It’s that time of year again for grade 12 students — the Ontario University Application Centre (OUAC) and Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) are accepting applications. Whether university or college has been something you’ve been waiting for since you started high school, or you’re a mature student looking to get into a program you’ve considered for years, this is an exciting and important time.
As you probably already know, colleges and universities offer education in the standard subjects (Science, Math, History, English, Business etc.), but most will have a specialty program or two that they may offer as well.
If you want to be a teacher, for example, not every university offers a program for that. Similarly, nursing or medicine requires you to go to a specialized program. Consider searching a website like UniversityStudy.com to see what universities offer the area of study you may wish to pursue.
No matter what your needs or experience with applying for school are, OES is here to help you achieve those goals. You can count on us to provide you with pertinent information around the college and university deadlines for OUAC and OCAS and their requirements, as well as some helpful information for preparing for your post-secondary application. Elsewhere on our blog, you can also find specific resources on choosing a college or university program and answering common OUAC questions (like “What is my OUAC number?”).
Ontario University Applications
What is OUAC?
OUAC — Ontario University Application Centre — is a not-for-profit application service for applicants looking to apply to Ontario universities. OUAC processes applications to various accredited programs, including undergraduate, law, medical, teacher education, and rehabilitation sciences.
When is the OUAC deadline?
The OUAC deadlines change slightly year over year. In the interest of creating an evergreen resource for students, we want to lead with this fact, and refer applying students to the following OUAC page: OUAC’s “Undergraduate – Key Dates”. Here, you’ll find precise deadlines and likely response times for the year in question.
All of that said, if you’re reading this in 2023, we want to provide you with a shortcut resource for entering key dates in your calendar. So, as per the OUAC website, these are the 2023/2024 dates to keep top-of-mind:
- November 24, 2023: This is the date Ontario universities should receive all midterm or final grades available for 4U/M courses from OUAC.
- January 15, 2024: This is a big one! Ontario students’ deadline for submitting completed applications to OUAC.
- January 23rd, 2024: The date by which Ontario universities should receive those applications submitted on the 15th.
- February 22nd, 2024: By this date, Ontario universities should have receive all final grades available for 4U/M courses and current full-year grades for 4U/M courses from the OUAC.
- May 2nd and July 11th: More key dates for universities receiving your grades. By the former date, OUAC should have sent all midterm or final grades available for 4U/M courses and interim grades for full-year courses. The latter date is when all remaining grades should be in the hands of Ontario universities.
- May 29th: Another big one to add to your calendar! This is the latest date you can expect a response from a university you applied to (provided you hit that January 15th deadline on time).
- June 3rd: Lastly, you’ll want to add this date to your calendar too. As per the OUAC website, it is the “earliest date a current Ontario high school student may be required to respond to an Ontario university offer of admission and give a financial commitment (e.g., registration deposit, residence deposit, etc.).”
To reiterate, these dates are applicable to the 2023/2024 cycle. If you’re reading this sometime in the future (welcome, future humans), please refer to the linked OUAC page above for specific, pertinent dates.
How do I select a university program?
When applying to university, you need to think about what schools you’re applying to. The Ontario Universities Info site is a great place to start! This website has all sorts of handy tools for prospective students and will help you narrow down your search on what courses are available and at what school.
You’ll find that most universities will offer basic Math, Science, Business and Arts programs. However, there are also specialized courses out there. Perhaps you want to study agriculture and food science? Maybe you want to pursue nursing or medicine?
The first place to look is this comprehensive categorized list of available programs and where they are available. Once you’ve done that search, you can dig deeper into the universities that offer the program you’re looking for and prepare for the online application process.
You may already have an idea of what schools you may want to apply to. If you do, you can do a deeper dive on the University’s page. This resource will dig into each Ontario university, where they offer a campus and what courses are offered at that campus. Remember, some of the larger universities often have more than one campus, and each of those campuses may offer different courses. Once you have selected your subjects of interest, the next step is to fill out your OUAC applications before the deadline.
Can I apply to multiple universities and programs?
The short answer to this question is YES! Of course, you can apply to more than one university or program through OUAC.
When you are applying through OUAC, think about the schools that make sense for what you want to study. Also, you may want to apply to multiple schools to expand your options in case you don’t get into the school or specific program of your choice. Either way, it is completely ok to apply to more than one school.
You can also use OUAC in Canada to apply to more than one program at a university or multiple programs at multiple universities. Still, there are some things to consider when doing this. For example, some universities may not allow you to apply for variations of the same program.
For example, the University of Waterloo does allow you to apply to multiple programs at Waterloo except for engineering. You may only apply to one Waterloo Engineering program on your application. This is due to high competition. We recommend you do some research on your university of choice and what restrictions they may have for specialized programs before filling out an online OUAC application.
Another thing of note is that a university may allow you to only apply to one focus area within a program (like engineering). However, you can still apply to other programs within the same university. At Waterloo, for example, you can apply to an engineering program, but also a math or science program. There are several reasons for this, including competition of the program or availability, so be sure you know what focus of study you want to apply to. Also, be sure to do your research on your university of choice and the programs they offer.
How to apply through OUAC?
Good news: In recent years, OUAC has streamlined their application process, making it markedly easier for Ontario students to create, send and track their various applications. You can easily fit this into your busy schedule while taking grade 12 courses.
The organization recommends you start by researching the application process and individual university programs. It’s important to have a firm grasp on applicant responsibilities, key dates, high school graduation requirements, unique institutional requirements, etc., before you dive headfirst into the process. Please visit the OUAC’s Undergraduate Application Guide for specific steps and links.
After researching universities and administrative requirements (like your OEN), it’s time to create your account. In many ways, the process resembles any online account creation:
- Visit the “Create my OUAC Account” page.
- Answer a few basic ID questions like name and date of birth, and add your email address, and triple-check that the information is accurate.
- You’ll receive a verification email that lets you complete the application (If you don’t get the email, visit the “contact information” section of your application to find a “resend” option.)
- You’re almost there! Choose a personal username that’s easy to remember. Your first and last name should suffice here, perhaps with a number thrown in to ensure its uniqueness.
- Create a password including an upper-case character, symbol and number. If you’ve chosen a random password, keep it in a safe place like a trustworthy password manager for quick recall.
- Read and accept the terms and conditions, and you’re off to the races!
From here, you can create and send individual applications to Ontario universities. It’s not a complicated process, per se, but it is complex. There are a few hoops to leap through – form fields, questions, transcript attachments, supporting documentation, etc. For an in-depth visual breakdown of the process, visit the OUAC’s handy YouTube video on how to complete an undergrad application.
For a student’s perspective on the process, visit our blog post on OUAC application lessons – an article written by an OES student about their journey applying through the OUAC.
How to accept a university offer through OUAC?
Regularly check into the OUAC “Hub” to track the status of your application. In the meantime, now’s the perfect opportunity to tour those campuses (virtually or in-person) and learn more about the programs.
On the Hub, you can view the details of the “Offer” or “Alternate Offer” you want to accept. If you like the look of it, simply hit “Accept.”
Ontario College Applications
What is OCAS?
OCAS — Ontario College Application Services — is a college-branded online application experience, helping students identify available post-secondary schools, courses, and resources. Through OCAS, applicants can research colleges, housing options, request transcripts, and apply to the schools of their choice.
How to apply through OCAS?
Applying to OCAS is a streamlined process for Canadian and international students. Through their website, applicants can create an account, view the application processing fees, and select their desired schools.
When is the OCAS deadline?
When you apply through OCAS, applications open in early October, and access to the online college application becomes available for programs beginning in the following academic year (August to July). Come October, you can create an account and begin your application on this page. Specific college courses begin outside of the traditional academic year, and students are encouraged to confirm their application deadlines on the individual school’s website.
Colleges offer an Equal Consideration Date. If you apply on or before February 1, 2021, you will receive equal consideration for admission to programs starting the following fall. After this date, colleges consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until programs are full.
Where should I apply and to what program?
When applying to college, you should consider what program you are applying to. The Ontario Colleges site is a great resource to understand what programs exist. This website includes the tools that will help you research what programs are available at each college.
Colleges offer many programs that are heavily focused on developing the skills you need for a career. Colleges are focused more heavily on technology and workforce development; therefore, they innovate and are often ahead of what is needed for specific jobs.
The first place to look is this list of college programs and where they are offered. Once you’ve done that search, you can dig deeper into the universities that offer the program you’re looking for. You may already have an idea of what schools you may want to apply to through OCAS and can do a deeper dive at this site as well.
How do I apply to college?
If you’re planning to apply to college, you’ll need to apply through Ontario College Application Service (OCAS). Students from Canada will be able to apply through OCAS by creating an account and accessing their OCAS application number. The first step in applying to college is to research the programs and colleges available to you and once you’ve determined what you want to apply to. There is a helpful guide and video on how to apply on the OCAS site.
If you’re an international student, you can apply to any college program with spots available for international applicants, as long as you meet the college’s admission and English proficiency requirements. You can find out which programs have seats available for international applicants by visiting college websites. If you are an international student, there are other things to consider, such as immigration requirements and English language proficiency, that you will need to consider as well. More information can be found on the International Applications section of the OCAS website.
What about prerequisite courses?
Before you apply to college or university, it is imperative to research what the programs of study require as prerequisites. There may be a prerequisite you did not think of, or maybe the program is very competitive, and you need to have a high grade point average. These are all important things you need to look at.
Suppose you already have a prerequisite but need to upgrade your mark to bring up your average or help your chances of getting in. In that case, Ontario eSecondary School has many upgrade courses available that are at an accelerated pace and can help you boost your grades. You can check out our upgrade courses on our website. This is a great option if you already hold credit and need to upgrade or if you’re a mature student who has this credit from a past time in high school and simply needs a refresher and a grade boost.
Another argument for boosting your grades is for an entrance scholarship! Many universities will offer a scholarship that will reduce a portion of your tuition in your first year of study. This is awarded to students with a high grade point average from their high school credits before starting university. Be sure to check out what the entrance scholarship criteria are for your schools of choice.
Other things to know about OCAS?
OCAS is a full-service application centre for students to explore their options, review financial requirements, and ultimately apply to the colleges of their choice. Through their website, applicants can access guidance counsellors, upcoming college events, view offers of admission, and more.
How Can OES Help?
Learning through Ontario eSecondary School can help you with credits you may not have at your physical school or homeschooling experience. If you’re an international student looking to get into a post-secondary school in Ontario, we offer Ontario Ministry of Education accredited credits. To get into university or college, you will need to meet certain prerequisite credits, and OES offers many specialties in science, math and business to English, geography and health.
OES is a purpose-built online high school. Our instructors are experienced in teaching students online, and our courses are structured in a clear and concise manner to make it easier for you to guide your learning. As an accredited Ontario online high school, we structure our courses per the Ontario Ministry of Education standards. Our lessons are broken into very intentional and digestible content that ensures our courses are consistent for all students. We create a positive and streamlined experience so you can earn Ontario high school credits online.
If you’re currently attending high school in Ontario, or if you’re looking for an adult high school in order to upgrade your marks as an international student, OES has a wide range of online classes for high school students available. The amazing teachers at OES are ready to support you and help you meet your goals all over the world.
The Ontario eSecondary School has been inspected and accredited by the Ontario Ministry of Education, which means that all of our courses are recognized and can be used toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and recognized as part of your OUAC application. This makes OES a great partner for upgrading Ontario high school credits online and is also perfect for adult students or international students looking to earn credits for post-secondary.
Learn more about our courses at oeshighschool.com