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.
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).
|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.|
- 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 January 2021, the OUETS has processed over 3.4 million transcripts, of which more than 2.7 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.