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Post Secondary

Apply for Post-Secondary Education

Different colleges and universities require different credentials and experiences to be accepted into their programs. Colleges and universities require students to have completed a secondary school diploma (high school diploma) or equivalent (such as a general education diploma). Schools set entrance requirements for their programs. Some programs may only require a secondary school diploma, while others may require that you complete specific subjects and level of courses while in secondary school. It is important to research the entrance requirements carefully before you apply. To learn more, contact the Office of Registrar (also referred to as the “Registrar’s Office” or “Admissions Office”) at the school you wish to attend.

If you earned your academic credentials outside of Canada, they are often referred to as “international credentials” or “foreign credentials.” To enrol in an Ontario post-secondary school, you may be required to have your international academic credentials evaluated.  To learn more about evaluating your credentials for education purposes, visit the Academic Credentials to Study at a Post-Secondary School section. It is important that you contact the school you wish to attend before you have your credentials evaluated to ensure that you fully understand the school’s requirements.

Students who are currently enrolled in secondary school can also speak with their school’s guidance counsellor to learn more about the academic requirements for post-secondary school.

If your first language is not English, and you wish to attend an English speaking post-secondary school, you may be required to take an English language test to study in college or university.  There is usually a fee for these tests. Each educational institution will set a minimum score you are required to obtain in order to be accepted into their program. Before you take an English language assessment test, first check with the school you wish to attend. Each school may have a different process for you to complete the test.

To learn more, contact the Office of Registrar (also referred to as the “Registrar’s Office” or “Admissions Office”) at the school you wish to attend.

If you are interested in attending a post-secondary institution but do not have academic or language requirements, there are resources in Simcoe County that can support you. There are programs to help you improve your English and French language skills as well as academic upgrading. Academic upgrading refers to programs and services that can help you improve your literacy skills, earn a secondary school diploma / equivalency certificate or prepare for your college entrance tests. To learn more, see the Academic Upgrading for Adults section.​

Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) processes applications for public colleges in Ontario. Through this service you can apply to any public college in Ontario. To learn more about applying to college, visit: and

Common Post-Secondary Education Terms

There are many terms used to describe different aspects of post-secondary education. Some important terms to know are listed below:

Distance education is often described as “self-directed” learning. Distance education courses / programs mean that students do not attend classes on campus. The work is completed from their own home. Students may have a textbook, but a fair amount of the material is provided electronically and work is submitted through mail, email or an online system. You do not have face-to-face interactions with other students or your professors. This type of learning requires discipline and self-motivation.

The flexible schedule of distance education means you may be able to continue working while studying.  Distance education programs and courses may be able to help you upgrade your skills or change careers while still working.

A mature student refers to someone who has been out of high school for at least one year when they apply to enrol in a college or university.  The evaluation process is different for mature students than for students who apply right out of high school. The application process for mature students takes in to account the many life lessons adults have had.​

A course calendar is a detailed description of the different courses offered at a university or college.  It outlines the different types of courses a student is required to complete in order to obtain their certificate, diploma or degree. You can get a course calendar directly from the school you are interested in.  They are often available on the school’s website. Your local library will also have copies of course calendars.

Student’s course loads are either described as “full-time” or “part-time.” Studying full-time allows you to finish the program requirements at a faster pace. Studying part-time offers more flexibility to balance your studies with other life priorities, such as work and family.​

Different Types of Education Available

There are different types of post-secondary education. For example, you can attend: college, university, continuing education, apprenticeships, and private career colleges. Below is a brief description of some of the different types of education available in Simcoe County. The tuition fee requirement for each of these educational pathways varies greatly.

College and university mean different things in different countries. In Canada, colleges and universities offer different types of programs and require different amounts of time to complete. In Simcoe County, there are two colleges and two universities: Georgian College, Collège Boréal, Lakehead University, and Laurentian University.

Colleges grant certificates or diplomas to students who have completed their studies. If you study full-time, a certificate program may take approximately one year to complete and a diploma may take two to three years. Some colleges offer bachelor degrees in applied areas of study. Generally, colleges provide career-focused programs. Teaching methods at colleges is often described as “hands-on training.”

To learn more about colleges in Ontario visit

To learn more about the colleges in Simcoe County, contact:

The information listed below was provided by 211 Community Connection.

Colleges in Simcoe County
Georgian College Address:
1 Georgian Dr
Barrie, ON L4M 3X9
Phone: 705-728-1968
Collège Boréal of Applied Arts and Technology
French community college
136 Bayfield, Suite 100-101
Barrie, ON L4M 3B1
Phone: 705-737-9088
Toll Free: 1-800-361-6673


Universities grant degrees to students who have completed their studies. From a university you can obtain an undergraduate degree (bachelor’s degree), graduate degree (Master’s degree) or post-doctorate degree (PhD). Universities tend to have a more traditional style of teaching, which often includes lectures and focus on academic programs. If you study full-time, an undergraduate degree may take three to four years. A Master’s degree may require approximately two additional years after completing a bachelor’s degree, and a post-graduate degree may take five more years after finishing a Master’s degree.

For a list of universities in Ontario, and a link to each of their websites, visit the Ontario Universities Application Centre’s website,

To learn more about the universities in Simcoe County, contact:

The information listed below was provided by 211 Community Connection.

​ Universities in Simcoe County​
Lakehead University, Orillia Campus Address:
500 University Ave
Orillia, ON L3V 0B9Phone: 705-330-4008

Continuing education refers to courses designed to help develop knowledge in a specific area of interest; for example, you can take courses in photography or automotive business. Continuing education courses may be offered through local school boards, colleges or universities. You may receive a certificate at the end of a course or series of courses; however, these sources do not lead towards a diploma or degree. Continuing education courses are an opportunity to upgrade your skills and knowledge in a particular area of interest. Continuing education courses do not always require students to have completed a secondary school diploma or equivalent diploma.

Your local libraries can also help you to find information about continuing education opportunities in your community.

Apprenticeships are workplace-based training programs. They are an opportunity for you to learn a skilled trade while working. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with classroom learning.  The majority of apprenticeship training takes place in the workplace, under the direction of experienced skilled tradespeople. The classroom training usually takes place at a college.

There are many apprenticeship programs available. In order to work in a certified profession you are required to complete an apprenticeship (see Regulated and Unregulated Professions for more information on certified professions). This includes professions like automotive service technician, plumbing, electrician, and hairstylist. Apprentices become skilled workers once they have acquired the knowledge and skills in a trade or occupation and are certified by a provincial or territorial authority. There are also apprenticeships available for non-certified professions. Skilled workers from other countries may write challenge exams to assess their level of Canadian credentials.

To learn more about apprenticeship programs, contact:

The information listed below was provided by 211 Community Connection.

Georgian College, Robbert Hartog Midland Campus., Apprenticeship​ Address:
649 Prospect Blvd
Midland, ON Phone: 705-526-3666
Employment Ontario: Apprenticeship Office, Barrie Regional Office​ Phone: 705-737-1431
Toll Free: 1-800-560-3821

Private career colleges focus on preparing students for employment in a specific trade or occupation, such as a legal assistance or human resources. Many private career colleges provide flexible schedules, allowing you to take courses while continuing to work.

If you are taking these courses because you want to be employed in a particular field, you will want to do your research carefully and understand how your potential employer views this type of education. In Ontario, private career colleges are required by law to be registered and must have their programs approved by the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges. To search for a registered private career college, visit the Service Ontario’s Private Career College Search Service.

Financial Assistance

​Post-secondary education can be expensive. Universities and public colleges are partially funded through taxpayers’ money; however, there is still a large cost to the student attending the school.  Some students are eligible for financial assistance to help pay for their studies. Common types of financial assistance include scholarships, bursaries, grants and loans.

To learn more about these options, visit the Financial Aid Office at the school you are enrolled in or interested in attending.

Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

Ontario Student Assistance Program (commonly referred to as OSAP) is a student loan program for students who are residents of Ontario. Students are expected to pay this money back after they finish school. There are very detailed requirements to be eligible to receive a student loan from OSAP. To learn more about the eligibility criteria and deadlines to apply, visit your school’s Financial Aid Office or the OSAP website​.