UAC scores double win for innovation

19 Oct 2018

First published in Campus Review, October 2018

The Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) has been recognised for its industry-leading commitment to innovation - twice.

UAC was ranked 41st on the 2018 Most Innovative Companies list from over 1,000 nominated organisations across Australia and New Zealand. The prestigious annual list, published by The Australian Financial Review, is based on a rigorous assessment process managed by Australian innovation consultancy Inventium in conjunction with a panel of industry experts. It is the only national, cross-industry list of its kind.

Young woman with long hair sitting near a window holding a smartphone and smiling to camera

UAC also won the Best Process Innovation award for releasing Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) documents to NSW HSC students using Ethereum blockchain technology. The technology was embedded in ATAR documents to allow self-verification of the document, eliminating the potential for fraud. Releasing ATAR documents on the blockchain was a cost-effective solution that simplified the process for Year 12 students, who in previous years had received their ATAR documents in the post.

As part of the assessment process, the judges considered the value of the problem the innovation solved, the quality and uniqueness of the solution, and the impact the innovation has made. The assessment process also involved UAC staff completing an online survey that measured internal elements such as innovation culture, strategy, resources and process - all of which demonstrated UAC’s sustainable approach to innovation.

UAC’s General Manager of Marketing and Engagement Kim Paino said, ‘This is hugely exciting for UAC and we are thrilled to be recognised for our innovation. The key drivers of our success are our market-centric approach to innovation and our cross-team collaboration.’

Pushing the boundaries

UAC is continuing to push the boundaries with machine learning technology. An exciting project currently under development is Course Compass, a tool designed to help Year 12 students find the course that best suits them. The tool uses a student’s unique mix of HSC subjects and their ATAR, along with patterns learned from historical offer data, to provide recommended fields of study at university.

Kim Paino said, ‘I’m really pleased about Course Compass because it’s a much-needed addition to the range of services UAC provides. We know that many Year 12 students are unsure of the path to take with their university studies.’

‘The costs to the student, the university and the community of getting that uni course choice wrong are high, so a tool like this that can help point students in the right direction is very welcome. UAC is here to help students and universities, and with Course Compass we’re very much hoping that we can do both.’

Targeted direct marketing technology

Fast Track is a targeted push solution that allows institutions to drive the recruitment and application process by emailing customised invitations to potential applicants. The solution uses pre-filled data to simplify the application process, taking the applicant from invitation to offer generation in less than ten clicks, or the equivalent of minutes, all in one online interaction. Potential applicants for this solution could include previous students, current students about to complete their undergraduate degree and industry contacts.

UAC has teamed up with the University of New England (UNE), a leading innovator of flexible education delivery, to develop the first release of this innovative product. Fast Track allows UNE to drive the application process by sending customised email invitations to potential applicants whose educational qualifications have been pre-established and pre-assessed. The customised email invites potential applicants to apply for admission to pre-determined courses for which they are eligible, and an offer of admission is displayed immediately on submission.

Professor Darren Ryder, Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning at UNE said Fast Track was implemented for busy working professionals. ‘Fast Track is targeted to UNE’s range of industry-linked Financial Planning postgraduate programs. The streamlined and personalised process helps potential applicants get into their course of choice and one step closer to their qualification.’

An expanding product suite

In parallel with breaking new ground, Australia’s largest tertiary admissions centre is constantly enhancing and refining its existing product suite to ensure it continues to exceed client expectations.

UAC Connect is a bespoke white-label online solution that provides full coverage of the admissions process, from application to offer generation. Underpinned by UAC’s comprehensive assessment service and backend systems, UAC Connect provides a seamless, flexible, low-risk and cost-effective admissions solution.

UAC has partnered with the Australian National University (ANU) to deliver a UAC Connect solution which streamlines the application process for Year 12 students, featuring a single online application and offer process, covering admissions, accommodation and scholarships.

In an Australian first, this UAC Connect solution also included co-curricular activities in the assessment process. UAC Connect offers ANU applicants more certainty through earlier offers and greater transparency over entry requirements.

UAC Managing Director Dr David Christie said, ‘We are pleased to have worked so closely with ANU to develop an industry-focused admission model that takes a holistic approach to Year 12 students applying for university.’

‘UAC has successfully implemented custom-built admissions solutions for several metropolitan and regional universities to date - helping them create the future of tertiary admissions.’

For more information about UAC’s innovative technologies, contact James Kevin, General Manager of Business Solutions at

Australian Financial Review Banner for award presented to UAC – Winner of Best Process Innovation Award and ranked 41st in the AFR 2018 Most Innovative Companies List