There aren’t nearly as many homeschoolers in Canada as in the United States, but the Canadian homeschool movement is growing in the 21st century just like American homeschooling did in the 20th century.
The Homeschooling in Canada Report, released by the Fraser Institute in 2015, attributes this to more parents wanting to provide individual education to their children, to help kids learn at their own pace, get ahead of the curve, and focus on behavioral problems or special needs, along with the usual faith-based reasons.
According to an article in Durham College’s The Chronicle, “The average annual growth of homeschoolers in the Canadian population is currently five per cent. By contrast, in recent years, public school enrollment has been down by just over two per cent. If these trends continue, more homeschoolers will be applying to colleges and universities in the coming years.”
In Ontario alone, more than 20,000 children are homeschooled, according to the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents (OFTP), and many graduate without an official high school transcript. This leaves some graduates, such as Amy Herron, with unofficial credits that haven’t been approved by the Ontario School Board.
In the past, most colleges and universities didn’t have admissions policies for homeschoolers, and not having a high school transcript made it difficult for homeschoolers to apply. Now, because of the increased awareness of homeschooling, homeschoolers are better able to enroll in most Canadian post-secondary schools. In other words, “You have options!” However, early preparation not only makes the process easier, it’s the key to success.
The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents (OFTP) “recommends that homeschooled students approach one or more universities that they are interested in attending to determine: a) if they accept homeschooled students and b) what are the criteria/policies for acceptance. It is a good idea to do this well in advance so that the homeschooled student has adequate time to ensure that they will meet the admission policy requirements for that university.”
Kim from Homeschooling in Nova Scotia says “If your child is applying to an Ontario college, you need to fill out an OntarioColleges.ca application. When filling it out, select Canadian High School Education from the drop-down list. Then, for the School Name, type “Home”. You will need to mail (they won’t accept an emailed transcript) your child’s homeschool transcript directly to OntarioColleges.ca. And if your child took any courses at an online school, you’ll want to get them to mail a transcript directly as well.”
Below is a list of Canadian universities and colleges that are known to have admitted or are willing to consider admitting homeschooled students, with direct links to their homeschool admissions policies if available. Please note that even if a college or university is not on this list or does not have a specific homeschool admissions policy, they still may have considered and admitted homeschoolers.
Acadia University – This university will consider accepting homeschooled students but do not have a homeschooling admissions policy in place. They prefer to assess students on a case by case basis. They recommend that students take some kind of standardized test such as the SATs.
Algonquin College – If you are over the age of 19, or will be by your program start date, you may apply as a mature student without a High School Diploma, GED or equivalent, and your application will be considered on an individual basis. Algonquin College offers Academic Upgrading courses in English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Computer skills and success strategies. These courses improve your skills before starting in a program and can be used to meet admission requirements.
Athabasca University – Arguably the best open university, attended by many homeschoolers. Athabasca University offers entire degrees by correspondence and on-line learning. They offer over 500 courses and 60 programs at the masters, degree, diploma and certificate level. Students must be 16 years or older to attend but it is possible for homeschoolers who are not yet 16 to gain admission. You are not required to have a Grade 12 Diploma to attend this University.
Brandon University – Students who have been home schooled in Canada or the United States have three options for applying to this university: 1) complete the GED and submit proof of completion; 2) apply as a mature student if you are 21 years of age or older; 3) submit a transcript showing homeschooled grades along with a letter explaining that you have been homeschooled and your reasons for wanting to attend Brandon University. Homeschooled students not registered with the province or state will be considered for admission to Brandon University on an individual basis.
Brock University – “Brock University welcomes applications from home schooled students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. We understand the nature of homeschooling, and the fact that no two applicants will present the same academic preparation. For this reason creating a single admission policy and admissions criteria guidelines can be challenging.”
Canadian Mennonite University – This university offers two options for students who are under 21 years of age and have not, or will not, receive a certificate of graduation through a public or an accredited private secondary school system. Homeschooled students who are 21 years of age or older may be considered for admission as Mature Students.
Carleton University – Homeschooled students applying to Carleton are required to provide official evidence of academic achievement in secondary education, and they offer several ways to do this.
Centennial College – Centennial College was Ontario’s first community college. If you do not have an Ontario Secondary Diploma (OSSD) or an OSSD Equivalency, but are 19 years of age or older, you may be eligible to apply as a mature applicant. You must submit any credits, courses and minimum grades to satisfy the specific academic prerequisites for each program, as well as portfolios, auditions, writing samples, math tests, interviews, or attending on-campus admission sessions if necessary. For many programs, you can meet the English and mathematic academic requirements by taking a skills assessment.
Concordia University College of Edmonton – “With its small campus environment, Concordia University of Edmonton is a warm, inviting, closely knit community. Here, you will develop and grow, not only in terms of your education, but in terms of self-awareness, self-confidence, independence and responsibility. You’ll interact with your professors, who will get to know your strengths and be able to help and advise you in your studies. You’ll find and foster new interests and passions, experimenting with and challenging your own creativity and talents. Best of all, there are numerous ways to get involved around campus, enabling you to make friends and build relationships wherever you go.” Concordia University of Edmonton considers applications from home-schooled and home-educated applicants. All applicants are assessed on an individual basis and are treated on their own merits. Please visit the current academic calendar, section 3.2.2 to learn more about home schooled admission.
Durham College – Homeschoolers are widely accepted by Durham College, and such applicants are considered on an individual basis. You will be required to complete the prerequisite subject credit(s) and submit your successful grades for use in the admissions selection process. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) provides a way to formally recognize previous work, life, volunteer, or other experiences relevant to your Durham College program if you think you may have required course knowledge to be evaluated by the course subject-matter expert. Types of evaluation may include exams, assignments, portfolios, etc.
Grande Prairie Regional College – Have you applied for post-secondary and been denied? Don’t have the high-school grades? “Our Academic Upgrading Department can help you earn the high school prerequisites you need to enter apprenticeship programs, and college-level or university courses on a full-time or part-time basis. We offer pre-high school and high school equivalency courses and GED testing that can help you start to move ahead with your post-secondary education. You must be 18 years of age or older in the semester in which you plan to attend the program.”
McGill University – McGill University will consider applications from home-schooled applicants; each case will be treated on its own merits. As a home-schooled candidate, you must provide McGill University with a description of the home-schooling curriculum followed and measures of your academic acquisition in the program. Consult the pre-application to-do list to verify the supporting documentation you’ll need as a home-schooled applicant.
McMaster University – Home schooled applicants who, in addition to their home schooling experience, have completed six Grade 12 U/M courses at approved Ministry Inspected Schools or equivalent courses from another recognized academic jurisdiction may be considered for their program of choice providing they present the appropriate prerequisite courses on official transcripts from accredited schools and meet the required admission average. All other home schooled applicants may apply for admission to Humanities I or Social Sciences I only. On the Admission page, select the options “Not currently attending Secondary School” and “Home Schooled Applicants.”
Memorial University – Memorial University welcomes home-schooled applicants. Each application is evaluated on an individual basis. Homeschooled students are required to submit CAT or SAT scores, a personal statement, a letter of academic reference, and transcripts for any university courses taken.
Nipissing University – Nipissing does not have an official homeschool admission policy, but they do offer “Exceptions to Normal Admission Requirements” for applicants who, in its opinion, deserve special consideration. According to Andrea Robinson, Associate Registrar of Admissions, “Nipissing welcomes inquiries from home-schooled students and we assess each applicant on an individual basis. We have had great experience with the small number of home-schooled students who have shown an interest in Nipissing in the past.”
Quest University – Quest University is unlike any other school in Canada. One key distinctive is its implementation of the Block Plan, which allows for an unparalleled depth of learning. Each block is equal to one class taken during a traditional semester, to fully engage with the subject area. “Students with non-traditional school backgrounds are welcome at Quest. If your education was outside the conventional public or private systems, you’re probably used to exploring topics and working independently. Students like you often feel right at home at Quest. With classes capped at 20 students, you’ll study closely with your professors (we call them Tutors to reflect the collaborative nature of learning at Quest), whom you’ll get to know on a first-name basis. Guided by your faculty advisor and, later, your mentor, you’ll shape your own academic journey.” In the absence of a high school transcript they accept evaluations, GED, SAT/ACT scores, letters of recommendation, a resume, a reading list, published works, and/or a portfolio.
Redeemer University College – As a homeschool student, Redeemer realizes that your unique education requires a more specialized approach during the application process. The will accept submission of a Self-Recorded Homeschool Transcript (which you can download here). This document will then stand in place of an official secondary school transcript. Homeschool students also will need a minimum CLT score of 58, ACT score of 19, or SAT score of 980.
Sault College – If you are 19 years of age or older by the first day of college and have not graduated from high school, you can pay $25 to write the Canadian Academic Achievement Test (CAAT) for Math and/or English requirements only or you can take Academic Upgrading for free to get your high school equivalency for any of the Sault college programs.
Sheridan College – You’ll need to complete your Ontario Secondary School Diploma or at least two semesters of postsecondary studies (and meet the program-specific admission requirements) before applying to a degree program. Applicants whose transcripts indicate that they do not meet eligibility requirements are asked to provide more information. There are no tests you can take to meet the degree admission requirements.
St. Stephen’s University – This university “warmly welcomes applications from homeschoolers” and will evaluate these applications on a case by case basis. As Canada’s smallest university, “St. Stephen’s small size infused my education with a creative freedom and individualized direction that I wouldn’t have been able to get elsewhere. My professors knew me and my passions personally, and worked with me to ensure my degree was both rich and practical— whether through outside-the-box assignments, or through connections and opportunities fostered outside the classroom.” ~Hayley Vanlderstine BA 2019
Thompson Rivers University – Most of the online and distance learning programs have open admission, but there are exceptions. Some programs may accept students without high school graduation under mature student status. In addition, Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) allows you to earn academic credits for knowledge, training and skills gained through life experience. Volunteer and paid work, industry-based training, professional development workshops and seminars, Continuing Studies courses and private study can all be considered in an assessment.
Trent University – Trent University is committed to alternative forms of education. Students who have been home schooled or have attended a secondary school not accredited by the Provincial or State Ministry of Education should apply using the same application process as other students and provide a portfolio.
Trinity Western University – Canada’s largest Christian university, providing undergraduate, graduate and adult programs in the arts, sciences, and professions. Recognized for quality, TWU is consistently ranked among the top two universities in Canada by the National Survey of Student Engagement, holds three Canada Research Chairs, wins National Championships in USports, and emphasizes experiential learning to prepare graduates to make a global impact.
University of Alberta – As a Top 5 Canadian university and one of the top 150 in the world, admission to all undergraduate programs at the University of Alberta is competitive and subject to availability of space. Homeschooled students must complete Alberta Diploma exams in a minimum of 5 subject areas or they can complete the SATII in 5 subject areas. Their admission to the University will be determined based on the exam results.
University of British Columbia – “Applicants completing their secondary school education through home study may be eligible for admission. Applicants will be considered on an individual basis and may be expected to present a recognized academic secondary school credential. Homeschooled applicants are encouraged to contact a program advisor prior to applying for admission.”
University of Calgary – Calgary is a top research university in Canada. “Home-schooled applicants can qualify for admission by presenting provincial (diploma) examination results in appropriate courses (where applicable) or by completing the appropriate SAT subject tests, AP or IB courses in required high school courses as detailed in A.5.1.1 Admission Requirements.”
University of Guelph – Admission to all programs is competitive, and admission decisions are based on academic performance. Please note that the University of Guelph does not provide individual educational assessments for home schooled applicants.
University of King’s College – The University of King’s College, Canada’s oldest chartered university, is a tightly-knit and extraordinarily lively academic community located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Click here for admission requirements and choose “home learner.”
University of New Brunswick – Minimum requirements for homeschoolers for admission to UNB include: a letter, transcript, course descriptions, a score of at least 1100 on the SAT, and possibly an SAT Subject Test or AP test, depending on the program.
University of Ontario Institute of Technology – The University of Ontario Institute of Technology, corporately branded as Ontario Tech University or Ontario Tech, is a public research university located in Oshawa, Ontario. Joe Stokes, an associate registrar at UOIT says the university has been accepting homeschool students since the school opened in 2002, but there are certain requirements homeschoolers must meet. “When you are looking at a program, like engineering, we need to make sure your math and science is up to caliber to set you up for success.” He says the school reviews transcripts outside of the traditional Ontario secondary schools, even parent written transcripts, but it usually comes down to the applicant taking SATs to prove they understand the content. “We review them but because there is such a variety of curriculum out there and they vary from delivery mode to delivery mode, we also ask for a test.”
University of Ottawa – “We evaluate home-schooled applicants on an individual basis. Home-schoolers applying without a high school diploma will have to present alternative credentials for admission. Home-school applicants do not require the usual six 4U- or 4M-level courses that are associated with the Ontario high school diploma or equivalent.”
University of Saskatchewan – As a home-based learner, you can apply for admission to any college at the University of Saskatchewan that accepts applicants directly from high school if you show that you meet the prerequisite requirements of your college of choice. “Because each home-based learner’s experience may be unique, we consider each application for admission on a case-by-case basis to ensure we can be as fair as possible.”
University of Toronto – U of T considers home-schooled applicants. Choose “Home School” on the drop-down menu to find out what your application should include.
University of Victoria – “We welcome applications from home-schooled students.” To be eligible you must: 1) show proof that you completed a program that meets graduation requirements from a recognized educational curriculum; 2) write any provincial examinations (or equivalents) required by your curriculum; 3) meet the high school admission requirements for your intended program of study.
University of Waterloo – “All home-schooled applicants submit their applications through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre website using the OUAC 105 form. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all supporting documents, including transcripts with mid-term or predicted grades, are submitted by the stated deadlines. We require a detailed outline of your home-school curriculum.” This may include an overview of the curriculum, textbooks used, learning objectives, grading scale, course descriptions, grades given (either as a percentage or a letter grade), supporting letters of recommendation, and a letter from the educator confirming what grade level has been achieved.
University of Winnipeg – They accept applications from students who have been homeschooled, and can provide a portfolio with proof of completion of grade 12 or equivalent including Mathematics and English.
Western University – Previously known as the University of Western Ontario (UWO), the university is now known as Western University. As a homeschool student, you apply to Western using the 105 Application. Homeschooled applicants are evaluated for admission on an individual basis. Because your schooling is so unique, use your portfolio to give a well-rounded and comprehensive picture of who you are and your goals.
Wilfrid Laurier University – If you do not currently attend an Ontario high school, you apply using the 105 application. You can strengthen your application by submitting extracurricular involvement and personal achievements. If circumstances have impacted your ability to achieve a strong academic standing, you may submit a personal statement.
York University – For admission requirements, click on “I am a high school student,” then “I have never studied in a formal academic high-school environment.”
Only about half of the colleges and universities have web pages that outline the school’s requirements for homeschool admissions. As homeschooling increases in popularity, more homeschool graduates will be seeking admittance to college or university. Increasing the amount of information available for homeschoolers will help these students better navigate the journey through post-secondary education.