Grad school? Med school? Law school?

King warrior Written by special contributor 

So you’re coming to Waterloo and it’s going to be amazing! What happens after that?

Many Waterloo students pursue a professional program (like law school) or graduate programs (a master's or PhD). But how do you do that? The good news is you’ve got time and a lot of on-campus support to help you figure it all out.

Get the right advice

The academic advisor in your program can help make certain you are positioned for success. If you’ve wanted to be a lawyer or teacher since you were 5, advisors can help you plan your education. They can help you select the right courses, choose a minor, or find other on-campus resources so you can get where you want to go.

Let experience be your guide

Waterloo is famous for its hands-on learning. And getting experience with on-campus programs is an awesome way to get started on a career!

The EDGE experiential learning program helps Waterloo students in regular (non-co-op) programs explore career options and learn to market themselves to employers. Or you could find your own experiences by attending on-campus volunteer, job, and internship fairs, including the largest college and university career fair in Canada!

And if you’re in one of Waterloo’s co-op programs, you can use work terms to figure out what careers you like (and don’t like).

During her co-op terms, Claire Warner (BSc '17, Physics, pictured) worked at the TRIUMF subatomic physics lab in Vancouver and the Choi Laboratory for Ultracold Quantum Matter & Light at Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.

Student working in a lab at the University of Waterloo

"Co-op helped me chose my field of study – the development of next-generation lasers. And I knew I wanted to continue my research in grad school," says Claire.

Connect to grad program opportunities

If – like Claire – a grad program is in your future, connect with your professors, teaching assistants, and peers. Many of them have been-there-and-done-that! They’ll be able to help you narrow down the universities and research supervisors that will be your best fit.

It totally worked for Claire! After finishing her Waterloo degree, she’s going straight into a PhD program at Columbia University in New York City.

Co-op really helped me figure out where I wanted to go. I had some amazing research experience to include on my application. And I was able to get great references from my past supervisors!


Learn more about pursuing your dream career by first learning more about your degree.


Explore your options

Your number one resource on campus is the Centre for Career Development (CCD). It’s a one-stop shop for planning your career or further education!

“We stay on top of admission processes and course requirements for professional and grad programs all over North America,” notes Pam Waechter, a career advisor at CCD.

“Then we offer materials, workshops, and services to make sure students can make an informed career choice and have the best possible chance for success. That includes things like one-to-one meetings, help with their application, and interview preparation.”

reading interview book

CCD has so many resources and ways to help. But you have to be the one to step up and take advantage of everything available. Here’s what Jenny Wong (BSc, Kinesiology '17) did to prepare for a career as an occupational therapist (OT).

  • Jenny attended CCD’s Further Education Bootcamp in her first year and had a chance to talk with physio and occupational therapists.
  • Through the Waterloo's Career Hub website, Jenny researched occupational therapy careers and requirements. She reviewed videos from actual therapists, looked at schools, and checked out course requirements.
  • Jenny worked with her faculty advisor and mapped her academic path to make sure she would have all of the courses and grades to qualify for admission.
  • Appointments with the CCD team helped Jenny understand what to include in her application.
  • Jenny was able to enhance her application by reviewing applications from students who were admitted to their chosen professional program.
  • To prepare for her program entrance interview, Jenny did an interview practice session with a career advisor.

Jenny was able to enhance her application by reviewing applications from students who were admitted to their chosen professional program.

Students walking past the Tatham Centre at the University of Waterloo

The Tatham Centre is home to Waterloo's Centre for Career Development where you can get advice on further education or your career.

Discover own your path

So that’s Jenny’s pathway to professional school. Yours could be different. You might need to learn how to get into med school or how to prepare for multiple mini interviews.

Or you might attend Waterloo's Professional School & Post-Degree Day to talk to graduates and admissions staff from professional schools. Or try a Further Education Bootcamp workshop that helps you ace the MCAT.

Getting guidance from advisors in the CCD is really helpful. And accessing all the resources they have puts you in the best position to be successful. It’s incredibly important.


Get curious

So the last resource is you. Get curious and put yourself out there! Try new things, take different courses, and explore your options. Connect with peers and professionals in the many groups, clubs, and events on campus.

Do things that will help you discover what you’re passionate about, and then use all the Waterloo resources available to pursue it!