Go to college or university in Ontario

man in libraryThe low-down about learning at Ontario’s 20 public universities, 24 colleges or 400+ registered private career colleges.

Admissions standards

In most cases, you need a high school diploma to go to college or university in Ontario. 

19 or older, without a diploma: you can still apply to most, if not all, schools. 

All schools set their own admission requirements.  These differ for international students.

Colleges offer certificate programs, diplomas, apprenticeships and degrees.  Universities offer under-graduate and graduate degrees and other professional programs.  All programs vary in length and prerequisites — the pre-work or qualifications you need to be eligible for a program.

Check a school’s website or contact them directly for specific information about admissions.

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Online learning

You might choose to learn online – an alternative to attending on-campus classes on a regular basis. Ontario offers a broad range of college and university courses on the web:

  • 18,000 courses
  • 1,000+ online and distance education programs

To find out more and register, you will need to contact a school directly.

Online resources for online learning

OntarioLearn: a group of 24 community colleges that have partnered to provide more online learning options.  

Contact North: an education training network of 112 centres that works to connect Ontario residents with distance and online learning opportunities.

How to apply

The process depends on where you want to go to school and your personal situation. If you live in Ontario, anywhere else in Canada or abroad, you apply through 1 of 2 places:

Colleges: www.ontariocolleges.ca

Universities: www.ouac.on.ca (the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre)

You will need to apply directly through a school if you are:

  • planning to study part time
  • a mature student  (generally of a certain age and away from formal education for some time)
  • an international student
  • applying for graduate studies (e.g., a Masters or Doctoral degree)
  • planning to attend a private career college

Loans, grants, scholarships

Canada Student Loans, Grants and Scholarships are open to all Canadians.

Canadian citizen and Ontario resident for at least 12 months: you could be eligible for OSAP (the Ontario Student Assistance Program) and other financial aid programs.

Canadian students living outside of Ontario: you can apply for financial aid through your home province or territory.

International students: you can apply for scholarships offered through the federal government, community agencies and colleges and universities directly.

Transfer credits

You could be eligible to get credit for courses that you've already taken at another school. Credentials are usually assessed course-by-course, school-by-school.  Requirements can vary depending on the school.

More on credit transfer: ONTransfer.ca

Updated: July 25, 2014