Fall Recruiting

Our Fall Open House is approaching quickly. This weekend over 5,000 visitors will tour the Faculty of Engineering. Many of these visitors are parents interested in finding out more about our university. For prospective students within driving distance of our school, this is a great opportunity to learn about the programs we offer. You will also get to meet some of our dedicated students, staff, and faculty. Best of all, you can tour our classrooms, labs, workshops, and study spaces.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the Fall Open House this year. I am currently at the airport waiting to fly to Seattle. I will be participating in an event for guidance counsellors that focuses on Studying in Canada. I will also be representing the University of Waterloo at the NACAC Seattle National College Fair. This is a two day event that attracts thousands of local high school students.

Waiting for my plane…

For students in the greater Seattle area, the NACAC Seattle National College Fair is an opportunity to learn about studying at the University of Waterloo. I will attempt to answer questions on all programs that our university offers. Having studied and worked at the university for more than half of the years it has existed, I have a reasonably good understanding of most programs that we offer. Thankfully, I have materials to help me answer the hard questions.

I sometimes get asked why we recruit in Seattle. The answer is simple. We attract some excellent students from the region. We have also been making an effort to recruit from regions in the U.S. where our co-op students work. In these regions, our university is recognized as one that educates some of the best university students.

We attract both domestic and international students from the greater Seattle area. It is not uncommon for an alumnus to drop by our booth with a son or daughter interested in returning to study in Canada. Approximately 50% of the students we recruit from the U.S. pay domestic fees and are considered domestic students. Students pay domestic fees if they are a Canadian or permanent resident OR if they are dependent upon a Canadian or permanent resident.

I look forward to meeting excited applicants and some old friends on my recruiting trip. I will try to post a few photos of the trip when I return next week.

34 thoughts on “Fall Recruiting”

  1. If I have an overall average of 98, but a class outside of my top 6 is at 75. Will that substantially hurt my chances of receiving an offer?


  2. Hello, my advanced functions mark is currently at a 93 and my calculus is at a 99. Will my low advanced functions mark hurt my chances even with my high calc mark and top six average of 97.5?


  3. Hello professor,

    I would like to ask: how are letter grades converted to % for transfer students?

    I have applied for a transfer to engineering but I have no idea how my marks are perceived in terms of percentage, as the letter grades indicate a range and not a precise value.


    1. There are several different conversion scales used. The exact value depends upon the curriculum of study. For example, an A+ in the U.S. system converts to 97% while an A+ in a course taken at the University of Waterloo converts to 95%. These conversions are regularly updated to best reflect comparable performance.

      It is important to remember that Ontario Secondary School (OSS) students are compared against other OSS students. Similarly, out-of-province students are compared against other out-of-province students. We also recognize that a 95% grade at one institution may be a very different indicator of performance than a 95% grade at another institution.


  4. Dear Dr. Bishop,

    I currently have a 65% in Biology due to unfortunate circumstances. My admission average is 97.5%. Will I be penalized for my very low mark in Biology even though it is outside of my top six?



    1. The grade will not factor into your admission average. However, the low grade will be known by our admissions team when assessing your application. It is impossible to say whether it will have any impact on your admission decision.


      1. What do you mean by the grade will be known by the admissions team? I was under the impression a computer calculates the average, while a human without knowledge of the student’s grades marks the AIF and the score is then added to the average. Is the AIF reviewer now aware of the grades of the applicant? Or do humans review the grades of applicants, and if so, why does a human review the grades, why not automatically calculate it?


      2. Your impression is not entirely correct. I am not surprised given some of the misinformation on the internet.

        When we assess your AIF, we do not automatically see your grades unless you provide them in your responses. However, we can look grades up. We may do so to verify a statement made in an AIF.

        When we assess applicants, we can see high school grades, one or more admission averages, portions of the AIF, various scores, and flags that assist with admission decisions. Ultimately, our admission decisions are based on assessments by Admission Officers that review your application. It is important to remember that we are not simply deciding yes or no. In some cases, an applicant may be offered admission to an alternate program. In other cases, an applicant may be offered admission to a program for applicants who are weak in English language proficiency.


  5. Hi, if my final grade 12/grade 11 grades for the prerequisites and additional 4U/M course are all 95%+ but my grade 11 chem is 88%, will that affect my chances of an early admission? My first semester consisted of 2 prerequisite courses, and an additional 4U and 4M course so will I be considered for the early rounds or will you wait till my semester 2 midterms with my remaining 3 preqreq marks?


    1. A grade of 88% is a very good grade at some schools. I would not expect this grade to reduce your chance of early admission. If we have a predicted, midterm, or final grade for Grade 12 Chemistry, we will completely ignore the grade of 88%.


  6. Mr. Bishop,
    Your response to Steven Zhao indicates that a grade outside of the top 6 does not impact admission decision, yet your response to Henry Tu indicates his low mark in Biology (which is outside his top 6) may impact admission decision. Can you please help me understand the difference in these two situations? I just want to ensure my understanding. Much appreciated.


    1. A grade of 75% in a non-required course is not considered a low grade so it would not factor into an admission decision unless it was the only course that could count as the sixth course for the admission average.

      There exists a threshold below which we flag low grades in non-required courses. In highly competitive programs, a low grade might factor into an early round admission decision when assessing applicants. For example, inconsistent grades in courses might cause us to delay an admission decision until the final round of admission.


  7. Hello Dr. Bishop,
    Would UW consider our April report card marks too for admissions or only February report card marks? Thanks in advance!


      1. Hi Dr. Bishop,
        Would UW consider our February report card marks (semester one final mark) for first round of admission (March) ? Thank you very much!


      2. We consider all grades that we receive by the start of our admission round. Most schools provide final marks for their first semester courses by the start of our admission round. It is important to remember that there are many different school boards and school systems. We only proceed once we feel we have enough grade data to do so.


  8. Dear Dr.Bishop,

    There is currently a rumour circulating in some circles that the average admitted applicant to Waterloo’s mechatronics engineering program had an admission average of around 97.5%.

    I have two questions:
    1. Is this just a rumour? Is TRON really that competitive?
    2. Should this rumour be proven true, will TRON be moved up to tier 1?


    1. It is not uncommon for the average of admission averages to be in the 96% range for Mechatronics. Over the past 6 years of data used for adjustment factor calculations, the average of admission averages for Mechatronics has been 95.7%

      From a statistical standpoint, the average of admission averages is not the only consideration when grouping programs. It is important to consider the distribution of the admission averages as well as the number of applicants per available space. Also, the variation between the Ontario Secondary School (OSS) applicant pool and the Non-Ontario Secondary School (NOSS) applicant pool must be considered.

      When I group programs, I primarily look at the average distributions to determine which group a program fits best. I also look at how the addition and/or removal of a group affects the distributions of the groups. The groupings are only provided as a rough guide of applicant pool competitiveness.


  9. Hi, how important is the adjustment factor, especially for programs like management engineering?

    What are the chances for an early management engineering offer? Would mid-90s with a good AIF and interview be fine?


    1. Adjustment factors are only a significant factor for programs that are highly selective. While applications to Management Engineering have been increasing, the program still regularly admits applicants with admission averages of less than 90%. I would not expect adjustment factors to play any significant role in final round decisions for Management Engineering.


  10. Hello there!

    I am currently in a strange situation. Right now, in semester two, I am enrolled in grade 12 chemistry, but I have not taken the pre-requisite grade 11 chemistry. How will my mark for this course be predicted? I currently have 96 & 95 in advanced functions and physics respectively, if that is of any use.

    Thank you


    1. By the time of the final round, we will have a midterm grade for you that we can use to predict your final grade. In the early round, it may be the case that we do not have sufficient information to assess your application.


  11. Hi Dr. Bishop,
    I have offers from two other universities that I have until May 1st to accept/decline. Yet, Waterloo doesn’t make most offers until May for Engineering.

    My application (for Mechanical) is borderline for marks (94% average, 105 Canadian applicant), although I feel I have interesting background and experience that hopefully you will see in my AIF.

    Do you have any advice or thoughts on this timing issue? I’m assuming this is a dilemma that many applicants face each year. Thanks in advance.


    1. This is a popular question this time of the year.

      We give out approximately 50% of our admission offers to engineering programs in our early round of admission. This round will conclude by the end of March. Many top applicants will receive offers by the end of March. Hopefully, you will be one of the lucky applicants. If you have a strong AIF, you certainly have a chance to be admitted in the early round.

      If you are not lucky enough to receive an offer in our early round, you may e-mail us (enginfo@uwaterloo.ca) at the start of April to request an early final decision. You will be required to provide proof of an offer to a program that requires a financial commitment (i.e., deposit or any form of payment). We recommend that applicants only request an early final decision once our early round concludes. If you have not received an offer by the last day in March, you can assume that you will not receive an early round offer.

      You can accept an offer not requiring a financial commitment. There is no cost to accepting an offer and then later declining an offer of admission. Accepting an offer to one university program will not automatically remove you from admission consideration to another university program. This is certainly true if you have an offer to an out-of-province school. Accepting an offer in BC will not prevent you from also simultaneously accepting an offer in Ontario. The situation may be a bit more complicated if you are trying to accept multiple offers in the same province. For example, OUAC will only let you accept one offer in Ontario at a time.


  12. Hi, Professor! I have a quick question: regarding midterm marks, when admissions haven’t recieved my final calculus/vectors mark (i.e. only the midterm mark), will they also look at my advanced functions mark, grade 11 functions mark, or both?


      1. I do not feel it is appropriate to comment on how we predict grades. There are several different curriculums studied by applicants in our pool. As you can imagine, there are many different situations that we need to take into account. A simple replacement of grade X for grade Y may not work well in all cases.


    1. Applicants missing a grade 12 course grade will still be eligible for admission consideration in our early round provided that their applications are complete, and we can predict the missing grade 12 course grade.


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