Submitting Your Admission Information Form 2017

Updated version of a past post for the 2017 admission cycle, as there have been a few small changes.

The Admission Information Form, or AIF, is the primary vehicle for applicants to tell us about themselves.  Our admission decisions are mainly based on grades, but the AIF information can help us distinguish between people who have similar grades, and we award up to 5  points onto the admission average for outstanding applicants.  Let’s go through the various parts of the AIF and see what is involved. Continue reading

Global Employability Rankings

I’ve noted in past postings about rankings that I’m somewhat sceptical about their meaning or importance, especially for undergraduate admissions.  But QS recently released a ranking that might be a bit more applicable, their new “Graduate Employability Ranking” for universities.  Prospective students and parents are usually quite interested about what employment prospects a degree will lead towards, so perhaps this is useful in some way.  According to this ranking, Waterloo is #25 in  the world, just a bit below Michigan and Chicago, and a bit ahead of Caltech and Georgia Tech, for example.

Looking at the methodology, we see that it is substantially based on an employer reputation survey, but there are other factors such as “partnerships with employers” and “alumni outcomes”.  It’s not clear exactly what these mean, but they seem like promising quantitative indicators.

Focusing on Canada, the rankings are:  Waterloo (25), McGill (36), UBC (48), Alberta (81-90), McMaster, Montreal & Queen’s (101-150), Calgary (151-200).  Conspicuous by its absence is Toronto (and some others), which I presume means that they chose not to participate for some reason.  The other thing to keep in mind is that these are overall rankings, not specific to any one discipline like engineering.  Different schools have different mixes of discipline enrolments, so it’s difficult to know how this may affect the rankings.

So, for what it’s worth, another university ranking to look at.



Visit to Qatar

Here’s an update from our Associate Director of Engineering Admissions, Ally Morrow, who is currently meeting with prospective applicants and parents in the Gulf region, as mentioned in a previous post.

We have final arrangements for the Study in Canada fair in Qatar.  It will be on Sunday October 25th from 5:00 to 9:00 pm at the Mercure Grand Hotel, Musherib Street, Doha.  If you’re in the area we hope to see you there.

Visiting Persian Gulf Countries

Here is a guest post by our Associate Director of Engineering Admissions, who spends a few weeks each year travelling to select countries to inform students, parents and teachers about Waterloo Engineering.  In October 2015 she is in the Persian Gulf area (also known as the Arabian Gulf).  If you are in one of these countries, feel free to attend an event and say hello.

Hello everyone!

My name is Ally Morrow and I am the Associate Director for Admissions for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo. I am lucky enough to work alongside Professor Bill Anderson for the Faculty of Engineering to implement policies and help make decisions on admissions. I also manage international undergraduate recruitment activities for Engineering, travelling around the globe to promote the University of Waterloo and Canadian education. Next week I will be traveling to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait. I will be participating in Education Fairs in the following cities: Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait City. It would be wonderful for those of you who are in the area to come by and say “hello”. I would be more than happy to provide you with information about our engineering programs as well as studying in Canada. This will be my second time visiting the area, I am looking forward to another great experience and to meeting you!

I have listed the Education fair dates and locations below:

Abu Dhabi FairAlly Morrow
Monday October 19th  5:00pm-9:00pm
Le Royal Meridien Hotel Abu Dhabi

Dubai Fair
Wednesday October 21st   5:00pm-9:00pm
Crowne Plaza Hotel Dubai

Kuwait City Fair
Tuesday October 27th  5:00pm-9:00pm
Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel Kuwait

See you soon!


Admissions 2015: How it’s going to work

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

Biomedical Engineering Starts Here

Exciting news for those who have been asking about Biomedical Engineering at Waterloo!  All the necessary internal and external approvals have been received and we are launching an undergraduate (B.A.Sc.) program in September 2014.  So the OUAC application centre should now be able to take applications to this program.

A prosthetic eye, an example of a biomedical e...
A prosthetic eye, an example of a biomedical engineering application of mechanical engineering and biocompatible materials to ophthalmology. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll provide some brief details about the program below, and then some more detailed thoughts and comparisons in future posts.

  • Like all of our engineering programs, this one will have program-specific courses right from the first day, and will be a mandatory co-op program (alternating 4 month periods of academic and industry work experience).
  • This will be a modified Stream 8 program (i.e. the first co-op job starts at the end of 1st year, after 8 months of academic study).  One unique feature is an 8 month workterm between 3rd and 4th year, followed by eight months of academic work.  This gives more time to focus on one work term job, and more time to focus on a major design project in 4th year.
  • The Biomedical Engineering program is a joint undertaking with input and teaching by several departments including Systems Design Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biology, and the School of Anatomy.  It pulls together a lot of biomedical engineering expertise that already exists across those departments.
  • The curriculum was designed with significant input from industry and graduate schools, so it should be very relevant for either path.
  • Admission requirements:  same course requirements as all of our other engineering programs. (in Ontario, ENG4U, SPH4U, SCH4U, MHF4U, MCV4U, + one other U/M course).  High school biology is not required.
  • Grade requirements?  Hard to say, because that depends on the level of competition (i.e. number of applicants and their grades).  There are only 45 spaces available in 2014, so we are guessing that mid to high 80’s might be necessary but it could go higher or lower.  If you are interested, just apply and see what happens.
  • Another unique feature:  the program provides the opportunity to focus in a couple of interesting areas, namely Neuroscience and Sports Engineering.
  • It is expected that there will be significant interactions with Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology, as well as the Schools of Computer Science, Pharmacy, Optometry & Vision Science, and the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience.  A lot of biomedical research already takes place at Waterloo, as brought together in our Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology, so there should be opportunities for students to work on research projects (as there are with all of our programs).

There are other details I will cover later, but let me know in the comments if there are specific topics or questions I should try to address.

Asking For Help

During first year engineering, a number of students will come to realize that they are struggling in one or more courses.  This will be shocking and confusing to them, because they have probably never experienced it before.  They have probably never had to ask for help before either.  It is never our intention to “weed out” a bunch of students (that would be a waste of our time and resources), so we try to provide a lot of avenues for student support, especially in that crucial first year.  Students just need to take the initiative and seek out the help that is available (since we often can’t tell who is struggling until it’s too late).  Here is a brief overview of various ways to access help. Continue reading

An Engineer’s Life (with 2 weeks experience!)

Some good advice and observations from a new Electrical Engineering student. Nice writing too!


Hello people! How y’all doing?

First of all, I got a new computer for school (Yayyy!). This is my first blog post in this new computer, so I thought I should talk a little about the necessity of getting a new computer for Engineering. I would not say that you really need a new computer for Engineering, but sometimes you do need to run software like AutoCad, programming compilers and so on. If you feel that your computer is very slow with multitasking, or that it has poor battery life and portability, I would probably start saving up for a new computer. Not something fancy for sure, but something that is able to manage everyday work and still handle some rigorous software needs. (My new computer, by the way, is a i5 core with 8 GB RAM and 1 TB HDD).

How’s Engineering, you ask? If I were to answer…

View original post 772 more words

Things People Say About Co-op

Engineering Five building at the University of...

Engineering Five building at the University of Waterloo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of Waterloo Engineering’s major features for the past 50+ years has been the co-operative education system (“co-op”), where students alternate every 4 months (more or less) between academic classes on-campus and relevant work experience somewhere out there in the “real world”.  In our system, Engineering students get 6 work opportunities, therefore 6 x 4 months = 24 months of work experience before graduation.  There are various websites available giving more information and other details, including this one or this one.  Over the years I’ve heard a number of comments and questions about co-op, and thought it might be useful to summarize some of the common and interesting ones here.

Continue reading

Comparing Software Engineering to Computer Science

A couple of previous posts have looked at the differences in Software Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, from my simple perspective and from a new student viewpoint.  Below are some (updated) comments from an academic expert viewpoint, as prepared by Prof. Patrick Lam in the Department Electrical and Computer Engineering (and the Associate Director of the Software Engineering program).  If there are questions or comments, I’ll ask him to respond.  Note that at Waterloo you can apply to both Software Engineering and Computer Science.  They are treated independently for admissions, so you could get two separate offers.

Comparing the BSE in Software Engineering to the BCS in Computer Science

Our Bachelor of Software Engineering degree is an accredited computer science degree, and BSE students take many of the same CS core courses as BCS students. In addition, Software Engineering (BSE) students also take computer engineering (CE) courses and the engineering core, thus satisfying the requirements to be a CEAB-accredited Engineering programme. Like all engineering students, BSE students follow a rather regimented programme and learn about the physical world. BCS students enjoy more flexibility.

Employment outcomes from the BASc in Computer Engineering, the BSE, and the BCS are broadly similar. What you get out of a university education depends less on your specific courses and more on what you put into your courses, your interaction with peers, and your work experience. However, the programmes do differ. To help you choose which programme is the best fit for you, here are some of my personal observations about cohorts and courses. Continue reading