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.

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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.

 

 

 

82 thoughts on “Application Process Update”

  1. Hi Professor,
    You mentioned that there is a slight uptick in domestic applications and down tick in international applications. In this case will there be more seats allocated for domestic applicants?

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    1. One might think that targets are set solely based on demand but this is not really the case. There are many factors that affect the setting of targets such as the availability of instructors and classrooms, the quality of the applicant pool, and of course, government funding. All universities have an agreement with the government to train a certain number of students in each discipline. When we exceed that number, we do so without receiving additional government funding. If we take in fewer students than our agreed number, we lose government funding.

      I should point out that the average increase in domestic applications was around 1.8% when I last checked my application data. This is a very modest increase. There are also a few programs where the number of domestic applications have decreased. The likelihood of a domestic applicant receiving an offer of admission will be the same as last year for many programs.

      The decrease in international applications was much more significant. I do not recall the exact number but the average decrease was greater than 10% when I last checked my application data. The likelihood of a visa applicant receiving an offer of admission will be slightly higher this year for many programs.

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  2. Hi professor,
    Iam an international student. In the first semester of year 12, i got 90% but 87% on Math, would grade 8 of Euclid Contest make massive different ?

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    1. Euclid contest scores are not normally considered for admission to engineering programs. The Faculty of Engineering does not receive the list of Euclid contest scores for the current year prior to applicant selection. We only have access to the published results from previous years.

      If an applicant makes us aware of their score from a previous year on their AIF or if an applicant’s score from a previous year appears on the Student Honour Roll on the CEMC website, we can use this information to break ties but this is a rare occurrence.

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      1. Hello professor,
        What about the Faculty of Mathematics like CS and SE ?
        They said ‘You’re strongly encouraged to write the Euclid Mathematics Contest and/or the Canadian Senior Mathematics Contest’

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      2. At the University of Waterloo, admission to the CS (Computer Science) program is handled by the Faculty of Mathematics and the School of Computer Science and admission to the SE (Software Engineering) program is handled by the Faculty of Engineering. Different admission requirements and selection criteria are used by the two programs. I can only comment on the admission requirements and selection criteria used by the Faculty of Engineering. The Faculty of Engineering does not normally consider Euclid contest scores for the reasons I highlighted in my previous post.

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  3. Hi, Mr. Bishop,
    I really appreciate your effort on this blog and your information as well as guidance to applicants throughout these years.
    My name is Kevin, I am a visa student from China who currently study in Hamilton and planning to apply to Waterloo CS and software engineering in 2021.

    I discovered after browsing so much on the websites and various blogs that waterloo admission focus heavily on the skill sets a candidate have. I understand that the math and engineering department always want to select the candidates with the best knowledge and skills. However, have you considered a situation that a candidate with great skills (probably good averages and a whole ton of EC and side projects) who lack the passion to learn and weak in their self-learning abilities since most skill sets either comes from their parents’ networking and teaching versus a student who might not have such great skills but have a lot more passion for learning and creation and have good self-learning habits?

    Also, I found different schools may have different evaluation process and goals. For instance, my school’s physics and chemistry classes focus a lot more on hands-on experiences (engineering) to really build a project and demonstrate the thinking than tests and exams comparing to other schools, which may deflate the marks since marking for projects can often be subjective. I am surprise to find some students got a 98 or 99 in physics. Since the adjustments factor is the same, approximately 16%, I can see that me and my friends average might be a little low.

    Also, I discovered that there are potential barriers for visa students to apply. The case is a lot of visa students mostly transfer to a canadian high school such as me. We have significant disadvantages considering working experiences, internships, and side projects since we are not allowed to work without a Work Permit (I notice on various sources that a lot of successful domesticate candidates have prior working experiences in big techs or great side projects). Therefore, I end up searching for potential job opportunities back in China.

    For side projects, do you have any suggestions concerning the current trend? Is waterloo engineering looking for students’ with highly professional side projects as I saw on previous software engineering applicants (some developed machine learning algorithms)? Also, while great amount of efforts will be contribute into admission average, I don’t think a lot of time can be devoted into develop highly professional side projects like other previous successful applicants.

    In conclusion, somehow I felt like admission to engineering, especially software engineering, starts to look like interviewing for big tech companies in the industry, which requires resources, information, networking that are sometimes not available to us.
    Lastly as you cannot commenting on the CS and Math admission, would you offer some recommendations for appropriate people for us to consult for CS and Math admission?
    I hope to hear your valuable suggestions and guidance and pass them to my fellow peers who are struggling to get these information.
    Thanks for your time to read this.
    My sincere gratitude and very best regards

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    1. The situation you describe is not an accurate reflection of our applicant pool for the Software Engineering (SE) program. We place a strong emphasis on extracurricular activities due to the fact that most of our applicants have similar strong averages. Last year, we had 300+ applicants with averages of 97% or higher. Of course, we would adjust our admission criteria if we discovered that the applicant pool was weaker in a particular year.

      The reason why we consider programming experience is that we want to ensure fit within the SE program. An applicant lacking significant software experience may not understand the jargon used by experienced programmers. This can lead to frustration when working on class projects. It also makes it more difficult to find a suitable co-op position in first year.

      Visa students do not directly compete against domestic students. Visa students are compared against their peers for admission consideration. Work experience is not required for visa students.

      Ultimately, we are preparing students to pursue careers in a highly competitive job sector. We need to ensure that our applicants are ready for the challenge. Technology companies will only hire our students if the companies feel that our students are qualified.

      You can always e-mail myapplication@uwaterloo.ca to contact our Admission Officers to inquire about non-engineering programs at the University of Waterloo. Admission Officers may be able to provide additional guidance on the process used by other programs on campus.

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    1. I am not sure what average curve you are referencing. Our probability graphs have been available since September. We have no plans to release any additional average information at this time.

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  4. Hello Professor,

    Will all students who submit their AIFs by Feburary 28 be considered for early round offers? Or will those who submit it earlier (before end of January) be considered only.

    Thank you

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  5. Hello. My application is looking strong (98.5% average, strong ECs (SHAD, FIRST, VEX, 10 years altar serving, etc.), and national/international rankings on contests (top 100 worldwide in SIN). The problem is that I have no work experience. I was wondering if altar serving counted? Also, I used my circumstances section for something else. Should I try to add an explanation for my lack of work experience? I don’t have a strong reasoning (my parents wanted me to focus on school and travelling was inconvenient). And one last thing. Does it help to hand in the AIF early? I know everyone gets equal chances for early acceptance but if enough people are chosen, then the people after would not be chosen right? Thanks so much for your blogs though. Please keep it up!

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    1. I would not expect your lack of work experience to be a significant concern given your average and your extracurricular activities. Many of our applicants lack work experience. I would not expect many applicants with work experience to have qualifications similar to your qualifications.

      Handing in your Admission Information Form (AIF) early helps us do our job but it does not change your chances for an early offer of admission. We have adjusted our admission processes to ensure that all applications will be considered for early offers of admission this year. We also intend to give out more early offers this year.

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      1. Also, one more question. Is the due date for the video interview same as the AIF? So I can submit both on Feb 28 and still be eligible for early admission? Thanks.

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      2. Yes, the due date for the completion of applications including the AIF and the online interview is February 28, 2020. The AIF score and the interview score will be considered in the early admission process. We have pushed back our early round of admission offers to the end of March to allow sufficient time for completion of our assessments.

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  6. Hey Prof,

    Thanks for your dedication to quelling everyone’s anxiety here! I just had a question about a thread above. You said that regardless of when we submit our AIF, our chances for early admission will not be affected? How will admissions plan for this to be done this year? Are offers simply going to come later in March? Also, if we submit our interview after Feb 1, would that affect our early admission chances? Thanks again and please let me know if you could enlighten us more on the early admission process this year.

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    1. This is a great question. We have made two significant changes to our processes to make this possible. The first is that we are pushing back our early round until the end of March. The second is that we will now have more than one reviewer of AIFs to expedite their assessment.

      To avoid inconsistent AIF assessment, we will be dividing the AIFs by program. For example, I will be assessing all SE AIFs this year. Last year I looked at all the SE AIFs but the formal assessment was done by another member of the admissions team.

      We are trying these changes to see if we can give out more early offers of admission. I would guess that slightly more than half our admission offers will go out on March 31st if all goes well. We hope to reduce some of the anxiety caused by the admission process.

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    1. I believe this has been answered elsewhere but the typical penalty ranges from a 0% deduction on your admission average to a 5% deduction on your admission average. The size of the deduction depends on a number of factors. If you have a good reasoning for taking the course in the summer, it may be that no penalty is applied. If you simply took the course in the summer to boost your average, a 5% penalty to your admission average will be applied.

      A 5% penalty on your admission average is equivalent to a 30% penalty in the grade of one course.

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    1. Early round admission offers are based on the same combination of grades, AIF scores, interview scores, and adjustment factors that are used in the final round of admission.

      Technically speaking, the grades are given more weight in our decision process so you statement that early round admissions is mostly based on marks is true but not for the reason you are likely thinking. However, since most of our applicants have similar marks, I would argue that the AIF scores and the interview scores often make the difference between receiving an offer of admission and not receiving an offer of admission.

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  7. Hi. I was wondering how significant the AIF and video interview were. I heard that for Eng, the AIF goes to 5 and video to 3. I also heard that the AIF goes to 12. Which is correct? Thanks.

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    1. Currently, we grade both the AIF and the interview out of 5 each. However, this is always subject to change. I suspect this is why you have heard different values. One might think that they have little value since they can only boost your admission average by 5%. However, when you consider that the lowest applicant average should be above 85%, grades can only provide a separation of 15% at best. The 10% offered by the AIF and the interview can therefore have a very significant effect on the selection of applicants. A great score on the AIF, interview, or both can significantly enhance an applicant’s chances of receiving an offer of admission.

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  8. Hello professor,
    I applied to Software Engineer from an international school outside Canada and i have some questions.
    1. Does adjustment factor apply to international highschool ? My school is well-known across my country.
    2. How does the admission system work for international applicant ?

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    1. We apply adjustment factors to all applicants. For a student applying from outside Ontario, we have adjustment factors for provinces, territories, regions, and countries. We do not have enough data to compute adjustment factors for individual schools outside of Ontario. However, when we assess an applicant, if we are unfamiliar with a school, we may research the school to assess the quality of the school. Very few regions outside of Canada have adjustment factors.

      From an applicant perspective, the application process is similar to most. You apply online via the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC). Shortly after applying, our admissions officers will contact you to guide you through the rest of the process. This involves the completion of the AIF and the online interview, uploading of transcripts, and uploading of supplementary documentation including English language proficiency test scores, if necessary. We do two rounds of admission offers. Our first round will happen at the end of March. The second round will happen in early May. Whenever possible, we do try to get out early offers of admission to visa students since we know that acceptance deadlines vary outside of Ontario. We try to provide applicants with sufficient time to accept or reject our offers.

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  9. Hello Professor,

    What will be the latest term average for ongoing courses that will be considered for admissions? For instance, will our grades at the end of February (Term 2) be used to calculate our Top 6?

    Thanks!

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    1. It is quite possible that we will have your grades from the end of February. It really depends upon how quickly schools upload the grades to OUAC, how quickly OUAC processes them, and how quickly we process them. This year has more variability than past years due to the various job actions taking place throughout Ontario. While we have not observed any significant impacts to our admission process at this time, it is always possible that the job actions may have some impact in the future.

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  10. Hello Professor,
    I have an e-learning course that I wanted as a part of my top 6 for admissions, but I was wondering if there would be any penalty or deduction applied to it in terms of my admission average. My reason for taking it online is because it was not offered at my school this year (it has been offered in the past), but still wanted to take it for the learning opportunity.
    Thanks!

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  11. Hello Professor Bishop,

    I am an applicant from Alberta applying to computer engineering with a 96.4 average in my required courses. Since the time that I uploaded my transcript into quest and filled out the courses section on the AIF, my calculus mark dropped by one percent as well as my chemistry mark. How would this affect my chances? Also, I was wondering if I should submit my updated transcript and interim marks once my second-semester marks are available or after my diploma exam results are inputted into the system at the end of the first term. Thanks in advance for your help.

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    1. A one percent change in a single grade would have very little effect on your admission chances. Your admission score would drop by 0.167%. I would not expect this magnitude of change to have any significant effect on your admission chances.

      As far as your question regarding updating grades, I recommend contacting one of our admission officers to determine what is best for your situation. Our Registrar has been working on implementing improvements to our application processes related to uploading transcripts and grades. I am not sure what the current system requires.

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  12. Hello Dr. Bishop,

    In regards to early admissions, are offers only given to students in the upper range of the applicant pool? If so, what kind of percentile would they generally fall into? Would I need to be 90th percentile, 80th percentile etc. to be accepted in the early round? Further, and I know you might not be able to easily answer this, but what is the median entrance average? What averages fall into the 75th percentile? Once again, I understand that you might not be able to easily provide definite answers, but I figured it was worth a shot to ask. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for taking the time to contribute to this blog, it has been a real boon for countless students.

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    1. We have an upper bound on the number of offers to give out during the early round of admission for each program. Top applicants are more likely to receive an offer of admission in March. Any applicant with an admission score above the 20th percentile of last year’s admission score distribution for a program is eligible to receive an offer of admission in March. We basically rank the applicants and select the top ones that meet our criteria until we hit our upper bound on the number of offers to a program.

      Even if I could provide the 20th percentile admission scores, they would be largely meaningless to applicants since you would need to know your school’s adjustment factor, your AIF score, your interview score, and any penalties / bonuses assigned to your application.

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      1. Hello Dr. Bishop

        Another question, if I did partial IB, would my IB grades possibly replace my Alberta grades. For example, would a 7 in Math SL replace a 96 and 94 in Math 31 and 30-1 respectively? If so, what adjustment factor would be applied?

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      2. Depending upon the situation, we may use a combination of grades from different grading systems. When necessary, we compute an adjustment factor that represents a blend of the grading systems used. We generally recommend Math HL, not Math SL. Math HL provides better preparation for university.

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      3. Hello Dr. Bishop,

        In my case, any students who took Economics HL or French SL were unable to take Math HL due to scheduling at my school. I was in both of those courses, and my school is extremely unaccommodating with IB course changes. I was accepted to Math HL but was completely unable to take it due to circumstances beyond my control. This wouldn’t affect me for admissions, would it?

        Secondly, does Waterloo use Top 6 grades for Alberta students as well? I was told in an email from the admissions department that the sixth course is only considered if it improves your overall average. Would taking the 6th course online have any effect? Would an IB course be used if it’s my highest 6th course?

        Sorry for all the questions, but I really thank you for your responses.

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      4. I would explain the scheduling issue on your Admission Information Form. When we list a course as recommended, it is our preferred course to be taken. We will accept students who do not take the course but it may be a consideration in our admissions decisions.

        For out of province applicants, we may use 5 or 6 courses in your average, according to our engineering brochure. There is some variation from one province to the next. Usually, the 6th course improves an applicant’s admission average.

        It is possible to mix and match IB courses and non-IB courses. For a 6th course, taking the course online likely is not a significant consideration.

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  13. Hello Professor Bishop, I was just wondering if my average will be adjusted if I take a non-required course outside day school, and it happens to be in my top 6? Also, is taking the course outside day school, because the course was full a valid reason?

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    1. It would be unusual for us to apply an adjustment to a non-required course. If we felt an adjustment was necessary, we would first attempt to compute your average using a different course since a high grade in another course would be better than an average adjustment.

      My recommendation, as always, is to explain clearly why you took the course outside day school.

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  14. Hi Professor,
    I applied for Systems Design for the Fall 2020 term, one of my top programs. I’m actively involved with the community and have a lot of extracurriculars. However, I’m currently at a 90% average, looking towards a 93-94% at the end of semester 2 midterms. Would my marks decrease my chances of getting an offer from the program?

    Also, thank you for taking the time and effort to construct this blog and provide us with resources and updating us applicants with accurate facts. Greatly appreciated by many!

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    1. Systems Design Engineering places a heavy emphasis on extracurricular activities. However, better grades do typically improve the chance of being offered admission. By the time we do our final round of admission, we should have your 2nd semester midterm grades so there is a strong incentive to do well on your midterm grades if you do not receive an early offer of admission at the end of March.

      Most applicants tend to underestimate their chances of admission. While it is true that not all great students receive an offer of admission, I would say that the majority of great students receive an offer of admission to all programs with the possible exception of Software Engineering. I would note that a great student is not necessarily equivalent to a high average student. Sometimes, great students have very good grades and outstanding extracurricular involvement.

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  15. Hi Professor Bishop, I was just wondering if it’s true that we need 3 required 4U courses finished in order to be considered for early admission. I have recently finished Advanced Functions, Physics, and Chemistry, so would I be considered for the early round? If I am considered for the early round, how will not having Calculus already finished affect me? Will my Advanced Functions mark hold more weighting, or will my Grade 11 Functions mark also be considered? Thank you!

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    1. We do not have any requirement regarding the number of 4U courses completed prior to admission consideration in the early round. If your application is complete and you have submitted your Admission Information Form, you will be considered in the early round.

      We will look at all available grades to make an informed assessment. When 4U course grades exist, they are used in the calculation of your admission average.

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  16. Hi Professor,
    I am a student from Alberta and I predict my average to stay close to 93% (English is not my first language, and grade 12 mark pulled down my average). I am applying to software engineering but I have not participated in computing or math competitions. I signed up for the Euclid contest, but it might be too late to submit my results later on. I have many extracurriculars and experience with coding, but they were outside of contests that would show if I am an excellent first place or not. The software engineering program seems really competitive and I was wondering about my chances to receive an offer of admission.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Competitions are not a requirement for entry into any engineering program. The requirement for Software Engineering is that you demonstrate some significant programming experience. This could be done through course work, projects, or competitions. Also, it is often possible to provide links to code for projects to help demonstrate proficiency. Many applicants provide links to YouTube videos and GitHub repositories. Time permitting, we look at everything submitted on the Admission Information Form.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I have a 97.5 average and I feel like my AIF and Interview are solid (not going to kill my chances, at least). However, I go to a high school that has a very poor adjustment factor and was on the released Waterloo list. Is there anything I can do about that, or I’m going to punished because of my School, regardless? What is the weight of the adjustment factor?

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    1. The adjustment factor list changes every year. It has been two years since your high school appeared on the list since the list that was published was for the 2018 admission cycle. You have absolutely no way of knowing whether your school still has an adjustment factor or not. We do not publish the list as we believe that publishing the list can have a negative impact on the wellness of our current students. Also, it is mathematically possible to calculate the

      The adjustment factors are simply used to allow fair comparisons of performance from one school to the next. If your school does have an adjustment factor, it is an important consideration. The adjustment factor is subtracted from your admission average when calculating your admission score. Every school is adjusted. If a school lacks an adjustment factor, the average for the province is used.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hello, sir. What are the chances of a 85 average at UofT computer science for Mechatronics Engineering? Also, if I have a full year calculus course first year and the marks are not official because they are released in May, am I allowed to put my current mark on the AIF with all my term test and problem sets?

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    1. It is always possible to self-report grades on the AIF but whether we use the self-reported grades depends on a number of factors. This being said, we will at least know how you are doing since we read the AIFs. If a high term test grade is reported, we might take that into consideration if you are on the bubble of being admitted.

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  19. Hello, sir. What are the chances with an 85 average for transfer from UofT CS to UWaterloo Mechatronics Engineering. Also, if I have a full year calculus course (rigorous version) am I allowed to put my mark on the AIF which is not official as it only contains 2 tests and 5 problem sets? The rest of the assessments are still left.

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    1. There are many factors that can cause a transfer application to be rejected. We do not simply look at your average when making our admission decisions. We will look at why you want to transfer.

      In general, an 85% average at the University of Toronto in CS is typically good enough to support a transfer, provided that the rest of your application is complete and that there is a good reason for wanting the transfer.

      We always try to figure out why you want to leave one university to attend another. After all, the University of Toronto has a strong engineering program. A transfer to engineering at the University of Toronto would be slightly more logical, in the absence of other factors. Hence, there must be a reason why you want to come here or leave there. This reason should appear on your Admission Information Form (AIF).

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      1. Thank you for your detailed reply. May I please know the adjustment factor for University of Toronto for this year? Thank you.

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      2. We do not publish adjustment factors. We only release adjustment factors to official representatives of schools and school boards upon specific request for the purpose of continuous improvement.

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  20. Hello. I had a spare in Semester 1 but have no place to justify it. I used all the sections for very important things compared to having a spare for ECs. Can I just ignore the spare? Also, how important are my performance on contests for admission. People have told me that contests are just for ties and that marks are more important. I plan on doing the CCC and was wondering if getting 1 or 2 on the Junior is better than getting a zero on the Senior. The SE program recommends CCC but does not specify the recommended level. Thank you so much and have a nice day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ultimately, you have to decide what is most important to put on your AIF. If we see many extracurricular activities, a lighter course load will not matter since it is clear how you are spending your time.

      With respect to competitions, we look at competition results the same way we look at awards. There is no requirement to participate in competitions. The SE website recommends participating in the Canadian Computing Competition as it helps prepare applicants for the challenges ahead in the SE program. Your score in the competition is not a direct factor in an admission decision. If you win an award or do very well, your AIF score may reflect your success but this is no different from any other award or competition.

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  21. Hello Mr. Bishop, if I am currently taking one of the required courses for engineering in second semester, would my grade 11 mark for that course be used? Would I still be eligible for the early round of offers? Or would I have to wait until my mid term mark comes out in April?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hello Mr. Bishop,

    I was wondering how we should approach Question 1 on the AIF “Reasons for choosing your program and Waterloo”. I am applying to both the faculty of math and engineering, and I’m not sure how to talk about reasons for going to one without appearing to disregard another. Should I approach this by talking about Waterloo as a whole, and focusing less on what individual programs offer? Or would it be better to focus on the program I more strongly wish to attend?

    Thanks!

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    1. Applicants should always focus on the program they wish to attend. We can see if you are a first choice applicant or not. If you are not a first choice applicant, we will understand that your AIF will focus on your first choice program.

      Engineering does have the advantage that you have a section of the AIF devoted to engineering so even if your first choice program is not an engineering program, you will have a section that indicates why you selected an engineering program as your alternative choice.

      I generally assume that you may have changed your mind by the time we decide to offer admission. Last year, a student that listed our program as a 10th choice on OUAC decided to accept our admission offer. Some programs would not offer admission to a student listing the program as a 10th choice. Waterloo Engineering does not exclude applicants that list our programs as a distant choice as we recognize that students often change their minds after the application deadline.

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  23. One more question. I know you focus on engineering admissions but do you know if CS or CS/BBA want you to submit earlier than the 28th? You mentioned that the submission date doesn’t matter for Eng but how about Math. I tried contacting them but got no return. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, I do not know much about the admissions process for CS or CS/BBA. I suspect there is no significant advantage to finishing early since they appear to make the bulk of their offers later in the admission cycle. However, I cannot say this with 100% certainty.

      There is no incentive for waiting to submit your supporting documents (AIF, interview, etc.) until the deadline. Sometimes students fear that they will miss out on mentioning an important award or activity that occurs in February. Given the job actions occurring in the school systems, I suspect there are not many competitions or extra-curricular activities happening right now. Also, there is no single award or extra-curricular activity that makes a huge difference in our admission decisions. Family day might be a great day to finish your application.

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  24. Hello Mr. Bishop, I have 3 questions that I would appreciate if you could answer.
    1. I have heard that the adjustment factors will be weighted less this year and will not play as big of a part in applications. Is this true (where some other mathematical weighting will be done) or is the adjustment factor still subtracted from your average?
    2. If I were to use the graph from “Chances of Admission for Fall 2020” article that you wrote back in September, would it be reasonable to calculate my chances by adding the difference between my adjustment and the average Ontario adjustment to my top 6 average? For example, if I was applying to a group 2 program with an average of 94, adjustment of 13.3, my chances would be equivalent to the chances of an applicant with a 97 average because 16.3(average Ontario adjustment) – 13.3(my school’s adjustment) would be 3 and I would add that to my 94 top 6 average.
    3. I have also heard that some programs within a group have different admissions. For example, I have heard that mechatronics engineering is harder than electrical engineering even though they’re both group 2 programs. I also see that in your “Chances of Admission for Fall 2020” you say that the projections are most accurate for the top program in a grouping. So if I was applying to electrical engineering, would my chances be higher than the projections in the graph since that would be more accurate for mechatronics engineering (a top program in that grouping) ?
    Thank you for taking the time to read all these questions and relieve me of some admissions stress. It is greatly appreciated!

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    1. I am not sure where you heard that the adjustment factors will be weighted less this year but this is not true. I did comment on my blog that adjustment factors have very little impact on applications to less competitive programs but this is simply due to the fact that a wider range of admission scores are accepted for less competitive programs. When calculating admission scores, the adjustment factor is simply subtracted from your average.

      The Chances of Admission for Fall 2020 blog post examines admission averages, not admission scores. If you take your secondary school average for your required courses plus your best 4M or 4U course (not already in the average), this average is the one you should use when looking at the graphs on my blog. You do not know your school’s adjustment factor as it has not been published. However, even if you knew the adjustment factor, it does not help you interpret the graph any better. The fact is that if you have a 94% average, your probability of receiving an offer of admission is still the one associated with a 94% average. Also, the Ontario average adjustment factor is not 16.3.

      With respect to different programs in a group behaving slightly differently from an admissions perspective, this is true. The probability curves are calculated as an average of the applicants in the group. Certain programs within a group may have slightly higher or slightly lower probabilities of admission. However, I will also say that the differences are relatively minor. It is difficult to predict which programs will be easier in a particular year until we have firm application numbers. Based on what I now know, I can say that Electrical Engineering is likely slightly easier to get into this year than Mechatronics Engineering. Electrical Engineering fewer first choice applicants per available space. This assumes that quantity equals quality. Usually when we have more applicants in the pool, the quality of the applicant pool at the top end is higher but this is not guaranteed to be true.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi Professor Bishop,
    I was wondering what a competitive average for mechatronics engineering would be this year, Would you need to have a 95+ for above a 50% chance for admission or would a grade in the 90-94 also have higher than a 50% chance for admission. I’m asking since as you mentioned, the graph represents an average of the entire group. I assume mechatronics is one of the most competitive programs in that group.

    Like

    1. It is important to remember that the graph represents last year’s probabilities so the numbers are simply estimates of what might happen this year. While it is reasonable to assume that Mechatronics is one of the more competitive programs in the grouping, the difference between the top program and the bottom program in a grouping is still relatively small. My best guess is that Mechatronics will have probabilities very close to the average of the grouping. While Mechatronics has a large number of applicants, it also has a large number of available spaces.

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  26. Hello Mr. Bishop, I have already submitted my AIF but in the math section when asked for a reference I put down the Advanced Function teacher I had at the time, however, this teacher was not the one who monitored and tracked all my math contest scores and participation, would it be worth it to make an amendment to change the reference? The teacher who monitored my math contests is also currently teaching me Calc / Vectors. Thanks again for answering questions and posting on the blog, it’s really helped me get over admission nerves!

    Like

    1. Your question would best be answered by the Faculty of Math. We do not ask for references in the engineering portion of the AIF and I do not typically see any references in my application database. The only exception would be if a student placed a reference in the section that can be used for anything else not covered on the AIF.

      Like

  27. Hello, Mr. Bishop. I have an offer admission that must be confirmed before late March. I was wondering if Engineering Faculty can review my admission earlier for this reason. If yes, what is the earliest I will hear from them?

    Like

    1. I am very curious to find out which university requires confirmation before late March. Out-of-province institutions often have deadlines in mid or late April. Our early admission round at the end of March should allow top applicants to meet the out-of-province deadlines for most institutions, including most US institutions.

      Within the Province of Ontario, there are agreements in place to prevent universities from asking students to financially commit to a program prior to June 1st. Some universities get around this by only guaranteeing a program, premium residence, or a scholarship if a commitment is received early. Ontario universities should face consequences for asking for an early financial commitment (of any sort) but it is not clear that they always do. Even if a university is caught breaking the rules, it might not always be the case that the university is reprimanded for doing so. It might simply be an instance of a poorly communicated message to an applicant where a penalty might not be applied.

      Please let me know which institution is requiring a response prior to the end of March. This seems very early.

      I can flag any application for early consideration but doing so limits the consideration of the application for an early round offer only. This might not be the best decision for an applicant, depending upon how strongly the applicant wishes to come to Waterloo Engineering. In most cases, it is best to simply wait for an offer. Top applicants will likely receive offers in our early round. Applicants that really want to study at the University of Waterloo should simply allow the admission process to proceed as normal.

      Recognizing that out-of-province students often have earlier deadlines, we will attempt to process as many out-of-province admission offers as possible in our early round this year. We have significantly increased the number of offers to be made in the early round this year.

      Like

  28. Hello Professor Bishop,

    My name is Khoa and I am an applicant to Civil Engineering from BC. When I looked at the timeline, I saw that admission offers are going to be sent out mid-may. This is concerning because I have an offer to the Faculty of Applied Science at Simon Fraser University which has a deadline of May 1st. Is there any chance that I can request early consideration?

    Thank you,
    Khoa

    Like

    1. Our final round of admission offers will be sent out in May. However, we expect to send out quite a few admission offers in late March. As an out-of-province applicant, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. We assume that all out-of-province applicants have early acceptance deadlines.

      The only applicants that should ask for early consideration are those Ontario applicants who have obtained an offer of admission from an out-of-province institution that requires financially committing to an offer prior to the middle of May. In such cases, these applicants should e-mail our admission officers to request early consideration. Our admission officers will require proof of an offer requiring a financial commitment prior to the middle of May before early consideration will be granted.

      Like

  29. Professor Bishop,

    Do you know if our AIF reviewers will see our whole AIF (i.e. they will know if we reference a particular EC or work experience in our essays)? Are the AIFs graded by just one reader or are they parted out and distributed? Would you be allowed to disclose such information? I really appreciate this blog and look forward to your reply!

    Many thanks,
    Mike

    Like

    1. The AIFs for a particular program are all assessed by a single AIF reviewer. There may be multiple admission officers that look at your AIF prior to sending out an offer of admission but the AIF itself is scored by a single AIF reviewer.

      During the review process, our admission officers look at an AIF database that displays a large subset of the fields that fit on a single screen for easy assessment. Key fields are highlighted to ensure that important data is not missed. When listing things like activities and awards, I always recommend listing items from most recent / significant to least recent / significant to ensure that important data is seen by our reviewers.

      We do tend to spend quite a bit of time reading every AIF and every application. We know that the best way to graduate outstanding students is to admit outstanding students to first year.

      Like

  30. Hey Prof,
    What tone would be appropriate for our essays? Is a more relaxed tone okay (i.e. use of contractions/humour) or are you looking for strictly formal tone like that of a job application?

    Thanks a lot!

    Like

    1. In general, you want to avoid the extreme ends of the spectrum. The other day, I reviewed an AIF that was too formal. When I have to lookup multiple words used by an applicant, a Thesaurus has been overused on the application. On the other hand, words like “bro” and “lol” in an AIF won’t get an applicant very far either.

      Contractions are acceptable. They do cause an issue in our database but we are used to it. Basically, the apostrophe character gets replaced by another special symbol due to data conversions from one format to another. I have seen the symbol so often that I simply read it as a normal apostrophe now. Limited use of humour is acceptable as well. You should keep in mind that humour is not universal. Something you think is funny may not translate well to all readers.

      Like

  31. Hello Mr. Bishop,

    I’m currently completing my AIF and was wondering what would be best for the extracurricular additional info section. I’m currently torn on whether I should go in-depth on a single activity and explain what I did, learned, my impact etc… or focus on what I did in multiple activities. I feel with the first choice I can explain my impact more effectively although I would be able to explain my wide range of responsibilities/activities with the second choice. I’m applying to Systems Design if that makes any difference.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Like

    1. The list of activities, employment, and awards allow for an expression of breadth. In the paragraph answers, I would tend towards demonstrating some depth, if possible. You could always do a combination of both approaches. At the end of the day, you need to feel that the approach that you used was the best approach for your application. We see a huge variety of AIF styles. There is not one best approach.

      Like

  32. Hello Mr. Bishop,

    I have a question about listing extracurriculars in the AIF, when multiple positions overlap. For instance, if I participated in my school’s computer science club Grades 9 to 12, while only being an executive in Grade 12, should I make two separate “extracurriculars”, with an overlap in start/end date? Or should I simply list “Computer Science Club Exec (2019-2020) and Member”? I’m partially worried about filling up slots with repetitive info, since some extracurriculars may be truncated…

    Thank you for your patience!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you were in a club for 4 years, this should be a single entry. If you ran the club for your final year, you might wish to show this separately. If you were in 4 different leadership positions over 4 years, I would use a single entry with the position titles in brackets. Try to be as compact as possible if you have many other activities to write about.

      For applicants with fewer activities, feel free to use one line per activity. The same is true for awards.

      Liked by 1 person

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