The basics
Canada: Applying to University - Must read

Applying to study in Canada

How do you apply to a Canadian university? What is the process? Read our full, step-by-step guide now...

Student applying to university abroad

How to apply to a Canadian university

You should apply directly to the university you’re interested in. There is no central application system like the UK’s UCAS or America’s Common Application. Remember: Each province or territory in Canada is responsible for all education within that area. However you may find that there is a system which lets you apply to multiple universities within one province such as Ontario’s OUAC (Ontario University Application Centre). Each university will have their own entry requirements which you should check carefully before applying. Even if you don’t apply through a system like OUAC, you can apply online to a university through their site.



Applying timeline

To begin studying in September you should begin applying the October before that when applications open. Research can begin a little before this, especially if you are unsure as to how you will be funding your studies or what you want to study. Deadlines for applying are often around January/February though they can be as late as the spring, after which you should get a response soon after if the university follows a ‘rolling admissions’ process (i.e. they make a decision the moment they receive an application). Other universities may follow the ‘competitive admission’ system for some programmes, whereby they wait for the application deadline to pass before they start reviewing the applications they’ve received. It’s recommended that you allow up to 7 weeks for your application to be processed.


Once you have received an Offer of Admission letter, you will have a deadline to accept this offer (this will be outlined on your Offer of Admission letter).


Once you have been made an offer by a university, you can apply for your study permit.


However please check application dates with the university you’re applying to (specifically for the course you’re apply to, as these will vary depending on a number of factors (e.g. competition for places, the university you’re applying to etc.).



What documents will I need to apply in Canada?

While your personal statement is an important part of your application to universities in the UK or USA, in Canada this isn’t always the case. Some universities may just require academic and English language transcripts (though remember that these might take time to acquire or translate). Depending on your nationality, you may need to have to undergo a medical examination by an authorised medical professional to show you are of good health though this isn’t usually essential.



Cost of applying in Canada

Most applications will require a non-refundable fee of $50-100 (CAD). However if you’re applying to multiple Canadian universities, it may be simpler and more affordable to apply through a provincial system like the Ontario University Application Centre. Here you pay a flat fee to apply to up to (normally) 3 universities (and then an additional amount for any universities) – this would work out cheaper.



Read more:

'The Canadian Higher Education system...simplified'

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About Author

Student applying to university abroad

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.