget to take a transfer.
Day Pass: $10.00 - Can be used any day. The pass covers 2 adults and 2 children.
Weekly Pass: $36.00 - From Mon to Sun. Goes on sale the Thursday of the week before.
Metro Pass (Monthly Pass): $121.00 - Valid from the 1st day of a month till the last day of the month.

What is Toronto’s population?

Approximately 3 million people. It is Canada’s largest city and the capital of the province of Ontario.

What is the average temperature in Toronto?

Spring: 14 degrees Celsius
Summer: 25 degrees Celsius
Fall: 15 degrees Celsius
Winter: -2 degrees Celsius

Is Canada a safe country?

Yes. Canada has been chosen by UNESCO as one of the best countries in the world to live in and one of the safest. At the same time, the Canadian education system is recognized as one of the best in terms of curriculum and instructors. These factors make Canada a great country to come to study abroad.

What documents do I need to present upon arrival in Canada?

Valid Passport
Student, Temporary Residence or Working Holiday Visa (if required for your country)
Proof of sufficient funds (if required for your country)
Return airline ticket
Letter of Acceptance from school
Accommodation confirmation (homestay or residence letter if you have requested one)
Custodian Letter (if you are under 18 years old traveling alone)

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