How to Apply to Ontario Universities

By University of Waterloo Modified on January 03, 2020

A brief guide to navigating OUAC and submitting your applications.

A prospective international student prepares her OUAC 105 application for Ontario universities like the University of Waterloo.

All Ontario universities process their applications through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC). Ontario high school students apply using the OUAC 101 application, and all non-Ontario high school students apply using the OUAC 105 application.

Step 1: Research and learn

Where do you want to apply? To get a good idea, check out university websites and publications (for example, some universities, like the University of Waterloo, have online brochures you can download). You'd be amazed at the amount of information you can learn through university websites!

Browse offered programs. If you know what you're interested in, great! Look at who offers it. If you don't quite know yet, fear not. You're not alone, and you can easily get some tips to help you find what you'd like to do.

Record your program courses and make sure you note all admissions requirements and program-specific deadlines, as well as each program of interest's OUAC code.

Step 2: Apply and submit

To start off the application process, you'll first need to make an OUAC account. Keep your account username and password saved or written down somewhere safe, as you'll need them for future access to your application.

Those OUAC program codes you jotted down when you were researching? Keep them close at hand, as you'll need them while you complete your application. If you forgot where they are, don't panic! OUAC has a directory for programs based on university, so as long as you know the program names, you should be able to find them.

There are multiple sections of the application. All of them need to be completed!

Review your program selections before verifying and agreeing, then submit your application — with payment — well before the deadline so you don't have to worry. Processing applications normally takes one to three business days, but it can take up to one week near January and February deadline dates because of the volume of applications.

Keep your OUAC Reference number in a safe place as well, as you'll refer to it whenever you contact OUAC or your university choices.

Step 3: Wait and see

After submitting your application, you can log back in to OUAC to verify details and make any necessary changes. This is the time to submit any additional documents to supplement your application, including filling out essential university forms, such as the University of Waterloo's straightforward Admission Information Form. The form helps you let the university know more about yourself, your extra-curricular activities, any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your grades, or things you'd like them to consider, and provides a great opportunity to brag a little and show off what sets you apart!

You can add to your email contacts to ensure OUAC emails land in your inbox instead of your spam folder. Checking your email daily is recommended after submitting your application, as both OUAC and universities use email as their primary form of communication. For example, you'll get an email from your chosen universities that will acknowledge that they've received your application.

We hope these guidelines are able to help you through the application process. We wish you the best of luck on your applications!

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