The basic admission requirement for postsecondary programs in the Ontario College system is one of the following:

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
  • Any lesser minimum admission requirement as established by a college on a program-specific basis.

Priority of Admission
For over-subscribed programs, applicants will be accepted in the following priority:

  • Permanent residents of Ontario
  • Permanent residents of other provinces and territories in Canada
  • Applicants from other countries

Mature applicants
Applicants who have NOT obtained an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), or equivalent, AND who will be 19 years of age by the program start date, may be considered for admission to the colleges as mature students. Mature student status will be considered on an individual basis and testing may be conducted for an evaluation of their academic potential. Mature applicants must also meet the specific program requirements in order to be accepted.

Post Diploma Programs
These are post-secondary programs designed to provide additional or advanced occupational skills to enhance an existing level of knowledge for which a certificate, diploma or degree has been granted. Post-diploma programs require a one-year community college certificate, a two-or-three-year community college diploma, or partial or completed university degree, or proven related experience in the chosen field.

International Applicants

  • Language requirements

International students applying for programs taught in English, whose first language is not English, should submit the results of an English language proficiency test such as TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) , IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or another internationally-recognized language test. These Results should be sent with your application form. Please use the OCAS Institution Code 0211 when taking the TOEFL test.

To arrange for your English language assessment test, please contact:

Educational Testing Services
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Rosedale Road
Princeton, New Jersey
U.S.A. 08541
Web: E-mail:


International English Language Testing System Test Service
Conestoga College of Applied Art and Technology
299 Doon Valley Drive
Kitchener, Ontario
Canada N2G 4M4

If you are applying for programs taught in French, you may be required to complete a test of French language proficiency.Some colleges may also ask you to take a college language assessment before being accepted as a full-time student in a post-secondary program. Contact the International Office at the college you wish to attend to find out what test and score is required there.

What if I need to improve my language skills?.
Many colleges offer both short- and long-term English as a Second Language programs to assist those students whose language skills are not yet adequate for post-secondary study. If your language skills need improvement, the colleges may give you a conditional acceptance into the post-secondary program that interests you, with the requirement that you complete English language training before you begin your post-secondary studies.Contact the International Office at the college you wish to attend for information on the English language programs offered.

  • Studying in Canada

Ontario Colleges
You can still apply to a college in Ontario even if you don't live in Canada. The information we've provided here will help you get started but we do advise you to contact the colleges you are considering as well as Citizenship and Immigration Canada for student visa information. Most Canadian Embassy or consulate offices have Ontario college publications. In some countries there are also Canadian Education Centres where you can research study opportunities in Canada.

Programs offered at Ontario colleges:

  • many one-, two- and three-year diploma programs in the areas of business, applied arts, health sciences, hospitality and tourism, human services and technology.
  • post-graduate certificates in many subject areas.
  • most colleges also offer English as a Second Language programs to assist students whose language skills are not yet adequate for post-secondary study.

Most of the colleges have an International Office. Staff may be able to answer your questions and assist you with such things as:

  • specific admission requirements and course content
  • arranging transportation to and from the airport
  • finding a place to live (whether homestay with a Canadian family, renting an apartment of living in residence).
  • orientation to the college and community,
  • banking needs, translation of legal documents and counselling.

Some colleges charge additional fees for services provided to international students.

What documentation do I need to bring with me when I come to Canada to study?
When you arrive in Canada, immigration officials will ask to see these documents:

  • Student authorization (Form IMM1208-see above for more information)
  • Passport (depending on your home country)
  • Visitor visa if required
  • All letters and papers used to obtain your student authorization

Can I come to Canada as a visitor and then attend college in Ontario?
No. If you plan to attend college during a stay in Canada, you should make the necessary arrangements before you leave your home country.

How do I get a student authorization? Once you've received a letter of acceptance from an Ontario college, you need to apply for a student authorization (Form IMM1208) at the nearest Canadian Citizenship and Immigration office. To do this, you need:

  • A valid passport, in most cases (Click here to see if students from your home country need a visa in order to study in Canada)
  • A letter of acceptance from the college stating the course of study, including start and end dates
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependents during your entire stay in Canada
  • A letter from your sponsoring organization, if you are being sponsored
  • A medical clearance and/or security clearance, if necessary, depending on your home country

Note: There is a $125 (in Canadian funds) application fee to apply for a student visa authorization.

Meeting the immigration requirements
The federal government regulates the admission of foreign students to Canada. The regulations governing international students are subject to change. The information presented below is intended only as a guide to help you as you plan for your college studies in Ontario.

Special Admission Requirements for higher Studies in Canada
Applicants are responsible to ensure they complete any special prerequisites required for admission (such as specific courses, essays, medical forms, or testing). These requirements are listed as admission requirements in the individual college calendars. The Office of the Registrar will inform applicants of any changes to the admission requirements if they are not contained in recent publications and on college web sites. Special selection techniques used by the colleges will also be stated in all college publications.

Prior Learning Assessment (and Recognition) (PLA(R))
Individuals with significant work and/or life experience can have their skills and knowledge assessed for course credits toward a college credential. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) uses a variety of tools to help adult learners reflect on, identify, articulate and demonstrate learning acquired through study, work and other life experiences that are not recognized through the formal transfer of credit or advanced academic standing. PLAR evaluates past learning against established academic standards so that credit can be awarded.

Prior Learning Assessment Methods for higher studies in Canada
In Ontario's Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, the PLAR system currently evaluates prior learning and relates it to existing courses through:

i. portfolio assessment
a collection of materials that document prior learning

ii. challenge evaluation
variety of evaluation activities that demonstrate learning for credit in specific courses

iii. examinations
evaluation of courses and programs taken outside the Ontario college system

Please refer to the individual college calendars for the PLAR application process.



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