As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, you may have questions about studying at Waterloo.
Updates about plans for the fall term will be posted on the University's main COVID-19 website.
You can also contact our admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions not answered here.
My exams are cancelled/postponed. How will this affect my offer and meeting the conditions?
Will deadlines for documents for final conditions be extended?
We recognize that the global pandemic has had a profound impact upon your school experience. In many school and regions, accessing results to courses, exams, and testing may be delayed. When a verifiable delay occurs, we’ll adjust our expectations accordingly.
I received a scholarship or bursary. What happens if I only take a few courses in fall?
In order to receive your entrance award (scholarship or bursary) payment, you must be enrolled in full-time degree studies with a minimum of three courses (1.5 units). If you enrol in only one or two courses in fall 2021 (i.e., part-time studies), your award payment will be held until you can enrol in full-time studies in winter 2022 or spring 2022. If your course load is reduced due to academic accommodations for a disability, contact the Student Awards and Financial Aid office.
I have an offer of admission to iBASE, BASE, or Math/BASE. Can I submit a new English language proficiency test score for consideration?
Yes, we will accept new test results as they become available. For BASE and Math/BASE (this program was previously named Math/English Language for Academic Studies, or Math/ELAS) results must be received by our Registrar's Office by August 15. Learn how to submit your scores.
For iBASE, results must arrive by the posted deadline.
Can I apply to live in residence in September?
Yes, you can apply to live in residence for September – and we're taking lots of steps to keep students healthy and safe.
Choosing to live in residence is one of the best ways to build new relationships, support your academics, and feel a sense of belonging at Waterloo. With a commitment to putting your needs first especially during these challenging times, Campus Housing and our University Colleges are the most understanding housing providers in the city and offering student-centered practices and policies to best support you.
Our residences are currently open to students and applications for fall 2021 housing are open until June 1. We've implemented a wide variety of cleaning and public health initiatives to keep students and our residence life staff safe and healthy.
- Choosing on-campus residence at Waterloo is the most stable option. With a commitment to putting your needs first, Waterloo residences and our University Colleges are the most understanding landlords in town and will adjust their practices and policies to best support you.
- Each of Waterloo's first-year residences offer personal and academic support such as Living-Learning Communities and academic clusters, residence life staff, and social activities to help you adjust to living away from home.
- Campus Housing and our University Colleges are excited to welcome and support you as you begin your studies at Waterloo.
Do I have to pay a residence deposit?
To guarantee your space in residence, accept your Offer of Admission and submit your Residence Community Ranking Form and $500 deposit by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on June 1, 2021.
If classes are entirely online for fall 2021, all first-year students who have paid the $500 deposit can cancel their application by Monday, June 7, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (EST) and receive a full refund. International students can cancel at any time before September. We understand there are more considerations and may be delays in the information needed to make these decisions.
If classes are held in-person for fall 2021, all first-year students who have applied and paid the $500 deposit will continue with the residence application process.
How will rooms be assigned because of the pandemic, (i.e., single or double rooms)?
Campus Housing works in ongoing partnership with Waterloo’s Public Health and Emergency Services Unit, Campus Wellness, and the Safety Office. Decisions about building closures and what rooms will be available are based on their advisement and will reflect the utmost caution in keeping our residence communities safe.
For the fall 2021 term, decisions will be made with their advisement, and in tandem with decisions about the academic term. For fall 2020, we had a 2:1 ratio, meaning there were two students to every one bathroom; however, based on the improvements or restrictions happening in the province, decisions about fall 2021 could be different. Please check our website for ongoing updates.
Will classes be online when I start in September?
We're planning to deliver significantly more in-person learning and research opportunities starting in September. Although in-person learning will increase, we know many students will continue to attend virtual classes no matter what the pandemic demands. For example, as large gatherings are unlikely to be allowed before the end of 2021, we may need to continue to limit class sizes. We expect physical distancing measures to continue. Visit our COVID-19 website for details about the fall 2021 term.
Can I visit the campus?
In-person campus tours are cancelled for the safety and well-being of our guests and our campus community. This decision was made in consultation with university leadership and public health officials to best protect visitors and staff. We still offer a number of ways to connect with us online, including online campus tours, video tours, webinars, and more!
If classes are online, how will I meet other students? Are clubs and athletics still running?
We anticipate having more in-person activities for fall 2021, but here are ways students are currently connecting with each other.
Our Athletics department is running virtual and in-person events, including
- in-person intramurals such as soccer, volleyball, beach volleyball, disc golf, ultimate;
- in-person facilities include fitness centres, skating rink, pool, gyms for drop-in basketball and badminton, field house;
- in-person fitness classes include yoga, cycle, kickboxing, and Zumba; and
- virtual fitness classes, webinars, and online personal training.
Clubs and student government
Many of the clubs supported by the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) continue to meet online. These clubs are a great way to find other students who share your interests. As well, Waterloo’s student societies (government) are active with virtual events, connecting students within each faculty.
Student Success Office
Follow @UWaterlooLife for highlights of online and physically-distanced events and opportunities. You can also get involved with the online leadership or meet with a peer success coach. International students can join the International Peer Community to meet other students from outside Canada.
Make your own opportunities
Whether you’re taking classes in person or online, you can create your own opportunities to meet people, such as when you’re paired with classmates for group assignments. If classes aren’t in person, you could suggest video chats (or socially-distanced meetups) with some of your group members to talk about school or life in general.
What's available to help me transition to university?
Waterloo Ready is a comprehensive online initiative in the months leading up to your first term. It’s an opportunity to get to know other students, learn about what to expect from Waterloo, and to find out everything you need to know to prepare for your first year as a Waterloo Warrior. You can also follow @UWaterlooLife for a glimpse of life as a Waterloo student and for details about fall Orientation.
I may have delays with my student visa. What is the latest date I can start on campus?
In order to ensure success in your program, you must arrive on campus by September 21, 2022. If you are unable to arrive by September 21, you can request to defer your offer of admission.
Do I need a study permit if all my classes in September are online?
A study permit is not required for you to study online from outside of Canada. But due to unpredictable processing times for study permits, we strongly recommend that you apply for your study permit immediately after getting an offer of admission and letter of acceptance from Waterloo.
Even though your classes may be online, having a study permit will ensure you’re qualified to travel to Canada when in-person classes resume.
If you receive an offer of admission to a co-op program, you should apply for a co-op work permit when you apply for your study permit.
- Once the University re-opens for in-person classes, you’ll need a valid study permit and temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA) to enter Canada and continue your studies at Waterloo.
- Submitting your study permit application before beginning your studies is important if you want to count this time spent studying towards your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility.
- There’s no guarantee your current application will be approved, even if you’ve received a stage 1 approval (AIP).
Information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada continues to change. We recommend that you contact Waterloo's Immigration Consulting team if you have some questions you’d like to discuss.
What co-op and career resources are available to students?
Waterloo’s co-op program and other experiential education opportunities help prepare you for your future career. Experiential education teaches valuable skills that help navigate the uncertain and changing landscapes.
As a Waterloo student, you'll have access to co-op and career resources including
- co-op advisors to support you through your co-op journey;
- career advisors to help your prepare for your career;
- an international team to support students working abroad;
- career fairs, employer information sessions and other events to help you network with employers;
- free professional development and digital skills courses to help you prepare for your first work term;
- online groups to help you meet other students while on a work term; and
- specialized mental health, accessibility and international student resources.
Did the pandemic affect how many students were able to find work?
Despite the impacts of the pandemic, more than 21,000 students have secured co-op work terms during the past three terms (fall 2020, winter 2021, and spring 2021).
Strong relationships with our global network of 7,100 employers and alumni helped us to find more opportunities in organizations that already hire students as well as with new employers. Since the May to August 2020 term, the University has also hired 1,100 additional co-op students in newly created online learning assistant roles to help launch and teach online courses.
What does the future of work look like for co-op students in a post-pandemic economy?
The future of work is impossible to predict. Jobs and career paths as we understand them today are going to fundamentally change in ways that we have not imagined or created yet.
What we can say with absolute certainty, is that an adaptable, resilient workforce is key to economic recovery – just as adaptable and resilient students and co-op program have been key to keeping students employed during the pandemic.
How will entrance scholarships be determined if I’m not taking some required courses until the third or fourth term of a quadmester system? (Ontario high school students only)
We’ll automatically award most entrance scholarships, including the President’s and Merit Scholarships, based on your admission average. Your admission average consists of your best six Grade 12 U or M courses (or equivalent depending on your system of study), including all of the required courses for the program you applied to.
We normally award these scholarships in mid-May based on the grades available at that time. This year because of the quadmester system, we may not have the right number or combination of grades in May to determine an admission average for scholarship purposes.
Where we’re unable to calculate an admission average, we’ll wait until your school sends grades for the rest of your Grade 12 courses. We’ll then assign the highest scholarship that you’re eligible for. We’ll email you once this happens and you’ll also be able to view details in Quest. Select the Admissions tile, click on the name of your program, then look for the Entrance Awards tab beside the applicable program.
Still have questions? Just email our Visitors Centre and we'd be happy to help!