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Use Your O- and A-Level Subjects to Your Advantage When You Apply to University or College in Canada (2021 Update)

The application phase of your study abroad journey can be confusing when you’re unsure of the requirements and how to use your current accreditations to your advantage. This is why we’re here to shed light on the application process—specifically on how to use your GCSE O-Level and A-Level results to your benefit. If you’re an international student who has received GCSE O-Level and A-Level results, keep reading to learn how you can use this accreditation to your advantage when you apply to a Canadian college or university.

A key term's chart.

Before you apply, consider the following two questions:

  1. Do you have proof of having completed high school/secondary school, e.g., your high school diploma?
  2. Do you have the specific combination of classes taken in your final two years of study? These are the specific courses required by your post-secondary program of choice. They should be indicated on your student transcripts.

If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, you’re in a good position to be admitted into university or college in Canada. The school you’re applying to will review your transcripts to confirm that you completed the specific courses. These courses are provincially-examinable subjects and the scores you achieved will be used to determine your GPA. Keep in mind that universities and colleges require a certain GPA as part of their admission requirements. You can confirm your eligibility when you apply through ApplyBoard.

Illustration of an application checklist.

As part of the requirements for direct entry into a Canadian college or university, many academic institutions will require that you’ve completed the GCE with at least five O-Level subjects and two A-Level subjects. If you’re a student with AS-Levels, Canadian schools usually require a minimum of four AS-Level subjects in place of the two A-Levels. However, the admission requirements for applicants with GCE O-Level and A-Level credentials can vary greatly by program and institution. Ensure you double-check the specific requirements for the academic institutions and programs that you’re applying to.

Keep in mind that the Canadian secondary school system ends when a student successfully completes Grade 12. O-Levels on their own won’t always qualify you for entry into a Canadian college or university since they’re the equivalent to Canada’s Grade 11. However, it’s important to note that some Canadian programs and institutions accept applicants with only O-Level credentials. Additionally, it’s vital to meet the prerequisite subject requirements, and as mentioned above, it’s crucial to understand the admission criteria of the individual institutions and programs you’re applying to.

An illustration of an application approval.

If you find yourself in this position without A-Level subjects, don’t worry, you have options. You don’t need to stay in your home country to complete a full two-year cycle of A-Levels. With your O-Level subjects, you can receive credit towards Grade 11 and complete one year of remaining equivalent studies before you begin an academic program at a Canadian university or college. Also, some institutions offer accelerated high school completion programs.

Once you have completed your A-Level subjects, you’ll stand at a higher academic level. Depending on the institution, you may even be given transfer credits for your first year of university. It’s important to investigate whether you can advocate for transfer credits. If possible, you’ll save time and money and you won’t have to repeat courses if you’ve already taken the equivalent.

Understanding your options is a critical part of the application process. If you’re still uncertain about your accreditations, reach out to an ApplyBoard Representative for more information.

Ready to start your study abroad journey in Canada? Discover your perfect school and program on ApplyBoard today!