Academic Upgrading

Northern College SlidePosts

  • Students who enter college through academic upgrading do better than others, according to stats from colleges across Ontario, tend to stay in the program they first register in, graduate in greater numbers, and attain higher grades than their colleagues. Use academic upgrading to:

    • Get prerequisites for college programs: communications, math, computer, sciences.
    • Acquire job-specific skills or improve your computer skills.
    • Develop study skills, like note taking and testing. Become a better, more confident learner.


    Upgrading will benefit you if:
    • You have been out of school for some time.
    • A lack of education is holding you back from achieving career or personal goals.
    • You lack senior math or sciences in your high school credits.
    • You lack confidence in your learning skills and/or have little to no computer experience.


    Free and Flexible

    Tuition is free. A small fee may apply for use of texts and a $20 student fee is levied. Begin anytime between September and May. Courses are customized to health, technical, business, human services, or environmental program streams. Timetables are individualized to accommodate work and family needs and you may qualify for transportation and/or childcare support. Take advantage of a good learning environment for mature individuals. Learners must be 19 years old (some exceptions may apply) and able to work independently in a classroom setting.

  • How It Works

    Call the centre nearest you. Arrange for an assessment of your current skill levels in math, communications and computers. Start within two weeks of evaluation (generally). You will work independently on assigned tasks in a large classroom of adults and on computer; you receive one-on-one coaching and feedback. To prepare for a college program, begin your upgrading as early as possible to ensure you are ready in time. Because September is the best time to start upgrading, make your initial contact in June or late August.

    Program Length

    Depends on your needs and goals. Learners needing several subjects can, on average, complete the program within 37 weeks, although some may need more or less time. Programs run for 37 weeks between September and June every year. Summer Session may be available at a site near you, based on enrolment.