Indigenous Student Success

Indigenous Student Support

Boozhoo, She:kon, Tunngasugit, Tawnshi, Kwe, Welcome!


Many roads lead to success. We value the varied experiences that brought you to York. We look forward to supporting your discovery of the opportunities a degree can offer, empowering you to create positive change as you reach your career and life goals.

Are you thinking of applying to York as an Indigenous applicant?

Join a diverse and welcoming community at York

We are committed to supporting your success through our Indigenous-focused programs and course content, financial awards and the Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS). We also have a dedicated Indigenous Recruitment Officer to guide you through the admissions process.

Get Started: View admission requirements, deadlines and financial aid opportunities for Indigenous students.

Community and Connection with CISS 

The Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS) offers:

  • Indigenous Sharing Circle: A student-driven community that offers a space for Indigenous learners to co-create, co-develop and sustain an environment of peer leaders. Meet members one-on-one or in group settings.
  • Elder-on-Campus Program: Share in Indigenous knowledge and teachings with traditional Knowledge Keeper Amy Desjarlais (Ojibway/Potawatomi). Sessions include sharing circles and one-on-one counselling. 
  • Cultural Workshops: Facilitated by Indigenous artists, you will learn how to make ribbon skirts, moccasins, gauntlet mittens, hand drums and beading. 


Indigenous Council

The Indigenous Council of York University advocates for Indigenous students to facilitate greater access, input and opportunities. Students, faculty, staff and members of broader Indigenous communities and agencies in the Greater Toronto Area make up the Council. Together, they oversee the educational requirements and provision of services that meet the various needs of Indigenous students.

As well, the Council offers guidance as the York community moves forward with ever-greater inclusion and understanding of Indigenous Peoples and their perspectives and concerns.  

Indigeneity at York

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Centre for Indigenous Student Services

The Centre for Indigenous Student  Services (CISS) strives to create a sense of belonging for Indigenous students and support your academic, spiritual, physical and emotional well-being. The knowledgeable team of Indigenous staff at CISS provide culturally appropriate support services and opportunities to reclaim, enhance knowledge of, and celebrate your Indigenous identity. 

Visit CISS Website

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An Inclusive Framework

“The Indigenous Framework for York University: A Guide to Action” builds on  our distinct values, traditions, history and vision. It addresses our University Academic Plan (UAP) and calls for a pan-University Indigenous Strategy. 

View Indigenous Framework

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Skennen’kó:wa Gamig House

Skennen’kó:wa Gamig, a renovated log cabin, Tipi and Sweat Lodge, provides a dedicated community space to gather, learn, support and share teachings. Indigenous community members use Gamig for studying, hosting events and cultural reclamation.

View on Map

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Indigenous Students Association at York

The Indigenous Students' Association at York (ISAY) is a student run group under the York Federation of Students. ISAY's mandate is to advocate for Indigenous students, create cultural programming, social events and community outreach. ISAY has hosted events like Rattle Making, Metis Culture Workshop, Inuit Storytelling, First Nations Teachings, Afro-Indigenous Open Mic Night, 2S Sharing Circle, MMIW Pin Bead Workshop and more.

How To Apply

1. Decide which program you're interested in.

Use our Program Search to explore a variety of degree options with innovative course design and hands-on learning opportunities. Once you have selected your program(s) of interest, take note of details including how and when it is offered, career paths it may provide, and the courses you can expect to take. 

2. Review admission requirements.

First, identify the general requirements for admission to York, according to whether you are a high school, mature or transfer student. Next, review admission requirements for your program of interest. This may require additional prerequisite courses, minimum grades and/or a supplementary application component like a video interview, audition or portfolio review. 

Consider Self-Identifying as Indigenous (Optional)

If you are Indigenous, you may choose to self-identify (declare) so in the personal details section of your application. Should you choose to self-identify after you have applied, please contact with Randy Pitawanakwat at Learn more about the benefits of self-identifying as an Indigenous applicant below.

Learn More

3. Submit your application

Submit your application through the York University application form, or through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) at:

  • if you are an Ontario high-school student; or
  • if you are applying from outside of Ontario

Learn more about which application form to use.

Once received, we will contact you via e-mail and grant you access to view updates about your application using our online platform, MyFile.

4. Submit required documents

Once you receive access to your MyFile account, you can submit and/or upload required documents to our system. These may include official transcripts, language proficiency requirements, a supplementary application and course descriptions to be asssessed for transfer credit. 

Consider providing additional information (optional)

As a self-identified Indigenous student, you have the option to complete the Indigenous Applicant Additional Information form. Completing the form is voluntary. This form provides an opportunity for you to explain more about yourself for the admissions committee when reviewing your application. If your grade point average (GPA) falls below the required minimum, we strongly encourage you to pursue this option. 

Fill out the Indigenous Applicant Additional Information Form

Resources for Indigenous Applicants

Each person’s pathway to university, and their own personal success, is unique. At York, we recognize each student’s needs and support your transition from high school, college or employment to York. The traditional pathway is from high school to university, but there are others available too.

High School to College to University

If you are a high-school student and need to upgrade academically or want to consider an alternative to four full-time years of university study, consider attending college before applying to York. We have a number of partnerships established with Ontario Colleges.

College to University

To transfer from college to university, make sure you have completed at least two full semesters at an accredited college (completed diploma preferred). York requires a minimum overall average of 3.0 on a 4-point scale (B/70 per cent or equivalent), but some programs require a higher average.

Remember that all attempted college courses will be included in the calculation of your cumulative grade point average. You could receive transfer credit for courses you have already completed. 

Mature Students

York reviews mature student applications on an individual basis. Our application process recognizes the value of professional experience, which is why our admission requirements for a mature student application extend beyond academic achievement. We take into consideration life experiences, previous study, cultural knowledge and educational goals. We’ll also review your work, volunteer and community participation and professional accomplishments. Learn More

Self-identifying as an Indigenous person is beneficial for the following reasons:

  1. You will be put in contact with the Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS) and learn about the various support services, workshops and programming we offer to self-identified Indigenous students.
  2. You will be notified of scholarships, bursaries and funding opportunities for Indigenous students and be eligible to apply for them.
  3. You will have access to events of interest to Indigenous students and have the opportunity to connect with the Indigenous Students Association at York, the Indigenous Students Association at Glendon and the Osgoode Indigenous Students Association.
  4. You will be able to submit an Indigenous Applicant Additional Information in support of your application if you wish. The Indigenous Recruitment Officer will be able to check in on your application and advocate on your behalf.
  5. Data on self-identification supports internal and external reporting at CISS and informs future programming and initiatives.

As a self-identified Indigenous student, you have the option to complete the Additional Information Form for Indigenous Applicants. Completing the form is voluntary. This form provides an opportunity for you to explain more about yourself for the admissions committee when reviewing your application. Should your grade point average (GPA) fall below the required minimum, it is strongly encouraged that you pursue this option. Admission requirements and GPA ranges are available for review at

Completing this form does not guarantee an offer of admission to York University or your program of choice; however, it will provide the admissions committee a more holistic view of your background and application.

The questions on the form provide a way to do the following:

  • Introduce yourself and tell us about your background.
  • Express your interest in studying at York University and your future career goals.
  • Discuss any leadership and/or community engagement opportunities you have been involved in and will support your success at York. This may include volunteering, professional development or personal interests. You may list any extra-curricular and/or community activities or accomplishments in which you are involved (if applicable).
  • Provide a summary of your skills and strengths that will equip you to do well at York.
  • Share any social or personal barriers to academic success that you may have experienced. Please discuss how these have impacted your pathway to university and how you have or are currently trying to overcome them.

By completing and submitting this form you are self-identifying as an Indigenous person* and requesting that your additional information be considered as part of your admissions assessment.

Proceed to the form

Should you have any questions please contact Randy Pitawanakwat, Manager, Indigenous Student Services, at Your statements will be kept private and confidential and will be seen only by the admissions assessment team and staff in the Centre for Indigenous Student Services to support your application.

We encourage you to visit the Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS) to meet some of the staff and some community members and use the services available to you as an Indigenous student. Should you wish to learn more about the supports and services we offer you can visit the Centre's website. You can also further review admission requirements for Indigenous students. You can also view our video.

We welcome your interest in York University and look forward to working with you.

"Indigenous Perspectives: Finding Your Community" is a module designed for incoming Indigenous students to York University. In this series of videos, you will hear students' honest and personal stories, which are shared to provide support for your successful transition into your first year of university study.

In addition to gaining confidence through finding and developing your personal support system, you will learn how the faculty, academic services and the Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS) are here to help you succeed on your path to graduating, by providing access to academic and peer support, mentoring, information for Indigenous-led workshops and events and more. 

Learn more by visiting the Customized Supports section of the YU Prep webpage.

If you self-identify as an Indigenous person, please indicate this in your application, whether through our website or through the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC).

If you would like to self-identify as Indigenous after you apply, please contact Randy Pitawanakwat, Manager, Indigenous Student Services, at

Please note: We do not require a photocopy or proof of Indian Status cards, Métis cards or any other government documentation indicating Indigenous lineage. We shred and discard photocopies of such documents. We return to you any original documents.

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Ready to Get Started?

View information for prospective Indigenous students.

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Find Us

Centre for Indigenous Student Services
246 York Lanes
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON
M3J 1P3

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