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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The purpose of this section is to address some of the general issues of concern that do not appear in the general information or procedures. The answers to the questions that follow have been approved by all of the universities in Ontario. In some cases more specific answers can be found in the pages pertaining to the individual universities. If further clarification is required please direct your inquiries to officials at the university in which you are interested.

1. What is OUAC and what does it do?

"OUAC" is the acronym for the Ontario Universities? Application Centre. The OUAC is a centralized processing office for applications to undergraduate admission to the universities of Ontario. Located in Guelph, the OUAC receives your application form, processes it and transfers this information electronically to the universities you have selected.

The OUAC also offers similar services to students currently registered in Ontario secondary schools, applicants interested in entering teacher education programs, law schools, medical schools and rehabilitation sciences programs. We will elaborate on these services in later sections.

The OUAC does not make admission decisions. That is the responsibility of the universities to which you have applied.

2. How do I apply?

Carefully read the questions and answers that follow and then use the instructions provided to help you fill out the enclosed application form.

Normally, only one application form is required for each processing year with the application processing fee of $85 ($95 if the mailing address is outside Canada). You can select up to three choices of universities or programs for the initial $85/95 processing fee. However, additional choices of universities and/or programs are also permitted on the application form with payment of additional choice fees, as noted in the SUMMARY OF FEES section.

A great deal of information pertaining to all the universities can be found in the outlines provided in this book. However, if you have any specific questions or concerns about the application procedure not covered in this booklet, contact the admissions offices of the universities to which you wish to apply.

3. What is the application deadline

The OUAC itself does not have a specific deadline for this type of application. You will notice that, depending on the university and program you choose, this application form can be used for a variety of entry points including January/February (Winter), May or July (Spring/Summer) and September (Fall).

Certain professional and/or limited-enrollment programs, as well as those requiring special interviews, auditions or the submission of portfolios, may have unique deadline dates set by the individual universities. You should pay close attention to the information sections provided by the universities in which you have an interest and if you have any doubts about the deadlines, you should contact their admissions office.

Some universities have separate deadlines beyond which changes cannot be accepted. You should contact the admissions office at the university directly.

4. I have previously attended a postsecondary college or university but I would prefer that this information not be used...

Unfortunately, you cannot leave this out since universities normally consider all educational experiences to be part of your academic background and necessary in processing your current request.

It is important that each applicant understand and observe the terms of the certification clause that appears on the application form immediately above the space for your signature.

In some cases, applicants may have taken certain non-degree, non-diploma or certificate courses which were not part of a normal recognized college or university program. Some institutions would not require that transcripts be submitted for these types of courses. To be absolutely sure, check with the admissions offices of the universities to which you are applying.

5. What is a mature student?

You will find that the phrases "mature student" and "adult student" are often interchangeable depending on the customs and regulations of the individual universities. In most cases, a mature or adult student is an applicant who has not completed the normal academic requirements for admission to the university but who conforms to a specific age and/or work experience requirement stipulated by the university.

When admission is granted under such guidelines the university is judging that maturity and life skill experiences can substitute for the normally required formal academic preparation.

IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS NO AGREED-UPON COMMON DEFINITION OR CRITERIA. EACH UNIVERSITY ESTABLISHES ITS OWN REQUIREMENTS. The universities have been asked to provide their own definition in the appropriate section of this booklet. Contact the universities directly with any questions you may have.

6. What do I do if I want to make more university or program choices than are available on the application form?

The OUAC 105D application form provides spaces for the three initial university/program choices included in the base application service fee of $85/95. It also provides spaces for six additional university and/or program choices for a fee of $25 per additional choice beyond three.

If you have not yet submitted your completed application form and wish to make more than nine university/program choices in total, please photocopy the front of the application form, complete only the UNIVERSITY AND PROGRAM SELECTIONS part on the photocopy, ensure that your OUAC reference number is legible on the photocopy and attach it securely to your original application. Make sure that you include the applicable Additional Choices fee of $25 per choice beyond three along with your payment of the $85/$95 base application service fee.

If you have already submitted your application form to us, you should wait until we have sent you the Acknowledgement/Amendment Form. You may make additional university/program selections on this form and return it to the OUAC along with the applicable Additional Choices fees.

Please note that all published deadlines for applications to specific programs will also apply to additional choices. You must ensure that the OUAC has sufficient time to process your additional choices before the universities? stipulated program deadlines.

7. Does it matter how I number (rank) my university or program choices?

For the most part, no! Whether you list a university or a specific program as first, second, third or higher choice is not normally a factor in the universities? admission decision. Where there are exceptions to the policy of not using the choice numbering, the university is to make its policy clear in its own information literature. Currently the OUAC is aware of one exception:

In the case of scholarship evaluation only, the Faculty of Mathematics programs at the University of Waterloo give priority to first-choice applicants, although second, third and higher choice applications are also considered.

Your choice ranking does provide valuable information to the university admissions offices. This is particularly true for limited-enrollment programs. Admission officials use this data to project the number of applicants who are likely to accept offers of admission in order that proper resource planning can be done by the university.

8. I've already submitted my application form, but I've changed my mind. Or, the information sent back to me by the OUAC is not correct. What should I do?

Upon receipt of your application form and the applicable processing fees, the OUAC will prepare a computerized data file of your application form which will be sent to each of the universities to which you have applied. The OUAC will send you an Acknowledgement/Amendment Form following the initial processing of your application. Use this form to make any correction or change. An updated form will be sent following any changes.

9. Explain part-time studies.

Some university programs can only be completed by full-time study, others can be completed by part-time study, and still others offer you both options. Each university is free to establish such policies as it deems appropriate. The OUAC processes applications for part-time studies for some universities; study application forms which may be obtained directly from them and must be returned by the applicant to the university; such forms cannot be used to apply for any university other than the one issuing them.

10. Why does the application form ask for personal information. What about confidentiality?

As mentioned earlier, the information provided by you on the form is coded into a computerized data base and sent to the universities. Initially it will be used to create an application file. If you are admitted to the university and subsequently register as a student, this data will become part of your student file.

The universities are required by law to provide certain statistical information to Statistics Canada. Some information such as marital status is also useful to the universities and to the OUAC in recognizing individuals who have had legal name changes. This is sometimes necessary to match official documents with application forms. Social insurance numbers are needed to provide proper income tax receipts for registered students and to differentiate between individuals with the same name who have applied for student loans and bursaries.

The list of activities and work experiences following your last attendance at school is necessary information leading up to the admission decision. Admission committees/assessors use this information to account for periods of time away from formal education and it is particularly useful when considering those who are asking for admission as mature students.

In all cases, the staff handling your file at the OUAC and the universities are committed to maintaining strict confidentiality of the information provided.

11. Can I have someone else apply for me, modify my application if necessary, accept an offer of admission...?

Yes, a parent, guardian or partner may sign for you if he or she has legal permission to do so. The OUAC requires that you submit an official authorization for such an arrangement in the form of a signed and dated letter, along with your application form. This will help us avoid confusion and any processing delay.

12. I have a disability... Who should I contact for information on services?

All universities offer exceptional services for individuals with disabilities. This may include special admission practices.

Should you require any special consideration due to a disability, be sure to write directly to the Admissions Office of each university to which you applied for admission or, where specified, to the office responsible for students with disabilities to discuss the considerations you may need. These steps should be taken early in the application process so that individual needs can be adequately addressed. You may request someone, such as your guidance counsellor or a professional who is familiar with your disability, to provide supporting documentation.

A number of universities also have special residence accommodation for students with physical disabilities, including wheelchair access. You are advised to also contact, in writing, the appropriate residence administrator when seeking special residence accommodations.

TRANSCRIPTS/SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

13. The universities to which I have applied have requested my official transcripts. What are these and how do I go about getting them?

A "transcript" is a record of your academic performance at an educational institution. Normally a transcript is considered official if it is produced by and bears the seal of the institution issuing it. Universities will not normally accept unofficial photocopies.

Depending on the type of institutions you have attended in the past, the procedures to send these records will vary; each institution to which you have applied will instruct you regarding the submission of transcripts to support your application. (See "Transcripts" for details). Post secondary institutions require that the student provide written authorization to release a transcript and will charge an issuing fee.

Please do not forward transcripts or other supporting documents to the OUAC. We are not able to forward these transcripts to your selected universities or return them to you.

You may have directed your official transcripts to the universities either before or at the same time as submitting this application form. The transcripts may arrive at the universities prior to you receiving your Acknowledgement/Amendment form. If this happens, the universities will retain your documents on file and will match them to your application when it is received. It is very important that you indicate your OUAC reference number, full legal surname and given names, as well as any previous surnames, on all documents. This will ensure that your documents are properly handled. If you have undergone a legal name change which is not reflected on any documents you are submitting or forwarding to the universities, it is also very important that you advise the universities of the situation. This will help to avoid incorrect matching of your documents and application form and the resulting delays in the decision process.

If you applied for admission to Ontario universities in a previous year but did not register at one of the institutions, it is not likely that those institutions will have retained your documents. You will be asked to provide current transcripts and other documents this year.

Applicants who are not able to provide official transcripts must directly contact each university's admissions office for advice.

14. What happens when I complete the Transcript Request Form in this application package?

When you complete the transcript request form and return it to the OUAC with your application form and the applicable fees (application service fee and transcript fee), you authorize the OUAC to arrange for your grades to be transferred from the Ontario university you have attended to the Ontario universities you have chosen on your application form.

All the Ontario universities have cooperated in the development of this transcript system. However, some universities are not able to participate fully this year. Transcripts from the University of Toronto, the Royal Military College and the Ontario College of Art and Design must be requested directly from those institutions. Do not use the Transcript Request Form for these three institutions.

The transcript request fee is non-refundable and is collected by the OUAC for direct transfer to the sending university. The OUAC will not be responsible for the refusal of any university to provide transcripts (for example, because of a delinquent account or incorrect/insufficient student identification). If a university cannot provide the transcript you have requested, you will be notified of the situation by the OUAC.

Note: Transcripts requested from Carleton University and McMaster University are not subject to the $8 transcript fee.

15. I previously attended a postsecondary institution. Will any of the credits I earned there be transferable to the institutions to which I'm now applying?

All Ontario universities are committed to offering transfer credit for courses successfully completed at recognized postsecondary institutions when the courses and grades are deemed to be acceptable to the receiving institution and where they can be integrated into the new program. In addition to being essential to the admission decision process, the official transcripts requested are used in the determination of transfer credit or advanced standing. In some cases, the university may request that you submit detailed descriptions for the courses being considered for transfer. Each university will correspond directly with you with respect to these requirements. The number of allowable transfer credits will vary according to the regulations of the university applied to, and the nature and source of the courses in question.

In most cases, the offer of admission will specify the transfer credit that you will receive.

16. What will the universities do when they receive the electronic copy of my application form from the OUAC?

Upon receipt of the electronic copy of your application form from the OUAC, each admissions office will acknowledge receipt of your application and provide you with a list of the specific supporting documentation or information required in order to process your application.

Universities establish their own requirements in this regard. In most cases, as a minimum, the university will require that you provide a comprehensive response to the sections of the application pertaining to secondary and postsecondary education background and work (or other) experiences since you last attended secondary school. In addition, official transcripts from your secondary school and any postsecondary institutions you have attended would normally be required.

Depending on the university involved, your educational background, and the program to which you are applying, some universities may also require the following, in which case the university will let you know when acknowledging receipt:

a) A resume and/or a personal assessment letter.

b) Completion and submission of a supplementary application form, which will be provided by the university, in order to collect additional special information.

c) Attendance at an interview or audition, or the provision of a project portfolio.

d) Presentation of proof of English-language proficiency, at a level acceptable to the university, for applicants whose first language is not English who select a program offered in English. (A similar proof applies to French-language proficiency for students whose first language is not French who choose a program in that language.) consult each institution?s page for details. Others have their own part-time

e) Any other information deemed necessary by the university. Some applicants choose to provide some of this information or correspond with the university prior to submitting their application form. Most universities will retain this information on file and match it with the application when it is received.

17. Can I retrieve transcripts and other documents if I cancel my application or I am not admitted to the university?

In most cases, no. The universities consider such documents to be a permanent part of the application file. However, exceptions can sometimes be arranged where it is deemed appropriate by the university officials. Examples would include educational documents which are no longer available from an issuing authority (such as documents from a foreign education jurisdiction) and portfolio/audition materials. In all cases, such arrangements are between you and the university concerned.

RESPONSE FROM THE UNIVERSITIES FOR HIGHER STUDIES IN CANADA

18. When will I hear from the universities? When will they make their admission decision?

After the university has acknowledged receipt of your application and provided you with a list of its requirements, it will then usually wait until all documentation has been submitted before making a decision. Once your application file is complete, most universities will attempt to render a decision as soon as is practical.

Exceptions to this can occur where the university has noted a specific date on which decisions will be made for all qualified candidates and/or when the university chooses to delay making decisions for limited-enrollment programs for which a competitive admission standard must be determined or when the university has already made sufficient offers of admission to fill the program requested. In these cases, your application may be held pending additional places becoming available. This part of the process is managed entirely by the universities and the OUAC cannot provide you with information.

If the date by which the university has promised a decision has passed and/or you have any other questions regarding the timing of the decision, you should contact the admissions office of the university directly.

19. I may need financial assistance to attend university. What about scholarships?

Financial assistance may be available from federal and provincial government agencies depending on your citizenship status and place of residence. Contact the Financial Aid or Scholarship offices at the universities to which you are applying.

In addition, some universities provide admission scholarships based on previous academic experience. Many universities also have privately funded scholarships and bursaries. Again, the Financial Aid/Scholarship offices can help.

Some universities offer scholarships based on academic merit to international students. Please consult with the individual universities for details.

20. Can I change my mind at a later date?

If, after accepting an offer of admission, you change your mind or if you wish to attend a university that has admitted you but the reply deadline has expired, contact that university?s admissions office. Remember, many university programs fill up very quickly. The later in the application cycle that you decide to change universities, the more difficult it could be.

If one of your university choices sends you a refusal decision and you still have not heard from the others, and if there is sufficient time in the application cycle, you may wish to amend your application form to make another choice.

One of the primary functions of the OUAC is to maintain a proper chronological record of the acceptances submitted by applicants. This is to ensure that the universities have a record of how many students have accepted an offer of admission and assist with enrolment planning. Your observance of the rules in these procedures is essential and very much appreciated.

21. If after being admitted to a program I cannot attend, may I defer my entry?

Some universities permit students to defer their entry for one semester or one year. Consult the university?s admissions office or undergraduate calendar for details. You will need to reapply for admission through the OUAC and pay the application service fee. Forms are available from the OUAC.

22. What can I do if all of my choices are rejected?

If you are refused admission by one or all of the universities to which you have applied or if you discover that you are not qualified for a program you have chosen, you may amend any of your university/program/entry point choices by submitting the Acknowledgement/Amendment form to the OUAC. If you are doing this late in the application cycle, it may be useful for you to telephone the admissions office of the new university you are considering to determine whether spaces continue to be available and/or there is sufficient time left to make an amended application.

Some universities will automatically, or upon specific request, consider applicants for an alternate offer of admission in the event that they are not qualified for the program to which they originally applied. The policies of the individual universities vary on this and therefore you should make inquiries directly to the admissions office.

23. If I am not accepted at any of my choices or if I cancel my application, can any of my fees be refunded?

Unfortunately, no. Application fees, additional choice fees and transcript fees are directed to expenses incurred by both the OUAC and the universities to produce application materials, as well as to communication and processing costs.

OTHER UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS FOR HIGHER STUDIES IN CANADA

  • I wish to attend a faculty of law.

Information and applications pertaining to the province's six law schools can be obtained from the Law School Application Service (OLSAS) at the Ontario Universities' Application Centre. Please note that the deadline for law school applications is very early in the application cycle, usually in early November of the year prior to the program start date.

  • I want a degree in teaching.

Some universities offer what are referred to as "concurrent programs" in education. In these degree programs you take teacher training courses along with your normal undergraduate program. Universities that offer these programs have noted them in the appropriate sections of this booklet and the enclosed application form is the correct one.

However, if you already hold an undergraduate degree and now wish to enter a faculty of education to obtain Ontario teacher credentials (in a "consecutive program"), contact the OUAC which will provide you with the appropriate application kit. The deadline date for application to teacher education programs is usually very early in the application cycle (around early December in the year prior to the program start date) and competition is extremely keen for a limited number of places.

  • I want to apply to medical or dental school.

For medical school contact the OUAC which will send you the proper application kit. Please note that the deadline for medical school is very early in the application cycle, usually in mid-October of the year prior to the program start date.

For dental school, contact each institution directly to obtain the appropriate application material.

  • I want to apply to rehabilitation sciences programs.

Information and application packages to Occupational Therapy, Physical/Physiotherapy, Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology may be obtained by contacting the Ontario Rehabiliation Sciences Programs Application Service (ORPAS), a division of the OUAC.

Exception: Applicants who will not have completed one year of university studies by next September (2000) and who are interested in applying to the University of Ottawa programs (which are taught in French) must use the 105D application form.

For example: if your highest level of education is from a Quebec CEGEP, an Ontario CAAT or a Ontario or Canadian secondary school, you must use the OUAC 105 form in this booklet.

  • I am interested in Graduate Studies.

Each university has its own application form for master's and doctoral studies. Contact the faculty or school of Graduate Studies at each university in which you are interested. The OUAC does not participate in graduate studies admissions and each university has its own application form and procedures.


 
 

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