8 Building Blocks: Constructing Your Path through OSSD Requirements

In Ontario, the OSSD (Ontario Secondary School Diploma) is the gold standard for high school education. Whether you’re planning to attend university or college or jump straight into the workforce, this diploma is your ticket to unlocking a world of opportunities.

But what exactly are the requirements for earning an OSSD high school diploma? And how can you make sure that you are on track to achieve it?

In this blog, we will break down the 8 building blocks that make up the OSSD requirements and guide you on your journey to constructing a successful high school career.

  1. Choose a high school that offers OSSD.

The first step in earning an OSSD is to attend a high school that offers this diploma. While most publicly funded schools in Ontario offer the OSSD curriculum, you can also opt for private schools or alternative programs that follow the same requirements.

If you are considering enrolling in a private high school, make sure to research the accreditation and track record of students earning the OSSD. USCA Academy, for example, is a renowned private school that offers an individualized and comprehensive curriculum to meet all OSSD requirements.

  1. Earn 30 credits.

To earn your OSSD, you must complete a total of 30 credits by the end of Grade 12. These credits are divided into mandatory and optional courses, as outlined below:

  • 18 compulsory credits:

These include courses in English, Mathematics, Science, Canadian History, and more.

  • 12 optional credits:

You can choose from a variety of courses in areas like Arts, Business Studies, Health and Physical Education, and more to fulfill the remaining 12 credits.

It is essential to plan your course selection strategically to ensure you have all the required credits by the end of Grade 12. Your guidance counsellor or academic advisor can help you create a personalized plan based on your interests and post-secondary goals.

  1. Choose the right courses. 

As mentioned earlier, selecting the right courses is crucial to earning your OSSD. But it’s not just about fulfilling requirements—it’s also about exploring your interests and setting yourself up for success in post-secondary education.

Questions to consider:

  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • Which subjects am I passionate about?
  • What are my post-secondary goals?
  • Are there any specific courses required for my intended program or career path?
  • Your guidance counsellor can help you answer these questions and select courses that align with your interests and future plans.
  1. Pass the literacy test.

All students in Ontario are required to pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) before graduating from high school. This test assesses reading and writing skills and is usually taken in Grade 10. If you do not pass the OSSLT on your first attempt, you will have multiple opportunities to retake it in subsequent years.

  1. Complete 40 hours of community involvement.

The OSSD also requires students to complete 40 hours of community involvement activities before graduating. These activities can include volunteer work, fundraising events, or any other form of community service. The purpose of this requirement is to encourage students to develop a sense of civic responsibility and contribute to their communities.

  1. Meet the provincial literacy requirement.

In addition to the OSSLT, students also have the option to meet the provincial literacy requirement by completing a Grade 12 English course. This can be particularly beneficial for students who may struggle with standardized testing or have accommodations for learning disabilities.

  1. Maintain at least a 70% average. 

Maintaining at least a 70% average is crucial for securing your OSSD high school diploma. This average is calculated based on your scores in all your courses throughout your high school years.


  • Consistently review your class material, and don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re struggling with a particular subject.
  • Keep track of your grades and always strive for improvement. Remember, every grade counts towards your cumulative average.
  • Take advantage of additional learning resources such as peer tutoring or online courses to boost your grades.
  • Remember that even if you have a few low grades, it is still possible to bring up your average and achieve your OSSD.
  1. Prepare for the transition to Grade 9.

The foundation for earning your OSSD begins in Grade 9. It is essential to start strong, as your grades this year will set the tone for your high school career. Some tips for a smooth transition to high school include:

  • Attend orientation events and opportunities to familiarize yourself with the school and its resources.
  • Develop and adhere to a study timetable, as managing your time effectively is crucial in keeping up good academic performance.
  • Meet your teachers and ask questions if you’re unsure about anything.
  • Join extracurricular activities to make new friends and explore your interests.

Why choose USCA Academy?

Choosing USCA Academy as your educational institution is a decision that will steer your academic journey toward success. This renowned private high school boasts a comprehensive curriculum tailor-made to meet all OSSD requirements. The educators at USCA Academy are dedicated professionals who understand the diverse learning needs of students and work tirelessly to ensure each student achieves their full potential. The Academy’s track record of students securing OSSD is a testament to their commitment to delivering quality education.

At USCA Academy, there is an emphasis on holistic development. Alongside a rigorous academic curriculum, the school encourages involvement in various extracurricular activities. These opportunities help students discover their interests, hone their skills, and develop well-rounded personalities. The school also fosters an inclusive and supportive environment where students can learn, grow, and express themselves freely.

Preparing for the OSSD is a journey, and USCA Academy is committed to making this journey a rewarding one for each student. The Academy provides individualized guidance to help students navigate their course selection, manage their time effectively, and meet all OSSD requirements. Moreover, the Academy offers additional academic resources, such as peer tutoring and online courses, to help students excel in their studies.

Enroll today and experience the USCA Academy advantage!

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