Questions about Engineering admissions?
The Waterloo Engineering Admissions Team recognizes that the global pandemic has had a profound impact upon the educational opportunities available to high school students as they prepare to apply to university. In many regions, access to courses, educational activities, testing, and extra-curricular activities have been limited. While the information in the links below remains the same and is consistent with the previous year’s admissions policies, we will consider all applicants in the context of the current situation and endeavour to assess each applicant fairly.
If you cannot find the answer to your question below or on our website, please e-mail us.
Admissions frequently asked questions (FAQ)
If you repeat a required course you may have five percentage marks (5%) deducted from your total overall admission average, and repeated courses may also impact your eligibility for scholarships. If your first attempt of a required course resulted in a grade of 70% or greater we will use the first attempt without a repeat penalty. If you take a required course outside of your day school your grade in the course may be adjusted. Please explain your reason for repeating a required course or taking a required course outside of your day school when completing your Admission Information Form.
If an applicant meets the grade requirement with the first attempt:
We will use the grade from your first attempt and will not apply a repeat penalty if your first attempt meets the minimum grade requirement for admission. Minimum requirement is 70% for Ontario students, 4 for IB, etc. Minimum requirements for all systems of study can be found on the Future Students website. With thousands of students applying every year and the highly competitive nature of the application process, having the time to retake courses gives you a clear (and probably unfair) advantage as compared to those who have not repeated courses.
If the first attempt does not meet the minimum requirement:
If you have not met the minimum grade requirement to qualify for admission you will need to repeat the course. This will result a deduction of 5% from your overall admission average as a repeat penalty. You will have the opportunity to explain your reason for repeating the course on your AIF. The reason for repeating the course is always considered before applying a penalty. The same 5% is deducted if one or multiple courses are repeated.
If an applicant passed but thinks they can do better:
If you have met the minimum requirement for a required course but want to repeat the course to achieve a higher grade, don’t. The grade may be a bit below your standards but it is only one course out of six that we will use to calculate your admission average. If you work hard in your other courses you can still achieve a strong overall average which is what really matters.
Explanations are not required from mature applicants who are three or more years removed from their original high school diplomas and are refreshing their studies.
Our goal is to admit students who have the right preparation to be successful in a rigorous full-time program, not simply those with the best grades. Taking all courses through your regular day school provides the best preparation for success in university studies.
Summer: Students should avoid taking required courses in summer school. We want to see how you perform in the required courses while maintaining a full course load and balancing activities outside of the classroom. If a required course is taken in the summer, your admission average may be adjusted to reflect your previous performance in that subject.
Online: We understand that many of our applicants will be taking online courses this year. This will not have an impact on an admission decision.
Night/Private: Please direct questions about night and private school courses to a member of the Engineering Admissions Team at email@example.com. The answer can vary depending on the applicant’s situation.
If you have taken, or are taking, courses outside of regular day school, your overall admission score may be adjusted. You will be asked to explain why a course has been taken outside your regular course load on the Admission Information Form.
For any questions based on your specific situation, you are welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask how, or if, their application will be affected.
- Strong performance in a programming course, such as Grade 11 or 12 Computer and Information Science;
- Strong performance in a programming contest;
- Significant work experience related to programming;
- Other (must be explained on the Admission Information Form).
Programming experience is recommended for all engineering applicants as preparation, as all engineering students will take at least one university programming course.
We consider International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Level (A-level), Advanced Placement (AP), and other enriched courses to be a good challenge and excellent preparation for university study; however, the depth and level of problem-solving is very different in our engineering programs.
You may find that you have covered some of the material in our first-term courses, but in most cases that will not be enough to gain exemption from the entire course, as it can lead to potential academic difficulties later on.
As an accredited professional engineering program, we have to maintain strict control over the academic content in our program. As a result, we don't grant first-year course exemptions for IB, A-Level, and AP courses.
Waterloo Engineering does not employ a relative ranking of high schools, but does apply an adjustment factor based on historical performance from a given school (first-year university averages minus final high school averages) over the past 6+ years. This enables us to select applicants with the highest likelihood of success.
Please note: This adjustment affects only a small number of schools, and over 90% of high schools are not adjusted. The weight of academic performance and the Admission Information Form have much more impact on an applicant’s probability of receiving an offer.
Also, adjustments are only applied when statistically significant data exists. For schools that have sent very few students to Waterloo Engineering, no adjustment is applied.
Q: Can the students still send the upgrade of their English Proficiency Test after the February 19th? Or does everything need to be in on that date?
Q: Is there any alternative for the English course ENG4U or can I do something like IELTS in its place?
Q: Do Indian students require proof of English proficiency
Q: Who should I email to send SAT scores and other docs?
Q: I wanted to know what is a competitive SAT score?
Q: Will submitting a standardized test-score like the SAT boost my application? If so, how much of a difference does it make?
Q: How and when in the application process can AP and SAT scores be submitted?
Q: Do you receive SAT scores directly or should students upload the pdf to their Quest account?
Q: How can I change my first choice since AIF only asks for second choice?
Q: Can I switch my engineering choice on OUAC for Waterloo after I have already submitted the application? Do students have until January 15th to change it?
Q: Can I alter my second choice program after submitting my AIF? Will this negatively impact my application?
Q: Is there a good chance of getting an alternate Engineering offer if we don't get our first choice? Can I switch engineering programs after I begin at Waterloo?
Q: I changed my first choice program through the OUAC, do I need to re-do my AIF?
Once submitted you are not able to rewrite sections of the AIF. If you wish, you can make an amendment on the form to explain your reasons for selecting the new program. This is not mandatory though. You will need to update, save and submit your alternate program choice on your AIF.
Multiple Engineering Programs
Q: Which programs require portfolios for admission?
Q: If I apply to Software Engineering and Computer Science do I need to fill out separate AIFs for both? Do AIFs differ between faculties?
Q: Should I list program choice by personal preference or based on program competitiveness?
Q: Can I apply to more than one engineering program?
Students can only apply to one engineering program at Waterloo. This means that you will need to research the available programs and apply to the one that best matches your capabilities, interests, and future career goals.
Applicants are able to indicate one “alternate” engineering program (excluding Architecture) on their AIF. If we cannot accommodate your first-choice engineering program (as indicated on your OUAC application), we will consider you for your alternate choice.
Interpretation of Grades
Q: Will grade 11 marks be more important this year? How are they used in the application?
Q: In the AIF courses section, can we put midterm marks, or do you only want final marks?
Q: When will universities receive quadmester midterms?
Q: Since I am in a quadmester, are grade 11 marks used in place of grade 12 marks weighted the same in my admissions average?
Q: How will my grades be interpreted/adjusted as an international student?
Q: Will the effects of COVID-19 be taken into account when considering our grades? How will grades be considered in admissions when some people have school online and some have it in person? Some schools are having final exams and others aren’t.
Q: Can I still be admitted if my school has a high adjustment factor?
Answer may vary. Contact the admissions team at email@example.com
Other questions I didn't think were too common (but I might be wrong so up to you)
Q: Is there a chance I can receive an unconditional offer?
Q: I am a Canadian citizen but have U.S. schooling and am graduating from a U.S. school. Does this affect if I'm admitted as a Domestic or Visa target?
Q: Are the number of international applications affected by pandemic this year? How many international applicants do you get on average?
Q: How many offers go out in the first round?
Q: How much will the pandemic affect admissions? Will it be harder/easier to get in this year compared to previous years?
Q: How many visa students are you planning to accept into SE this year? still 12 - 15?
Q: Why is Engineering charging a supplemental application fee?
International Admissions (is there a collection of application questions for international students?)
Q: Do students apply for a work permit for co-op along with the study permit, or do they apply for it after arriving in Canada?
Q: For students coming from a mixed curriculum school, what is Waterloo’s policy?
Q: Once a student has accepted their offer, what are the next steps in terms of applying for a student visa?
Q: How do I know if I received a scholarship and how do I apply for additional scholarships?
Worried about your English Language test scores?
The University of Waterloo is offering a new program called Bridge to Academic Success in English (BASE) that could allow you to start into your studies while improving your English. Find out how it works.