Wondering how to get into university in Ontario? We've got you! Canada is home to some of the best universities globally, and many of them are located in Ontario. Institutions like McMaster university or the University of Toronto are world-renowned, and with that kind of reputation comes a lot of competition. Every year, thousands of prospective students, local and international, prepare their applications and submit them through the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) in hopes of getting accepted to Canadian universities in the province. In other words, if you want to get into a university in Ontario, you need to submit a stellar application that stands out. In this blog, we will go through some Dos and Don’ts that will help you craft the best application possible.

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Article Contents
8 min read

How competitive is admission to Ontario universities? DO research thoroughly DO NOT procrastinate DO get a job DO NOT underestimate the supplemental application DO reflect on your journey DO invest in professional help Conclusion FAQs

How competitive is admission to Ontario universities? 

We won't sugar-coat it for you; Ontario universities can have highly competitive acceptance rates. That said, the competition level depends on the institution and the program you're interested in. For example, the University of Waterloo has an overall acceptance rate of 53%, while Queen's University has one of 43%. 

University of Waterloo acceptance rate:

Queen's University acceptance rate:

Additionally, each university sets its own admission standards. These vary depending on the degree and program you're interested in, as well as your personal situation (e.g., Non-traditional applicants or mature students may have different admissions requirements compared to a recent high school graduate). Even though the standards differ between different schools, most universities in Ontario seem to have high standards in common. It is infrequent to find a university that does not have an overall minimum grade cut-off of 70% or higher. 

Keep in mind that meeting the minimum requirement does not guarantee admission to a program. That's why we've put together a list of Dos and Don’ts that will help you take your application to the next level and increase your chances of getting into a university in Ontario. 

Want to see a summary of the points covered below? Take a look at this infographic:

Do research thoroughly 

Remember what we mentioned at the beginning of this article: Different universities and programs have their own admissions requirements and additional application components. Some even include interviews in their application process. It is important to give yourself the time to research and find out what the requirements are for the different schools you are interested in so that you can prepare. You might want to consider the following factors: 

You can find a lot of this information on the schools' websites, but we also recommend checking their social media, taking virtual tours, or going for campus visits if possible. Many student unions are also open to putting prospective students in touch with current students or alumni, so find out if this is a possibility for the institution you're researching and take advantage of the opportunity. 

DO NOT procrastinate

It is best to start planning for university earlier rather than later. Starting early not only gives you enough time to research all the things that we've just outlined above and more, but it also gives you time to address and correct any issues. For instance, let's say that you are on a journey from high school to medical school, and you've decided to start with an undergraduate honors degree in science. After thorough research and careful consideration, you decide that one of the schools you will be applying to is the University of Waterloo. Your research will probably lead you to find out that in addition to the 80% grade average, you need to have at least 70% in your Calculus class. Knowing this early enough in your senior year will allow you to take the necessary steps to work towards and maintain that 70% grade. 

Furthermore, if you're an international student, you need to account for the time it will take to take care of your study permit and student visa applications. If you're familiar with the process of applying to a university in Canada for international students, then you know that you need a letter of acceptance from your future university to apply for those immigration documents. So you need to apply early to ensure that you have enough time to take care of the immigration process. 

DO get a job

We recommend getting a part-time job, a summer job, or doing some volunteer work. There is a common misconception that Canadian universities do not care about anything beyond your grades, and you should not fall for it. Universities in Ontario indeed place a lot of value on good grades. Understandably so, because not only do they tell the admissions board that you've understood what you were taught, but they also show that you were able to manage your time well and make your studies a priority.

That said, universities in Ontario also receive thousands of applications every year, and many of those students have excellent grades. The issue is that these institutions have limited space, so they have to pick the candidates that stand out and are likely to contribute to the university campus in multiple ways. Having a strong OUAC Activities and employment section is one of the things that you can do to stand out.

DO NOT underestimate the supplemental application

When you’re applying to a university in Ontario, you first have to complete your OUAC application and submit it to the university. After reviewing it, universities will send you an email about what you need to do next, such as providing any additional documents they need to review your application. These additional components are commonly referred to as the supplemental application. 

A common mistake that students make is assuming that this request for information means that they are in the clear and that their admission is practically guaranteed. Please understand that this is not the case. The term “supplemental” does not mean optional or less important. This step is just as crucial as the initial application you submitted, and it is even more important for some schools. 

The supplemental application is designed to assess your fit for the program you applied to. There are different requirements for different programs, but you could be asked for English language test scores, supplemental college essays, a college admissions interview, a portfolio of creative work, a college recommendation letter, or to complete online assessments. 

Need some help with your college essays? Check out three amazing tips:

You should take the time to carefully review the instructions you’re given and prepare strong components. One way to do this is to prepare before you even get the request. For example, if you’re not sure how to write a college essay, you might want to invest in the services of a college essay advisor. Or, if you’re an international applicant and you’re not sure what to expect from interviews, you can start reviewing international students’ interview questions and preparing your answers. 

DO reflect on your journey

You should not rely solely on your academic transcripts and OUAC application to do the talking. As we mentioned earlier, some universities will ask for additional components such as college essays, and others may conduct interviews. In order to get into a competitive program, your application can't just look good on paper. You need to be able to articulate what you've learned along the way and how that will play into your future.

Let's do this: put yourself in the university admissions officer's shoes. You have one spot available for admission and two students; let's call them A and B. Both of them have an average grade of 85%. They have participated in the same number of extracurricular activities, have attended top summer programs for high school students, and both currently have part-time jobs. To help you decide who the better candidate is, you have included a request for college essays in the supplemental application so that you can find out more about both students. Student A sends in a well-written essay that details the work that they've done over the years, both in and out of school. While Student B sends in an essay in which they talk about some of their past experiences in and out of the classroom, what they learned from those experiences, and how they shaped them. Which student are you more likely to grant admission to?

It is more likely that student B would be accepted to the university in Ontario because they gave the admissions board additional information. Reflecting on past experiences and communicating effectively with the school will help them understand that you are ready to be a university student and that you have the skills to succeed in your chosen program. 

DO invest in professional help

Preparing for and applying to universities in Ontario is not a straightforward process. It can be a long, complicated and expensive journey that is not only hard to navigate if you do not have proper guidance, but that you may need to go through again if things don't go right the first time. The good news is that academic advisors in Ontario are professionals who are trained to help you through this, and they are well worth the fee.

Want a quick summary of how academic advisors or university admissions consultants can help you? Check out this infographic:

Academic advisors can help you through the process of planning and choosing the right university. There are so many great universities and programs in Ontario that it can be hard to narrow it down and choose the best fit for you. Academic advisors can look past the size, popularity, and other general characteristics of the school. Instead, they can provide valuable information about universities in Ontario that will help you find the perfect match academically and socially.

Applying to universities in Ontario requires strong writing skills, attention to detail, critical thinking skills, and organization. Most students apply to multiple schools simultaneously, and it can be challenging to juggle multiple applications. An advisor knows precisely when to submit which components of your application, so they can help you develop a timeline and keep you accountable to ensure that you do not miss any deadlines.

They also help you prepare the different application components. Furthermore, working with an advisor means that you can sleep better at night knowing that the application components you submit are of good quality. While a good advisor will not write your essays for you, for example, they can help you brainstorm and give you personalized feedback and tips and strategies that will result in a more impactful letter. Remember that these experts have helped hundreds and thousands of students get accepted to their dream programs, so they know what makes a good quality application.


So, you've decided to attend a university in Ontario, and you're wondering how to get in? We can understand! This province is known for the quality of its post-secondary institutions and even though their acceptance rates can be pretty competitive, getting in is possible. You just need to give yourself enough time to research the schools and their admission requirements, prepare as early as possible, and make sure that your application has more to it than good grades. We also recommend working with college advisors in the province of Ontario to help you navigate this challenging process and work with you to improve your chances of getting that acceptance letter. 


1. How hard is it to get into university in Ontario?

Ontario is home to some of the best universities in Canada and the world. Thus, it also has some of the highest competition among applicants. The admission rates vary by school and program.

2. What is OUAC?

The Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) is a centralized application system run by non-profit organizations. It processes online applications for admission to universities in Ontario.

3. Do universities in Ontario accept international students?

Yes. There are many universities in Ontario that accept international students. You will need to check the school's website to ensure that they do and find out what their admissions requirements are.

4. Are supplemental application components important?

Supplemental applications are not optional or unimportant. They give applicants a chance to tell universities why they are a strong candidate, and they allow universities to pick the candidates that are better suited for their program. It's therefore crucial that you prepare every supplemental application component as carefully as you did your initial application documents and submit them on time.  

5. Are academic advisors in Ontario worth the money?

In short, yes! Academic advisors can help you plan for university, prepare and strengthen your university application, find and apply to scholarships that you're eligible for, and in doing so, save you time and money.

6. What grades or GPA do I need to get into university in Ontario?

In Ontario, each university can set its own admissions requirements, including the minimum grades required to get in. You should check the university's website for the most up-to-date information. Keep in mind that meeting the minimum requirement is not enough to guarantee admission to a competitive program.

7. How can I strengthen my application to Ontario universities?

We recommend that you start early, research the schools you want to apply to, fill your application with all the details that contribute to your candidacy and work with an academic advisor or ask them to review your application before submitting.

8. Do academic advisors in Ontario work with international students?

Yes, some of them do. We here at BeMo definitely do. You can schedule a free consultation with our international student advisors to find out exactly how we can help you.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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I am in ontario now. I would like to discuss regarding the admission of my wife who has a long gap of study.. he ielts is band 7 and she has all the necessary documents in hand


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Sayeed, thanks for your message. Please reach out to us for a free strategy call so we can discuss how to help you wife https://bemoacademicconsulting.com/contact-schedule-free-strategy-call