Everything you need to know about Waterloo's Admission Information Form (AIF)

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So, you’ve applied to Waterloo and you’re not sure how to complete the AIF. Don’t worry — we’ll walk you through everything you need to know, plus give you some tips along the way!

If you’re applying to study at Waterloo, you’ve probably heard of the Admission Information Form (AIF). While the AIF is a requirement to be considered for some programs, any applicant can submit it regardless of what you're interested in studying. Here are some general things to keep in mind.

What is the AIF?

The AIF is an online form located in your Quest account that you can submit as part of your application and asks short questions about you. For some programs, this means you get to show our admissions team who you are outside of your grades, why you want to go to Waterloo, and more importantly why Waterloo should want you. For other programs, the AIF is not required and won’t have an impact on your chances of being admitted. Whether an AIF is required for your program or not, it may be worth completing as it is used for some scholarship decisions.

Applying to a Math or Engineering program

Programs under the Faculty of Engineering (except Architecture) and the Faculty of Math (including Computing and Financial Management) all require you to complete the AIF. Once you’ve applied and created a Quest account, you’ll be able to fill out the AIF.

There’s no downside to writing the AIF, since its purpose is to add supplemental information to your application. It’s a chance to give our admissions teams a better idea of who you are, both in and out of school. Programs in faculties that require the AIF receive a lot of applications, so it’s important that you take your time and write a great AIF!

We want to hear about the meaningful things in your life outside of your schoolwork... the experiences that have contributed to who you are.

André Jardin, associate registrar for admissions

All other programs

Applying to a program under the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF)? You aren't required to submit the AIF. Don’t worry though, you still have a chance to showcase who you are outside of school. Instead of the AIF, you’ll be asked to complete the School of Accounting and Finance Admissions Assessment (SAFAA).

If you’re interested in a program in the faculties of Arts, Health, Science, or Environment, the AIF is not required, but you may have the option to submit one. You can increase your chances for scholarships and get a head start on gathering experiences and achievements you might want to include on your future résumé.

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Tips for completing your Admission Information Form

Writing your AIF might seem intimidating, but remember, it’s all about you! Take your time and follow these tips to help you write a strong AIF.

  • Be honest. Being truthful and open in your AIF is important and is highly valued at Waterloo. Thousands of AIFs are read every year, so it’s easy to tell if you aren’t being genuine. Don’t just write what you think Waterloo wants to hear, make sure your answers are authentic and really represent you.
  • Do it yourself. Don't rely on someone else to write the AIF for you. It's easy to tell when you aren't being authentic, and it's also easy to tell when you didn't write your answers yourself. No one knows you better than yourself, so make sure to avoid turning to others to complete it for you.
  • Start early. Don’t leave your AIF until the last minute. Instead, start early and make note of the deadlines for the programs you’re applying to. A good idea is to take a look at the questions and write your answers in a document first. Rushing your AIF will lead to an underdeveloped application, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to fill it out!
  • Be clear and concise. The AIF isn’t a long-winded essay. It’s a series of short answer questions, so it’s important you get straight to the point with your answers. Try not to spend a lot of time writing filler sentences and focus on the important information instead.
  • Proofread. Reviewers won’t be impressed by spelling or grammar errors, so make sure to look over your work to catch any mistakes!
  • Submit! Once you have completed each section of the AIF, make sure that you click the "submit" button for each page. If you leave any page in "saved" status, the admissions committee will not review it.

If you’re applying to a program that doesn’t require the AIF, it’s still important to keep the tips above in mind, but there are some other things you might want to take into consideration as well. 

If you’re completing the SAFAA, keep in mind that part of the assessment is a video interview. Practicing and getting comfortable with the process means you’ll feel confident when completing the actual interview.

If you’re completing the AIF, then it’s a good idea to make a list and gather all of your achievements, involvements, and responsibilities. Having all this information in one place will make filling out the AIF much easier since you can ensure you’re writing about all the great things you did in high school! Remember to be honest and don’t write about things you didn’t actually do. The team reviewing your AIF will know, and we appreciate integrity above everything else.

What should you write about?

The questions in the AIF will help guide your answers, but there are some general things to keep in mind as you complete your AIF.

Think outside of the box

Write about your hobbies and the things you are passionate about. How do they tie into the program you’re applying to? This is a great chance to get creative with your answers, especially if you don’t think your hobbies necessarily align with what you want to study. Maybe you really like art, but you’re applying to a program in the Faculty of Math. Finding a connection between the two would be a great showcase of your talents!

Your life beyond school

You can also write about what you’re involved in outside of your academics. That could be volunteer roles, sports, clubs, part-time jobs, or other responsibilities you have outside of school. You could even talk about any side projects you worked on just because you wanted to. When talking about your non-school involvements, you can also write about your time management skills and how you tackle all your responsibilities. 

Why Waterloo?

When writing about why you want to come to Waterloo, try to think outside of the box. Sure, you may be interested in coming to Waterloo because of the co-op program, but what does that mean for you? What goals do you have that you can achieve with co-op? Maybe there’s a social issue you want to tackle, and you think co-op will give you the opportunity to do so. When writing about what drew you to Waterloo, expanding on why that’s important to you will help create a stronger AIF.

At the end of the day, the AIF is your chance to share what makes you stand out. Whether it’s to boost your application or get scholarships to fund your education, writing a strong AIF is really beneficial. Keep these tips in mind as you write so that you can submit the best application possible. Good luck!


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