Applications University

Overview: Applying to Canadian Universities Part 2

Application Process

1. Application dates and requirements 

  • Timelines and requirements vary wildly from college to college. In terms of timelines, applications can start as early as November and go as late as June. Though, the main trend is that most schools have a 3 month period wherein applications can be submitted with decisions rolling out in the next ~4 months. In terms of documentation, the common denominator for IB students is the submission of IB predicted grades and a proof of residency and citizenship. There will usually be additional requirements so it is recommended that you check with both the college’s official website as well as the provincial portal if one is available. For example, the government portal for Ontario is called OUAC. 
  • A quick word on student visas: You can only successfully apply for a student visa once you have received a letter of acceptance from any college you have applied to. Thus, it is recommended that international students apply as early as possible. So they have enough time for the visas to be processed. 

2. Grades

  • Each university will have a certain grade requirement for specific departments. Luckily for IB students, we often have our own specific section that clearly outlines our requirements. A good example is UofT’s IB section which outlines minimum predicted grades and recommended subjects. It should be noted that even if you do not fall under the predicted grade that is listed, there is still a chance that you will be accepted as many admission boards will look at extracurriculars among others to figure out whether you will be a good fit.
  • A word on English Requirements: Since English is one of Canada’s official languages, you will be required to pass verification that you are fluent enough to receive education purely in English. For IB students taking English HL or SL, you are often exempt from taking additional tests such as TOEFL. 

3. Extracurriculars

  • Depending on your program, extracurriculars may make a massive impact on applications. As an example, Sports Science applicants are recommended to have at least three years of varsity experience listed. Even if your extracurriculars do not relate to the program you are applying for, it is still good to list them down as top ranked universities are more likely to accept well-rounded students. 

4. Essays

  • Most colleges in Canada do not require one to submit entrance essays. In fact, my applications to UofT, YorkU and UOttawa did not even have an option to submit one. Though, if the college does require one, stick to the prompt and answer in a direct manner. This is the winning ticket to any type of college essay. Additionally, make sure to look up testimonials from those who have successfully gone through the application process to see how they went about it.

5. Interviews

  • Interviews are even rarer than essays and often only happen for second-round admission to specific programs such as B.A. Architecture for the University of British Columbia. I again recommend you look at testimonies online that are specific to your college and program to find out exactly what interviewers want to hear. 

6. Organization

  • Keep a college tracker! College admissions are hectic enough on their own but balancing that with your last year in highschool is crippling. Having a checklist of all the dates and requirements will save you a huge amount of stress and hassle. 

Additional resources: 

I’ve attached the following links as supplementary material for this article. However, I highly recommend seeking out more, especially those specific to the colleges that you are applying to.

Applying to UofT:

Applying to UOttawa:

Applying to YorkU:

QS World University Rankings:

You’re done applying, what’s next? Well I’m afraid this is the most excruciating part: waiting. There is no trick or hack to get through this stage but the early bird always gets the worm so do not prioritize applying on time. Prioritize applying early. 

Good luck to all prospective applicants!

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