Wrapping Up for 2016

It’s hard to believe, but we are pretty much done with the 2016 admission cycle and are starting to gear up for 2017.  I’ve been quite busy over the last few months with research and academic matters (and admissions of course, although this is actually only a small piece of what I do).  As one example, we recently organized and held our 3rd annual Resource Recovery Partnership Workshop for researchers, industry, and government people interested in solid waste management, recycling issues, and energy from waste opportunities.

As far as engineering admissions for 2016 went, here are a few potentially interesting observations:

  1. We met (or exceeded!) our targets for all the spaces in our programs.  There were very few offers available to be made from our waitlist, about 6 if I recall correctly.
  2. Most of our programs are packed to capacity for September.  We’re not able to offer any switches into programs like Software, Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, Mechatronics, Biomedical, or Systems Design.  This is why it’s so important for applicants to carefully consider what they want, and not rely on possibly changing programs later.  In many cases this will not be feasible.
  3. About 1 in 3 Canadian applicants received an offer.  About 1 in 5 visa student applicants were successful (it’s more competitive since there are  fewer spaces available).
  4. This year there will be over 500 females in the entering class, about 30% of the total, which is a new record high over the past couple of decades.  By program, some are around 45 to 65% female (Biomedical, Chemical, Environmental, Management, Systems Design), others are around 25 to 30% female (Civil, Electrical, Geological, Mechanical, Nanotechnology), and the rest are about 20% (Computer, Mechatronics, Software).  A big increase this year was in Mechanical, which has historically been in the 20% or less range, but Computer, Electrical and Software all saw increases too.  Just to confirm, we don’t have affirmative action or preferential admissions for females.  This is just the result of a decade or more of programs to encourage young women to consider study and careers in the STEM fields, and it seems to be working.

For those interested in 2017 admissions, there will be a few changes and new initiatives, and I will attempt to describe these over the coming months.

13 thoughts on “Wrapping Up for 2016

  1. Sir,
    1/3 Canadian applicants received an offer, there are 1500 spots, does that mean only 4,500 Canadian students applied? 12 students from my school with 96%+ admission average, employment experience, and some with FIRST experience, APPLE WWDC Conference attendee, 2+ years of programming experience failed to make it to programs ranging from Mechatronics to Management Engineering.
    And you’re saying 1/3 Canadian applicants got an offer to Waterloo Engineering.

    Please elaborate….

    • No, there were closer to 9,000 Canadian applicants. We send out almost 3,000 offers knowing that about 50% will be accepted based on forecasting models. This is the standard approach at all universities.

    • Chris from my high school only 3 people applied and only one got in management engineering with 89 avg. Other two had low 90s avg so like 93-92 got rejected from electrical, mechanical and systems even though cutoff was 90-91 with provincials for DECA, high-school co-op in scotiabank, SHSM students with certifications, more than 400 community hours, experience in coding for 2+ years and much more. Like I don’t know what averages are needed to get in. In future people with average above 100 will get rejected. And every school and teacher is different so someone getting 80 with hard teacher, can get 95 with an easy teacher. This difference of hard teachers and school is hard to take in account. If there is common entrance exam then it would be fair.

  2. Hello Professor,
    I’m one of the people who received a late offer (to Chemical Engineering!), and I’ve accepted it, but I’m also worried about the idea that I am the very last person to have been chosen. I was just wondering what sort of correlations there are, if any, between admission averages and academic performance in the first year. Basically, should I expect to be towards the bottom of my class, or is everyone on a level playing field as soon as they get there?

    • Congrats! There is a weak correlation between admission average and first year performance, but there are a lot of exceptions (both positive and negative). I wouldn’t worry about it, just try your best. (also last selected is not necessarily the lowest average)

  3. Dear Professor,
    To clarify on the previous comment, if my delta ENG from grade 11 (day school) English to grade 12 English (summer school) is under or equal to ten percent, I will not be penalized in any way. But if, for example, my grade 11 mark (day school) was an 83 and grade 12 mark (summer) was 95 it would be adjusted to 93 as that is my grade 11 mark plus ten percent, and no other adjustments. Am I correct to say those two statements?

    Also, as stated in your Differentiation post, will extra points for being involved in enrichment programs such as SHAD Valley, having an eight 4U/M course load during the academic year, significant volunteer/work experience and significant achievements still be awarded? Will the awarding of these points change in any way and have they changed since you made that post last year?

    Finally, will you be creating a post stating the admission averages of each individual engineering program for the 2016 year as well as predictions for the 2017 year? Perhaps also providing the percentages of students who got admitted to each program with what grade, similar to the normal admission average data that you create a cubic spline interpolation of, except for every program and in more depth.

    Thank you!

    • 1) yes, that’s how the summer school adjustment has been applied.
      2) there will likely be some adjustments to the scoring/points, but this won’t be finalized until later this fall.
      3) we lump the averages for several programs together because they are very close anyways, so there’s no point in doing it for every program.

  4. Hello sir,

    I have one question. So what if first year people drop out of engineering or change to a different type of engineering after completing one year or one semester?
    What happens those to leftover seats because many deserving students don’t get seats in first year?

    I asked this question because I attended shadow day program and my ambassador as well as two of her friends felt ece was just too hard and couldn’t handle the pressure so they may switch to science or other program.

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