In Canada, there exist various post-secondary possibilities for students. Two of them are college and university. With these two opportunities, many frequently question what the difference between the two is. For starters, universities concentrate on theoretical and professional programs. They offer undergraduate and graduate degrees which can advance to bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Meanwhile, colleges are focused on occupational training and trades. This indicates they offer hands-on training to qualify students for employment in their chosen field. Colleges offer certificate programs, diplomas, apprenticeships, and many of them have an option for Bachelor's degrees. Therefore universities are focused on theoretical programs and are degree institutions while colleges are focused on professional preparation and are diploma institutions.
As students approach grade 12, the daunting thoughts around post-secondary begin to grow. Students start to question what programs they like, what universities or colleges they are interested in and how they should apply. This process demands a lot of time and attention. The application process for post-secondary depends on where you are and where you want to go. Ontario students planning to attend schools in Ontario can submit their applications through the following websites:
- for college: https://www.ontariocolleges.ca and,
- for university: https://ww.ouac.on.ca.
After applying if the chosen program requires additional requirements, the school will email the student, with additional instructions. International students, Ontario students applying outside of Ontario, mature students, or students applying for graduate studies require to apply directly to their chosen school.
Choosing my Future Career
During my senior year of high school, I was a student in Ontario. Like any other teenager, I had not yet a clear idea of what I wanted to do. I kept my options open; I was interested in post-secondary established in Ontario while still keeping an eye on external possibilities.
The first step I took was researching the universities near me and their programs. While executing my research, I came across this website, https://www.ontariouniversitiesinfo.ca/. On this website, I was able to effortlessly browse through programs and universities. I was able to read and compare basic information from the different programs listed there. To be honest, this helped me a lot. Once I had an idea of what I wanted to do with my life. The website has a lot of tools that allow me to sign up to receive notices directly from the university. For colleges, there is https://www.ontariocolleges.ca/en/programs; this is where I could comfortably browse for colleges or categories of programs.
I was lucky in some way. My high school arranged a presentation to explain to us how we can apply and all the various pathways we could take. Students interested in universities were given the link to The Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC), https://www.ouac.on.ca/.
On this website, there are several squares one can click, current Ontario high school students like myself have to click on the first square "undergrad (101)". The website has all the information I needed to know to start my application process. The website has also a way to send applications, requirements and deadlines. If the applications are permitted, there will be a link to make an account for OUAC that is required for the application.
When signing up, I was asked to input my school number, student number and temporary PIN. My current guidance counsellor was able to give me the required information, and if wanted, I could get help to create my account. Once all the personal information was completed and correct, the next step was to pick three programs. Once the three programs were chosen, I had to pay a 150 dollar fee to send in my applications. When the application was concluded, I received an OUAC Reference Number. This number is very important as it is used as a reference when I wanted to contact the OUAC or any university.
I also had an interest in some college programs, so I was directed to https://www.ontariocolleges.ca/en/apply-now. Similarly to the university website, I was required to signup. While creating the account I was asked to fill in my personal information and education history; I also needed my school number, and student number. The school number and student number are required because that allows colleges to obtain transcripts easily. Once the signup is done, the next move was to choose five programs and pay a 95 dollar fee. If your program requires any additional requirements the college will contact you with further instructions on what to do and how to submit it.
This process varies on the school. Overall, for Ontario students applying to Ontario located schools, two websites make the application process easier; https://www.ontariocolleges.ca/en/apply-now and https://www.ouac.on.ca/ouac-101/.