More than ever students applying to college in the US are also looking to Canada for more college and university options. The same can be said of their Canadian counterparts. With this in mind, it’s important to review the major differences between the admissions process in the United States and Canada. While the following information is very valuable in general, please remember that specific colleges and universities may of course deviate from the general rule outlined below. Always remember to check with the college or universities on your final list to ensure that you are meeting their admissions criteria and meeting their priority deadlines. Good luck!
|Application Deadlines||Apply as soon as the applications are available online (in many cases December or January); deadlines vary by institution but are generally later than the US and typically on a rolling basis. Be careful to not apply to late, as Canadian schools don’t have the same May 1 reply by date as US schools and they typically take long to process applications||Deadlines vary by institution, but are generally earlier than Canada and most have specific deadlines including those for Early Action (non-binding) and Early Decision (binding).|
|Admissions Criteria – Academic Performance||Academic performance is the most important decision factor; requirements vary by institution and by competitive programs. Senior/junior year performance is crucial to many Canadian universities – most all will require first semester senior year grades (or predicted IB scores), so late bloomers can really benefit.||Academic performance is the most important decision factor for both private colleges and universities, with more weight given to rigorous, college-prep curricula. Most US universities will look at grades 9, 10, 11, and 12with more weight on senior/junior year performance. First semester senior year grades are required for admission, unless the student is applying Early Decision, Early Action, or early in the Rolling cycle.|
|Admissions Criteria – Other||Less emphasis on reference letters, essays, and extracurricular activities (most universities will not require this information for evaluation).||More emphasis on reference letters, essays, extracurricular activities, and demonstrated interest (especially at mid- and small-sized private colleges/universities).|
|Admissions Criteria – Testing||Some require SAT/ACT, and rarely SAT Subject Tests, but not all. Inquire with each college you are considering.||Most weigh SAT or ACT scores, and sometimes SAT Subject Tests. An increasing number of colleges are test optional (see fairtest.org).|
|Decisions||Decisions roll out from February to April, or even later.||Decisions can be rolling or with deadline schools no later than April 1. The uniform reply/deposit deadline is May 1.|