Chances of Admission for Fall 2022

It is once again time for my most popular blog post of the year. In this blog post, I will attempt to answer the question:

“What are my chances of receiving an offer of admission to an undergraduate engineering program at the University of Waterloo?”

As I have pointed out in previous years, this is never an easy question to answer since every applicant is different.  For the purpose of selecting applicants that are likely to succeed in our undergraduate engineering programs, grades remain the most important consideration. Excellent grades in high school can be a strong indicator of future success in university. However, grades should not be the only consideration.

Our admissions process examines many other factors when selecting our applicants. We require all applicants to complete an admission information form which we use to assess skills, employment experience, volunteer service, course work, extracurricular activities, and notable achievements. We also strongly recommend that all applicants complete an online interview. While the interview process is optional for the purpose of admission consideration, it is a requirement for entrance scholarship consideration. Through the admission information form and the online interview, we are able to better understand the qualifications of an applicant and the challenges faced by the applicant. Our assessments also help us gauge an applicant’s level of interest in our programs and an applicant’s level of fit for our programs.

We assess all applicants that meet our minimum entrance grade requirements. For our engineering programs, applicants are required to have an admission average of 85% with no grades lower than 70% in any of our required courses in their final year of high school. In this sense, grades qualify an applicant for admission. We then use a combination of the admission average with our other assessment tools to individually select applicants. Students with higher admission averages are more likely to be selected for admission but they are not guaranteed to be selected for admission. The admission information form and the online interview give applicants with lower grades a chance to compete for coveted spaces in our engineering programs.

Using the Ontario Secondary School applicant data for the Fall 2021 admission cycle, I have produced two graphs that show the probability of an Ontario Secondary School (OSS) applicant receiving an offer of admission to undergraduate engineering programs at the University of Waterloo.  I have grouped our engineering programs as follows:

  • Biomedical and Software
  • Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, Mechatronics, and Systems Design
  • Architectural, Chemical, Civil, Environmental, Geological, Management, and Nanotechnology

These groupings are the same as the previous three admission cycles. Clearly, not all programs grouped together have exactly the same admission offer probabilities. I did consider alternative groupings. My analysis of individual program data showed that the programs in these groupings continue to behave similarly.

The first graph summarizes the probability of an admission offer for Canadians and permanent residents applying from the Ontario Secondary School system given a particular admission average.  The vertical axis represents the admission probability and the horizontal axis represents an applicant’s admission average. The admission average is calculated using the grades reported by OUAC. It has not been adjusted in any way.

While the graph resembles the one from last year, there are two noticeable differences. First, the admission averages are slightly higher. While some might quickly argue that this is compelling evidence of grade inflation, it is important to note that we also had a record number of applicants to our undergraduate engineering programs last year. Second, the shape of the curve for Architectural, Chemical, Civil, Environmental, Geological, Management, and Nanotechnology is different. Due to the fact that admission averages shifted upwards, the slope of the curve is steeper. While it is still possible for applicants with averages between 85% to 90% to be admitted to our undergraduate engineering programs, applicants have a much higher probability of success with an average of 90% or greater. It is not clear if this trend will continue into the next admission cycle.

The second graph summarizes the probability of an admission offer for visa students applying from the Ontario Secondary School system given a particular admission average.  The vertical axis represents the admission probability and the horizontal axis represents an applicant’s admission average. The admission average is calculated using the grades reported by OUAC. It has not been adjusted in any way.

This graph is noisy due to the small sample size. The data appears to suggest that an applicant to Civil Engineering with an 85% admission average has a higher probability of success than an applicant with an 88% admission average. In general, one should assume that admission probabilities increase as admission averages increase. Overall, the admission offer probabilities for visa students increased again this past year. Visa students compete for a small number of reserved spaces in our programs. Due to the global pandemic, there were fewer qualified visa applicants. I expect this trend to continue into the foreseeable future as demand for qualified visa students at Canadian universities continues to outpace the supply of qualified visa students.

I used a slightly different approach from the one I used last year to produce these graphs. I used the built-in curve fitting of Microsoft Excel. This approach should allow me to produce comparable graphs next year in less time.

It is important to remember that these graphs may not accurately predict the Fall 2022 admission cycle. There are many questions that are difficult to answer this year:

  • Will applicant numbers continue to remain strong?
  • Will admission targets remain the same as last year?
  • Will the pandemic cause applicants to reconsider pursuing a university education?

Applicants should not attempt to not read too much into the admission probability graphs. The data can be scary if you don’t fully understand it. Some applicants did not complete the required admission information form or attempt the optional interview. Some applicants to Software Engineering were not admitted for not having any evidence of structured programming experience. Some applicants withdrew their application for admission prior to an offer being granted. If I eliminated applicants with incomplete applications or withdrawn applications from the data set, the admission probabilities would improve dramatically.

Our recruiting cycle for Fall 2022 has now begun. You might wish to attend the upcoming Ontario Universities’ Fair to learn more about the University of Waterloo and its programs. The Faculty of Engineering is hosting its popular Undergraduate Admissions Webinar Series again this year. Prospective applicants may also book Campus Tours to learn more about our campus or connect with an existing student by registering for a virtual EngChat.

57 thoughts on “Chances of Admission for Fall 2022”

  1. Dear Professor Bishop,

    I have been reading your blog since grade 9. Thank you, I am most impressed with your willingness to help. I have always wanted to become a software engineer through either SE/CS or CE route. I have two questions.

    First, at what grade point average should I NOT consider applying to SE?

    All my extracurricular heavily relate to software development. I teach computer programming in my free time, have done many programming projects, freelance programming work, one small-business CRM project, and have a few apps on the Android play store. I have also done two professional certificates in software development from HarvardX and PennX, which took me eight months to complete.

    Unfortunately, I messed up my first Chemistry and Advance Function tests this year (Grade 12), and I am only expecting 96%. I am just worried that if my final grade average is 97%, should I apply to CE (with SE major) instead of SE as my first choice? It seems a lot of applicants scoring 97% get rejected by SE. CE is currently my second choice. I know you have mentioned in the past that Waterloo doesn’t like filling up their CE class with SE rejects.
    If I select CE, I would most certainly take the SE option (as a minor by adding CS245 and SE212). For me, the choice is between applying to SE or CE as my first choice. I do not want to do the strategic mistake that you have often spoken about.

    Second, if I apply to CE as my first choice, can I use the AIF I specifically wrote for SE? Although I am also interested in hardware to the extent that it helps me understand software design, I have no extracurricular related to CE. All you will see is software and programming in my AIF. Is that be such a bad thing if applying to CE?

    Thank you!


    1. Your extracurricular activities clearly demonstrate a strong aptitude for Software Engineering. It is difficult to assess the competitiveness of your admission average without knowing more about your situation. Put simply, some schools prepare students better than others.

      Every mark counts when applying to SE. There could be a huge difference between an average of 96.4% and 96.0%, simply due to the large number of applicants that typically apply. Last year, I had 441 OSS applicants apply to SE with an average of 96% or greater. A total of 74 of these OSS applicants had averages of 96.0% to 96.4%. It would be a surprise if there was a sudden drop in the size of the SE applicant pool or the competitiveness of the SE applicant pool. I do expect grades to be slightly lower this year but I do not expect grades to drop by more than 1% in the SE applicant pool.

      I generally recommend that applicants apply to the program they want most, even if there is a chance of not being successful. If you want to be successful, sometimes you need to take calculated risks. There were students in the 96% range last year that were admitted, ones that were rejected, and ones that were given deferral offers to COMPE. When evaluating applicants for deferrals, we selected those that we thought would be most receptive to the idea. Often, these students indicated an aptitude for both SE and COMPE on their AIF.

      It is important to remember that the SE program and the COMPE program are quite different. In COMPE, about 20% of your courses examine concepts related to computer software. You can boost this percentage slightly by taking the SE option but the percentage will not approach the coverage of computer software in SE. About 50% of the courses in the SE program examine concepts related to computer software. MGTE (Management Engineering) might also be a program to consider. The computer software coverage in MGTE is a bit more specialized but it is very good. MGTE arguably has as many computer software courses as COMPE. The SE option is also accessible from MGTE.

      In general, the odds of being admitted to MGTE would be very high, the odds of being admitted to COMPE would be good, and the odds of being admitted to SE would be low. As illustrated on my graph, an applicant with a 95% average would have about a 85% chance of being admitted to MGTE, a 50% chance of being admitted to COMPE, and a 10% chance of being admitted to SE. I have adjusted the values slightly based on what I predict to happen this year.

      With respect to your question about your AIF, you should always design it around your first choice program. There is significant overlap between all engineering programs. An applicant with an AIF focused on SE would certainly fair well in both the COMPE and MGTE applicant pools. The most important skills that we look for in applicants are soft skills (e.g., communication, leadership, teamwork, etc.). These soft skills are applicable to all programs and they can be demonstrated by a wide variety of activities. A common misconception is that we only value skills that directly apply to a particular discipline.


  2. Dear Professor Bishop,

    I’m wondering if there’s a way for the admission team to verify the information applicants put down on the AIF. For example, if I say I did an internship at a company, will the admission team contact the company to verify my information? If so, should I inform the company in advance so they are prepared?

    Thank you!


    1. Our admissions team would not normally contact a company to verify employment information indicated on an AIF. Given the size of our applicant pool, it is not feasible for us to verify all information provided.

      I could imagine a very rare situation where we might contact an employer. There would need to be an allegation made against applicant’s claims on an AIF. In this situation, we would first attempt to verify information provided on an AIF using the public record (websites, etc.). If we were interested in admitting the applicant, but the review of the public record was inconclusive, there might be a situation where we would contact an applicant for further information. This might involve a request to contact an employer. In the vast majority of cases, we would be able to make a decision on an applicant without ever reaching out to the applicant or the employer.

      As always, it is important to remind applicants that lying on an application is a serious offence. In the past, applicants caught lying on their applications were not admitted. In a few cases where language test results were discovered to be fraudulent, admitted applicants had offers of admission revoked. I even know of cases where active students were expelled when it was discovered in their first term of studies that they lied on their applications. These cases are extremely rare, but they can happen.

      It is also important to note that we recognize that mistakes on an application can happen. There is a difference between knowingly lying about oneself on an application and including potentially erroneous information on an application. As an example, the university might say that I started my full-time employment with the university on February 1, 2003. I started teaching courses full-time on January 1, 2003 but I was paid as casual employee for my first month of employment due to paperwork being submitted late. If I listed January 1, 2003, would I be incorrect? Is there a material difference between January 1, 2003 and February 1, 2003? Certainly, this minor difference would not be one that would concern us given the duration of my employment.

      Some AIF errors are funny. I have now designed my database so that it calculates the duration of experience by the absolute difference between dates. The reason for this feature is that sometimes applicants list the start date as a more recent date than the end date. This is such a common problem, I assume the root of the problem is related to the design of our AIF. Perhaps the form could be modified to provide better guidance to applicants. We do have a series of YouTube videos that talk about completing the AIF that I highly recommend to all applicants.


  3. Dear Professor Bishop,

    I am applying to SYDE this year and have heard they their admissions differs slightly — put much more emphasis on AIF rather than grades. I was wondering if there was any truth to that statement.


    1. The Admission Information Form (AIF) plays a more significant role for programs with competitive applicant pools than those with less competitive applicant pools. The Systems Design Engineering program has a competitive applicant pool. I would not say that the AIF is more important than grades. An applicant with a weak AIF may still be considered for admission. An applicant with weak grades will never be considered for admission.


  4. Hi, professor bishop,
    I was wondering how technical our AIF responses can/should be. Should we assume the AIF markers are familiar with programming and engineering terms, or should we go for a more basic explanation. I had the same question for the CS AIF readers, as that would be under the math department.



    1. Our engineering AIF readers are quite familiar with programming and engineering terms. We can also lookup technical terms if there is something that we do not understand. I read the AIFs for COMPE, EE, and SE. I also teach these programs.

      The biggest issue we face is identifying scholarships and awards. Sometimes, an applicant will say they received an award named after a donor without telling us what the award recognizes. When describing an award, always try to provide the following information:

      1. What does the award recognize (e.g., leadership, communication, athletics, grades, arts, etc.)?
      2. Is the award a local, regional, provincial, national, or international award?
      3. Is there a dollar value attached to the award (e.g., $1,000)?

      I can’t answer the same question for the School of Computer Science. You will need to ask them for a response.


  5. Hi Professor Bishop,

    Do you have any insight on how interviews are graded? I’m aware that they are weighted the same as the AIF but would you say interviews are heavily graded towards the middle (Gaussian distribution) like the AIF? I feel a bit anxious because I feel I somewhat blank minded during the interview and could’ve done better.

    Thank you for the information you give applicants on this blog!


    1. The distribution of interview grades follows a Gaussian distribution. If anything the distribution skews a bit to the low side for both the AIF and the interivew. It is important to remember that even a poor interview is better than no interview at all. A poor interview will not prevent you from being offered admission.


  6. Dear Professor Bishop,

    Thank you for all the help you have given students through this blog. I’m interested in applying to the computer engineering program at the University of Waterloo. My question is, what extracurricular activities stand out the most on applications?



    1. Having read thousands of applications to the Computer Engineering program, it is difficult to say that any particular extracurricular activity stands out. I have had the privilege of reading some outstanding application packages from students. I am constantly amazed by the depth and breadth of our applicant pool for Computer Engineering.

      It is important to remember that you do not need to be the best applicant to receive an offer of admission. You simply need to be one of the top applicants. I estimate that roughly 1 out of every 5 applicants to Computer Engineering will receive an offer of admission to the program this year. Just do your best at the activities you choose to do. When explaining your activities, provide clear and concise explanations. Try to show why you believe the extracurricular activities are important. While having activities related to your field of study can show your interest in the field, it is equally important to have some breadth of activities. We do not favour one activity over another.


  7. Good day, Professor Bishop!

    I am a Canadian student applying from the British-patterned A-level system, and I was wondering about how the A-levels are compared against the Ontario High School system. How would an A* be converted? To 95%? Or are they not converted at all, rather you treat them as separate applications? And if they are converted, what is the adjustment factor for students applying to UW Engineering? Are they treated as ‘better’ applications or ‘worse’? I am confused about this because many people say that the British curriculum is better than the Canadian one. I would just like you to clarify this, as I am an applicant for the upcoming Fall 2022 session.

    Thanks for reading this, and I look forward to your reply.


    1. The grades of a Canadian applicant applying from the British A-Level Grading System will be converted into percentage grades using a conversion table. To the best of my knowledge, we do not disclose the conversion table. It is subject to change from one admission cycle to the next. It is my understanding that A* has converted to 96% in previous admission cycles. Depending upon the country, region, or school of study, an adjustment factor may be applied. There may also exist other adjustments that are applied. When we apply adjustments, they are done in an attempt to ensure that admitted students will be successful in our programs. Adjustments can be positive or negative.

      We have four applicant pools per program. These pools are the following:
      1. OSS (Ontario Secondary School) CPR (Canadians and Permanent Residents) Applicants
      2. OSS (Ontario Secondary School) Visa (Study Permit) Applicants
      3. NOSS (Non-Ontario Secondary School) CPR (Canadians and Permanent Residents) Applicants
      4. NOSS (Non-Ontario Secondary School) Visa (Study Permit) Applicants

      A Canadian applicant from a Non-Ontario Secondary School would fall into the third applicant pool (NOSS CPR Applicant Pool). An applicant of this type would be directly compared against other applicants from the same applicant pool.


      1. Based on the fact that an A* has been converted to a 96% in past admission cycles, I would like to ask about my chances of getting in SE. As you’ve stated before, the difference between a 96.4% and a 96% is quite significant in the SE applicant pool, and, assuming an A* still gets converted to a 96% this year, would that greatly put me at a disadvantage when applying to UW SE?

        I currently have a couple of activities related to SE as my extracurriculars, such as working as a Software Engineer at a company, as well as a Software Developer at another. I also have a few other ECs, but nothing too extravagant. My predicted A-level grades are 4A*s in Maths, Computer Science, Physics & Chemistry. So my question would be, should I risk applying to such a competitive subject or should I play it a bit safer and go for COMPE or MGMTE, which will eventually help me reach a Software-based role in the industry, but not as specialized as an SE student? I do know you’ve stated before that COMPE is not as similar to SE as much as people think, but would it be a safer option for me to do so since my average will technically not go over 96% (assuming, once again, that it stays the same this admission cycle). So, in simpler words, COMPE/MGMTE as 1st/2nd choice or SE/COMPE as 1st/2nd choice?

        Sorry if I sound a bit redundant, but I’m just worried about my chances of getting into UW SE.


      2. You would be compared to other domestic Non-Ontario Secondary School applicants. Your grades will not be directly compared against domestic Ontario Secondary School applicants. Many of the applicants you are competing against have grades similar to yours.

        Many programs, including ones outside of Waterloo Engineering, could lead to a software-based role in industry. The question is whether you will be happy and successful taking a program that is not directly related to what you want to do after graduation. Some students are happy in a variety of engineering programs. Others, simply want to do software.

        I have no way of predicting whether you would be offered admission to SE. It is the most competitive applicant pool in the Faculty of Engineering. Only you can decide whether you want to take the risk to study Software Engineering at Waterloo or whether you should “settle” for another engineeering program at Waterloo (or elsewhere).

        It is sadly true that most applicants to SE will not be given an offer of admission. In a typical year, we might give out slightly more than 200 admission offers to study SE. Last year we had over 1,900 applicants.


  8. Hey professor Bishop,

    I’ve read your blog after looking into some of the engineering programs at U Waterloo. I’m a grade 12 student and I applied to UW electrical engineering. From some of the people I’ve talked to, their averages are in the low 90s and have gotten in. My average is ~93.5 but after looking at the graph I’m not as confident as I was before.

    My EC are good, they’re focused on engineering and science, but they’re nothing spectacular. Some of the most prominent ones are; I’ve gotten too 10% in a chem and physics competition provided by UW and I’m an executive member of the hardware side of my schools engineering club.

    I know this is a hard question to answer but, if you could give me a rough estimate, do you think I have a good chance at getting in?


    1. Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict admission decisions for engineering programs that have competitive applicant pools. Also, there may be substantially different chances for domestic applicants and visa applicants in any given year. In previous years, a 93.5% average would have a high chance of admission for a domestic applicant with some extracurricular activities in the absence of red flags (courses lower than 70%, repeated courses, missing AIF, etc.).


  9. Dear Professor Bishop,

    Thank you for taking my question.

    For early admissions, if my Calculus and Vectors marks are not available until after the end of semester two, would you take Grade 11 Functions marks or Grade 12 Advanced Functions marks in-lieu of Grade 12 Calculus?

    An anxious applicant.


    1. We do not indicate how we predict missing grades. The calculation can change from one year to the next. The calculation may also depend upon what grades we know. In most cases, the exact calculation doesn’t make a big difference. Many applicants have consistently good grades. This is certainly true given that most applicants now have two years of pandemic grades which tend to be a bit higher than pre-pandemic grades.

      Knowing the calculation would not reduce your anxiety. It is important to understand that the only way you can control the admission outcome is by focusing on your coursework. My best advice is to keep studying and focus on your coursework. If you do not receive an early offer of admission in March, your current coursework may help you receive an offer in our final admission round in May.

      I also like your positivity, “Incoming Waterloo Student”. Some people say that if you say something enough, it will become true. Of course, this hasn’t been my experience with winning the lottery but let’s keep trying!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello Prof Bishop ,
    First of all Thank you for doing such a great favor by running this blog. It has a wealth of information
    I was planning to apply to Nano technology this year . Although i have a reasonably strong AIF and have low to mid 90’s as of now. I have couple questions,
    1. How do i select my second course Civil/Management – Which is lower compared to Nano
    2. What specific skills apart from marks are looked for Nano/Management/Civil


    1. Nanotechnology Engineering is a highly specialized field that is not as well known as Mechanical Engineering or Software Engineering. For this reason, the applicant pool is smaller and the admission process is less competitive.

      Based on admission data from previous years, I would expect all domestic applicants that indicate Nanotechnology Engineering as their program of choice and meet our minimum requirements (an 85% overall average, no required courses lower than 70%, and a completed AIF) to receive an offer of admission to Nanotechnology Engineering. This could change from one year to the next. However, I do not expect this to change this year.

      For visa applicants, it is a bit more difficult to predict. While the visa applicant pool for Nanotechnology Engineering is very small, the number of visa spaces is also small. A few strong first choice visa applicants can cause the visa spaces to fill quickly. However, I would still expect a visa applicant with a low 90’s admission average to receive an admission offer to Nanotechnology Engineering.

      The Nanotechnology Engineering (NE), Chemical Engineering (CHE), and Civil Engineering (CIVE) tend to have similar applicant pools. Architectural Engineering (AE) and Management Engineering (MGTE) can be slightly more competitive in a given year. I would not recommend putting MGTE as the alternate program for an applicant to the NE program given that the MGTE program may be more competitive. You could list the CIVE program. There could be a year where the NE program fills before the CIVE program.

      Two programs do not regularly meet their targets. These programs are Environmental Engineering (ENVE) and Geological Engineering (GEOE). They are great engineering programs with excellent career prospects. High school students are less aware of these programs. These engineering programs are always great selections for an alternate program. We will often perform searches on our admissions database for students that selected ENVE or GEOE as their alternate program to try to fill available spaces. Graduates of the ENVE and GEOE programs also have some very good career prospects.

      Grades alone can be sufficient to get into the Nanotechnology Engineering program. While an AIF is required, any blend of skills, activities, awards, and experience will suffice. A student with a low 90’s average and no extracurricular activities would still be highly competitive for Nanotechnology Engineering.

      Of course, any work experience or volunteer experience would help ensure a successful result. We prefer to admit students with some work experience (in any field) as it makes it easier for these students to find co-op positions. If an applicant lacks work experience, skills, extracurricular activities, or awards that could be listed on a resume would be valuable. High school courses relevant to engineering (e.g., drafting, 3D modelling, programming, design, etc.) could also be valuable, but not required for admission.


  11. Dear Professor Bishop,

    Mechatronics engineering and mechanical engineering are grouped as the same when regarding the probability of an offer with 95% + high school avg giving a 70% chance of admission. The curve graph relates with this as well. But this link

    puts tron at a minimum admission avg of mid 90s while mechanical has low 90s. I have already applied for the 2022 year with an expected avg of around 97-98%. Since I thought the chances for the grouped programs were the same, I went with mechatronics as that appealed to me the most. I am considering changing my program to mech because of the lower minimum admission which might give me a higher chance of being accepted as I would be happy with mech as well. Should this switch matter or is it recommended I keep my current application to Mechatronics while having mech as my second choice and that the probability of an offer is the same as per the graph? Or is the link provided above more accurate when comparing chance of offers because it puts biomed and tron at the same lvl of mid 90s. And biomed has a 50% admission rate (according to with an average above 95%. I would love to hear your thoughts and if you can correct any of my misunderstandings



    1. This is a case where both sources of information are accurate. Let me try to explain why this is the case…

      Applicants tend to apply to Mechanical Engineering at slightly higher rates than Mechatronics Engineering. Last year, for example, Mechanical Engineering had 1515 applicants while Mechatronics Engineering only had 1025 applicants. The Mechanical Engineering applicant pool has an average distribution that skews lower. Both programs have a target of 210 newly admitted students. When you look at the probability of being admitted at a particular average, the probability turns out to be the same for both programs in your average range.

      However, it is also true that applicants self-select out of applying to Mechatronics on the belief that they are less likely to be admitted. This is why the average distribution skews lower. This results in admitted Mechatronics applicants having slightly higher admission averages. More top applicants apply to Mechatronics pulling up the average of admitted students.

      I would not change your plan. Given your average, you have a very good chance of receiving an offer of admission to Mechatronics Engineering provided that you complete your AIF and you do not have any repeated courses.


      1. 97-98% is my expected avg at 2nd Semester midterm. Just thought I should clarify. Will the chance of admission be the same as my first semester midterms (grade 12) and grade 11 marks (since calc,chem and physics are 2nd semester) aren’t that high, but once 2nd semester rolls in, it will reach the target.


      2. We look at the most recent grades that we have received. If we have midterm grades for a Grade 12 required course, we use those grades over using the final grades for the equivalent Grade 11 course.


  12. Hi Mr Bishop.

    I am interested in the management engineering program. You have stated in a previous comment that it is slightly more competitive than the other programs in its group. I have a 93% average and, in my opinion, significantly above Ec’s (Lots of business related stuff and some international awards with significant work experience as well). I am nervous about my low average. Of course, predicting is hard, but given my profile, do you think I would receive an offer of admission?

    Thank you in advance for maintaining this blog. It is very informative for prospective students like myself.


    1. A 93% admission average (assuming this includes the required 5 courses) is a strong admission average for MGTE. While there will be many students in your class with higher averages, an admission average of 93% should be strong enough to get an offer of admission based on data from previous years.


  13. Hello Prof Bishop ,
    Thanks for taking the time and giving a detailed explanation earlier.
    Although , I expect to be in Mid 90’s for the required courses, I am applying to less competitive programs as I don’t want to not get in Waterloo Engineering by selecting higher tier courses , as the K-W universities are my only option for university studies. I saw that My marks dropped 2-3% in my class room courses this semester compared to my online course marks
    My Question is
    1. If In class students are competing with online students , will we be at disadvantage as 2-3% could mean a lot?
    2. If it is allowed to forecast What’s the acceptance ratio of Mgmt i.e Applicants vs Seats


    1. I think it is always important to choose a program that you will enjoy. It is also important to be realistic about your chances. The good news is that an average in the mid 90’s for required courses is competitive for most engineering programs at the University of Waterloo.

      I should point out that there are some excellent programs in the KW area offered by both universites (WLU and Waterloo) as well as the local college (Conestoga). Students often forget that Conestoga College grants accredited undergraduate degrees in some engineering disciplines. For example, Conestoga College offers a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronic Systems Engineering. The program has smaller class sizes and its tuition is less than half that of an engineering program at the University of Waterloo. It is a viable option for students with high school marks that are lower or difficult financial circumstances.

      It is true that our applicant pool consists of students studying in-person, students studying online, students studying at private schools, students with paid tutoring, students studying in summer school, and many other interesting situations including home schooling. We do our best to ensure the fair assessment of applicants. Our goal is to ensure student success in our programs. Clearly, the task is more difficult in the pandemic. It is also complicated by the fact that high school grades are often very high. The Admission Information Form and the Interview are two ways that we attempt to level the field. We also apply adjustments in cases where adjustments are justified. A 3% difference in average can significantly affect the chance of admission for an applicant. This is simply the reality.

      The MGTE program is one where applicants must typically exceed our minimum admission requirements of an 85% average in required courses, no required course below 70%, no repeated courses, and a submitted AIF. However, it is common for students with averages in the high 80’s to receive offers of admission to the program. It is difficult to say whether this will remain true this year. High school grades have been increasing steadily in all programs. We have not yet finalized our admission targets for Fall 2022. We will analyze our applicant pool and make updates accordingly. I do not expect things to change for MGTE but it is not yet known. It is important to remember that we are required to give out approximately twice as many offers of admission as we have spaces available to ensure that we come close to filling all available spaces.


  14. Dear Professor Bishop,

    I am applying to computer engineering from Alberta, and I had a question regarding high school transcripts. 3 of my required courses are in the second semester, however, since the deadline to submit documents is by February 18, I will only be able to provide my completed grade 12 course marks from the first semester, along with grade 11 courses. Will Waterloo reach out to me to get the marks for my other courses later? If so, when would that occur? I am wondering because I am relying on my grade 12 courses for admission, since my grade 11 average was not quite as competitive (~92%).

    Thank you in advance


    1. We predict missing required Grade 12 course grades using all available grades (including Grade 11 course grades). It wouldn’t matter if you were missing all required grades provided you were registered to complete the required courses. It is common for applicants to be missing two or three of the required Grade 12 course grades at the time of admission.

      For out of province applicants, we encourage applicants to send us updates of their high school transcripts whenever new grades become available. If you receive new transcripts or grades after February 18th, please ensure that we receive them so that they can be included in your assessment. One of our admissions officers will likely reach out to you to request missing grades but there is no harm in reaching out to them.

      It is often the case that Grade 11 course grades are lower. This will be true for other applicants as well. As I indicated, most applicants will have a few predicted grades so your chance of receiving an admission offer will likely not change. In the final round, grades often increase for all applicants as Grade 12 course grades become known.


  15. Dear Professor Bishop,

    Thank you for providing great information on this website and answering all of our questions.

    I had a follow up question regarding adjustment factor. From what I have read (and what you have provided), adjustment factors at the school level. How does Waterloo handle schools that have Regional Programs such AP, IB, etc and regular high school programs with respect to adjustment factors? Are all programs combined to form the school’s adjustment?

    Thank you in advance for answering my question.


    1. When an adjustment factor is applied, it will apply to an entire school, region, province, or country. An adjustment factor only gets created if a school, region, province, or country has consistently different performance from the rest of the applicant pool. If a school had a wide variation in student performance (i.e., some students doing very well and others doing very poorly), it would not be subject to an adjustment factor since the adjustment factor would not be statistically significant.

      In recent years, our data has shown that IB programs and regular high school programs often result in similar outcomes in terms of student success. The IB program teaches material in a different way, but student learning outcomes do not appear to be significantly different. However, we do recommend that applicants indicate if they have completed an AP or IB program on their AIF. Information on the AIF can be considered if we feel it is appropriate to do so.


  16. Hello Professor Bishop,

    Current grade 12 student here.

    In grade 11, during chemistry, due to online learning and having a supply teacher throughout the course, I didn’t do so great, with an average of 88%. This year, in grade 12 chemistry (first sem), I am able to maintain an average in the high 90s.

    Will the low grade 11 chem mark affect my admission chances in either the march or the may round?

    Thank you in advance!


  17. Dear Professor Bishop,

    Thank you for continuing to update this blog, for it has been a plentiful wealth of information during the two years which I have been reading it. I applied for Mechanical Engineering starting in 2022, but I am honestly a little anxious now, seeing that everyone’s averages seems to be around 97-98%.

    My current average in this semester for the required courses is around 95%, although with the rest of the mandatory courses, it would be predicted to go up to around 96-96.5%. All my grades have been 97-99 this year with the exception for English (93%), but my Grade 12 Advanced Functions mark was only 90%. It was taken in my Grade 11 year, and I have listed it under courses prior to September 2021. Would this 90% create a considerable difference in my admission chances, or would they understand that it is not the best reflection of my work this year as it was taken last year? Moreover, will the 93% in English stand out as a red flag as it doesn’t conform to the rest of my high 90’s grades?

    Additionally, in my AIF, I find that I do not have too many extracurriculars related to engineering. I am the Business Lead for my school’s robotics team for one year and a part of the programming subteam as well for three years, but I feel like they do not correlate with engineering too well. I’ve also read in one of the previous comments that you calculate the duration of experience by the absolute difference between dates. One of the jobs I had was a poll worker at last years election, which was a one day job. Are the duration of experiences averaged out, or are they looked at seperately? Because I feel like a one-day-job will drag my average duration down and make them feel like I’m not committed to work, although I have been working at a grocery store for a year, so maybe I should remove it if that is the case.

    Also, is it okay to include an extracurricular beginning and ending before Grade 10? I including my two years of experience as an Air Cadet, and I have said it really imbued upon me some values which I still hold to myself to this day. I feel like it would be a bit weird making a reference to this pre-secondary school experience in my written answer essays, so do you think I should keep it, or focus on something else that also gave me this type of everlasting values?

    Finally, do you feel that applicants put a lot of work into their AIFs? I have had an undergraduate from Waterloo studying in Mechanical Engineering and another in Nanotechnology Engineering, as well as my teacher, and two friends review my AIF, but yet, I’m still anxious it’s not on par with everyone else’s.

    I sincerely apolgozie if I’m just overthinking everything and asking too many questions, but I really thank you so much for your time to answer these questions; I really appreciate the time you put into helping prospective students like I.


    A (Very) Anxious Student.


    1. A mid-90’s average is typical for applicants admitted to the Mechanical Engineering program. It is important to remember that the Mechnical Engineering program has a large number of spaces available for students.

      A grade of 90% in any course is not a concern. English grades are often lower. A 10% difference between grades in a Grade 11 and a Grade 12 performance is not a concern.

      Extracurricular activities do not have to be specific to the discipline you are applying. All extracurricular activities are valuable. We primarily assess activities based on time commitment and skills developed. Soft skill development can occur by participating in any extracurricular activity. We do not average time commitment. We add all time commitments together to determine how much time was spent on activities outside of the classroom.

      When assessing activities, we will restrict our assessment to recent activities. You can list older activities but they will not be given any significant weight. If an activity is ongoing, it will be factored into our assessments.

      Some applicants put a significant amount of effort into their Admission Information Forms. These applicants are often successful. Some put very little time into their Admission Information Forms. A strong student with a weak AIF is still admissable the same way a weaker student with a strong AIF is admissable.

      Once you have applied, there is not too much you can do except wait for a decision. I know this can be a anxious time. Try to focus on other things until you receive offers of admission to university.


      1. Professor Bishop, I apologize for my late reply. Thank you so much for your time, and so far I think I’m doing good in my second semester courses! I hope to see you around on campus next year, and I thank you again for your time and support. I greatly appreciate it.


  18. Good Day Sir,

    I am applying to the mechatronics program but am slightly worried with the admissions average. I have read that the admissions average is around mid 90s. I am expecting around a 97% by Semester 2 mid terms and would like to hear if I have a decent chance provided my EC’s and interview go well. I know you cannot say for sure, but from last year which was seen as a very competitive year what would my chances look like this year?

    Future Waterloo Student


    1. The number of spaces available for Mechatronics Engineering is large. An applicant with a mid-90’s average should always be competitive for any engineering program with a large number of spaces available. An applicant’s chances improve further with a strong AIF score and a good interview score.


  19. Hello, Professor Bishop, I’m a grade 12 IB DP student in Alberta, interested in engineering programs, just wonder if Waterloo engineering programs reserve spots for specific provinces, say, a certain number of spots for Alberta, a certain number of spots for BC etc. or all out-of-province applicants competing for a total number of spots via the individual selection approach used in Ontario. If there are reserved spots for a provinces or out-of-provinces, are you able to disclose them, say, how many SE spots reserved for Alberta applicants?


    1. We do not reserve spaces specifically for applicants from Alberta. All applicants studying outside Ontario compete in the same applicant pool for spaces in our engineering programs. Targets for Fall 2022 are currently being discussed and revised in response to application numbers.


  20. Thank you for the quick response, Professor Bishop. Are you able to disclose the 2021 admission ratio for out-of-province SWE program – offers/applicants or similar information as that in the admission average charts you created for Ontario applicants – you have built ones for Ontario applicants, international applicants, but not for out-of-province applicants, just trying to understand what are the admission average and probabilities for out-of-province applicants. There are very limited information for us to make application decision.


    1. I do not have the admission ratio for out-of-province applicants to SE. The ratio would be too noisy to be useful. Your decision on whether to apply or not should be based on your own interests. If you want to study SE at Waterloo, you should apply. Even if the chance of admission is low, you should apply if you meet the admission requirements. Every year, we have a large number of surprised applicants that receive happy news that they have been selected for admission to SE.


  21. Hi Sir,
    Thank you so much for your effort, Kindly how large is the Electrical pool this year? and if 95% average is good enough?


    1. The domestic applicant pool is slightly larger in size than last year. The visa applicant pool is substantially lower in size than last year. Until we look at grades, there is no way of knowing whether the grades are higher or lower than last year. An increase in applicants does not always correlate with a higher quality applicant pool. In past years, an average of 95% would be competitive.


  22. Dear Professor Bishop,

    Thank you so much for updating this blog every year. I am an Ontario high school student currently enrolled in the IB program. I have applied to the civil engineering program and have a few questions.

    1. What do you think is going to be the admission averages for civil this year? I have believe I’ll have an 89-90 average, what are my chances (considering my AIF and interview both went relatively okay)?

    2. I was contemplating on selecting geological engineering as my backup as it interests me and has a lower admission average (or so I’ve heard). If I am rejected from civil engineering what are my chances of being deferred into that program?

    3. My chemistry mark is very lacking, 72% to be specific. Will this affect my admission chances other than lowering my overall average? I am strong in math and physics, 100s in both calculus and advanced functions and 92 in physics, will this help with the fact I have a 72% in physics?


    A very thankful (and nervous) student


    1. The supply of available spaces in our Civil Engineering program sometimes exceeds demand for the program. I would expect applicants with a high 80’s average to receive an offer of admission provided that they have completed the AIF and the interview. Last year, we admitted some applicants with admission averages between 85% and 87%. We often have more spaces available in Civil Engineering than our targets suggest. If we do not fill all spaces in Geological Engineering or Environmental Engineering, we can offer some additional spaces to Civil Engineering. These three programs share first year classes.

      If you were not selected for Civil Engineering, you would have a very strong chance of being admitted to Geological Engineering.

      As long as your Chemistry mark meets our minimum admission requirement of 70%, you will be fine. Your admission average suggests that you are capable of successfully completing our engineering programs.


  23. Hello Professor Bishop, first I’d like to thank you for these blogs as they’ve answered countless questions I’ve had this year as a grade 12 applicant.

    I’m wondering whether there is a requirement to submit the AIF and interview earlier than the Feb 18 deadline to be considered for the early round of offers in March. I’ve heard from other applicants that the AIF and interview needs to be submitted within 3 weeks of applying through OUAC to be eligible for the early round offers.

    Second, I’m curious about how the AIF is graded for CS applicants. In my case, I’ve applied to CS, CFM, and SYDE so I’m wondering whether the AIF will be given a score out of 5 or marked differently considering I’ve applied to two different faculties.

    Thanks in advance!


    1. Our e-mail recommends submitting the AIF within three weeks of application. We have found that some applicants forget to complete the AIF. In a typical year, fewer than 75% of all engineering applicants complete the AIF. Any applicant that does not submit their AIF is removed from admission consideration. We assume that these applicants have decided to pursue opportunities at another institution. By the AIF deadline, many of our engineering applicants already have offers of admission for engineering programs at other universities.

      The same is true if you submit the AIF later than the February 18th deadline. Our system doesn’t prevent applicants from submitting an AIF or changing an AIF after February 18th. However, the new or revised AIF data will not be processed. We take a snapshot of the AIF data shortly after the deadline passes. If you submit the AIF on February 19th or later, you will not be eligible for admission since it will not appear in our database.


  24. Hello Professor Bishop,

    I am wondering what the detailed stats for tron was last year?
    How many applicants had an average over 95? 96?



  25. Hope you are doing well Professor Bishop,

    I have read online that one’s admission score can be calculated as (Average – Adj Factor + AIF Score + Interview Score). Are you able to comment on how/if this is accurate? For example, would one point on the AIF be directly proportional to translate to one percent on the top 6 average?



    1. The admission score is calculated as indicated. It is important to remember that the average in the calculation is an adjusted admission average. There are sometimes adjustments required (particularly for NOSS students) to account for differences in course grading schemes or to account for differences. Our admission advisors have the ability to make small adjustments to the admission average when there exists a reason to do so. For example, a student with an accommodation could have an average adjustment applied for fair consideration of the applicant.


  26. Dear Professor Bishop,

    How are you doing?

    I hope it is not too late to ask questions on this blog. I am wondering which areas of our applications, AIFs, and interviews will the admissions team look at during the March round of offers? I ask this because a lot of our midterm marks for second semester are not available yet, and a lot of our courses are still in progress. Additionally, when looking at courses, are course marks considered individually? I have a 90% in Advanced Functions, which I took last school year. I am hoping it will not outweigh the mid-high 90’s for the other courses I have already completed this year. Alternatively, is the average of all six courses going to be the only thing admissions officers will see rather than the individual course marks?

    Thank you so much again for your time. I truly hope to see you around on campus this fall!


    1. We look at everything that we have available at the time of consideration of our applicants. For in-progress courses, we may have midterm marks or predicted marks. The average is most important, but individual courses can make or break an admission decision. A grade below 70% in any required course prevents an applicant from being offered admission.

      For applicants that do not receive an early offer of admission, keep studying in your courses. If you are able to improve your grades, it will improve your chances of receiving an offer of admission in the final round.

      I hope to see you this Fall as well.


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