Ontario's University Application Process, Explained

By University of Waterloo Modified on November 20, 2023
Tags : Academics

What to expect when applying for admission to a university in Ontario, Canada.

Ontario's University Application Process, Explained

Choosing your university and the application process that comes after it are two very different things. You've finalized the programs and schools you'll apply to and notice that you also meet the admission requirements. What's next? Now it's time to apply.

Here's a step-by-step overview of what to expect when applying to a university in Ontario, Canada.

1. Apply

If you plan to be a full-time student, you'll apply through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC), which processes applications for admission to Ontario universities. You'll apply using the undergraduate application.

If you're interested in multiple Ontario universities, you can use one OUAC application to apply to all your chosen schools and programs. Deadlines might vary based on university or even program, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the timelines for the schools you're interested in. Once universities receive your application, they'll email you to let you know what to do next.

2. Submit documents

All programs will require transcripts as part of the application process. Additional requirements can include:

  • English language test scores
  • an interview
  • online assessments
  • math or science contests
  • arts portfolios
  • and more

The schools you apply to will provide you instructions on what required documents to submit and how to submit them.

3. Universities review applications and send offers

Universities make admission decisions based on your grades and anything else they require for the program(s) you've applied to — which can range from a portfolio of creative work to a video interview, or even English language test scores. You can expect to hear back from most Ontario universities between January and May.

You could receive an offer of admission for each university or program you apply to.

If you're like most students, you'll receive what's called a conditional offer of admission that has certain requirements that need to be met by a certain date (usually over the summer). Conditions can include:

  • submitting final transcripts
  • achieving a specific grade in a required course
  • having a minimum final average, and/or
  • sending English language requirements

4. Accept your offer

Now, for the final step: if you receive one or more offers of admission, congratulations! It's important to pick the university that best helps you achieve your goals, so be sure to consider all the possible different factors when choosing a university.

When you've made your choice, it's time to accept your offer! You'll go to the OUAC website and accept the offer of admission from the Ontario university you plan to attend. Once you accept, the university you've chosen will email you about what's next, such as choosing courses, getting into residence, paying fees, and more.

Application tips and tricks

As you apply for university in Ontario, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure you've done your research. This doesn't mean just looking up potential schools and programs you're interested in, but also look at things like tuition and fees, housing, and what the city is like.
  • Make note of deadlines. It's important to make sure you're on schedule to submit all the required application materials so you don't miss out on applying to any universities. Some universities might have early acceptance deadlines, so if that's something you're interested in, it's important to know when they are!
  • Be thorough. To make the application process as easy as possible, it's important to make sure you're careful when submitting any important documents. Make sure to proofread and double check what you send to universities to ensure no information gets lost.

While this process can seem scary at first, we hope this guide helps ease your stress. Good luck with your university journey!

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