In this article, we go over the acceptance rates for the top 50 universities in Canada, offering you a clearer picture of your chances for admission. We illuminate the step-by-step application process, detailing everything from choosing your desired program to submitting your application form, including any college essays you may need to submit to college interview you may need to attend. Whether you are applying to universities in Ontario or looking a perfect program in one of the universities in British Columbia, we will let you know exactly what you need to do to beat the odds. 

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Article Contents
9 min read

Acceptance Rates for Top 50 Universities in Canada How to Prepare for Applications to Top Universities in Canada What You Need to Apply 5 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Acceptance to Universities in Canada FAQs

Acceptance Rates for Top 50 Universities in Canada

How to Prepare for Applications to Top Universities in Canada

Applying to a Canadian university can be an exhilarating journey towards your academic future. Understanding the steps involved in the application process can make your journey smoother and more manageable.

Tip: if you’re looking for extra help with choosing and identifying which of these universities is the right fit for you, consider reaching out to a college admissions consulting expert. For example, an academic advisor in Ontario will have in-depth insight into the kind of programs will be the right fit for you if you’re looking to attend university in Ontario. If you’re an international student looking for a school, reach out to an international student advisor. These experts will be able to identify which of the top universities in Canada are the perfect fit for you.

Here's a helpful step-by-step process to get you started:

Step 1: Research the Schools

Begin your application process by visiting the official websites of the universities you would like to attend. Here, you can explore various courses, check out the curriculum, and understand the specific eligibility requirements for each program. This will give you a clearer picture of what you can expect from the program and whether it aligns with your academic goals. This research should ideally be started at least 2 years or 1.5 years prior to your application. By the beginning of your junior year, you should have a clear understanding of your chosen path and what you need to get into the schools you like.

Step 2: Research the Requirements

Once you've chosen your preferred universities and courses, delve into the specific requirements of these programs. This can range from the necessary GPA, prerequisite courses, or even particular work or extracurriculars for college. Make sure you know the minimum GPA required and any specific courses you should have completed prior to application.

If you do not have the requirements covered, this is the time to address any gaps. For example, if you are planning to apply to Engineering at McMaster, do you have all the required courses completed? If not, plan out your junior and senior year in a way that you can complete the required coursework. Do you have the required GPA? If not, plan out your study schedule, hire a tutor, plan out your coursework in a way that you can take courses you excel in so your GPA remains high.

Canadian university rankings also indicate that the top schools in Canada really like to see students contribute to the growth and improvement of their communities. Are you involved in volunteering? Do your extracurricular activities demonstrate leadership, teamwork, commitment? If not, then perhaps you can find something that could help you gain these qualities.

Step 3: Learn About the Application System You Will Use

Most universities provide their application forms online. Look for the application form link on the university's website and click on it to start your application process. Remember, many provinces in Canada, including Ontario, have a unified application system, like OUAC or Apply Alberta, that allows you to apply to several universities simultaneously. Be sure to investigate if your chosen universities participate in these systems as it can streamline the application process.

At the end of your junior year, you should know what these systems require and the university application deadlines you need to meet.

Step 4: Start Preparing Application Materials

With the requirements in mind, start assembling your application materials by the summer between your junior and senior years – unless you are taking a gap year.

You will need to figure out how to acquire and submit your academic transcripts, start planning on who will write your college recommendation letters, brainstorm a personal statement or any other admissions essays if they are required, and possibly compost a portfolio or resume. If you already have a high school resume that you used to apply to part-time jobs or awards, you may use it as a template for your university applications.

Make sure to meet the program requirements and prepare well in advance of the application deadline. This ensures a well-rounded application that showcases your compatibility with your chosen program.

What You Need to Apply

When applying to a top Canadian university, you will need to gather and submit several important documents. These documents are essential to showcase your qualifications and provide the university with the necessary information to process your application. Here's what you will generally need:

Official Academic Transcripts

Your academic transcripts are one of the most important documents you'll need. They provide universities with a record of your academic achievements and the courses you've taken. This is key. Most universities in Canada have course requirements you must meet. Your transcript will be an important piece of evidence that will show that you took all the required courses and achieve high grades that prepare you for the study of your program on a post-secondary level.

Make sure to obtain official copies from your high school or any post-secondary institutions you've attended. Research how these should be submitted and prepare to submit them in advance.

Scanned Copy of Your Passport

This requirement is for those who are wondering how to apply for university in Canada as an international student and how to study in Canada as an international student. A copy of your passport will be requirement for any international students. The scanned copy of your passport will be used for identification purposes and to verify your nationality.

CV or Resume

Not all schools will have this requirement, but some programs may ask for a CV or a list of your accomplishments, activities, and other engagements. Your CV or resume gives universities an overview of your academic and professional background, including any relevant skills or experiences that make you a strong candidate for the program. This will really help them understand why they should accept you and help them see beyond your grades.

Letters of Recommendation

Typically, two letters of recommendation are required for Canadian universities. These letters should come from professionals who know you well, such as teachers, professors, or employers, and can attest to your abilities and potential.

Proof of English or French Language Proficiency

If you’re an international student, you will most certainly need to submit proof of English language proficiency or French language proficiency. Since instruction in Canadian universities is primarily in English and French, you'll need to provide proof that you can comprehend, speak, and write in these languages effectively. This is usually in the form of a language proficiency test score, such as the IELTS or TOEFL. If you’re uncertain whether you need to complete such a test, reach out to college admissions counseling for international students.

College Admissions Essays

Most programs in Canadian universities do not make college admissions essays a requirement. So, you do not have to worry about submitting an essay like the Common App essay, but some may ask for a submission essay, so be prepared to work on this application component if it’s a requirement.

Financial Documents

If you’re an international student, universities may want to ensure you can cover your tuition fees and living expenses during your stay in Canada. Therefore, you may need to provide proof of your financial capability, like bank statements or scholarship award letters.

Supplementary Application Documents

Some universities or specific programs might ask for additional documents like a portfolio, supplemental college essays, or responses to supplementary questions. Always check the specific requirements for each program on the university's official website.

Having these documents prepared and organized in advance will make your application process smoother and less stressful. Remember, these are general requirements, and the specific documents required may vary from one university to another. Always check the specific admissions requirements of the universities you're applying to for the most accurate information.

Does your program require an essay submission?

5 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Acceptance to Universities in Canada

So now that you are equipped with the necessary information about the acceptance rates of the top universities in Canada, the application process, and the required documents, you might be thinking about how to increase your chances of acceptance. Here are five practical tips that can give your application a competitive edge:

1. Meet and Exceed the Requirements

Before you apply, take the time to thoroughly understand the admission requirements of your chosen program and university. Requirements can vary greatly from one university or program to another. Make sure you meet the academic prerequisites and have all the necessary documents ready. The minimum GPA requirements to study in universities in Canada vary depending on the university and the program of study. Generally, most universities in Canada require a minimum GPA of around 2.0 or 2.5 on a scale of 4.0. However, some universities and programs may have higher requirements. It's best to check with the universities you're interested in directly for their specific GPA requirements.

Most universities in Canada do not require the submission of SAT or ACT scores, BUT if you are applying to colleges in the US and took the test and received a very high score, you may submit this information as well! This is especially valuable to those who are trying to figure out how to get into college with a low GPA. A high standardized test score, if you have one, can prove to the admissions committee that you have academic abilities to succeed in their program.

Just a tip: if you have a low GPA and are wondering “Should I take the SAT?”, we strongly recommend reaching out to a consultant or an expert who can help you stand out with a low GPA in other ways. SAT and ACT are a huge expense and take a lot of time to prepare for. You might have other stand-out achievements and qualities that will help you get into a Canadian school without the test score.

2. Showcase Your Achievements

While your grades are important, universities are also interested in your achievements outside of the classroom. This could include leadership roles, community service, work experience, or involvement in extracurricular activities. Be sure to highlight these accomplishments in your application.

If you’re lacking in terms of extracurricular activities, check out how to find internships for high school students or engage in hobbies or interest like painting, playing a music instrument, or joining a team sport.

3. Write a Essay

If you have the chance to submit an admissions essay, take this opportunity seriously. Essays are a great way to stand out because you can be really creative and showcase your candidacy in a way that grades and transcripts cannot. When you are writing an essay, ask yourself “why this college?” and “why would I be a great addition to this program?” No matter what the prompt asks, consider what you like about the school and program you are applying to and how you can further benefit this program by being a student there.

A winning essay will have a really strong introduction and conclusion, as well as examples of events and experiences that make you a great candidate. If you’re struggling with your submission, review college essay introduction examples and college essay topics to get inspired.

4. Obtain Strong Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation can provide valuable insight into your academic abilities and personal qualities. Choose recommenders who know you well and can vouch for your qualifications and character.

Just a reminder to give your writers plenty of time to compose strong letters. Give them at least 2 months and supply them with your CV to make the writing process easier.

5. Demonstrate English Proficiency

Most universities in Canada require proof of English proficiency, often through a standardized test like TOEFL or IELTS. Scoring well on these tests not only meets a requirement but also demonstrates your ability to succeed in an English-speaking academic environment.

Remember, applying to universities is a process that requires careful planning and preparation. By following these tips, you can put forth a strong application and increase your chances of being accepted into your desired program in Canada. Now let's move on to some frequently asked questions that might help clarify any remaining doubts.


1. What are the acceptance rates for the top 50 universities in Canada?

Acceptance rates for the top 50 universities in Canada vary from over 17% to over 80%. Check out our chart above for more details. 

2. Can I apply to multiple programs at the same Canadian university?

Yes, you can apply to multiple programs within the same university, but each application will require its own separate application fee. It's important to make sure you meet the specific requirements for each program you're applying to.

3. What if I don't meet the English language requirements?

If your English proficiency scores are below the required level, you might consider taking an English language course or preparatory program. Many universities offer such courses, which can help you meet the language requirements.

4. How can I finance my studies?

There are several ways to finance your studies, including personal savings, scholarships, and student loans. Many Canadian universities offer scholarships for students based on academic merit and sometimes, financial need.

5. What documents do I need to apply to universities in Canada?

Each program will have its own requirements, but some common ones are transcripts and references. 

6. When should I start my application for universities in Canada?

While each university has its own deadlines, it's generally a good idea to start your application process at least a year in advance. This gives you plenty of time to gather necessary documents, take required tests, and deal with any unexpected issues.

7. Do Canadian universities have admissions interviews?

Most do not, but some programs might have them. If you're invited to an interview, make sure to prepare with common college interview questions.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa.