Applying to Community Colleges in Canada

There are almost as many community college programs in Canada as there are student interests. That's the whole point! But this variety of options can also mean a variety of application requirements. The fact that community colleges are regulated by their respective provincial government means you can't count on uniformity from college to college. Some have limited-enrolment programs with competitive admission, others offer open admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, minimum entrance requirements can vary greatly depending on the school and the program.

Admission requirements for community colleges in Canada typically include a Grade 12 Secondary School Diploma or its equivalent with a certain average (usually between 60-70%) in five senior academic subjects. Some programs may only require satisfactory completion of Grade 12 with a certain grade in 1 or 2 courses, and some my only require the high school completion. Requirements are usually specified on a program-to-program basis. Additional potential requirements include reference letters, current résumé, criminal record check, CPR certification, health and immunization record, proof of English proficiency, personal essay or letter of intent. You may be asked to participate in an interview or meet with an admissions counselor, and some community colleges may request you take an aptitude test or questionnaire. Arts and media schools or programs may request an audition, demo or portfolio. Community colleges want to ensure that they admit the candidates who are best-suited to the programs.

Because the programs are so different--from acting to astronomy, finance to forensics--program duration also varies, although intake at community colleges generally operates on a traditional fall/winter semester system. Applications therefore have cut-off dates with specific deadlines after which applications are no longer considered. Community colleges with internal scholarships and bursaries may encourage early application in order to qualify for these awards and financial assistance.

The community college applications themselves generally consist of a downloaded form or a form completed and submitted electronically on the school's website or to the relevant provincial application centre. The application also usually includes a non-refundable application fee of anywhere between $25-$100, as specified by the institution. Official school transcripts must be sent from your high school directly to the college.

All students considering applying to a community college should check out the specific school website, or contact the school's Admissions or Registrar's Office, for all the details on application and admission. But don't just take their word for how great they are: remember to shop around and compare schools' information before you apply. After all, community college leads to your future!