Application Process Update

Now that the holiday season is drawing to a close and the Winter term has started, I thought it might be worthwhile to give everyone a brief update on our application process.  The application deadline for Waterloo Engineering is fast approaching.


As indicated in our engineering brochure, interested applicants should apply to Waterloo Engineering on the OUAC (Ontario Universities Application Centre) site by Friday, January 31st.  Applicants have an additional four weeks to submit all supporting documentation for their application.  Supporting documentation includes the AIF (Admission Information Form) and the optional Online Interview.  All supporting documentation must be completed by Friday, February 28th.

The AIF (Admission Information Form) is a required component of the application process.  If it is not completed and submitted by the deadline, you will not receive an offer of admission.  Last year, there were a few applicants who missed the deadline due to a combination of procrastination and computer problems.  My suggestion is that applicants complete the AIF (Admission Information Form) well in advance of the deadline to ensure that they do not miss out on their applications being fully considered.

We have currently received over 9,100 applications to Waterloo Engineering programs, excluding Architecture.  This is approximately 1.8% lower than last year.  Some programs have more applicants and others have fewer applicants.  To answer the inevitable question, I cannot disclose more specific application numbers at this time.  The application numbers change rapidly and without context, they are largely meaningless.

However, I can say that we have seen a few general trends.  There has been a slight increase in domestic applications for many engineering programs and a slight decrease in visa applications for almost all engineering programs.  These trends have been consistent for the past month as I have been tracking the application numbers periodically.  In approximately 4 weeks, I should have the final application numbers for the 2019/2020 admission cycle.  I expect our total number of applications to approach 11,000 by the application deadline.

I wish to thank those applicants who have already submitted their AIFs and Online Interviews.  We have already begun assessing interviews that have been completed by applicants.  We expect to complete our assessments of all AIFs and Online Interviews by the end of March in preparation for our first round of admission offers.  It greatly helps our Admissions Office to receive supporting documentation early.

As you can probably imagine, we are very busy at this time of the year.  While our Admissions Office will do our best to answer your questions in a timely manner, please keep in mind that we are very busy at this time of the year.  We are experiencing a high volume of inquiries.




133 thoughts on “Application Process Update”

  1. Hello professor Bishop, I just recently completed my AIF and I’ve noticed that there wasn’t a place allocated on the AIF for references. So I was just wondering how would the University of Waterloo check the accuracy/authenticity of the extracurriculars and achievements?


    1. We have many ways of checking the accuracy of extracurricular activities, employment, and achievements. For important competitions, the results are often available online. If we suspect something does not look right, we may inquire further with an applicant or a school. Sometimes, we even receive tips from other applicants and other individuals regarding falsified information.


  2. Hi Professor,

    What might be considered an average (2.5) or an above average (4) AIF? A few years ago, Professor Bill Anderson wrote that a provincial or national competition might mean a 4. Would this still be relatively accurate for 2020 admissions?

    Thank you so much!


    1. The assessment of the AIF has not changed significantly over the past 5 years. There have been a few minor tweaks but nothing major. In general, an AIF grade of 4 or higher is very rare. It can be obtained through extensive experience or exceptional experience. In other words, an applicant may achieve a high AIF grade by either doing many things well or by doing one or more things extremely well.

      The highest AIF grades most often are assigned to applicants that have a fair amount of recent extracurricular activities, some employment experience, some significant awards, and something that makes the applicants a good fit for Waterloo Engineering.


  3. Hello, Mr.Bishop. Are transfer applicants allowed to request early consideration with a valid reason? My reason is that I have a POST application for UofT CS.


  4. Hi Professor, I submitted my AIF however I noticed a two small grammatical mistakes in my programming experience section (I applied to electrical engineering). I accidentally forgot to put the word “in” in one of my sentences and forgot the period at the end. Should I make an amendment?


    1. We might not even notice the issue as we have 590 AIFs to read for electrical engineering alone. At this point, an amendment is not possible since we have already captured the AIF data and stored it within our database.

      One or two missing words are unlikely to have any significant effect on your AIF score. Our scoring rubric does not take into account minor grammatical errors.


      1. Professor Bishop,

        On the AIF form that we were provided, we were given with the following instructions: “[All] applicants should list their programming experience if applicable. For every programming language in which you have at least four months of programming experience, list the language, [and] number of months experience you have in using the language.” Especially since the instructions says to list our proficiencies, I was under the impression that simply listing all the languages we have experience with in shorthand (ex. JS, ____ app w/ React, ____ app w/ Node, 10 months) was acceptable, especially since we only had 600 characters. Obviously, nothing can be changed now, but would this be more than “minor grammatical errors”?


  5. Hello, Professor Bishop:

    Given the situation today caused by the COVID-19 and the progress that your admission team has been making, will much more offers still be released in the first round? What will the percentage of the amount of offers sent out in March be, camparing to the total number of offers planned to be sent?

    Thank you so much!


    1. Yes, we will be making more offers in the first round than in previous years. This was our plan back in September. We are trying to stick to our plan as much as possible under very challenging circumstances.

      I cannot disclose the number of offers sent out in March at this time. I also have no idea how many offers we will be sending out this year. There are more variables to the equations than you might expect.


  6. Good Afternoon Prof.Bishop
    I am an mechatronics applicant with an average around 96-97. I have submitted my AIF but noticed that I have few grammar errors. I fixed them through amendment but there are like three others which I can’t fix. Would this effect my application ?


    1. It is quite common for grammar errors to exist in the AIF. The errors do not affect the grade assigned to an AIF. We only grade AIFs for content.

      We have the ability to flag AIFs that demonstrate poor language proficiency. There would need to be many significant errors for an applicant to be flagged for weak proficiency. This flag might discourage consideration of an applicant to a highly competitive program.


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