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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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.
English Language Requirements
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.
Applying to Multiple Engineering Programs
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.