Engineering 101 is held over the summer to help prepare new Engineering students for their university experience. Here are the top tips from the day as well as some helpful resources.
What to expect in your first term
Within the first few days of class you will notice many differences between high school and university:
|Class size: 20 – 30 students||Class size: 70 – 150 students|
|Student progress closely followed by parents and teachers. Teachers offer help directly||Students must be proactive and seek help.|
|Moderate teaching pace||Faster teaching pace|
|Majority of learning occurs in the classroom||Learning continues outside of class|
|Little to moderate work outside of class||Expect 30 hr/week of work outside of class|
|Studying the night before or shortly before exams can lead to good results||For good results, exam preparation starts weeks in advance|
|Many smaller stake assessments||
Two large stake assessments:
Midterm exam week:
Final exam period: Dec. 7-21
At Engineering 101, students experienced a calculus lecture focusing on the Heaviside function. Watch as Professor Andrew Beltaos takes your through a sample lecture to get a sense of what university classrooms are like. Hear the questions that first-year Engineering students asked after the lecture at 38:40.
Engineering at Waterloo is a challenging program, but there are many sources of help available:
- For course-specific help first consult your professors and teaching assistants.
- WEEF TA’s are undergraduate students who hold office hours and help sessions for first-year Engineering courses.
- Academic advisors can answer questions about your academic program, provide help with course selection, time management and study skills.
- Counselling services and our three Engineering counsellors can help you work through any personal concerns.
- AccessAbility services provides help establishing support and academic accommodations for students with a permanent or temporary disability.
- The Student Success Office holds study skills and time management workshops as well as one-on-one meetings with Peer Success Coaches.
For a successful fall term, be proactive and seek help once you begin to struggle.
See a full listing of services here.
Get ready for co-op
- Start building your resume now! For comprehensive instructions on building good resumes, visit the Centre for Career Action's Career Development eManual.
- You will be getting a lot more information on applying for jobs through WaterlooWorks in the first weeks of term, for both 4-stream and 8-stream students. Be sure to attend your classes and check your UWaterloo email regularly.
At Engineering 101, students learned how to make their first co-op term a success. Watch as Karleigh Nyman, a Career Advisor from CECA shares best practices and listen in at 18:40 as two upper-year Engineering students share their tips and examples of their resumes. Hear the questions that first-year Engineering students asked after the session at 42:25.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
How to get the most out of your classes
- Review your notes from the previous day or pre-read the section you’ll be covering in the textbook before going to class.
- While in class, take notes and ask questions. Avoid distractions like using your phone or chatting with a friend.
- Review your notes at the end of the day. If anything is unclear, go see your professor or TAs as soon as possible to clear up any doubts.
- Start working on your assignments as soon as possible. You won’t be able to finish them in one sitting, but breaking them into smaller chunks will help in the long run and will make the material covered in lectures more meaningful.
How to get the most out of your tutorials
- Get to know your TAs, both WEEF TAs and grad TAs. Get their name(s) and contact information.
- Ask the TAs any questions that you have about the course material covered in the past week.
- Complete the problem set in the tutorial, if applicable. The tutorials may be run differently in the different courses.
The Engineering IT service desk offers a variety of services, including maintenance of undergraduate computing labs, solving software- and hardware-related issues, and dealing with account-related problems.
At Waterloo, we have a variety of helpful online systems to become familiar with. Get a head start here.
Set up your Microsoft 365 account to access your firstname.lastname@example.org email address. All communications from the University (including reminders about important dates, and information from your professors), will be sent to this account.
Log in to your student portal to access your personalized, Waterloo information just in time. It’s also mobile friendly so you can access it on your phone. Portal can tell you bus times, food locations, directions across campus, and your class schedule!
Tour all of campus with this interactive map.
Looking for more Engineering specific detail? Check out the video below.
Advice from upper-year Engineering students
Helpful tips from current Engineering students:
- "Before coming to Waterloo, re-read your high school notes. Everything ramps up quickly, so remembering the basics helps."
- "Plan out what to do and when to do it and don't avoid the subjects you dislike for the ones you do."
- "Relax. While studying all the time can help, not sleeping and over stressing will ruin you. You will know the stuff better and have a better chance with a good night's sleep."
- "Just because you don't consider yourself a perfect student, or smart enough, or whatever doubt you're having about yourself, it doesn't mean that you can't go through this program. What really matters more is how you approach school NOW."
- "As a third-year student, I can tell you this: getting through Waterloo Engineering is worth it. It's one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. There are probably going to be more than a few times when you will question why you're going through all of this. Keep pushing through. That being said - you may also find that Engineering isn't for you. And this is okay too! But if the only thing holding you back is the perceived difficulty, then consider trying just a little bit harder. You'll be surprised by what you can accomplish if you don't give up. I know I was."
If you have additional questions your first-year advisor team is here to help! You can email, call, or come in person to talk with a first-year advisor.
Parents: Help your student transition into university.
What do you need to know as your student begins their next life step? Here are the top 5 things you need to know for this transition:
Your parent role will begin to change
- You will need to take a step back, while continuing to stay involved.
- There will be a shift from parent-initiated direction to student-initiated consultation.
- It is important to respect these new boundaries as your role shifts from parent (authority and directive) to consultant (advising and supporting when asked).
- Take care and ensure you understand your own emotional responses to the changing role.
Your new role as consultant
- We seek consultants when we need information, resources, expert advice, options and/or alternatives. After we have gathered all of the necessary information, we begin to make our own choices. Allow your student to grow and encourage them to make their own decisions.
- When supporting your student, focus on their skill development and efforts, not talent and results.
- When there is a high focus on grades, students are usually left feeling stressed and anxious.
- If your student asks for advice, share your problem-solving skills and strategies in a non-judgmental manner.
Not everything changes
- Your student will still require unconditional love, acceptance, and support from you.
- You should always continue to monitor for warning signs.
What should I do if I am concerned about my student?
- Start the conversation before school begins.
- Have a relaxed conversation with your student, asking them to talk about what they would do if they were having problems at school.
- Help your student to balance their autonomy and their reliance on you.
- You will begin responding differently to your child’s needs than what you have in the past. Remind your student that you are there to serve as an advocate and an advisor when asked. Respect your student and support their independence.
- Encourage them to seek advice from experts on campus.
- Avoid contacting the school on your student’s behalf. Remind your student that there are services on campus designed to help them.
You have resources
- The Student Success Office can help you support your university student. Use their online and in-person resources to help your student achieve success.