International Student’s Canadian University Application

Canadian University Application

Applying to universities can be a tricky feat, especially for international students. In my previous blog, I highlighted the first part of this two-part blog that discusses the steps involved in applying to study in Canada as an international student. In this blog, I will focus on the process of shortlisting universities, using the Ontario University Application Centre, and what to expect after submitting your application.

Shortlist Universities


The first and most crucial step is to shortlist the universities that you are interested in attending in Canada. With 10 provinces and three territories, there are different university regulations and requirements in different provinces. Therefore, shortlisting your preferred universities by doing research on their specific pages, asking questions, and reading blogs like these, ha-ha, makes it easier to filter and understand what is required. For the purpose of this blog, I will focus on Ontario-based universities, as that is where I am currently studying at the University of Waterloo.

Ontario University Application Center


The Ontario University Application Centre (OUAC) is an online platform used to gather relevant personal information and act as the initial point of reference/contact between you and the universities you intend to apply. It lists down all the different universities in Ontario and allows you to select the specific university and course you want to pursue. I remember applying to the University of Waterloo, Ottawa, McMaster, Guelph in Ontario, and the University of British Columbia, and they ALL initially rejected me – a story I will share one day about how that mentally affected me but changed my outlook.

Once a selection has been made and all relevant personal information is entered, you then proceed to the payment. It is important to note that the more universities you apply to through the OUAC, the more you are likely to pay. The platform charges based on the number of universities you have selected, the program you have chosen, and the average ranking of the university in Ontario and Canada as a whole.



After the payment has gone through, a confirmation email will be sent to the email address used while creating the OUAC account. This email should have your receipt and a list of the universities to which you applied. On average, it takes about two days minimum and one-week maximum for the university to write back to you indicating the next steps for you. Specific universities will have unique portals/pages that you will need to create accounts for, and these become your new points of reference between you and the university. It is on these portals that you begin to upload required documents, essentially submitting your application, which will help the universities make their decision.

Some of the required documents include but are not limited to predicted grades, academic record, personal statements, recommendation letters, personal achievements and much more.

University Response


After submitting your application, you will need to wait for the university’s decision. It may take a few weeks or months for the university to review your application and get back to you. They will either indicate that they have accepted your offer on a conditional or unconditional basis, or they may reject you for several reasons. Some universities usually explain their reasons for rejection, while others do not.

If you are accepted to a university in Canada, you will need to accept the offer within the specified time and apply for a study permit and visa. A study permit is the document that allows you to study in Canada for a certain period of time. In a three-part series blog I talk about applying to universities in Canada as an international student – part 1 can be found here.

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