Applying to university in Canada

Once you have decided to which universities or colleges you wish to apply to for admission, you should contact directly the institution's Office of Admissions (for undergraduate and college programs) or Office of Graduate Admissions (for graduate programs) and ask for detailed application information and forms.

The Office of Admissions will inform you about the documentation, translation, and visa requirements.

Be aware that the admission application process can take considerable time, and that you should start at least one year in advance to compile the necessary information and documentation. It's advised that you have your application in by spring at the very latest.

The decision of the institution is usually announced within four to six months of the application deadline, although this can vary from one university or college to another.

When making your application, these tips could help you make the process as smooth as possible....

1. Make sure you meet the entry requirements

This seems like a basic thing to consider, but entry requirements can change year to year, and there is no point investing your time in an application if you will be rejected due to failure to meet the entry requirements. You can find the information on what's required in the relevant pages of the university website, and double (even triple!) check this before you start.

You are also required to be proficient in English or French (depending on which university you choose), and this will need to be evidenced by a standardised language test

2. Check out your qualification equivalences

The education system across the world can be very different, and the level of qualifcations can vary. What can be considered a good level of education in one corner of the world, can be very different elsewhere, so check how your qualifcations and academic performance to date meets the standards required by your university.

This can sometimes be assessed by the university itself, however, more often than not, you will be required to use a third party organisation to evaluate your qualifcations.

3. Check the application process

Unlike the UK process, you normally have to apply directly to the institution you want to study at, unless you plan to study in Ontario, in which you need to use the Ontario Universites Application Centre (OUAC).

In addition to basic personal information, and your current academic performace, you can also be asked to provide portfolios, written statements, videos to name just a few. Again, unlike in the UK you are not normally required to provide a reference.

Whatever system you intend to apply through, there is a one time application fee, so keep this in mind when making your plans.

4. Find out your admissions average

The largest part in the decision on whether to admit a student is very often their admissions average. This is similar to the UCAS tariff system in the UK, and takes your academic performance to date, in all areas that you've studied, and converts it into a points based system.You'll need to meet (or often, exceed) the university set average level, and in a competitive marketplace, it can make or break your application. Good grades definitely do the talking!

4. Get your application in as early as possible

Again, unlike the UK, admission decisions are made in order that applications are received and not considered on an equal standing; if someone else gets their application in before you (especially for popular courses), and they fill the last place, it could mean your application is rejected, even if you are potentially a better applicant. Getting your application in as early as you can is definitely recommended.

Further information

For more help and advice on applying to university in Canada, please see: