Teachers and Counsellors

OCAD University is Canada’s oldest and largest university for art, design and media. We’re a world-famous hub for art, design, digital media, research, innovation and creativity. The stereotypes aren’t true — art and design grads are driving Canada’s new creative economy.

More about OCAD University

We’re located in downtown Toronto next to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Our campus is easily accessible by transit and surrounded by safe, walkable neighbourhoods. From small class sizes to technical support in all of our shops and studios, our students are more than just a number.

More than nine out of ten OCAD U alumni are employed. Our grads work in everything from city planning and advertising to community development, photography and interior design. We survey our grads often and 82 per cent say they were employed six months after graduation. With an OCAD U degree, many graduates go on to complete graduate degrees in fields as diverse as architecture, law and education.

How to identify future art and design students

The stereotype of the pink-haired art student isn’t always true! Our students have incredibly diverse backgrounds and interests. Some students knew they wanted to be artists and designers since childhood and some transfer here from business or engineering programs. Here are a few things to look for to help you identify prospective art and design students to better offer support:

  • A student who is interested in the arts and culture
  • A student who “doesn’t fit in” or “stands out”
  • A student who is creative
  • A student who in unconventional
  • A student who carries around a sketchbook or doodles
  • A student with passion
  • A student who likes to think outside the box
  • A student who likes to be hands-on
  • A student who likes to problem-solve
  • A student who is concerned about their community
  • A student who wants to make the world a better place
  • A student who is sensitive to their own or other’s thoughts or feelings

How to support art and design students

  • Encourage them to participate and be active in the local art community; attend openings, go to artist talks and take studio and writing classes outside of high school.
  • Encourage them to experiment and take many art or design courses in high school, especially ones related to the program they’re interested in.
  • Encourage them to create work and experiment on their own, outside of school. At OCAD U, we assess portfolio submissions the same, whether the work is created in or outside of high school classes.
  • Help them register for a Campus tour of OCAD U.
  • Encourage them to register for a Portfolio Clinic.
  • Encourage them to register for Summer Workshops.
  • Encourage them to register for and attend National Portfolio Day. This is an informal opportunity for students to have their work reviewed by the best art and design schools in North America.
  • Encourage them to drop into the Admissions & Recruitment Office. or email the Admissions & Recruitment Office.
  • Take your class to the Ontario Universities’ Fair (OUF).
  • Take your class to campus for a an on-campus workshop or tour
  • Encourage them to sign up for our e-newsletter.
  • Encourage them to attend Look Inside: OCAD U’s Open House in the fall.
  • Sign up to take your class on a trip to our Graduate Exhibition in May, Toronto’s biggest free art and design exhibition.

How to help students apply to OCAD University

  1. Follow the Guide to Admissions
  2. Choose the program
  3. Apply through the OUAC
  4. Student submits their portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of art or design pieces that demonstrate a student’s experimental, conceptual and process-based ideas. The portfolio also showcases a student’s technical skills. It doesn’t matter if the work is from high school class assignments or work done outside of school. Learn more about the portfolio and check out this video for tips and tricks.
  5. Meet academic requirements, which students should know about before applying. For Ontario high school students the requirements are:
    • Successful completion of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
    • Grade 12 U English (ENG4U or EAE4U) with a minimum final grade of 70 per cent
    • A total of at least six Grade 12 U or M level courses (including ENG4U or EAE4U) with a minimum overall academic average of 70 per cent
    • For students outside Ontario, check out the requirements here

Frequently asked questions

How do students apply to OCAD U?

What makes OCAD U stand out from other Universities?

  • OCAD U offers an experiential learning environment where most of our faculty are working industry professionals and our downtown location gives us easy access to a wide network of industry partners.
  • Our Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers (CEAD) offers over 400 experiential learning placements. OCAD U offers so much more than co-op because creative careers take many forms. Our approach is specialized, and individual to every student’s needs and goals. Students will be able to take advantage of:
    • Short experiential learning placements from among hundreds of organizations
    • Creative in-class projects with real-world industry partners
    • Exclusive summer internships
    • Gallery exhibitions of their work
    • Freelance creative opportunities
    • Jobs after graduation
  • We provide both a creative studio environment and a spaces to think critically and engage in real-world, current issues.
    • The studio environment allows our students to turn their ideas into a reality. Over 18 shops and studios provide tools, machines, technologies and space to build, make and create.
    • Our liberal arts & science courses (like English, Humanities, Social Sciences and Science/Technology/Mathematics) support critical thinking and gives strong foundation for our students to work with and innovate across many different industries.
  • Unlike at most other universities, OCAD U’s student-faculty ratio is kept deliberately low (15:1). Small class sizes connect students closely with their faculty and peers. Many faculty know their students by first name and the same goes for our students.
    OCAD University’s dedicated support services help students build a professional community, valuable experience and skills necessary for a meaningful career.

What kind of portfolio is expected for an application to OCAD U?

  • A portfolio is a collection of art or design pieces that demonstrate a student’s experimental, conceptual and process-based ideas along with his or her technical skills in various mediums.
  • To acquire skills in art, design and media, register for a Portfolio Clinic or Summer Workshops.

What are the academic requirements for an application to OCAD U?

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