Our Story

How It All Started

Before the OUAC was developed, students applied directly to individual universities and replied to offers of admission as received. Inevitably, some universities had to cope with a surplus of registrations and others suffered from “no shows”; students had to cope with an uncoordinated, multi-application environment.

With the significant growth in the demand for postsecondary studies in Ontario came the desire to improve the enrollment management and planning process. Thus, with the provincial government’s encouragement and support, the OUAC was born.

University Applications All in One Place

Having a central location for all Ontario university applications and high school transcripts improved the ability to manage multiple acceptances of offers of admission, normalized data entry and helped to significantly reduce duplication and cost in processing multiple applications. A central location also made the application process easier for applicants by providing 1 place for them to go.

The benefits of a consolidated service were quickly realized and resulted in centralized admission processing for many of Ontario’s professional programs (e.g., medical school, teacher education programs, law school, and rehabilitation sciences programs).

Historical Timeline
1963 The Committee of Presidents of the Universities of Ontario (later to become the Council of Ontario Universities, or COU) investigates the possibility of universities co-operating in the application process.
1964 The COU writes and approves a report on the establishment of an “application processing centre”.
1971 The COU and the Ontario Universities’ Council on Admissions (OUCA) founds the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC). Partial operation begins in August.
1972 We process 135,361 first-year undergraduate applications during our first application cycle. They are called “101” and “105” applications, based on the form numbers assigned by the printing company.
1975 We receive 11,006 applications for the first Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS) cycle.
1979 We receive 11,855 applications for the first Teacher Education Application Service (TEAS) cycle.
1991 We agree to help produce and distribute INFO Magazine, a comprehensive guide to the university application process for guidance counsellors and students.
1996 The system for electronically collecting and distributing transcripts, Ontario Universities’ Electronic Transcript System (OUETS), is established. We centrally gather and manage 13,881 requests for Ontario university transcripts from 105 and TEAS applicants.
We begin processing graduate study applications.
1997 The first Ontario Universities’ Fair (OUF) is held with 30,000 attendees.
We receive 11,961 applications for the first Ontario Law School Application Service (OLSAS) cycle.
1998 We introduce our first online application, the “105F”, for international undergraduate applicants.
Applicants in 101, 105 and TEAS can have more than 3 active choices simultaneously for the first time.
1999 OUETS wins the inaugural Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) Best Practices award.
2000 We receive 2,367 applications for the first Ontario Rehabilitation Science Programs Application Service (ORPAS) cycle.
 2003 All applications are now offered online.
The province of Ontario drops Grade 13 (OAC). As a result, during the “double cohort” year in which both Grade 12 and Grade 13 graduates are entering postsecondary schools, we receive 86,000 applications online in just 60 days.
2004 OUETS integrates with OCAS, allowing Ontario’s universities and colleges to exchange electronic transcripts.
OUETS integrates with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), allowing their applicants to have their Ontario university transcripts sent electronically to OCT.
2005 INFO Magazine goes online and is renamed “eINFO” (for “electronic INFO”).
2016 We introduce our modernized Application Management System (AMS).
2017 Referees for professional division applications can submit their references for the first time using the all new online Confidential Assessment/Reference forms. We receive just over 36,000 documents online.
Applicants can now link their OUAC and OSAP applications.
2018 We migrate the OMSAS application to the AMS platform. All applications are now available on the new system.
We start hosting and maintaining the Future Further website, a dedicated resource for Aboriginal/Indigenous students interested in, or already attending, an Ontario university.

Interesting Facts

  • Annually, we receive more than 750,000 applications from more than 185,000 individual applicants, compared to our first operating year, when we received 135,361 applications.
  • We have processed 1.7 million electronic transcript requests since 1997. As of November 2018, we have processed nearly 2.8 million transcripts, of which more than 2 million were processed completely electronically!
  • Before the OUAC had computers and data terminals on-site, punch cards were used to automate the undergraduate application process. An IBM key punch machine read the card, processed it and printed out a paper report.
  • We use biodegradable poly mailers for big documents as part of our environmentally friendly initiatives. These are large, plastic envelopes that contain an additive that allows them to biodegrade after 2 years in a landfill, thereby reducing the burden of persistent plastics in the environment.