Our Story

Last updated: March 3, 2022

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How It All Started

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

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

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Centralization of University Applications

Having a central location for all Ontario university applications and high school transcripts improved the ability to manage multiple acceptances of offers of admission, standardized 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) establish 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. The applications are called “101” and “105”, 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.
1992 We integrate with Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI), formerly Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ), to receive electronic College of General and Vocational Education (CEGEP) transcripts.
1996 We establish the system for electronically collecting and distributing transcripts, Ontario Universities’ Electronic Transcript System (OUETS). 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.
101, 105 and TEAS applicants are able to select more than 3 active choices simultaneously for the first time.
We integrate with the BC Ministry of Education to receive electronic BC high school transcripts.
1999 OUETS wins the inaugural Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) Best Practices award.
2000 We receive 2,367 applications for the first Ontario Rehabilitation Sciences Programs Application Service (ORPAS) cycle.
2003 All applications are 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 BCcampus to receive electronic transcripts from several BC postsecondary institutions.
2005 INFO Magazine goes online and is renamed “eINFO” (for “electronic INFO”).
OUETS integrates with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), allowing their applicants to have their Ontario university transcripts sent electronically to OCT.
2013 OUETS integrates with eTMS to receive electronic Ontario high school transcripts for 105.
2014 OUETS hub expands to allow both EDI and eXtensible Markup Language (XML) standards for electronic transcripts.
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 become available on the new system.
We start hosting and maintaining the Future Further website, a dedicated resource for Indigenous students interested in, or already attending, an Ontario university.
2019 eINFO is rebranded and renamed “OUInfo” (Ontario Universities’ Info).
We combine the 105F and 105D applications.
We introduce new names and logos for our recruitment activities to provide cohesive branding and clear association with Ontario’s universities.
We introduce a variable transcript fee.
2020 We introduce Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM)/document upload to the 101 and 105 applications.
We include new functionality in our contract applications, such as full amendments, online offers and responses and document upload.
All Ontario universities migrate from flat file to XML distribution files.
We introduce a new call for copy tool for the universities to submit their application information.
2021 Future Further is rebranded and renamed “Ontario Universities’ Indigenous Student Resources”.
OUETS integrates with the Qualifications Evaluation Council of Ontario (QECO), allowing their applicants to have their Ontario university transcripts sent electronically to QECO.
OUETS integrates with MyCredsTM | MesCertifsTM as an official receiving organization for PDF transcripts for OLSAS, OMSAS and ORPAS applicants.
We collaborate with the BC Ministry of Education and EducationPlannerBC to convert receipt of electronic BC high school transcripts to use PESC XML instead of their previous flat file format.
OUETS celebrates its 25th anniversary.

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Interesting Facts

  • Annually, we receive more than 789,000 applications from more than 194,000 individual applicants, compared to our first operating year, when we received 135,361 applications.
  • Between November 1996 and November 2021, the OUETS has processed nearly 3.6 million transcripts, of which more than 2.9 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.

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