Frequently asked questions (admissions)

Contents

Watch our videos with common admission questions.


Applying

What are Waterloo’s admission averages?

Waterloo’s admission averages range from low 80s to mid-90s. Admission averages can vary depending on the number of applications we receive, the number of spaces available in each program, and the grades of students who apply.

Smaller or highly competitive programs will have higher admission ranges. Search our admission requirements to see specific admission averages.

How do you apply for admission?

Applications to Waterloo and all other Ontario universities are handled by the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC). Ontario high school students will receive instructions from their schools about using the 101 application.

All other students will use the 105 application, available in early October each year. Different programs have different application deadlines.

 

Can you apply to more than one program?

You can apply to a maximum of three programs at Waterloo except for Engineering, where you can apply to one program on your application.

If you wish to be considered for a second Engineering program at Waterloo, you can specify an alternate choice on your Admission Information Form once you've applied. Biomedical Engineering and Software Engineering are not available as alternate choices on the AIF.

For each Waterloo program you apply to, you will receive an admission decision (offer of admission or a refusal).

How do you apply for early admission?

Waterloo does not have an 'early admissions' process. Admission decisions are made from January to May depending on the program you have applied to.

Since our admissions committees require at least mid-term grades for all required courses before decisions can be made, most of our admission decisions are made in May once we receive mid-term marks from semestered high schools.

 

Does it matter how you rank Waterloo on your university application?

No, it does not matter where you rank Waterloo programs on your application. You'll receive a decision for each program you apply to, regardless of whether you rank it first, second, third, etc.

How do you apply to co-op?

You need to select the co-op option on your OUAC application to be considered for admission to a co-op program. Where a program is offered through co-op and the regular system of study, if you apply to co-op and are not admitted, you are usually considered for the regular version of that program.

 

Can you repeat a course or take a course outside of regular day school?

This could affect your application depending on the program or faculty you apply to. Review Waterloo’s policy on repeated and non-day school courses for details.


Once you've applied

How do you get your Waterloo student number?

After we receive your application from the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC), you’ll receive your Waterloo ID number usually within 5-10 business days in an email confirming your application (subject line: "Thank you for applying to Waterloo").

What is Quest? How do you log in?

Quest is the University of Waterloo’s student information system. Learn about creating your Quest account so that you can complete your Admission Information Form, submit any necessary documents, and view your admission status.

 

Can your parent or someone else inquire about your application on your behalf?

Due to privacy legislation, we can only discuss details about your application directly with you. We cannot discuss applications with parents, other family members, teachers, or counsellors. Please email us if you require more information.

What if you have questions about the Admission Information Form (AIF)?

Review the frequently asked questions about the AIF. Our step-by-step screen shots can walk you through completing the AIF.

 

Haven’t received your Waterloo ID number after applying?

Once we receive your application from the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC), we will email your Waterloo ID number and next steps to you within 5-10 business days. The email subject line is "Thank you for applying to Waterloo."

If you don't see the email, be sure to check all of your email folders, including junk, spam, and promotions folders. Also make sure that you're checking the email address you used on your OUAC application.

If you still have not received the email, you can request it to be re-sent. Email myapplication@uwaterloo.ca and include your OUAC reference number, first and last name, and date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY) and we will re-send your acknowledgement email.


How to submit documents

What documents do you need to provide and when are they due?

The documents you may be required to provide vary depending on whether you're a high school student and where you're studying or have studied. The Admission Information Form is required for many programs.

Deadlines to submit documents depend on the program and whether you’re an Ontario high school student.

Do you you need to submit a reference letter or essay?

Only the Conditional Admission to Pharmacy (CAP), Optometry, Pharmacy, and Social Work programs require letters of reference. Instructions will be sent to you.

Waterloo's Admission Information Form (AIF) allows you to tell the admissions committees about your activities outside of the classroom or reasons why your grades aren't as high as you would have liked.

 

If your final grades aren't available before the deadlines, how will we make an admission decision?

If final grades aren't available before our document deadlines, the admissions committees can make a conditional offer of admission based on final grades in courses you've completed and mid-term/predicted grades for courses you're taking.

Your Offer of Admission would then list the conditions you need to meet, i.e., the final grades you’ll need to achieve.

Does Waterloo require SAT and/or ACT scores?

SAT and/or ACT scores are not required for programs other than Engineering.

If you're a US high school student applying to one of our Engineering programs, you’re required to submit SAT or ACT results.

All other applicants from the American system, studying outside of the US, are encouraged to submit these results, as admission to our Engineering programs are extremely competitive.

The SAT essay portion is optional. There are no minimum scores required for SAT and/or ACT tests; however, strong scores may strengthen your application to our competitive programs.

 

Do documents need to be translated/notarized?

Some documents may need to be notarized. Learn more about sending your documents.


English language requirements

Does Waterloo require an English language test score, e.g., IELTS?

You are required to provide an English proficiency test score if

  • your first language is not English and
  • your four most recent years of full-time education have not been in an English-language school system.

Learn more about Waterloo's English language requirements. The University of Waterloo reserves the right to request an English language test result from any student.

How do you send English language test score to Waterloo?

Request an official copy of your results to be sent directly to us from the English language testing centre.

For TOEFL, Waterloo’s institution code is 0996 and our department code is 00.

For IELTS, Waterloo’s e-Transfer Institution for electronic results is University of Waterloo - Admissions. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we cannot individually review scores on the IELTS website. However, we download results on a regular basis for students who have requested that their results to be sent to us electronically.

 

How will you know if we have received your English language test results?

When we receive official test results from an English language testing centre, we will record them in Quest, Waterloo's online student information system. Unofficial test results will not appear in Quest.

You can see your test scores in your Quest account by clicking on the Admissions tab and looking under the Test Summary section. Due to the volume of test scores we received, it can take up to ten business days for your English language test scores to appear on Quest after the official documents have been received from the testing centre.

What if your English language test scores don't meet our requirements?

If your English language test scores don't meet Waterloo's admission standards, you may still qualify for conditional acceptance through the Bridge to Academic Success in English program or if you apply to the Faculty of Mathematics, the English Language for Academic Studies program.

 

Can you apply directly to Bridge to Academic Success in English or English Language for Academic Studies?

No, you do not apply directly to Bridge to Academic Success in English (BASE) or to English Language for Academic Studies (ELAS). If you meet our academic qualifications for the program you’ve applied to, but your TOEFL, IELTS, or other English language test score does not quite meet Waterloo's requirements, you may receive a conditional offer of admission to BASE or ELAS.


Offers of admission

When will you receive an admission decision from Waterloo?

Admission decisions are made between January and May depending on the program and whether you’re an Ontario high school student or not. Most offers of admission at Waterloo are made in May, once we’ve received mid-term marks from Ontario high schools. A limited number of earlier offers of admission may be made in some programs.

How do you view your offer of admission?

Log into Quest, click on the Admissions tab, then the name of the program you applied to, and click View Letter. Be sure to turn off pop-up blockers and use either Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari as your web browser.

 

How do you view any conditions on an offer?

Your conditional offer of admission letter, available on your Quest account, lists any conditions you need to meet, usually a specified minimum final average and/or a minimum mark in required courses.

Do you have conditions on your offer?

Most offers of admission have conditions that need to be met by a certain date (usually over the summer). Conditions could include achieving a minimum final average or grade in a required course, submitting final transcripts, sending English language requirements, and more.

Will you receive an offer in the mail?

We do not send offers of admission by mail. If you are admitted to Waterloo, you’ll be able to see your Offer of Admission in your Quest account within 24-48 hours of the decision being made.

When will you know if your conditions have been met?

Final conditions are reviewed from mid-to late July. If you have any issues or concerns, email the admissions office.

 

How do you accept an offer of admission?

You need to accept your offer through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC). Review the deadline date to accept your offer, important conditions, and instructions on accepting your offer in your Offer of Admission letter.

If you plan to live in residence, you need to pay your residence deposit by the deadline in order to reserve your spot. If you miss the deadline, we cannot guarantee a spot in residence.

Can you defer an offer of admission?

If you wish to take time before university to work, travel, or return to high school, you can request a deferral for up to a year. Many programs consider a deferral for the fall term only.

Normally, a deferral will be granted only if you have not undertaken full-time academic studies during the deferral period unless those studies are deemed to enrich your education and will not negatively affect your admissibility.

 

International students

Can visa students apply for co-op?

International students are eligible for all co-op programs.

Do you need a study permit?

If you're not a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident, you must have a study permit to attend university in Canada.

 

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