Post-Secondary Education

After graduating high school, students may choose to pursue a post-secondary degree. Colleges and universities are part of the post-secondary education system in Ontario.

Although post-secondary education is not free, there is financial support available and there are many benefits to having a post-secondary degree.


Colleges generally offer programs of study that can be applied towards a career. In Ontario, there are 24 colleges of applied arts and technology. They offer full-time and part-time diploma and certificate programs. The programs are generally between 1 and 3 years. Colleges also offer course for pre-trades and apprenticeship training, language training and skills upgrading.

Cornwall is home to one of the three St. Lawrence College campuses, which offers full-time programs in Applied Arts, Business, Health Sciences, Human Studies, Justice Studies and Technology and Trades. They also offer a large number of part-time programs as well as online and continuing education courses.

The Cornwall Career College offers college diplomas in the business, healthcare, and information technology fields as well as over one hundred upgrading courses.


Universities focus on academic and professional programs. All universities offer undergraduate (bachelor) degrees and most offer graduate (master’s and doctorate) degrees.

Undergraduate degrees usually take 3 years to complete. A fourth or “honours” year is usually needed if you want admission into a graduate program. Master’s and doctorate degrees take extra years to complete, depending on the program of study.

Many universities also offer professional programs, such as Medicine, Dentistry and Law.


Colleges and universities have their own admission requirements. You should visit the website of the post-secondary school you are interested in for more informationon how to apply. Most students apply to several different programs and schools and wait for their offer of admission before deciding which school they will be attending.

To apply to a college in Ontario, you must submit your application to the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS). The OCAS can give you information on the application date for the college you are considering. Colleges do not have a final application deadline like universities. Colleges consider all applications that they receive by a certain date together. After this date, they consider applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Please visit the OCAS website for more information:

Applying to any Ontario University must be done through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC). Every University will have an application deadline, and it is important to submit your application before this deadline to be considered. Please visit the OUAC website for more information:


The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a mix of grants and loans for students. Most students who cannot pay for college or university apply for OSAP. Through one OSAP application, you have access to a mix of different financial aid programs, depending on your circumstances. When you graduate, you will have  six months until you have to start repaying back your student debt through monthly payments. After six months, you will be charge interest for borrowing money.

To find more information about OSAP and how to apply, please visit the following website:

Bursaries and Scholarships

Bursaries and scholarships are financial aid that you do not have to pay back. There are many sources of bursaries and scholarships in Ontario, and checking with your college or university to see what financial aid programs they have to offer is a good place to start.

Other Post-Secondary Opportunities in Cornwall

In addition to the St. Lawrence College, Cornwall offers high school graduates two more post-secondary institutions.

St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences

Cornwall’s St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences coordinates research projects that are dedicated to issues such as water quality, water chemistry, freshwater toxicology, biodiversity, and food web dynamics.


NAV CENTRE is owned by NAV CANADA, which offers a variety of high quality Air Traffic Control (ATC) certification programs at the Centre, most notably English as a Second Language in Aviation.