Start earning a Waterloo degree while improving your English

BASE students with Reni Moose mascot
BASE for academic and social success Learn skills to take advantage of Waterloo's experiential learning environment

Are you concerned you might not meet our English language requirements? The Bridge to Academic Success in English program could be for you.

There are certain requirements that you have to meet to get into university. If your first language is not English and you haven't studied in an English language school system for the last four years, you have to meet English language requirements on top of the academic requirements for your program. Let's say you're not so sure you’ll meet the English language requirements, or you already know that you haven’t — don’t give up! You could receive an offer into the Bridge to Academic Success in English (BASE) program!

NOTE: as of January 22, 2024, all students applying for a study permit outside Canada will need to provide a provincial attestation letter. For more information, please see the IRCC news release page and visit our webpage on the new requirements for Canadian study permits.

What is BASE?

BASE is a four- or eight-month program that allows you to improve your English reading, writing, and speaking skills in a university setting, while earning credit towards your University of Waterloo degree. There’s also iBASE, a 7-week intensive BASE program that takes place before your first year begins, in July and August. Whether you’re admitted into the shorter or longer program, BASE is an opportunity to strengthen your English language skills before starting university, which increases your future academic and career successes. It’s also a way to guarantee a smooth transition to full-time university studies in Canada, making your time at Waterloo more enjoyable.

How does BASE work?

Being offered a spot in the BASE program works as a conditional offer of admission into Waterloo; once you’ve successfully completed BASE, you’ll be able to continue your full-time university studies at Waterloo. An offer to BASE places you in the program that’s right for you based on your English language test results, which means your time in the program is tailored to your specific skill set. Once you’re in the program, you’ll be improving your English language skills while taking one or two credit courses — depending on your faculty — so that you begin earning your Waterloo degree right away.

Romina, an international student from Ecuador in Global Business and Digital Arts, was part of the BASE program for two terms before starting their undergraduate program. Watch the video below to learn more about Romina's experience in BASE and how the program positively impacted their academic experience.

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Transition into your degree

BASE is a stepping stone to allowing you to come to Waterloo and complete your degree. Aside from the English language skills you learn, which are incredibly important, you also develop other academic skills, like learning how to write lab reports and literature reviews.

Adjust to student life in Canada

A huge perk of BASE is that it lets you slowly adjust to the student life in Waterloo. It’s a great way to get used to the study pace, campus, and school environment, especially since you’ll be living on campus! You focus on career-building opportunities too, like developing leadership skills, volunteering, making résumés and cover letters, and perfecting your interview skills.

Become part of a great community

The BASE student experience teams create texting communities on KakaoTalk, WeChat, LINE, WhatsApp, and more, so you can get to know the students you’ll be learning with. When you arrive, you’ll get to meet your peers in person and move in with them! There’s also an exclusive Living Learning Community for BASE students at Renison residence, which means that there are special resources and events just for the BASE community! 

Don't just take our word for it — watch the video below to hear from these BASE students who share their invaluable adjustments to Canadian life and their amazing community experiences.

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