Mature students

Like most universities, Prior Learning Assessment at OCAD University defines a mature student (for application purposes) as being "at least 20 years of age by September 1 of the year of intended enrolment."

Mature students at OCAD U range in age from their mid-twenties to their fifties, sixties and older and will define themselves quite differently!

Experience and challenge

Because the majority of the student body is in their late teens and early 20s, mature students often feel invisible and disconnected because they are thought to be professors or staff.

As a 25+ student, your experience will be different in many ways. You may have returned to school after a number of years away from study, or entering the university system for the first time at a later age. Regardless, you may feel challenged as you try to adjust to the university system:

  • "More" life experience may make it challenging to connect with others.
  • Responsibilities at home (children, partners, aging parents) add pressure.
  • Friends and family may not relate to your new “school life” and may not be as supportive as you would like.
  • Technology and writing skills may require updating.
  • Reduced income-level will require balance between work and school.

On-campus support

Accessing the services available to you will enhance your student experience. You can get encouragement and support through the following:


Main Building: Room 266, Level 2, 100 McCaul Street (MCA)
416-977-6000, Ext. 4022

All students (including mature students) are welcome to seek assistance through the Student Advising Centre any time during their academic year.

Academic advisors will:

  • Provide help, answers, support and advice
  • Assist with course selection and program planning
  • Discuss program requirements
  • Review educational path and identify opportunities
  • Connect students with on-campus resources


Level 5, 230 Richmond St. West (RHB)
416-977-6000, Ext. 275, 4021

  • Transition programming
  • Social, learning and development opportunities
  • Community-building

Did you know that 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity a few times a week can boost your energy, improve concentration, reduce stress and clear your mind for creativity and inspiration? Programming on- or near-campus.

Visit our housing information page.

Each year in September, OCAD University orientation welcomes over 1,000 first-year undergraduate students to the OCAD U community with a variety of engaging and informative workshops, social events and activities at our orientation and welcome, O-DAYS! designed to engage with ALL our new students — including you!


This Campus Life transition program owes its success to the many enthusiastic and keen upper-year students —some of which are mature students themselves—who get involved and volunteer their time to help and welcome new students. As peer mentors, they assist new and first-year students with transition to OCAD U. New mature students are encouraged to sign up and take advantage of the Peer Mentor Program.

This program offers all students the chance to participate in a long-standing tradition at OCAD U: volunteering to help out with university events and activities. Your university experience will be enhanced by increased interaction with other students, faculty and staff through the Student Volunteer Program.

For additional programming information, visit the Campus Life pages.


Find out about OCAD U's Walk Safe Program, photo ID, fire alarms, locker rentals, emergency phones and more. Visit the Campus Security page.


Tours of OCAD U facilities are offered by the Admissions & Recruitment office. (Peer mentors also conduct brief campus tours for new students attending Registration Assistance Days [RAD] in the summer).


The Career Development office at OCAD University is committed to working with all students and new graduates to provide direction, resources and opportunities that will help you to develop the skills and knowledge base required to be successful creative professionals, in any number of contexts and sectors.


Level 6, 230 Richmond St. West (RHB)
416-977-6000, Ext. 260

  • Learning disabilities
  • ADHD/Autism spectrum
  • Medical
  • Psychiatric
  • Mobility
  • Deaf/Hard of hearing
  • Vision

OCAD U complies with accessibility legislation for students with disabilities. The CSD provides services to students (including mature students) with documented disabilities under the above categories. For more information, please visit the CSD pages.


Level 5, 230 Richmond St. West (RHB)
416-977-6000, Ext. 250, 231, 257, 391

  • Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
  • Bursaries
  • Scholarships
  • Awards
  • Opportunities to work on campus

OCAD U ensures that students with financial need (including mature students) have enough funding to meet the direct educational costs of attending university. All students are encouraged to apply for any scholarships, bursaries and awards that are available. For more detailed information, visit Financial Matters.


Level 6, 230 Richmond St. West (RHB)
416-977-6000, Ext. 260

  • Doctor of homeopathic medicine
  • Primary health-care nurse practitioners
  • Clinical counsellors
  • Family physician consultant
  • Health & Dental Plan (family coverage is available)

The Health & Wellness Centre is open to ALL students at OCAD U during the academic year, with modified hours during the summer sessions. For more detailed information, visit the Health & Wellness pages.


Level 5, 230 Richmond St. West (RHB)
416-977-6000, Ext. 3842, 293

  • Mobility/Exchange programs (incoming and outgoing)
  • Immigration and study permits
  • University health insurance plan
  • On- and off-campus employment
  • Student emergency bursary funds
  • Cultural adaptation and inclusion
  • International student leadership

Are you one of over 200 international students studying and taking part in international programs at OCAD U? You have chosen to join an exciting, vibrant and creative community where you will be exposed to many new ideas and experiences in the heart of Toronto, Canada’s art and design hub. Find out what services are available to you as a mature international student by visiting the ISSO pages.


Level 5, 230 Richmond St. West (RHB)
416-977-6000, Ext. 235

The Office of the Registrar provides services to students, teaching faculty, departments, faculties and external agencies in relation to academic records, course timetables, registration, university policies and enrolment reports. View their web pages for more information.


Centre for Innovation in Art and Design Education (CIADE)
Annex Building: Room 510, Level 5, 113 McCaul Street (MCC)
416-977-6000, Ext. 229

  • One-on-one or group tutoring
  • Writing handouts
  • Study groups
  • Online resources

Has it been a few years since you had to do any writing or focus on studies? The Writing & Learning Centre (WLC) offers a number of free services to support students (including mature students) in the areas of writing, critical thinking, critical reading and study skills. Don't be shy. Visit the WLC pages for more information.

Prior learning assessment


Level 1, 230 Richmond St. West (RHB)
416-977-6000, Ext. 308

"Prior Learning Assessment is a method by which a student may, with appropriate evidence and documentation, be able to obtain credit for learning acquired outside of and prior to admission to the University..."

Read more detailed information about Advanced Standing, Articulation Agreements, Transfer of Credit, Course Challenge, Residency Requirements, Special Students and Second Credential.

Submitting Documents: for information about submitting documents such as transcripts, please visit the Admissions & Recruitment FAQ section.

Graduate Studies


Room 520, Level 5, 205 Richmond St. West (RHA)
416-977-6000, Ext. 423

OCAD U has a tradition of nearly 135 years of contemporary thinking and practice in art and design. This now includes graduate degree programs. Visit the Graduate Studies pages for details.

Continuing Studies


285 Dundas St. West (DDA)
416-977-6000, Ext. 2264 or 2266

Please visit the Office of Continuing Studies page for more details.

Off-campus support

Childcare facilities

Child Care Centres
City of Toronto

Kid's Club at St. John's School
780 Kingston Road

Downtown Montessori
(various locations)

University Settlement Recreation Centre (USRC)
23 Grange Road


Community programs

General interest classes can help you upgrade your technology/computer skills before returning to university:

Toronto District School Board Continuing Education


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