Our recruiting cycle for Fall 2023 has begun. We have started receiving inquiries from prospective applicants regarding Waterloo Engineering. If you are a Grade 11 or Grade 12 student interested in attending an Ontario university in Fall 2023 or Fall 2024, plan to attend the upcoming Ontario Universities’ Fair to learn more about the University of Waterloo and its programs. This year, the Ontario Universities’ Fair will be held in-person at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. For those unable to attend the in-person event, there will be three virtual sessions held on October 11th, November 9th, and December 1st that may interest you.
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:
As I have pointed out in previous years, this is a difficult question to answer since every applicant is different. When selecting applicants that are likely to succeed in our undergraduate engineering programs, grades remain a significant consideration. Excellent grades in high school can be a strong indicator of future success in university. However, grades are not the only consideration.
Our admissions process uses several assessment tools to select applicants. We require all applicants to complete an Admission Information Form (AIF) which we use to assess skills, employment experience, volunteer service, course work, extracurricular activities, and notable achievements. We strongly recommend all applicants complete an optional online interview which we use to assess motivation and resilience. Interview scores are used to assess applicants for certain entrance scholarships. Our assessment tools help us gauge applicant interest in our programs and applicant fit for our programs.
We assess all applicants that we believe are potentially admissible. 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. 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. Our assessment tools give applicants with lower admission averages a chance to compete for spaces in our engineering programs.
Using the Ontario Secondary School applicant data for the Fall 2022 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:
- OSS Tier 1: Biomedical and Software
- OSS Tier 2: Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, Mechatronics, and Systems Design
- OSS Tier 3: Architectural, Chemical, Civil, Environmental, Geological, Management, and Nanotechnology
These groupings are the same as the previous four admission cycles. Clearly, not all programs grouped together have exactly the same admission offer probabilities. Groupings are necessary for the purpose of a statistically significant analysis.
The first graph summarizes the probability of receiving an admission offer for Canadians and permanent resident 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. The admission averages are shown prior to the application of adjustments.
The graph is similar to the ones from previous years. The admission averages have continued to increase. We had more OSS applicants last year and the grades of applicants tended to be higher than previous years. Fewer applicants with averages in the 85% to 90% range are receiving offers of admission. Inflation appears to be a problem that is affecting more than just the economy. Last year, 477 applicants to Waterloo Engineering from the Ontario Secondary School system had averages of 98% or greater at the time of admission consideration. We only allow students to apply to one Waterloo Engineering program so this means at least 477 high school students in Ontario had averages of 98% or greater last year.
The second graph summarizes the probability of receiving an admission offer for visa students applying from the Ontario Secondary School system given a particular admission average. I was very hesitant to post this graph this year as we did not have enough data to produce a meaningful result. The vertical axis represents the admission probability and the horizontal axis represents an applicant’s admission average. The admission averages are shown prior to the application of adjustments.
Waterloo Engineering attracts a very small number of visa applicants from the Ontario Secondary School system. The graph exhibits some clear artifacts due to the lack of sufficient data. In general, one should assume that all admission probabilities increase as admission averages increase. Demand for qualified visa applicants continues to outpace the supply of qualified visa applicants.
I used the same approach this year as I did in the previous year. It is important to remember that these graphs may not accurately predict the Fall 2023 admission cycle. In any given year, admission probabilities may increase or decrease. A drop in applicants can cause probabilities to increase. A surge in applicants can cause probabilities to decrease. Applicants should not read too much into the admission probability graphs. If you are truly interested in a program, you should apply.