Chances of Admission for Fall 2020

With the Ontario Universities’ Fair starting in less than 24 hours, I thought I would attempt to answer the most frequent question asked of any admission officer:

What are my chances of receiving an offer of admission?

This is not an easy question to answer since every applicant is different.  Good grades are one consideration for admission but we also look at many other factors including previous employment, volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, skills, and notable achievements.  We can use good grades as a starting point for the discussion but we obviously look beyond grades to select applicants who will be highly successful in our programs.  This is why Waterloo Engineering does not simply accept applicants with the top grades and why students with lower admission averages still have a reasonable chance of receiving an offer of admission to some of our top engineering programs.

Since 2014, Bill Anderson has posted on his blog an easy-to-read graphical version of the information that appears on the Waterloo Engineering website and in our promotional brochures.  I continued this transition with my blog post last Fall on the Chances of Admission for Fall 2019.  In our brochures, we estimate the probability of an applicant receiving acceptance based on several years of application trends.  We try to make the projections as realistic as possible but the projections often tend to be a bit conservative.  Not all programs grouped together have exactly the same probabilities.  The projections tend to be most accurate for the top program in a grouping.  The most recent admission average probabilities can be found in my blog post on Competitiveness.

Using the applicant data for the Fall 2019 admission cycle, I have produced graphs that show the probability of receiving an offer of admission to Waterloo Engineering programs.  All of our engineering programs have been put into three groups as follows:

  • Group 1: Biomedical and Software
  • Group 2: Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, Mechatronics, and Systems Design
  • Group 3: Architectural, Chemical, Civil, Environmental, Geological, Management, and Nanotechnology

The first graph summarizes the probability of an admission offer for Canadians and permanent residents applying from the Ontario Secondary School system.  This graph is shown below:

Fall 2019 AOS - CPR

The second graph summarizes the probability of an admission offer for visa students applying from the Ontario Secondary School system.  The probabilities tend to be much lower for visa students due to the high number of applicants per available space.  However, high average students still have a very reasonable chance of receiving an offer of admission, even to our most competitive programs.  This graph is shown below:

Fall 2019 AOS - Visa

These graphs include a small number of applicants who receive offers to their second choice program instead of their first choice program.  I debated whether these applicants should be included in the graphs but I felt it would be inappropriate to remove them.

I used a slightly different mathematical approach than the one used in previous years.  I used a free software add-on to Excel from SRS1 Software to interpolate data points throughout the admission average range of 80% to 100% using a one-way spline function.  This approach allowed me to produce relatively smooth curves that are monotonically increasing as the admission average increases.

These graphs represent the best projections we can make regarding the Fall 2020 admission cycle.  Until we receive our final application data in February 2020, we won’t know if the application pool is similar to last year’s application pool.  If it is, then these projections are likely to be accurate.  If applications increase (or decrease), the probabilities of receiving an admission offer to a program will change accordingly.

333 thoughts on “Chances of Admission for Fall 2020”

  1. Hello Mr Bishop,
    I got a 79% in physics but I still predict a 93% after second semester midterms. Does this individual mark hurt my chances a lot? What do you think my chances are with a 93% average applying for mechanical engineering?

    Like

    1. The 79% grade is not a failing grade and it will not be flagged by our system as a low grade. It may be a point of concern for Mechanical Engineering as this engineering program is based heavily on the study of physics. If there is a reason for the grade of 79%, it might be worth mentioning the reason on your Admission Information Form.

      Keep in mind that your admission average is much more important than any single grade. A 93% average is a very good average.

      Like

  2. Hi sir,

    Is it fine if I did Gr 11 English in summer school and got a 92% but I did Gr 12 English in regular school and got a 94%? I’m wondering because initially when I was doing Grade 11 English (the only course I took in summer school), I didn’t have a slight clue as to what I wanted to do. However, after I heard about Waterloo Engineering and it’s requirements, I took all my grade 12 courses during regular school.

    Like

    1. We do not calculate an average of your top six courses. We calculate your admission average as the average of your 5 required courses plus the best 4U or 4M course not already included in the list of required courses. English will ***ALWAYS*** be included in your admission average. It is included in every applicant’s admission average.

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  3. Dear Prof Bishop,

    Thank you for answering my inquiry from before. Orginally I had taken summer school for religion (mandatory course since I attend a Catholic school) to free up space for the 3 electives I wanted to take in addition to the 5 prerequisites for Engineering. However, I feel as though freeing up one of these electives (a mixed level business course) for a spare would be more beneficial for me as I can commit more time to my extracurricular commitments. Would I be penalized in any way for taking this spare (my other two electives are a university-level computer science course that I have completed and will be in my Top 6, and an open level fitness course)? As a result, my course would look like this: AP Physics, Personal Fitness, Spare, and AP Calculus, with the rest 4 courses of my Top 6 completed in the previous semester. Would obtaining a spare for extracurricular commitment be an acceptable reason for taking this course outside of my regular day school? Thank you

    Like

    1. We simply look for effective time management. You can demonstrate this by taking a full course load or by taking fewer courses to allow for extracurricular activities. Taking a spare to allow for extracurricular activities is perfectly valid. When completing your Admission Information Form, make sure you indicate why you took your spare.

      Like

  4. Dear Professor Bishop,

    Thank you for your blog and answers to admission questions. There doesn’t seem to be any other school/program/admission office that does what you do!

    I have two questions. 1) Are AIFs reviewed by two committee members or just one? 2) If one doesn’t get an offer, will it be OK to contact your admission office and get some broad explanation (marks, AIF, video interview, etc.)?

    Thank you!

    Like

    1. AIFs often get looked at by many people but ultimately, one person is responsible for scoring them to ensure consistency. We usually do not provide much guidance on why students are not given an offer of admission. In most cases, applicants do not receive an offer of admission due to the depth and quality of the applicant pool. Hopefully, you will receive an offer of admission and the questions you will want to ask will change to things such as “Which residence is best?” or “What type of computer should I purchase?” or “How much do textbooks cost?”.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Professor Bishop,

    I am currently in Grade 11 and plan on taking an M-level course in Grade 12, TEJ4MI, Grade 12 Computer Engineering Technology, University/College.

    I was wondering if this course could count towards my top 6, even though it’s an M-level course? Also, are M-level courses looked down upon during the AIF evaluation? I would rather not take it if it can result in docked AIF marks.

    Also, I was wondering if taking Engineering-related courses like the above can boost the AIF’s score?

    Thank you,
    Matt

    Like

    1. It is a 4M course. Any 4U or 4M course can count as your 6th course.

      Taking an engineering course does not have any direct effect on your AIF score. However, if the course encourages you to design a project or to participate in a competition, it may indirectly have some minor effect on your AIF score. It can also help satisfy the requirement for computer programming experience in some cases.

      Like

  6. GOOD DAY
    Hi, I applied for Mechatronics for Fall having average of 93.5. This average from 1st semester. currently now in 2nd semester. I do have a lot extracurricular activities. Do you think that I have a fair chance of getting in Mechatronics Engineering? It will much appreciated if you can give me te answer. Thank you

    Like

    1. If you look at the chances of admission post from September of last year, you will see that the graph suggests an almost 70% chance of admission based on the average alone. It would appear that your chances are good.

      Like

      1. Hi I am a grade 12 student and I have a 95% average for the first semester (98% in advanced functions, 94% in computer science and 93% in physics). I did not summer school or private school any courses and I have been apart of many extracurricular programs. I went to the Vex World Championships, Deca Provincials and more. Do you think I have a good chance of getting into Systems Design Engineering? I have been really stressed about getting in to that program for a while now but, I’m just trying to stay sane and focused. Also do you have any recommendations on things I should have an emphasis on in my AIF?

        Thank you so much sir, I hope to see you in person if i actually do get an offer!

        Like

      2. Your grades are certainly comparable to those of applicants who receive offers of admission and your extracurricular activities suggest that you are a good fit for engineering. Just try to stay focused on your courses and your activities. Everything else will fall into place as soon as it can. Remember that you cannot do anything to change the past. Try to focus your energy on activities that will help you move forward.

        In many ways, the modern applicant has it much harder than I had it when I was a high school student. I remember typing up my AIF on a form provided in my application package. My biggest worry was making sure that I didn’t make typing mistakes since we didn’t have online systems that allowed editing of the data. AIF amendments simply were not possible. Once the application was submitted, I just had to wait until May to learn if I was being offered admission. A large package in the mail generally meant good news. A small letter generally meant bad news.

        I will be at the March Break Open House on March 21st to provide an update on admissions. If you are visiting, feel free to drop by and say hello. It is always great to meet students passionate about engineering.

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  7. Hi Professor!

    I read previously you mentioned to input the extracurriculars on the AIF from most recent to least recent, as some of the activities might be truncated when imported to your database. However, I did not know this previously. I have around 20 entries listed from least recent to most recent. Should I make an amendment as to prevent the loss of data?
    Thanks!

    Like

  8. Dear Prof BIshop,

    I applied to electrical engineering and was wondering about the overall competitiveness of the program in terms of admission. According to OUinfo, the target enrollment is 110, which is lower than SE (124) and CE (230), but I’ve also heard from EE students last year getting accepted with relatively lower averages (93-94, which may not be enough for SE, however, for a high probability of an offer) with decent AIF’s and interviews. Evidently it is my best interest to obtain a high average and aim for a great AIF/interview regardless, however I was curious if it it’s just the case that not many people apply to this program? Thank you.

    Like

    1. It is definitely true that more applicants choose Software Engineering than Electrical Engineering as their first choice program. There are roughly twice as many first choice applicants per available space for Software Engineering when compared to Electrical Engineering.

      The Software Engineering remains our most competitive program from an admissions perspective. Electrical Engineering is somewhere in the middle of the pack with respect to our other engineering programs. A mid 90’s average with a strong AIF and a decent interview is often required to receive an offer of admission to Software Engineering. A high 80’s average with a decent AIF and a decent interview is likely good enough to receive an offer of admission to Electrical Engineering.

      Like

  9. Hi Professor,

    On the AIF there’s a section for the size of the competition. I played piano at the OMFA provincial finals. To attend the provincial competition, each festival (size ~60-80 people/grade) can only nominate up to 2 people to go and compete at the provincial level.

    I won 2nd at the provincial competition against the other provincial finalists but the size of the competition was small since only a few people made it to this level (2/14). Would the size of my competition be 2 out of the 12 provincial contestants? Or would it be ~#2/800 (the contestants that didn’t even make it to the provincial level)?

    Thank you so much!

    Like

    1. When assessing the size of the competition pool, you should consider all potential competitors in all regions leading up to the competition. For a provincial competition such as the one you mention, the right pool size would likely be the 800 number. The good news for applicants is that admissions officers are often smart enough to know the size of the competition pools for common competitions. If you fill in the AIF incorrectly, it won’t hurt your application much. In the absence of hard data otherwise, we typically assume that competitiveness can be summarized as follows:

      international competitions >> national competitions >> provincial competitions >> regional competitions >> school competitions.

      Like

  10. I am an Indian applicant with a predicted average of 97.4%. I have 2 years of experience in robotics and also I had my own start-up business when I was in grade 10 which failed due to some financial reasons after 6 months. I have many more EC’s. I have taken pre-university level Physics Chemistry Maths courses along with a high school for preparation of the IIT JEE exam for one and a half years. What do you think do I have a fair chance of getting in SE?

    Like

    1. An assessment for SE cannot be made easily. We will review your application and give it full consideration. You may have a good chance but there are many factors beyond grades for the SE program. It is the most competitive program, from an admissions perspective.

      Like

  11. Hello Mr. Bishop,

    I had a question regarding the AIF, more specifically question number 1. Although it states that the applicant should state their interests in each program if they applied to more than one, it has been very difficult to fit the content I would like to present into a 900 character paragraph. How detrimental would it be to the acceptance chances of the other programs if you were to only talk about one in the response? Furthermore, if there is some overlap between the qualities between the programs (say computer science and computer engineering), would that be something the admissions committee considers as well?

    Thank you.

    Like

    1. There is no one best answer to your question. Some programs on campus might not fully consider your application if you do not mention their program specifically. This is not typically the case for most engineering programs. I often see students applying to CS + Engineering or AFM + Engineering or Math + Engineering. According to a survey we conduct, CS at the University of Waterloo happens to be the third most popular destination for applicants who turn down offers of admission to Waterloo Engineering programs. For those interested, the most popular destination is the University of Toronto for Engineering and the second most popular destination is Queen’s University for Engineering. None of this should come as a surprise.

      There is often a natural overlap between other programs and Engineering programs. The skills required to be successful in another program may be very similar to those needed to be successful in Engineering. Programs other than Engineering programs are not a consideration in our admission decisions. We do not confer with other faculties or schools to determine how to proceed with an application. We make our admission decisions independent of other groups on campus. If you have applied to Waterloo Engineering, we owe it to you to consider your application fully.

      Like

  12. Hello again, Professor Bishop,

    I was a bit confused about one of your recent answers where you said that a high 80’s with a decent AIF and interview would likely be enough to receive an offer to electrical engineering. According to the graph, the chances of receiving an offer for the program would be around 20-30% with that average. Is the graph perhaps inaccurate in this case? Also, would the chances of receiving an offer for computer and electrical engineering be the same with a high 80’s?

    Thank you very much for answering my questions up to now!

    Sejune

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Overall application numbers are down slightly from the previous year. This will likely cause some of our grade ranges to drop slightly. However, the key difference is the use of the term “decent” to describe both the AIF and the interview. I would say that the average AIF and the average interview are typically somewhat less than “decent”. If you were to look at the probabilities for the grade ranges, it is important to remember that these numbers include applications where AIFs were not submitted and AIFs that were essentially blank. A surprisingly large number of applicants do not submit an AIF and get eliminated from admission consideration. If you were to eliminate these applications from the data, the probabilities would likely improve by 20% to 30% in the bottom grade range.

      For an applicant that submits a decent AIF and completes the optional interview with a high 80’s (88% or 89%) average, that applicant would likely have about a 30% to 40% chance of being admitted to Electrical Engineering this year. Of course, I won’t know the exact numbers until the admission cycle ends. These are just estimates.

      Computer Engineering appears (at first glance) to be slightly more competitive than Electrical Engineering this year but I suspect the difference will be small.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I was not able to explain my one spare in semester 1 in the AIF. I already had all of the required courses and passed the number of courses to graduate (30 credits). Should I make an amendment explaining my situation? Possibly comment on my use of the extra time such as for ECs? Thanks in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not think that an amendment is necessary as long as you have described your extracurricular activities. We will simply look at how busy you were when making an assessment of your spare. As long as you have some extracurricular activities listed, this should be fine. A spare is only a significant concern for an applicant that lists little if any activities other than course work.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hello Prof. Bishop,
    In the previous comment, you mentioned that Computer Engineering will be more competitive than Electrical Engineering this year. Does that mean admission for these 2 programs will now be separate? I was under the impression that admissions for these 2 programs were combined. Is this not the case? Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We pool the two programs since they have a common first year. However, if there is a large imbalance in application numbers between the two programs, it may be the case that one program appears slightly more competitive than the other. We need to ensure that we have a full class of Computer Engineering students and a full class of Electrical Engineering students. We plan to take in a total of 3 classes of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) students (approximately 340 students).

      Put another way, we attempt to have at least 110 Computer Engineering students and 110 Electrical Engineering students. However, we have a target of 340 students in total. The remaining 120 students can be accepted into either program. Usually, this means that we can take in the best 340 students available. However, if we have many more highly qualified applicants to one of the programs, it is theoretically possible to have the programs differ slightly in admission score. In recent years, we have been admitting two full classes of Computer Engineering students and one class of Electrical Engineering students. A decade ago, Electrical Engineering was more popular.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for replying to my earlier query. I have another question in mind. What are the conditions on the offer if one gets it? Are the conditions the minimum requirements that are stated on the website or they vary? BTW I am an international Indian applicant.

    Like

    1. Offer conditions are generally a restatement of the requirements posted on our website. We need to receive proof that you have a secondary school diploma (or equivalent), that your admission average is 85%, and that you have obtained at least the minimum grades specified for each of the required courses taken. If you are taking courses assessed in a different way (other than percentage grades), the requirements specified for your program apply. If English language proficiency tests apply to your situation, proof of language proficiency must also be provided.

      When we give out an admission offer, it is almost never based on all final grades. Most students have courses in progress that are included in the assessment of an application. The conditions require students to continue completing their courses at an acceptable level. Otherwise, some applicants might be tempted to not work very hard at the end of their secondary school program. We want to make sure that students have the prerequisite knowledge to succeed in first year engineering studies.

      Some institutions give out offers without any conditions. These institutions are willing to take the risk that a student may not be prepared to succeed in their programs. These institutions do this either out of necessity (i.e., they cannot afford to turn down students) or knowing that weak students will be failed out in first year. Waterloo Engineering cannot afford to have high first year failure rates due to the way our co-op system works. With co-op positions starting in first year, we need our students to be successful early so that they make a good impression on our co-op employers. We do everything we can to ensure that the first year students we take into our programs are ready to go out on a work term placement right away. Offer conditions are necessary at Waterloo Engineering to make our co-op system work well.

      Like

  16. Hi Mr. Bishop,

    This past semester I achieved a tragically low average of 71% in Advanced Functions. During this time I worked between 15 and 20 hours each week at my part time job, I actively took part in several extracurricular activities, and I was apart of the musical production at my school. How detrimental will the 71% in Advanced Functions be to the consideration of my application given that my overall average is 85%, and I applied to Civil Engineering?

    Generally speaking, how significant are extracurricular activities to the consideration of the AIF? Since grade 10 I have been involved in 25 clubs (Athletics, Tech, and most abundantly music), including a few Big Bands and Jazz Combos outside of school.

    Also, for quite some time I’ve wondered if it is true that having a part time job actually increases your chances of admission to engineering programs? I’ve had a part time job since the middle of grade 11 (January 2019).

    Thanks so much

    Like

    1. 71% is a low grade but it meets our stated requirements. Given that your overall average also meets our required minimum and that you have extensive work experience and extracurricular activities, the low grade and low average might not be an issue. It certainly helps that you have chosen Civil Engineering and that you have a wide range of extracurricular activities. There is nothing that you have described that prevents the processing of your application.

      Employment experience, if extensive, can boost an admission score by about 2% over a similarly qualified applicant without employment experience in a jurisdiction where employment is possible. For students from jurisdictions where employment is not possible or realistic, we have the ability to transfer the weight of the employment score to other activities, if appropriate.

      Like

  17. Hi Professor Bishop,

    I submitted my AIF at the end of January with the intent of having my application reviewed as early as possible. However, I recently competed in the DECA provincial competition (first week of February) and was awarded provincial champion. I will be representing Ontario in an Internationals Competition taking place in Nashville this year.

    My question for you is, if I were to make an amendment on my AIF and add this award, would the date my AIF is reviewed change (ie. to a later a date)? This is certainly a significant award, which I believe can help my AIF. My only concern is the fact that my application will be reviewed later, thus putting me at a disadvantage.

    Any help is appreciated! Thank you in advance.

    Like

    1. If you message me directly at wdbishop@uwaterloo.ca, I can place a note on your file. It will be simpler than submitting an amendment to your AIF. Congratulations on your award!

      For the record, amending your AIF would not result in your application being removed from consideration for the early round of admission offers. All applications completed by February 28th will be considered in the early round of admission offers this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Professor Bishop,
    Are grade 11 marks heavily considered for March offers? Also, how are the AIF and video interview “graded”? And how does this “grade” benefit the cumulative average you apply with?

    Like

    1. The weight of Grade 11 marks depends upon how many required Grade 12 courses you are taking in your final term of secondary school. We use Grade 11 marks to predict missing Grade 12 marks.

      The AIF and the video interview are each assigned grades out of 5. These grades are added to your admission average (after adjustment) to determine your admission score. High grades on the AIF and the video interview increase your admission score by as much as 10%. The average score on both the AIF and the video interview is typically quite low so a truly outstanding AIF and video interview can make a huge difference.

      Like

  19. Hello Mr. Bishop, I am an IB student who is currently attending a Nova Scotia high school. I have been reading a lot of comments about adjustment factors, and how IB students have a slightly lower adjustment factor than normal applicants? I’m not sure if my source of information is reliable, but if that’s the case, will an IB adjustment factor or a Nova Scotia adjustment factor be applied to my grade?

    Like

    1. We use the most appropriate adjustment factor for each applicant. These factors change from year to year and reflect recent student experiences. Since applicants have no control over the adjustment factor applied, I generally advise applicants to focus on things they can control. Applicants have the ability to improve grades, excel in extracurricular activities, and demonstrate the many qualities of desirable students. These are the things applicants should generally work towards.

      Like

  20. Hi Professor,

    I had a question regarding the AIF question about additional information on extracurriculars (Part A Question 3). The question directly states that it has to be about something in the “above table” (referring to the list of extracurriculars), while the employment information section is directly below it. Therefore, would it be correct to assume that we shouldn’t write about our employment experience in the question?

    Like

    1. Ultimately, you get to decide what is important to you. When we see the data, it is in a completely different format from the way you see it. Just do your best to tell us why you should be admitted. I think it would be acceptable to refer to an employment experience in the section indicated and I am reviewing many of the AIFs submitted this year.

      Like

  21. Hi Prof Bishop,
    Thank you for answering my questions from before, I greatly appreciate the insight, however, I had another one regarding the first round of admissions. How likely is it for ECE applicants this year to receive offers in the first round, I’ve applied for Electrical Engineering and finished with a 96.75 average last semester with 4/6 of my required courses completed, with a decent supplementary application and the average adjustment factor. Although, I’ve heard that due to the competition in ECE, most applicants in the past have been deferred to the later rounds, but is that still the case this year? Thank you.

    Like

    1. This year, it is much more likely to receive an early offer of admission given the situation described. Our goal is to give out more offers in our early round of admission this year.

      Basically, we elected to push back the early round of offers by two weeks to give us more time to process AIFs and interviews. This should allow us to give out more offers early. It also means that we will have many fewer inquiries regarding special consideration due to pending offers to out-of-province institutions. In other words, we are shortening the average time required for an applicant to receive an offer by processing a few offers later this year but many more offers earlier this year.

      Behind the scenes, our admissions team has been doing some interesting calculations to try to figure out how deep into our application pool we can go without making mistakes. Our most calculations suggest that we can give out many more offers in the first round without a problem.

      The only issue that we cannot resolve is that our named entrance scholarships cannot be assigned until the final round. In the early round, applicants will only receive information regarding our entrance grid scholarships. Of course, if you are an applicant selected for a named entrance scholarship, your offer will be updated during the final round of admissions.

      Like

  22. Hey Prof,

    I just wanted to ask if all of the AIF questions are sent to one reader individually to read, or are the questions seperated and each one is given to a different reader? I’m asking because I’ve built a common theme for my questions and it may not be as effective if they are read seperately.

    Thanks,

    Jay

    Like

    1. Listing an alternative engineering program will not have any effect on the chance of you receiving your first choice program. We always try to provide you with your first choice program. Only if this is not possible, will we consider you for your first alternative engineering program. I believe the AIF allows you to specify several alternative programs but we only use your first alternative. We have found in the past that 3rd and 4th choice programs were not being used at all.

      Like

  23. Hello sir.
    I had applied to management engineering this year and am concerned that taking English in summer school could have possibly made my chances of admissions slim. I am applying with a 91% average. What do u think my chances are with a average AIF score and interview score?

    Like

    1. Summer school English could result in an average adjustment if this was done to reduce your workload in your other school terms or if we see a large improvement in your English grade. If neither of these situations are true, no adjustment will be applied.

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  24. Hello Professor Bishop,

    I was just wondering about your recent answers regarding Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) admissions. I am applying to Computer Engineering and see that you have said above that while it is slightly more competitive than Electrical Engineering, the difference is minor. I have a projected average of 93 and what you would consider a “decent” AIF (with various different extracurriculars and awards, work experience, as well as well written question responses) and a good interview if an issue (I sent an email through the contact section of your blog as well as to enginfo@uwaterloo.ca and am hoping to get a response before the deadline) gets resolved. I also have an adjustment factor of about 13. If what you said is true and high 80’s with a “decent” AIF and interview without considering the adjustment factor at all is good enough for an Electrical Engineering offer, would my application so far be “safe” or rather have a very good chance of receiving an offer for Computer Engineering?

    I know it’s very hard to give chances of admissions to individual applicants but I have had misconceptions where you need a 95 average because that’s what I have heard from some people and have been stressing. If you could provide me with an answer and relieve me of this that would be very much appreciated.
    Thank you for all your work on this blog, it really helps us out a lot and many of us appreciate it a tremendous amount!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Last year, we accepted at least one student into every program (including Software Engineering) with an admission average of less than 90%. Computer Engineering is competitive so I cannot give you a definitive yes or no answer but certainly your application (as described in your comment) sounds reasonably competitive.

      The adjustment factor of 13 would be a huge plus if it is the case this year. The data available online is now 2 years out-of-date so the adjustment factor may not be the same as the one used in 2018. Hopefully, it is better but even if it is worse, it is very unlikely for a school to move from a low adjustment factor to a high adjustment factor in two years.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Hey prof, I had another question regarding my course timetable this year.
    I meet the requirements for graduation and have all top 6 courses that engineering desires, but in each semester i have 1 spare. Do you think this would be bad for my admission because, I do not really see how having a spare would affect anything, I meet all the requirements and due to all the extracurriculars i have been a part of I needed to the spares to finish homework in school, so i can participate in activities outside of school. Thank you!

    Like

      1. Thank you for replying.
        Do you think I will need to mention anything about the spares in the AIF answers, or will the admissions team see my EC’s and see this is the reason for the spares

        Like

  26. Hello Professor,
    I am applying to Electrical Engineering at Waterloo, and I have some questions.
    1. As you answered in a pervious reply, “A high 80’s average with a decent AIF and a decent interview is likely good enough to receive an offer of admission to Electrical Engineering.” What exactly do you mean by “decent”, for EE?
    2. Also, I am a Permanent Resident of Canada since Sept 2016 when I immigrated to Canada, I will complete 4 year Ontario secondary school in June, will I be required to submit an English proficiency result?
    3. Will I be considered with visa applicant or Ontario applicant if English proficiency result is required?
    4. Since I have been in Canada for 3 years, I do not have any work experiences, due to I don’t know where and how to find jobs and no connections or networks to any employers, will no work experience affect my AIF? I have an average of 91% and many volunteer experiences but no big awards if that’s something that should be taken into consideration.
    5. My school is a private school, but the marks are given out very fairly, sometimes lower than public schools in our opinion. Would being in a private school definitely affect my application?
    6. My school is terms based, we learn 8 courses at the same time. The difference to a semester based school is that students can choose the 4 courses that are easy for them in the first semester which will give them a higher first term average, and ours is 8 courses so no matter easy or hard, every courses’ mark are in OUAC. Would this be something considered during admission process? I am an ELL, I have been struggling in English so my English mark is in high 70s range, which bring down my average tremendously.
    Thank you so much! Hope to see you in March open house

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. A decent AIF would have a variety of extracurricular activities, perhaps some part-time work experience in the summer, and a few minor awards.
      2. We notify students if we require English language test results. If you have not already received an e-mail, you most likely meet our requirements.
      3. If you are a Permanent Resident, you are a domestic applicant.
      4. Employment experience is valued but we do not penalize students for not having employment experience.
      5. We have statistics on all Ontario schools. Some private schools are very good. Some private schools are very poor. We can tell the difference.
      6. For many applicants, the English grade is the lowest in their average.

      With respect to semester-based schools allowing students to choose easy courses in their first semester, this would only work if a school had enough scheduling flexibility to do so. Most Ontario Secondary Schools only offer courses in certain semesters. For example, Physics and Calculus courses are often taken in the 2nd semester due to course scheduling. It is not a sign that students are trying to reduce their course workload in the first term. Also, we only give out conditional offers so applicants must satisfy the requirements for all required courses prior to being allowed to enroll in university courses.

      I will definitely be at the March Break Open House. I will be giving presentations throughout the day to update students on the admissions process. I look forward to meeting you there.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Hello Professor,
    I’m applying for chemical engineering and have a few quick questions about the graph.
    1) In the graph, there is only 1 line is shared between multiple programs. are these lines an average between all the programs, or a model of one specific program per line?
    2) According to the graph, a person with an 85% average applying to chemical engineering would have about a 45-50% chance of receiving an offer. Does this probability change when both the AIF and interview are factored in, based of off people not completing them?
    Thank You!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The graphs represent an average of the probabilities of acceptance for all applicants in a group based on admission average. The graphs do not attempt to consider the effect of both the AIF and the interview. We look at all applicants within a group with a particular average. A 50% chance means that half of all applicants within the group with that average received an offer of admission.

      Obviously, if you have an above-average AIF score and an above-average interview score, you have a greater probability of being accepted than an applicant with lower scores. It is difficult to quantify how much better the probability will be. As an estimate, very strong scores might have the same effect as raising your admission average by a few percentage points.

      If an applicant does not complete the AIF, they are not offered admission. If an applicant does not complete the interview, they can still be admitted but the probability of being admitted decreases since an average interview score is larger than 0.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Let’s say for example, someone had an average in the mid 90s and didn’t get in for to a more competitive program, such as Biomedical Engineering. If they put a less competitive program, such as Chemical, as their second choice, how likely are they to get their second choice? Are the statistics applicable for second choices as well?

    Like

    1. Statistics are not particularly useful on small sample sizes. I will say that if a strong applicant applies to Biomedical Engineering and for any reason (other than cheating) the applicant is not accepted, there is a very good chance of the applicant receiving a deflection offer to Chemical Engineering this year.

      Like

  29. Hey Professor,

    I noticed that on my AIF, apostrophes and some other special characters were changed to the backwards question mark character (I’m assuming due to the format change from copy and pasting from google docs on to a word format on the AIF). Would this have a negative effect on my AIF in any way?

    Like

  30. Hey prof,
    I had a question regarding the AIF (I applied to SYDE). I submitted the aif at feb 28, will i still be considered to get an offer by march 30th (first round). Also, i looked into it and was wondering for the first round does the SYDE admissions process look at your grade 12 first sem marks ( i had 3 courses first sem – physics, comp sci and Adv Func with an overall average of 95%) and then 3 additional courses from grade 11. So i’m guessing they would look at the prereqs (english, chem and an additional course). Would they look at my Functions mark from grade 11, I got a 99% in functions, or would they look at another course’s highest mark – for me it would be comp eng with a 97%. My top 6 average including grade 11 Functions would be a 93.8 and with comp eng it would be 93.5. So do you think i would still have a chance of getting into SYDE for first round with these averages including grade 11 and 12 marks.

    I also think i had a pretty decent AIF (Vex Worlds, DECA, some exec positions etc.) and the interview i am kind of scared about…

    Thank you for taking your time to answer this, have a great day! 🙂

    Like

    1. All applicants that submitted an AIF (and any other required supporting documentation) by the submission deadline will be considered for the early round of admission offers and the late round if unsuccessful in the early round.

      We use whatever grades we have available at the time of consideration of your application. If we have Grade 12 marks, these will be used. If not, we predict your Grade 12 marks using your Grade 11 marks.

      It sounds like you did very well and have a fair amount of extracurricular activities. We will just have to wait and see if it is enough for a first round SYDE admission offer.

      Like

  31. Hello,
    I was wondering if my chance at getting into the pool of 450-500 students for architecture (before the interview and sending the portfolio) possible for me as an IB student. I got 31 (eh grade in IB, I assume…) and the requirement for the program is 32 ( I believe it increased from 30 last year). My percentage average, however, is 92% and last year was 94%. Is it possible to get into that pool even though my IB grade may not be as high but with a “decent” percentage grade?
    Thanks a lot!

    Like

    1. Unfortunately, the Architecture admissions process is not handled by my team. You would need to contact them directly to inquire about your chances. Although the Architecture program is a part of the Faculty of Engineering, my admissions team only looks after programs that are “engineering” programs. For example, Architectural Engineering is handled by my team but Architecture is not.

      Like

  32. Hello Professor,

    Regarding your response above stating that more offers will be sent out earlier this year, does that mean our second-semester marks will not have as much as an impact. I am currently taking physics and chemistry in the second semester and am predicted (due to IB) to finish with a high 90 in both which boost my top 6 average, however, if more offers are being sent out earlier does this mean our grade 11 marks will have a heavier weighting on our admission, as I performed significantly lower in grade 11 chemistry.

    Thank you!

    Like

    1. Second semester marks will play a very important role in the final round of admissions. During the early round, second semester marks are not available so they never play a role.

      Giving out more offers early does not significantly change the importance of second semester marks. We have studied our applicant pool and we know that the additional offers given out in the early round will go to applicants that would typically receive offers in the final round of admission. We ran a special project in Fall 2019 to examine the effect of more early offers. Essentially, we discovered that we can give out more early offers without any significant risk of giving an offer to an undeserving applicant. Early offers only have an upside. More applicants will receive early offers and this will reduce the stress of a significant portion of our applicants.

      Like

  33. Hi Prof!

    I am currently a grade 11 student but had some questions.
    Firstly, if I am able to finish all my grade 12 courses by first semester (excluding calculus), would I be considered for early admission based on all my finished grade 12 courses? What would the supplementary grade 11 course be for calculus? Also, I plan to take one spare next year as I am involved in many clubs aswell as sports teams while working a 15-20 hour a week part time job. Would taking 2 spares be valid considering the amount of time taken away from my schedule due to my extracurriculars?
    Thanks, Will look forward to seeing you at the March Open House!

    Like

    1. Even if you did not finish all your grade 12 courses by the end of the first semester, you would be considered in our early round of admission offers provided that you completed your application and your Admission Information Form (AIF) by the deadline.

      If you are planning on participating in clubs and sports teams while working part-time, a second spare would be reasonable. We are basically trying to ensure that applicants have used their time wisely and productively.

      I look forward to meeting you at our Open House. I will be giving presentations throughout the day on the admissions process.

      Like

      1. Hello again,

        Thank you for the reply! Just regarding your comment about early admission, if I had all those courses done by first semester would I have the same chances of being admitted as I would have for the second round? I heard that for early admission extracurriculars are not looked at and is only mark based. Is this true? Thank you once again!

        Like

      2. In the past, the early admission round was completed prior to the completion of AIF assessments. This year, we are intending to complete all AIF assessments and interview assessments prior to our early admission round. This is why we have delayed our early admission round until the end of March. Assuming this approach is successful, it will be our new normal moving forward.

        This means that the early admission round and the final admission round will use roughly the same information. The only difference is that the final round will also have access to 2nd term midterm grades for schools on a semester system.

        Like

  34. Hello Professor,

    I am currently a second year cegep student in Montreal. I applied for electrical engineering and am waiting for the admission result. I am wondering how you consider the score of cegep system in Quebec when it comes to admission of UWaterloo. Do you consider top 6 average score of pre-requiste courses or the “R-score” system that used to rank cegep students.

    Compared to Ontrario high school students, it would be less information accessibility to Quebec cegep students. If you answer my question, I would appreciate.

    Thank you

    Like

    1. We map CEGEP courses onto equivalent Ontario high school courses for the purpose of calculating an admission average for a CEGEP applicant. In the past, CEGEP applicants have been highly successful in our engineering programs. This means that CEGEP grades are not significantly adjusted when used to calculate an applicant’s admission score. Most CEGEP applicants typically receive offers of admission.

      Like

  35. Hi Professor,

    I have a few questions:
    1. Are offers for SE or any other engineering programs going to only be made on one day in march (31st) and may or will offers be made generally around these dates (say for instance, ±3 days)?
    2. Are offers made throughout the day or are they only sent once a day?
    3. Do you know around how many offers approximately are sent out compared to the amount of expected class sizes (say 1.5x for example)? If not, is there some sort of waitlist for competitive engineering programs like SE if someone decides to reject their offer?

    Thank you so much!

    Like

    1. When we send out a large number of admission offers, the process often spans several days. I am not sure exactly when the process will start or end but I will try to keep applicants informed on my blog.

      There are two different types of admission offers. When we make offers to OSS (Ontario Secondary School) students, the offers can be coded in bulk so it often appears that most of them go out at the same time. The offers to NOSS (Non-Ontario Secondary School) students are coded by hand so they take longer to code. However, the process can change from round to the next. We are constantly trying to improve our systems and processes to make the admissions process better.

      I do not know exactly how many offers we will send out in the first round. It will definitely be a larger number than last year. We will be maintaining a waiting list for all of our competitive programs.

      Like

  36. Hello Mr.Bishop,

    I am a grade 12 student from Alberta that have applied to Computer Engineering. I am expected to have a close to 99 average for my math and science courses. However, I am expected to only have mid-to-high 80s in English 30-1. Would that affect me a lot? Also, I chose CE as my third choice on OUAC. Would I still be eligible for first-round admissions in late March?

    Thank you!

    Like

    1. It is not uncommon for an engineering applicant to have a lower grade in Grade 12 English. It is unlikely that one grade in the high 80’s will have any negative effect upon your admission chances.

      We do not factor choice number in our admission decisions. The choice number is only used to determine that likelihood that an applicant will accept an offer of admission should the applicant be given an offer of admission.

      All applicants with complete applications will be considered for the first round of admissions at the end of March.

      Like

  37. Hello Professor

    I have heard that the number of valid applicants this year for engineering was less compared to last year. Does this mean that every program has less applicants compared to last year? If not, could you let me know if Management Engineering has less or more applicants compared to last year?

    Like

  38. Hello Mr. Bishop,

    I am an IB student in Ontario who applied to Mechatronics and Electrical Engineering. Due to the way IB operates at my school, our 1st semester of gr.12 course codes for our higher level IB courses are not the same as other Ontario students. For example, IB HL Physics requires 3 semesters worth of classes, however there are only 2 Ontario course codes for physics in the academic system (SPH3UH and SPH4UH). As a result, my 1st semester of gr.12 Physics course mark is under the name Interdisciplinary Studies(ID4UH). The same applies for my English and Chemistry courses and I have explained so in my AIF.

    However, I heard somewhere that I would require at least 3 of the required gr.12 courses completed to be considered for the first round of admissions in March. Would I be considered for the March round although I technically only have 2 of the required gr.12 courses completed(Advanced functions and Calc)?

    Thank you

    Like

    1. When we describe our process, it is often in terms of OSS courses. The IB system is just one of many alternative systems that we understand and assess accordingly.

      The information that 3 required courses must be completed to be considered in the early round of admission is dated. This is no longer the case this year. We had to remove the condition to increase the number of admission offers distributed in the early round of admission.

      Like

  39. Hello Professor Bishop,

    I have a few questions I’m hoping you might be able to help me with:
    1. Is it possible to get deferred to your 2nd choice for the March 31st round like U of T’s engineering program or are all deferrals going to be in the May round?
    2. Do you know if offers for all engineering programs are sent out together or is each program going to offers sent out at separate times? For instance, SE sent at 10:00 AM and SYDE sent at 2:00 PM
    3. I heard a rumour that SE and BME offers aren’t being sent out during this round and instead in mid-april. Is this true?
    4. Do you believe that March or May admissions will be affected with the Ontario school closures?

    Thank you so much!

    Like

    1. These are all great questions. I will try to answer them quickly.

      A very small number of applicants will be receiving offers of admission to their second choice programs in the early round.

      Offers are not sent out by program. Some offers have to be individually coded by an Admissions Officer. This means that an offer may appear earlier or later than others for the same program.

      SE and BIOMEDE offers will be sent out in the early round along with offers to all of our other engineering programs.

      I do not foresee any significant changes to our admissions processes at this time.

      You’re welcome!

      Like

  40. Hello Professor,
    If I have any new information like the fact that I have accepted a position as a software developer intern for this upcoming summer how would I let the admissions team know this and how will this affect my application.
    Thanks!

    Like

  41. Hello Prof. Bishop,
    I am an international applicant. I understand that it may be a bit late in terms of the admissions process, but can I still send my SAT subject test scores to Waterloo? I didn’t know that sending the scores was optional as I had read somewhere that Waterloo does not accept SAT scores. But I only recently discovered that even though it’s not a requirement, Waterloo does accept them.

    Like

  42. Hi Mr.Bishop,

    I was wondering how much my participation in SHAD is weighted on the engineering AIF, I applied to SYDE, and heavily emphasized the impact of SHAD and the various engineering-related EC’s which took place after it. I was wondering this as the engineering part specifically said to mention SHAD related activities. Is this an average extracurricular or would It be considered more outstanding in regards to the general applicant pool?

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. In general, participation in the SHAD program is viewed as positive. The program provides students with exposure to university life and engineering skills. An AIF score will usually be slightly above average if a student has participated in the SHAD program or other programs that have similar characteristics. There are actually quite a few programs around the world that have similar characteristics with more programs being created every year.

      Next year, we will likely see a significant drop in the number of applicants that have participated in summer programs. As such, we will need to adjust our assessments accordingly.

      Like

  43. Hello Prof. Bishop,

    Firstly i’d like to thank you for this blog you have created. It’s really nice to have a reliable source of information during this period and a student waiting for an admission.

    My question is regarding the penalty for courses taken outside of day school. I took summer school e-learning English for both grade 11 and 12 (PDSB). You stated that as long as there was no significant increase in grades from previous years as well as a valid reason, there would be no penalty. In this scenario, would I be penalized? My English mark was consistent in both years (90 in 11 and 92 in 12) and my reason for taking the course was to provide time for my extracurricular activities (2 sports team and a french club).

    Thank you in advance.

    Like

    1. No penalty would be assigned in this case. I also verified this in my database for you. I hope to work on your application tonight. I am currently working on AE applicants.

      Like

      1. Hi Sir,
        I applied to Computer Science, Accounting and Finance, and CFM at Waterloo. I thank you for making this blog as it has been answering my questions. My average that just went in is an 88%. I filled out my AIF and my interview for AFMA I don’t go to a semestered school, my school courses go for the entire year. I was wondering if I have a good chance of getting in? Especially with the COVID aspect that has affected my grades?
        Thank you Sir!

        Like

      2. I am only vaguely familiar with the admission processes for the School of Computer Science and the School of Accounting and Finance. I honestly have no idea whether an 88% average would be competitive. I will say that applicants have a better chance of being accepted this year than last year due to the pandemic and its effect upon enrollment modelling. All programs at all universities appear to be giving out slightly more offers this year.

        I wish you luck and thanks for reading my blog. Hopefully I will meet you someday on campus when I go to visit my wife in the School of Accounting and Finance.

        Like

  44. Hello Sir,
    I applied for Civil Engineering and only found out about AIF requirement today while reading your blog; for some reason, I did not see the message on my email. I only saw the information on the interview which I completed. I am wondering if applications without AIF will be given any consideration.

    Thank you so much for your

    Like

  45. Hello Prof. Bishop,
    I am currently a grade 11 student who is considering applying for civil engineering next year. For my grade 12 courses I chose environment and resource management for the additional U/M level course that would be needed for the application. I am considering switching it to computer science instead since the environment elective is not really related to engineering. So my question is would those looking at my application take into consideration what the elective is and would they prefer computer science for the additional course instead of the environment course?

    Thank you in advance.

    Like

    1. We do not look closely at an applicant’s 6th course. If you were applying to a program where programming skills are essential, the Computer Science course would be very beneficial. For Civil Engineering, the Computer Science course may help you in find a co-op position in first year but it won’t be factored significantly into your admission decision.

      Like

  46. Hello Professor,

    My son is interested in Waterloo Engineering and will be applying in fall 2021.
    He is interested in Nanotechnology/Management Engineering.

    He got 96 in Adv Functions and 80 in Grade 12 English.
    He is likely to get around 90’s in grade 12 Physics/Chem and Calculus.

    What are the chances of him getting into Waterloo?

    Please respond.

    A worried mom 🙂

    Like

    1. I cannot comment on an individual’s chance of admission based on grades alone. Grades are just one factor in our admission decisions.

      I would be surprised if the chances of admission data changes significantly from one year to the next for any engineering program. Unless there is a sudden change in the number of applications or the number of available spaces for the programs mentioned, I expect the probability of admission to be roughly equal to what was suggested in last year’s post.

      Like

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