The universities of Ontario, Canada are known for their educational excellence, scientific research and stellar reputations. Ontario is home to the best universities in Canada, and indeed some of the best universities in the world. Every year, students from all over the world consider studying at one of the province’s 22 universities, one of the top medical schools in Ontario or other graduate programs. Whatever program or university you’re hoping to apply to, it’s a good idea to know what your options are. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the top universities in Ontario, their admission statistics and eligibility factors as well as a brief look at the Ontario Universities Application Center and how you can improve your application.

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7 min read

What universities there are in Ontario Universities of Ontario admission statistics Eligibility and selection factors of Ontario universities Ontario universities application system How to improve your application to Ontario universities Conclusion FAQs

What universities there are in Ontario

Ontario, Canada is home of to some of the country’s best and most prestigious universities, and some of the best universities in the world. Ontario has 24 colleges and 22 universities, with a huge variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, offered in Canada’s two official languages: French and English.

Some of Ontario’s most well-known universities include Canada’s top school the University of Toronto, as well as McMaster University and the University of Ottawa. Ontario has both English-speaking and French-speaking universities, so you can study in either official language.

The Top 10 universities in Ontario are:

  1. University of Toronto
  2. University of Waterloo
  3. McMaster University
  4. Western University
  5. University of Ottawa
  6. York University
  7. Queen’s University
  8. Carleton University
  9. University of Guelph
  10. Ryerson University

To see more, check out some of the many excellent universities in Toronto, universities in Ottawa, and the universities in London, Ontario.

Along with having some excellent undergraduate programs, the province has some top-tier graduate schools and programs to offer. Ontario is home to the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and the University of Toronto med school, offering the best medical programs in Canada.

The province also boasts some of the best dental schools in Canada, and the University of Guelph also features at the top of vet school rankings in North America.

Many of Ontario’s top universities also have renowned law schools, such as the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University. Some notable MBA programs in Ontario include the Queen’s University Smith School of Business, McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business, the Rotman School of Management, the Telfer School of Business and many others.

Ontario is an excellent choice whether you are an undergraduate or a graduate student, and its schools are world-renowned for having excellent academic programs and superb education. Many of its best schools are also located in the most vibrant metropolitan cities in Canada, as well, so Ontario continues to be a top choice for international students who want to study abroad. Studying in Canada is also relatively cheaper than studying abroad in the US or the UK, so students can expect to pay less for their degree.

The universities we’ve mentioned above are all friendly to international students, mature students and otherwise non-traditional applicants, although getting a letter of acceptance is not always easy. Many of Ontario’s universities have selective admissions committees and lower acceptance rates on average.

Universities of Ontario admission statistics

Although Canadian universities in general have higher acceptance rates than those in the US, the most prestigious schools in Ontario are not effortless to get into. Average acceptance rates percentages for Ontario universities ranges from the low 40s to the high 80s. The University of Toronto and Queen’s University have acceptance rates of 43%, for example, whereas Lakehead University in Thunder Bay has an acceptance rate of 83%. At most universities in Ontario, the minimum acceptable grade for applying students is 70% or higher, which means students should aim for a GPA of 3.0 or above if they want to successfully apply to schools in Ontario.

If you’re thinking of applying to school in Ontario, it may be worth it to hire a college admissions consulting service. These kinds of services can be very useful in navigating the lengthy and sometimes complex admissions process, and they can provide advice and feedback on strengthening your application. If you want your best chance at being admitted to a highly competitive school or program, running your application past an expert’s eyes can make all the difference.

On the other side, the universities of Ontario offer a superb education and hundreds of different programs for any student’s interest. The University of Toronto along has over 700 undergraduate programs to choose from. It should be noted that although these universities have generally higher acceptance rates, their curricula and courses tend to be more rigorous. It’s a great idea to get an academic advisor in Ontario to be your guide as you begin your studies and help keep you on track to graduate. An academic advisor will be more familiar with the Ontario university system and be able to give you some insight and study help, too. 

Minimum grade percentage required by Ontario universities

Eligibility and selection factors of Ontario universities

As we’ve said, universities in Ontario can have very competitive admissions. If you want to know how to get into university in Ontario, it’s important to know the eligibility criteria of the admissions boards you hope to impress, whether you’re a domestic, international or non-traditional applicant.

Ontario high school students must submit their transcripts from their final year of high school. Universities will typically look at final grades from Grade 11, first-term grades from Grade 12 and mid-term grades for the second-term of Grade 12. It can vary by program requirements, but schools will assess the total average grade of the top six courses, or 12U courses. Your top six courses may include required or elective courses. Course requirements will vary by university and even by program, with some requiring only one or two courses for admittance and some requiring all six core courses.

For international students wanting to know how to apply for university in Canada, your criteria will be slightly different, depending on your home country. Under the OUAC undergraduate 105 application type will be listed the required documents and information. You’ll also need to provide a language proficiency test, usually a TOEFL or IELTS test result.

If you’re asking how to apply to university in Ontario as a mature student, you’ll also be using the undergraduate 105 application type. Eligibility for mature students in Ontario varies by each university, so check to make sure you fit the requirements before submitting your application through OUAC.

Selection factors for universities in Ontario will vary by school, but for the most part it’s better to have a well-rounded application. Some schools, like the University of Toronto, put emphasis on academic excellence and high grades. Other schools, like the University of Waterloo, want to see well-written and thoughtful college essays. Wherever you plan to apply, it doesn’t hurt to polish every part of your application. Admission committees will consider your whole application, and make decisions based on whether you’re a good fit for the program, not just how high your scores and grades are.

Ontario universities application system

The OUAC system is a must for anyone applying to universities in Ontario. It is your starting point for your application, and it also means you only have to craft one application to send to all your school choices, minus any supplemental materials that are school-specific. There are several different application types through OUAC, depending on your situation:

Each application type will have a similar structure but may feature additional components, particularly for the graduate programs. For OLSAS application tips or to figure out how to make your OMSAS autobiographic sketch stand out a graduate school advisor can help you out.

For the undergraduate applications, you’ll first need to create a profile with OUAC and then dive into the application process. The undergraduate application will typically include:

The OUAC application is similar to the Common App in content and will cover many of the same components. In essence, the OUAC application contains your academic background, your work experience, extracurricular interests in the OUAC activities or employment section, personal writing samples and any other supplementary documents you choose to submit, such as college recommendation letters.

All of these pieces of your application are important and can help your application to stand out in a competitive crowd. Universities in Ontario are looking to admit the best of the best, so take every opportunity to show their admissions committees why you fit that category.

Want to know more about writing a college essay or personal statement? Watch this video.

How to improve your application to Ontario universities

Ontario’s universities are almost all found at the top of the Canadian universities’ rankings, and they are looking for the best of the best from their applicant pools. To impress these highly selective schools, you’ll need not just top grades but a strong and well-balanced application overall. While you can still get into college with a low GPA, it’s best to shoot as high as you can in your academic performance. Even if your grades are lower than you like, it might not be too late to bump them up, or you can focus on making the other parts of your application spectacular to offset lower grades.

Some other things you can do to spruce up your application are:


Deciding to apply to any of the universities of Ontario can be a smart and life-changing choice. Getting the coveted acceptance letter from any of Ontario’s 22 universities may be a challenge at some of its more selective programs, but it can be done. The most important thing is to be prepared, start putting your application together early, and do your research on your chosen school. The OUAC system may take some of the mystery out of applying for you, but it’s a must to know the ins and outs of your chosen program and craft an application that meets and exceeds the admission requirements. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, express yourself, work hard and aim high. And think about getting some professional help in your college journey as you prepare for the next big challenge—you don’t need to go it alone!


1. What are the best universities in Ontario?

Ontario is home to some of Canada’s best universities, including the University of Toronto, McMaster University, Queen’s University and the University of Waterloo.

2. What is the hardest school to get into in Ontario?

The University of Toronto is widely regarded as the hardest school to get into in Ontario. With an acceptance rate of 43% and an average accepted GPA of 3.6, it is a very selective and competitive school.

3. What is the easiest school to get into in Ontario?

The easiest school to get into in Ontario is Lakehead University, located in Thunder Bay. It has a high acceptance rate of 83% and a lower average accepted GPA than other schools in the province.

4. Is Ontario a good choice for an international student?

Yes; Ontario continues to be a top choice for international students. Its universities offer a top-tier education for relatively lower tuition and its best schools are located in vibrant urban areas of Canada.

5. Is it expensive to study in Ontario, Canada?

It is generally cheaper to study in Canada versus other countries like the UK or the US, but Canada is not the least expensive country to study abroad in.

6. Does Ontario have good universities?

Yes; some of the best universities in Canada are located in Ontario, and many of them are world-renowned for their excellence in education.

7. Does Ontario have good medical schools?

Yes; some of the best medical schools in Canada are located in Ontario, including the University of Toronto School of Medicine and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

8. Is Ontario a good choice for mature students?

Yes; Ontario is very friendly to mature students and its universities accept mature applicants. Mature students can also benefit from student services and resources that are government-funded.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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