Want to know how to get accepted to Canadian universities? You’re not the only one. Canada is home to some of the world’s best tertiary education institutions, and many of them are very competitive, depending on the program you’re applying to. In this post, we’ll go through everything you need to know about the application process, and provincial application systems like the (OUAC). We’ll also share with you some tips and strategies to help you create an application that will stand out. So, keep reading if you want to know how to get accepted to a Canadian university.
Some of the most well-regarded schools in the world are in Canada, and many of them have very competitive acceptance rates. The level of difficulty for admission and eligibility requirements vary from one school to another and from one program to another. For example, the average acceptance rate for undergraduate studies at the University of Waterloo is 53%. In comparison, the University of Calgary has one of the lowest acceptance rates in the country, averaging 20%. Furthermore, if we look at the University of Calgary a bit more, we find that the acceptance rate to the business school is 56%. While the acceptance rate of the science faculty is 15% and the engineering faculty is 20%.
Step 1: Pick the right universities for you
The first thing you want to do is select the universities you'll be applying to. This process is not as straightforward as it sounds. It's important to pick an institution that is right for you academically, socially, and financially. So, you need to consider several things while looking at different universities. First, if you know what you want to study, you need to consider the school's programs. Different institutions can offer degrees in a similar discipline but focus on different aspects of it. We recommend taking your time to research the faculty and the program of the schools that you are considering. You can even reach out to the school or speak with alumni if you cannot find the information you need. The key is to make sure that you're selecting a school that will actually teach you what you want to learn.
Secondly, since Canada is a bilingual country- with English and French universities, you have the option of studying in whichever language you are proficient in. Most of the French universities are found in Quebec and New Brunswick. Manitoba also has a large French-speaking population, making the université de Saint-Boniface an increasingly popular destination for French speakers across the country.
The university's province also plays a significant role in students' decisions. The province you chose affects the language you will be studying in, and also the application process, cost of living, quality of life, health insurance, and many other things that could sway your decision. So, as you look at different schools, you can compare the universities and the cities they're located in. For example, suppose you are not a big fan of the cold, and you're comparing the university of Calgary to the university of Victoria. In that case, it would be worth noting that Alberta's average temperature during the winter is -15°C (5°F), while it is only five degrees (41°F) in British Columbia.
Need a visual summary of the key points covered in this blog? This infographic is for you:
Step 2: Go beyond the admissions requirements
For Canadian universities, the admission criteria, competition level, and application process can vary significantly depending on the school, the program, and the province. The minimum requirements across the board are successful completion of high school and proficiency in the language you will be studying in. The specific details about the admission criteria will be laid out on the school's website. So you will need to visit it for the most up-to-date information. Be sure to read all the information provided carefully. Often, you will see the minimum grade average required for admission on the main page, but as you look at the different faculties and programs, you will see that they might have their own cut-offs. For example, Dalhousie University has a general minimum requirement of 70% for undergraduate studies, but its nursing faculty has a minimum requirement of 75%.
It's important to remember that as admission to Canadian universities becomes more competitive, finishing high school and meeting the minimum cut-off is simply not enough. Meeting the minimum requirement does not guarantee admission, so you should aim to have a higher grade average than the minimum required, but if that's not the case, don't worry. It is possible to , but do so, you will have to ensure that your extracurriculars and other application components make you a more attractive candidate for the school.
This also applies for international students who have to take or for the English language proficiency tests and or for French language proficiency tests. We suggest taking these required tests early on and preparing your results for submission after confirming which test your chosen school accepts. Most schools will list a required score for tests like IELTS, but others may not. Either way, you want to get the highest score possible, so give yourself the time to study for the test or retake it if need be.
Step 3: Prepare and submit your application
Once you’ve figured out which universities you want to apply to and made sure that you not only meet but exceed the minimum requirements, it’s time to apply to those schools. It is crucial that you apply on time and follow the correct process. Your chosen school’s website will tell you exactly what documents you will need to submit with your application. You should be prepared to provide some or all of the following documents:
- High school transcripts and/or diploma
- Language Proficiency test scores
- Application form
- Academic CV ( such as a , , or )
If you are applying to a school in Ontario, Alberta, or British Columbia, you may be instructed to use the provincial centralized application system.
Research: You need to give yourself enough time to find out as much information as possible about the schools and programs you're applying to. You should spend time on the school's website, and if it's possible for you to visit, you should definitely take a tour. The school's mission statement and descriptions of different programs and university campuses will give you a good idea of their philosophy and what they look for in a candidate. You should pay attention to keywords that seem to come up on different web pages on the school's website.
Additionally, school websites will typically have a lot of information about the different application components they require and the kind of weight they carry. For example, most Canadian universities do not ask undergraduate applicants to submit a letter of recommendation. So, if the one you are interested in happens to be one of the few who request one, it would be best to be prepared.
Having this information ahead of time will give you a chance to do what you can to prepare a stronger application. Suppose that you've been working to keep up the perfect GPA, registering for the , and taking all the right , then you find out that the school you are interested in requires a personal statement. You don't want to start scrambling to figure out at the last minute.
Not sure what makes a good admissions essay? Watch this video for some helpful tips:
Stay organized: Most students apply to more than one university. We think that this is a great idea. The issue is that Canadian universities can be so different from one another when it comes to the application and admissions process. It's very easy to get deadlines or application components mixed up. We recommend having a spreadsheet to keep all of this information neatly organized and putting reminders on your calendar for the different deadlines. This will help you keep track of the various documents that you have to prepare and submit, and it will also increase the chances of you submitting them to the right place on time.
Include those optional components: In order to secure admission to a Canadian university, you have to make sure that your application stands out. One way to do that is to include all the optional components that the school mentions. Often, universities will stipulate some of the application components are optional but recommend that students complete them. Or they might mention that their admissions board looks positively on students who include their extracurriculars, work, and volunteer experience. You should follow these types of instructions and include those optional documents. Not only do they give you a chance to tell the university admissions board more about you, but it also makes you a more attractive candidate.
Start planning as early as possible: The truth is that in this admissions climate, your journey to university needs to begin way before you start your college applications. This is especially true if you are interested in graduate school or a specialized program like medical school or law schools in Canada. You need to research the profession you are interested in and make sure you are on the right path to getting admitted to the right school. That means making sure that you take the right courses, get involved in the right extracurriculars, and get the right jobs that will make your stand out. You can enlist the help of to aid you in this process.
Get some help from the experts: You'll probably agree that this process sounds very complex and maybe even a little overwhelming. The truth is that it can be if you don't have the right information and the right tools. That's why we recommend investing in a , as they can help you maximize your chances of getting admission. They can also help you with the planning stage mentioned earlier. For example, if you hope to become a doctor, you will need to know the . Additionally, they can guide you through the different application systems and processes, as well as provide strategies to help you create the strongest application possible.
Want to know more about how Canadian university admissions consultants can help you? Check out this infographic:
The key to getting accepted to Canadian universities is information. Because the application process and requirements vary so much from one province to another and again from one school or program to another, there is a lot of information to keep track of. That said, if you give yourself enough time to research and get organized, you can create an outstanding application that will get you that acceptance letter. You also have the option of working with to maximize your chances of acceptance, save time and learn valuable transferable skills.
1. Are Canadian universities hard to get into?
Generally speaking, Canadian universities can be very competitive, but the difficulty of getting in will depend on the school and your chosen program. Some schools are more competitive than others, and some faculties are harder to get into as well.
2. What GPA do I need to get into a Canadian university?
In Canada, universities and colleges have their own GPA thresholds or average grade requirements, so the cut-off for admission will depend on the program you are interested in. You should check the school’s website for the most up-to-date information. Keep in mind that meeting the minimum requirement will not guarantee your admission.
3. When should I start preparing my application to Canadian universities?
You should start preparing as early as you can. We suggest that you get the ball rolling at the beginning of your senior year of high school.
4. What is OUAC?
OUAC is the Ontario Universities Application Centre. It is the centralized system through which students apply to post-secondary institutions in the province of Ontario.
5. What is ApplyAlberta?
ApplyAlberta is a centralized resource that allows students to apply to multiple post-secondary institutions in Alberta at once.
6. What is EducationPlannerBC?
EducationPlannerBC is a centralized system that helps prospective students research and apply for admission to post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.
7. Is Canada a good choice for international students?
Canada has become a popular destination for international students, and that's for a good reason. It is home to some of the best universities in the world, a very diverse population, and high quality of life. Many universities also accept international students.
8. How can I improve my chances of getting accepted into a Canadian university?
You can increase your chances of admission by planning early, researching the schools, investing in college admissions consulting, and including the optional application components in your submission.