Written by Erin (she/her), student
With more than 60,000 applications for admission each year, how do we find the right students for the right programs?
Academics aren't the only factor considered by our admissions office when reviewing applications. Some students are asked to present a portfolio of creative work. Others take part in a video interview. And others complete a survey assessing their leadership potential.
But there is one admissions tool that is used for nearly all programs at Waterloo: the Admission Information Form (AIF).
The AIF is your chance to show Waterloo who you are outside of academics. It's your opportunity to demonstrate why you want to be at Waterloo, and why Waterloo should want you.
Your AIF can be the make-or-break factor that gets you an Offer of Admission to the University of Waterloo, especially if you're applying to a highly competitive program or you're applying with a lower average.
It's also used to identify potential scholarship candidates. There are no negative consequences to filling out your AIF, it can only help strengthen your application.
When I wrote my AIF, I didn’t have any tear-jerking life stories to share but I had lots of unique experiences that helped drive my decision to apply to Waterloo.
By sharing those experiences, my personality, and my driven attitude on my AIF I was confident that Waterloo was getting a holistic picture of me as a person.
Ultimately, the AIF helped me earn a spot in my program and helped me fund my first semester of university through scholarships I received.
"The Admission Information Form is an important part of our admissions process and lets students share information they'd like us to know," says André Jardin, Waterloo's associate registrar for admissions.
He adds that, "there are students who have overcome incredible odds to get to the point where they can even apply to university. Our admissions officers have read AIFs with very powerful stories."
We want to read about the good things, the bad things, the meaningful things in your life… the experiences that have contributed to who you are.André Jardin, associate registrar for admissions
"You've applied to Waterloo and are considering spending the next four or five years here. Taking time to do the Admission Information Form is a good way to strengthen your application. It can only help you – and could make the difference between receiving an offer of admission or not," says Jardin.
An essential part of many decisions
Engineering and Mathematics are two of Waterloo's faculties that require students to submit the Admission Information Form.
We use the AIF to identify outstanding applicants and to award scholarships.
"With increasing competition for admission to our Engineering programs, we must be highly selective. We use the AIF to identify outstanding applicants and to award scholarships. Each AIF is assigned a score out of 5 that is added to a student's admission average. This factor often plays a significant role in the admissions process for highly competitive programs," says Bill Bishop, director of admissions in Engineering.
Tips for completing your Admission Information Form
- Don't overthink your answers. Go with your instinct when responding to the questions.
- Answer the question that's asked.
- Be honest. Honesty and open communication are key values to us as a university and are an important part of our admissions process.
- Don’t write what you assume admissions officers want to hear! They read thousands of AIFs each year and can tell when students aren’t being genuine, so take the time to make your responses authentically you.
- Proofread everything. Admissions committees are not impressed with poor grammar or communication skills.
What can you include in your AIF?
Consider your passions or hobbies. What makes you unique and well-rounded? Have you overcome obstacles in your life that shaped you as an individual? Are you on a sports team or position of leadership? Do you volunteer and get involved in your community? What do you want to get from Waterloo?
Speak to what drew you to Waterloo but also expand on why that is important to you.
Speak to what drew you to Waterloo but also expand on why that is important to you. Say you're excited about the co-op program and think it's an amazing feature. That’s great, but what are you going to do with it? Are you going to create your own start-up or use the knowledge you gain in class and co-op to further a social cause you're passionate about? These are factors that can strengthen your Admission Information Form. Consider impactful moments, experiences, and goals that make you unique.
"Completing the Admission Information Form gave me a chance to talk about the extracurricular activities I was involved in and some personal circumstances that impacted my grades. For me, it was important to know that Waterloo saw me as a whole person beyond just my grades," says Christie, an Honours Arts and Business student.
Tips for Waterloo's Admission Information Form
- Admission Information Form deadlines and details
- Have you applied for admission? Review your next steps.
- Tips for applying to university