Updated: How to Apply to Ontario Colleges

By Logan Bright Modified on March 16, 2020

A guide to OntarioColleges.ca to help you get your application in.

A breathtaking view of Niagara Falls in Ontario.

COVID-19 Update:

As of March 16, OntarioColleges.ca remains open for applications. Though many classes are cancelled or moved online across the province, the application centre for next year is fully functional. Apply as normal, but be sure to check out the website of the school(s) you're applying to to find the latest information.

It's time to apply for college, and if you want to attend an Ontario school (and who could blame you?) that means you'll have to go through OntarioColleges.ca. If you're applying for a highly competetive program, be sure to get your application in by February 1st.

The first step, though is research. Dedicate some time to finding information on schools and programs that will get you on the right path to the career you want. SchoolFinder.com is a good way to compare programs and explore career pathways.

Once you've decided on where you want to go, head over to OntarioColleges.ca to create an account. Fill out your profile and contact info, and add information on your current education: what high school(s) you attended, any other post-secondary education you've undergone, and so on.

If you're a Canadian applicant, add your program choices for the schools that interest you. You can apply to up to three programs per school, for a total of five. You can also rank your choices, so put the program you're most excited for at the top! If you've been out of high school a while, you'll have to request your transcripts so colleges can assess your grades. If you're applying straight out of high school, odds are good your transcripts will be sent over automatically.

International students, applying is a little more difficult for you than for Canadians. Each Ontario college has its own procedure for applying, so check out the website for each school you're interested in. On their international student page, you should find an application link that will "add" that school to your OntarioColleges dashboard, which will allow you to apply through the site. Check your dashboard on OntarioColleges, start a new application, and you should see the school appear as an "Available College," as in the screenshot below.

A screenshot from OntarioColleges.ca showing available schools for an international student.

Depending on your school and program, you may be asked for supporting documentation, which can be uploaded directly to your application. This is especially important for international students: you might be asked to prove your English language competency by uploading TOEFL or IELTS scores, as well as provide a copy of your passport's first page.

Schools will also request your transcripts, which are your official grades from high school. If you're coming out of high school, your transcript will likely be automatically sent. For everyone else, check this list (pdf) for your school to try for an automatic request. If your school isn't listed, you'll have to contact them directly to request your transcripts.

When you've made all your selections and uploaded everything you need to, it's time to pay your $95 application fee. Remember, you can apply to up to five programs, to a maximum of three per school. You may as well get your money's worth! There may be a small charge for transcript transmission, too.

Before you send in your application for good, be sure to review it. Go over all the details, and confirm you've got your programs selected in the order you want them. Then take a deep breath and click submit! Congratulations, you've applied to college in Ontario! You've taken a big step forward in your education. Make sure you check in with SchoolFinder now and then, to find advice, articles and support for every leg of your journey, from your first semester to your first career.

Enjoy your studies!

(PS: International students, don't forget about your student visa! Depending on your current country, it could take anywhere from one to nine months to receive. You'll need an offer letter in hand from a Designated Learning Institution, so start thinking about getting your paperwork ready now.)

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