It’s that time of year: application season! To apply for an undergraduate program in Ontario, you’ll need to use the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre, or OUAC.
Most students will use the standard Undergraduate application, but there are a few exceptions. If you’re applying for law school, rehab sciences, teacher education, or a medical program, there are distinct applications processes, but that’s another story. Most people will go through the Undergraduate application.
The first step is research, research, research! Check out SchoolFinder.com to find info on schools, programs, and potential career paths. You can compare programs directly to find the right one for you. While you’re there, double check the admission requirements, including any program prerequisites. Make sure you’ll have completed them by the time you graduate from high school.
To use the standard Undergraduate application, you must be part of one of the following groups:
A) Current Ontario high school students (under 21 years old)
- You’re taking courses at an Ontario high school
- You’re under 21 years old
- You’ll get your Ontario high school diploma at the end of the school year, with at least six 4U/M courses completed
- You haven’t been to college or university yet
B) Others: Canadian students from other provinces, and international students, etc.
- Current Ontario high school students over the age of 21
- Canadian high school students from outside Ontario
- International students, whether in Canada or abroad
Law, medicine, rehab, and teacher education programs
There are special applications and instructions for students applying to the following program areas:
- Ontario law schools
- Ontario medical schools
- Ontario rehabilitation sciences programs
- Ontario teacher education programs
These schools and programs have their own processes and deadlines, so check out the links above to learn more.
Once you’ve done your research, check out the OUAC program directory to find your program’s code, as in the screenshot below. This is a two or three letter code, unique to each school and program, that you’ll need to apply. Note down the ones that interest you. Click through to find program details, and pay close attention to prerequisites and eligibility. Here’s an example:
Some programs may be marked [Closed], meaning you won’t be able to apply for them in the current cycle.
Not every program a school offers is accessible to international students, so be thorough.
When you’re ready to apply, you’ll need an OUAC account if you don’t have one. Set up your account and start your application. If you’re having trouble, OUAC staff are available to help you. You can call, text, email, or use a chatbot to get the assistance you need. OUAC also provides video tutorials and a general application guide that might help, or you can reach out to the OUAC team for direct support.
You’ll need to pay the base application fee of $156 CAD, which gets you three program choices; additional ones are another $50 each. If you’re in Canada on a study permit, there’s another $10 fee, and certain programs have supplemental fees as well.
Review all of your details before you submit, and check your program codes carefully. Remember, you found the code(s) you need from the OUAC website in a previous step!
Beyond that, applying should be a breeze. Just follow the prompts, and apply by January 15th, especially for competitive programs. You can expect to hear back from your choices by the end of May.
When you submit, you’ll get an OUAC Reference Number: write it down somewhere safe. You’ll need it to get in touch with OUAC or the schools you’re applying to.
And that’s it! You’ve applied. Congratulations! You’re not done just yet, though.
Following up with your applications
Before you’re finished, log back into your application to check your details and make any last-minute changes.
Keep an eye on your email, and your spam filter, as universities will reach out when they’ve received your application, and to discuss any next steps. While you play the waiting game, consider visiting some of your choices, in person or online. Campus tours are a good way to get a sense of what university life will be like.
Note that there’s no hard deadline for students from outside Ontario, or for international applicants: each school will have its own deadline. Be scrupulous with your research, and apply early! Give OUAC plenty of time to get your application to schools. Applicants coming straight out of an Ontario high school must apply by January 15.
We wish you all the best with your degree. Check out SchoolFinder throughout your studies for helpful articles, tips, and advice on making the most of your program and career.
Enjoy your university experience!