New this year, NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) is hosting three college fairs dedicated to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The first one is in Houston, Texas on Sunday September 25 2016 (for details click here). We’ll be attending to represent Waterloo Engineering and the other STEM programs. I see from the exhibitor list that our friends from the Universities of Toronto and Calgary are attending too, so there will be a bit of a Canadian contingent.
Why visit the U.S. and promote our programs? It’s true that we only have about 200 spaces in Engineering for non-Canadians, and several thousand applicants for those spaces, so the competition for admission is fierce. But we’re interested in having a diversity of applicants and finding the best from around the world. Also, over 1,000 of our student co-op work terms (i.e. paid internships) each year are now in U.S. companies. So it seems to make sense to start reaching out to potential applicants there using these NACAC STEM fairs as a starting point.
We look forward to meeting anyone from around the Houston area at the fair. Also, if there are interested people there who can’t attend the fair we’ll be available the following day, Monday September 26, for personal or small group meetings. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get details and set up an appointment.
Usually, when Canadians speak of “Canada vs. U.S.” here it is with reference to a hockey series. However, in celebration of Canada Day (July 1) and Independence Day (July 4) holidays, here I’m going to point out a few differences in terminology and other things that you might run across when looking at engineering programs at Canadian and U.S. post-secondary institutions. (these are based on my observations, and there will be exceptions of course, because this is a huge and complex topic) Continue reading
Here is an update on past years’ very popular post, with some revisions and clarification for the upcoming September 2015 admissions cycle.
Here is an overview on how the process is going to work 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
I came across these examples of admissions essays at Johns Hopkins University a while ago: http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/essays.html
They are interesting, engaging, witty, nicely written. But frankly, I’m glad we don’t make our applicants submit essays. I think I much prefer our Admission Information Form. Much more brief, to the point, quicker to read (sort of what an engineering report should be).
I know from other reading that there are various concerns with these college admission essays. How much of it is the work of the applicant, versus parents or admissions consultants? Was it purchased or plagiarised from somewhere? (There is a Turnitin for Admissions service that some universities use to check for that.) Does a good essay translate into a good engineering student? Lots of questions, and not so many answers.
Some of our applicants complain about having to fill out our AIF. I suspect that they would like submitting an essay even less.
While working through our application and admission data, we see quite a few applicants who have done a required course at summer school, especially among Ontario residents. (It doesn’t seem to be so common in other provinces. I wonder why?) We know that the theory/rumour is that you can get higher grades at summer school and thereby boost your admission average and chances of acceptance into the more competitive programs. We also hear concerns from other applicants and parents that this is an unfair advantage, because some are unable to attend summer school for various reasons. Currently we don’t penalize applicants taking summer school courses (unless it is to repeat a required course), but maybe we should? Since we like evidence-based decision-making, let’s use some data to see if summer school does give a significant advantage. Continue reading
The universities in Ontario contribute data to the “Common University Data Ontario” (CUDO) database, and this can be interesting to look at when considering applications and offers. You can select several universities and a specific piece of data, and do some side-by-side comparisons. One of the questions we often get from applicants and parents is about employment prospects after graduation from Engineering. Everyone worries about graduating and not being able to find a job, so let’s look at that specific piece of information for several universities. Continue reading
Lots of applicants are keen on getting an “early offer”, which for Waterloo Engineering is typically in the early March to early April timeframe (the final offer round is in early May). There is no particular benefit to getting an early offer, other than relief from the stress of uncertainty. Actually, there is a downside: a few people with early offers relax too much and lose out on scholarships (which are decided in May) or sometimes even lose their offer when their final grades come out. But most are OK, so how to get one of these early offers? Following is a list of things to do: Continue reading
The 22nd annual Maclean’s magazine rankings of Canadian universities came out a few weeks ago, and is viewable online. It’s based on overall measures for entire universities, not engineering-specific, so I will only comment on a few points that might be of interest. Continue reading
On the College Confidential forums, there are whole sections where applicants ask others to “chance me” (a rather odd use of “chance” as a verb, but anyways). They post their stats and desired target colleges, and want others to tell them how likely they are to get an offer. It is primarily U.S. college focused, so I thought I would develop a system where you can “chance” yourself for Waterloo Engineering, as an extension of what I discussed in the post about cut-offs. Continue reading
The Canadian news organization “The Globe and Mail” produces a nice website that has lots of information on various Canadian universities, and it was updated recently. I wouldn’t call it a “ranking” like the QS or Times. It’s more of a survey and comparison tool that you can customize in various ways for your own purposes. Continue reading