Microscholarships

In 2016 the Faculties of Engineering and Mathematics joined a “microscholarships” platform in the U.S., launched by Raise.me in San Francisco.  A microscholarship is a small award for some achievement, for example $10 for getting an “A” in a course.  If a student with a bunch of achievements applies, is accepted, and attends the college offering the microscholarships, then they receive that award (or more, depending on other scholarships, etc.).  The Raise.me online platform provides a way for high school students to document their activities and achievements, and to search for colleges that might be a good fit.  It’s a social innovation that is meant to encourage students to think about post-secondary education and to see what various colleges offer and value in their applicants.

At this time it’s only available to US high school students, and we have a sign up page available where those students can see more about Waterloo.  Eventually Raise.me hopes to roll it out to Canada and other countries.  For us, it’s an interesting outreach tool and we already have several thousand “followers” on the platform.  We will continue to experiment with it and see what role it can play in matching us with good students.

An Amazing Statscan Skills Study | HESA

Source: An Amazing Statscan Skills Study | HESA

An interesting post from our friends at Higher Education Strategy Associates, summarizing a Statistics Canada study on employment skills requirements.  A couple of graphs are reproduced below,  and follow the link above for more details, but here’s a quick take-away from my perspective.

  • Different job categories require different levels of reading comprehension and writing skills.
  • Architecture, engineering and related occupations require the highest levels of reading comprehension and writing skills (the red striped bars in the graphs below).
  • That’s why in engineering admissions and education we’re interested and concerned about reading, writing and communications skills.  There is still lots of room for improvement in our curricula, but it’s an ongoing effort.
  • Not surprisingly, architecture and engineering also require the highest levels of complex problem solving skills.

University of Waterloo | IDEAS Summer Experience

(The following is a brief description and link to a nice summer enrichment program, for students from outside Canada finishing Grade 10 and 11, or equivalent.  It combines the elements that we strive for in Engineering education, namely hands-on experience, interdisciplinary thinking, and creativity/innovation.  For more information or to consider participating see the link below.  Prof. Bill Anderson)

IDEAS: A summer enrichment program for international high school students Poverty. Global warming. The digital divide. It takes big ideas to solve problems like these. Join high school students from around the world at IDEAS Summer Experience, and use your big ideas to try to solve some of society’s most serious challenges.

IDEAS is a 2-week summer enrichment program at the University of Waterloo, ranked as Canada’s most innovative university for the past 25 years.

With help from our award-winning professors and IDEAS mentors, you’ll learn to look at global problems in new ways, use hands-on activities to develop your research and communication skills, apply problem-solving techniques from the fields of engineering, health sciences, the humanities, and more. You may not solve the world’s problems in 2 weeks. But you will learn valuable skills, experience what it’s like to study and live at one of Canada’s top universities, and make friends from other countries.

Source: University of Waterloo | IDEAS Summer Experience

Applications open for Waterloo Unlimited’s Grade 11 program

As I’ve noted before, this is a great program started by one of our Systems Design Engineering professors, Ed Jernigan.  I recently got a postcard from one of the Grade 12 participants, who clearly enjoyed the experience.

Waterloo Unlimited, the transdisciplinary high school enrichment program on campus, is currently accepting applications for Grade 11 “Design” program (March 13-17, 2017).  Bright, motivated students from across Canada will attend lectures and participate in workshops, seminars and labs offered by all six Faculties, exploring the theme of “Design”.  Applications are due December 14th, 2016.

To promote awareness of Waterloo Unlimited’s programming, Markus Moos from the Faculty of Environment, School of Planning, created a video based on an Urban Planning workshop he offered to Unlimited students during the 2016 grade 11 “Design” themed program. The video provides an inside look at one of the many “eye-opening” experiences high school students encounter while on campus.

Program and application details are available on the Waterloo Unlimited website.

Source: Thursday, December 8, 2016 | Daily Bulletin

Waterloo scores top marks in graduate employability

[An interesting news item.  Nice to see some international recognition for co-op education.]

The University of Waterloo ranked 22nd in the world for graduate employability and first for employer partnerships as part of an international ranking that evaluates employability in universities from UK firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

The ranking scores universities in five categories: employer reputation, alumni outcomes, partnerships with employers, employers’ presence on campus and graduate employment rate.

Waterloo rates first overall in the world in the partnerships with employers category. The success of this category is a result of Waterloo’s largest and most successful co-operative education program of its kind, and from the established research partnerships within the industry.

“The University of Waterloo delivers an unmatched experiential education program that enrolls two-thirds of our students,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur. “Waterloo’s co-op students graduate with up to two years of degree-relevant, paid work experience, a network of contacts and hands-on understanding of how businesses work. Simply put, our students are not only employable at graduation but are sought after by organizations worldwide.”

Waterloo co-op students work with some of the biggest and most influential companies in the world including AECOM, Barclays, General Motors, Google, Morgan Stanley and The Walt Disney Corporation. More than 6,700 employers hire Waterloo co-op students in more than 60 countries and in 2015/2016, students at Waterloo reported more than $253 million in co-op earnings.

QS first published the pilot version of the Graduate Employability Rankings in 2015. QS worked over three years to identify a suitable methodology to provide the world’s students with a unique tool to compare university performance in this area.

Source: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 | Daily Bulletin

Admissions 2017: How it’s going to work

An update on this popular post, with some revisions  for the upcoming September 2017 admissions cycle.  There are a few significant changes to note below…

Here is an overview on how the process works and the approximate timelines.  As usual, this is specific to Waterloo Engineering admissions; other programs and universities will have their own unique variations.  Also, make sure you look through our admissions webpages for exact deadlines and official requirements since this is just an unofficial, quick overview and I can’t cover every detail for every variety of applicant and situation. Continue reading

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 | Daily Bulletin

…an interesting story and good advice

A co-op student’s journey to Harvard and back

by Andreea Perescu

Jonathan Ranisau knows the secret to having a successful co-op work term –and he insists that it takes more than just raw talent alone. Having completed two work terms at Harvard University, Ranisau has some advice for his fellow co-op students: seek out jobs that help improve your individual skill-set.“During co-op, you discover what abilities you need to develop and what knowledge you need to gain for your future goals. You become better at developing your skills, and you are more passionate about your work since you realize their importance,” explained Ranisau, who is in his fourth-year of chemical engineering at Waterloo.During his first work term at Harvard, Ranisau was assigned tasks that tested his knowledge and allowed him to find ways to improve. “I did a lot of fundamental research investigating new areas, helping with some different publications and initiatives,” he said. “I think one huge aspect of co-op is that it allows me to work towards finding interesting solutions rather than just solving problems.” Ranisau’s passion for knowledge and research helped earn him a spot at the Ivy League school for a second work term.To land a highly sought co-op position, Ranisau suggests that students come prepared during interview season. “Securing most of my positions involved a lot of online research on the companies I was interested in,” said Ranisau. “I always wanted to position myself as a knowledgeable candidate.” Other employers that Ranisau has worked with include Xerox Research Centre of Canada, Saint-Gobain Abrasives Canada Inc., Natural Resources Canada and AMBRI INC. He’s exceeded expectations in all of his previous roles and has been asked to return on multiple occasions.Ranisau is excited about his future. He intends to continue learning and making a positive impact wherever he goes. “My ultimate goal is to start my own company,” he said, offering one last piece of advice: “Don’t sit back and let life toss you around – educate yourself enough to set a direction.”

Source: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 | Daily Bulletin

Open House, New York and San Francisco

Our annual Fall Open House at Waterloo is coming up on November 5 2016, and more details are available here.  It’s a good opportunity for students in Grades 11 and 12 (and even younger) to have a look around, see displays, and talk to current students to find out what might be of interest in Engineering or other programs.

This year I’ll have to miss the Open House, since we’re travelling to New York and San Francisco to attend the NACAC STEM College Fairs on October 29 (NY) and November 6 (SF).   Here’s a video about the one we attended in Houston in September (https://vimeo.com/184338009) which went very well.  We’re looking forward to meeting some of our prospective applicants at these fairs.  If anyone is in the NY or SF area and can’t make it to a fair but wants to meet and learn more about Waterloo, you can email us at assoc.dir.admissions.eng@uwaterloo.ca and we will try to set up something.

Also in NYC, we’ll be at a Waterloo event hosted by our friends at the company Venmo, who employ our alumni and co-op students.  This mixer event is for New York area Waterloo alumni, co-op students, and prospective students & their families too.  Space is limited, so if you’d like to attend and talk to various people about Waterloo you can get tickets at this link.

We’ll also be visiting a few select schools in NY and SF, where I’ll give some short lectures on  math, physics and/or chemistry topics, and Engineering design examples.