How do I apply to universities in Ontario?

In Ontario, students interested in going to university use a centralized application service to apply for admission.

Who can apply to universities?

You can apply to university if you are:

  • a Canadian citizen
  • a permanent resident
  • a refugee claimant
  • a citizen of another country with no (current) status in Canada.

You can apply as a domestic student if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

You can apply as an international student if you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Learn more about studying in Ontario as an international student or studying in Canada as an international student. 

How is my application processed? 

You must apply to any university program in Ontario through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC)

The OUAC processes admissions for undergraduate and professional programs (e.g., medical school, teacher education programs, law school, etc.).

The OUAC offers a central location for students to apply for admission, send supporting documents, and pay application fees. Through OUAC, you can manage all your offers of admission and have the ability to accept or decline them.

You also have the option to connect your OUAC application with your OSAP application to save time. 

To start, you should review which application form to use and the application guide for your respective application type. 

What do I need to submit in my application?

Whether or not you’re currently attending a high school in Ontario, university programs will generally ask all applicants to submit:

  • Personal information: your name, date of birth, language, status in Canada, contact information, and other voluntary information like gender and if you’re an Indigenous or first-generation applicant (if your parents did not pursue a post-secondary education). 
  • Program choices: the programs you’re interested in and the order of preference. You can apply to as many universities as you want, but usually to a maximum of three programs per university. 
  • Supporting documents: Official transcripts are required for any educational institution you attended or withdrew from. If you are currently in high school, your school completes this section. However, you can check the information by asking your guidance counsellor. 
  • Other documents: universities have different requirements for the documents they need (e.g., language proficiency tests, proof of status in Canada, transcripts, etc.).

Do universities have any additional requirements?

Universities sometimes have program-specific requirements and may ask you to submit supplemental documents. These help admission officers get to know you beyond your grades and for you to explain why you’re interested and qualified for the program. 

For example:

  • Guelph University strongly recommends applicants submit a Student Profile Form that asks you why you’re applying, your extracurriculars, your academic strengths, etc. 
  • Western University’s programs have supplementary forms for particular programs (like online portfolios, statements of interest, etc.) and for students (like special consideration profiles, extraordinary extracurricular profiles, etc.).
  • Some university programs like the University of Toronto’s JD or Law program offer optional admission streams for mature, Indigenous and Black students.

Make sure you research all the programs you’re applying to and look at their requirements by going to the university’s website.

What happens after I apply?

All the universities you applied to will send you a confirmation that they received your application and a list of supporting documents they need. Contact them directly if you do not hear from them within three weeks of applying. 

Universities make offers of admission at different times of the year, depending on the program. You can accept or decline your offer through the OUAC. 

Your other applications will not be affected if you accept an offer. However, you can only accept one offer at a time. If you choose to accept a different offer, you must cancel your first offer. 

You should contact the university directly if you:

  • Miss the response deadline but want to accept the offer 
  • Declined your offer but want to change your response (or vice versa)
  • Want to defer your entry by a semester or a year

The OUAC has many instructional videos to help you with the application process.