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What does a student need to graduate from high school?

Students need to complete a certain number of courses, do community service hours, and pass a literacy test.

To graduate from high school and receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) students must:

  • Earn 30 credits - 18 credits are compulsory. This means that students must take these 18 courses from a list of required subjects. The remaining 12 credits are optional. Students choose their optional courses from the full range of courses that their school offers.
  • Pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) or Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC).
  • Complete 40 hours of community involvement (volunteer work).

The high school program is based on a credit system. Students get 1 credit for every 110-hour course successfully completed.

Although students may take 8 credits per year and complete secondary school in four years, many students take a fifth year or an additional semester. Extending their studies this way allows them to take fewer courses each year (or explore their interest in other school subjects.) Some students take more courses than necessary or take courses during the summer and finish faster.

Get more information about high school graduation requirements.

Many community agencies can help you find information about school for your children. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

For More Information

  • Student Success Program - This brochure has information about special programs for high school students in Ontario. The programs are designed to help students succeed and graduate. You can get it in more than 20 languages. From the Ministry of Education.
  • High School Courses and Choices - This tip sheet will help you prepare your child for secondary school. You can get it in more than 10 languages.
  • Local School Boards - A list of local school boards across Ontario.
  • Newcomer Reception Centres for Schools - A list of school newcomer reception centres where students get assessed before starting school and parents can get information.
  • Preschool, Elementary and Secondary School - This page has links to information about preschool (child care), elementary school and high school.
  • Homework Help – Homework Help is a free online math tutoring service for Ontario students in grades 7-10 and their parents.  From TVO.
Last Updated: May 20, 2010
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