This Fall, we have received quite a few inquiries regarding early admission. We attempted to answer many of these questions at the Fall Break Open House (shown below) but for those who missed the event, I will try to answer a few of the most common questions on early admission that I have received.
Does Waterloo Engineering do an early round of admission offers?
Yes. Our plan is to select a small number of applicants to fill a small percentage of the available spaces in each program prior to our main round of admission in May. The early round of admission is expected to happen sometime in the middle of March. We wait for first semester grades to arrive prior to making any early admission offer decisions. We do not expect to receive first semester grades until the first week in March. This is why we cannot make informed decisions earlier in the admission process.
Why does Waterloo Engineering only accept a small number of applicants in the first round of admission offers?
We have a duty to applicants, their families, members of the university community, and the government to ensure to the best of our abilities that we only accept applicants who are likely to be highly successful in our programs. Grades in high school courses are an important part of our assessment process. At the end of the first semester, some students have completed most, if not all, of the required courses for admission to our program. These students are considered for early admission. Students taking several required courses for admission in their 2nd semester will not typically be considered for early admission, regardless of how exceptional their grades may have been in previous years.
Does completing my application early improve my chances of being given early admission to my program of choice?
Certainly, you will not receive an offer if your application is incomplete. However, the exact date that you complete your application is not a factor in our decisions. As long as your application is complete prior to our early round assessments, you will automatically be considered for early admission. For engineering, the deadline for completing applications is February 1, 2019.
Is there any advantage to being selected early?
There is no advantage to being selected early. While it might be comforting to know that you have an offer, being selected early does not factor into scholarship decisions, residence decisions, or program decisions. We do not allow students with early offers to ask to be considered for another program while holding on to their early admission offer. For example, a student accepted into Computer Engineering early could not ask to be considered for Software Engineering without giving up the offer for Computer Engineering. You may not use an early admission offer as a “safety net”.
Is there any disadvantage to being selected early?
There is no disadvantage to being selected early. Some students worry that they might miss out on a scholarship awarded in the main round of admission. This is not the case. We consider all accepted students when awarding entrance scholarships. Receiving an early offer of admission does not increase or decrease your chances of being awarded an entrance scholarship.
How can I ensure that I will get an early admission offer?
If you are applying this year, there is no way to guarantee receiving an early offer of admission. Do well in your courses, ensure your application is well written, and make sure you application is complete by the application deadline. If you are in Grade 11 or earlier, you might be able to take a few of the required courses early. Doing so might allow you to complete the rest of your required courses in the first semester of your final year of high school.
If I already have an offer from another university with an early acceptance deadline, what can I do?
If you find yourself in a situation where you would prefer to attend Waterloo Engineering but another university (or college) is asking for a firm commitment prior to May, let our Engineering Admissions Office know. You can do so by e-mailing email@example.com. While we cannot guarantee that we will consider your application early, it may be possible in certain cases. If you ask for early consideration of your application, you will be required to provide proof of your acceptance to another university (or college).
Some final thoughts…
Remember, there is no advantage to being selected early. An applicant receiving an early offer is not necessarily more qualified than an applicant receiving an offer in the main admission round. As an applicant, your goal should be to gain acceptance into your first choice program. Hopefully, you will receive a letter of acceptance during one of our two rounds of admission.