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Admissions

Introduction

At the University of Waterloo, each Faculty approaches the application and admission process differently. What follows is the admission process adopted by the Faculty of Mathematics.

The Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo represents a large concentration of expertise in the mathematical and computational sciences employing over 200 full-time professors. Because of its size the Faculty is able to offer a large number of courses leading to innovative, flexible and challenging programs in mathematics and computer science.

In general, students are admitted in three main areas:

  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Math Business / Accounting

Some of our programs allow for direct admission starting in first year, while others can be selected as majors in second year or later. Although the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) form asks applicants to some programs to list an area of interest, this is not a formal declaration of a major.

Students in our programs are in either regular/traditional or co-op. Academically, both modes of study are identical.


Tentative Admission Targets

In admission language the word "target" indicates the anticipated number of first-year students per program. Because our highly-qualified applicants receive multiple offers, we make more offers than available spots to ensure that all our programs will be filled to capacity. 

Program Target
2017 admission targets
Computer Science (regular & co-op)  300
Business Administration (Laurier) & Computer Science (Waterloo)    Double Degree^1 (co-op only)   50
Software Engineering^2 (co-op only) 125
Computing & Financial Management^3 (co-op only)  40
Mathematics (regular & co-op) 510
Math Business (regular & co-op) 60
Business Administration (Laurier) & Mathematics (Waterloo) Double Degree^1 (co-op only)  70
Math Chartered Professional Accounting (CPA) (co-op only)  65
Financial Analysis & Risk Management (regular & co-op)  125

Footnotes:
1 Joint with Wilfrid Laurier University
2 Joint with the Faculty of Engineering
3 Joint with the School of Accounting and Finance


Competition

Since 2010, the number of applications to the Faculty of Mathematics has increased steadily from about 7,500 in 2010 to about 13,900 in 2016. One measure of the level of competition is the ratio between the number of applications and the Faculty target:

Year # of Applications/Faculty Target
2010 6.9
2011 7.6
2012 7.5
2013 8.3
2014 9.3
2015 9.7
2016 11.4

It is clear from these numbers that receiving an offer of admission from the Faculty of Mathematics has become more competitive.


Admission Requirements

Admission requirements depend on the system of study.


Admission Average

Each applicant's admission average includes the required courses
as well as additional eligible courses using the marks available at the time of review. Depending on the system of study, the number of additional courses used in the average varies. The average may include a combination of midterm, predicted and final grades. Additional eligible courses having the highest grades are automatically selected in this calculation. 

Please note that the admission average is not the only factor used in making admission decisions. The Admission Information Form (AIF) also plays a key role in the selection process. While the information provided on the AIF is important, grades form the most important part of any admission decision.


The Selection Process

Background Information
The selection committee normally considers only complete applications, when all of the required information has been received by the University.
 
Early offers of admission are normally only made to sufficiently strong applicants. Those who do not receive an early offer are considered again later in the admission process.
 
Admission decisions are made by the selection committee several times between January and May, but approximately 80% of offers are normally made in early May. By this point, the most complete and best possible information about each applicant is available, including the results from the Euclid contest.

Criteria for Decisions

When making admission decisions, the selection committee looks for strong admission averages, strong grades in Math courses, as well as good scores on the Admission Information Form (AIF). Because we consider many factors when making decisions, it is possible that some applicants with higher admission averages may not be admitted to a given program while
some applicants with lower admission averages may be admitted to this same program.
 
The committee may also take other marks from Grade 12 or earlier into account. Overall, the goal is to reward the strongest applicants with offers.

Conditional Offers
Most offers include conditions that must be satisfied. If an applicant fails to meet the stipulated conditions then the offer will be revoked. Thus, it's important that applicants finish strongly by working hard until grades are finalized!


Alternate Offers of Admission

Students who do not receive an offer to their chosen program are automatically considered for admission to other programs, even though they did not necessarily apply to those programs. Because enough offers are made to ensure that all programs will be filled, no wait lists are
created.

An alternate offer of admission is an offer to a program or mode of study (i.e. regular instead of co-op) to which the applicant did not apply. For example, in 2015 and 2016 applicants to Computer Science who were not admitted were considered for admission to Mathematics. Because alternate offers change from year to year, applicants should apply to as many programs as they are interested in to ensure that they are considered for those programs.

Students who do not satisfy the English language requirement may receive an alternate offer to the English Language for Academic Studies (ELAS) program.


Scholarship Decisions

Applicants are eligible for university-wide scholarships as well as Math Faculty scholarships. The automatic university-wide scholarships are based solely on admission average and are awarded as soon as the admission average is determined. Some of the Math Faculty Scholarships require an application which is due in early February. Other scholarships are open to all applicants who have written the Euclid contest in the year they plan to attend university. Scholarship decisions are made in early May and are based on three factors:


Final Advice

  • Earn good grades, especially in the required math courses.
  • Get involved outside of the classroom (i.e. clubs, volunteer work, sports, etc.).
  • Prepare for and write the Euclid math contest.
  • Spend time writing the Admission Information Form (AIF), since it will be read and scored.
  • Satisfy the offer conditions by maintaining strong grades until they are final.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the AIF scored?

We do not release information about how the AIF is scored, or how the scores are used. Note that the Faculty of Mathematics does not score the AIF in the same way as the Faculty of Engineering.

While the AIF plays an important role in admissions decisions, it will not make up for admissions averages well outside the published ranges. Grades form the most important part of any admission decision.

What do I include to get the best AIF score?

There is no magic formula to completing your AIF. You can tell us about who you are in many different ways. If you watch this video and read this advice, you should understand that The Faculty of Mathematics really wants well-rounded students who are interested in math and computer science.

Can I be admitted without writing math contests?

Yes. On the AIF, we ask about contest participation because performance in mathematics contests tends to correlate with performance in Faculty of Mathematics programs. Participation in contests is just one part of what you tell us about yourself on the AIF.

Does the Faculty of Mathematics penalize students for taking a spare?

No. There is no penalty for only taking the minimum required courses but taking more senior level courses may improve your AIF score. Visit this site for more advice.

What happens if I repeat a course or take a course outside of regular day school (i.e. night school, online, summer)

A penalty may be applied to your AIF score when a course is repeated or taken outside of regular day school. The reason for the penalty is that repeating a course or taking it outside of regular day school may represent an unfair advantage over those that do not.  Also, it must be remembered that in university students may not have the same freedom to take courses when they please or at other institutions.

Please note, while the AIF score is important, grades form the most important part of any admission decision. You are encouraged to explain on the AIF why you repeated a course or took it outside of regular day school.

I have applied on OUAC. When can I expect to receive an email with AIF completion details?

Please allow us three weeks after you have applied on OUAC to send you an email outlining instructions about setting up your Quest account and completing the AIF. If you haven't heard from us in three weeks, please contact us

What happens if I don't complete the AIF?

Since the AIF is required for admission to all programs in the Faculty of Mathematics, students who don't complete the AIF will not meet the Faculty's admission requirements.

Where can I find more information about the AIF?

Visit this University of Waterloo AIF FAQ site.

When should I expect an admissions decision?

No admission decisions are made until we have the information we need. Normally, this includes:

  • grades for all required courses
  • grades to form an admissions average, and
  • a completed AIF

Most offers of admission to the Faculty of Mathematics are made in early May. Even if we receive all of this information before May, there is a very good chance that you will not receive an admissions decision until May. Students receiving an offer before May have provided sufficient information and greatly exceed our expected admission requirements. 

My English language test scores are just below the cut-offs. Do I need to retake one of the tests?

It depends. The Important Notes section of the Waterloo English language requirements states:

  • Students achieving an overall IELTS score of 7.0 and no band score below 6.0 may be given individual consideration for admission to full-time undergraduate studies.
  • For some programs, individual consideration may be given for an iBT overall score of 90 (writing and/or speaking of 23 or 24).

For any program in the Faculty of Mathematics, an IELTS score of 7.0 with no band score below 6.0 meets the Faculty’s English language requirements.

Students with iBT scores similar to those described in the second bullet should contact us directly to see if an exception can be made.

Will you use my grade 11 marks for admission?

Marks from grade 12 courses are the focus of any admission decision, but the Faculty of Mathematics sometimes uses applicants' marks before grade 12 to assist with admission decisions. When we look at marks from courses  before grade 12, we're normally looking for consistently high grades from year to year.

I heard that … or read online that …

Each university and each faculty at Waterloo has an independent admissions process. Information pertaining to other programs may not apply to applicants to the Faculty of Mathematics. Applicants are advised to seek information from official university sources.

How exactly is the Euclid used for admissions? 

The Euclid is used to differentiate applicants during admissions decisions. In some cases, especially for our more competitive programs, an applicants Euclid score can be one of the most important factors when it comes to admissions decisions. The Euclid also plays a key role for Faculty of Mathematics Entrance Scholarships.

What happens if an applicant doesn't write the Euclid?

Not writing the Euclid means students will miss out on an opportunity to differentiate themselves from other applicants. Applicants can still be admitted to Faculty of Mathematics programs without writing the Euclid, but these decisions will be based off only the applicant’s grades and AIF. Based on how fierce the competition has become for spaces in the faculty it is in a student’s best interest to write the Euclid.

What happens if I do poorly on the Euclid? 

The benefits having a Euclid score are greater than the impact a poor Euclid score when it comes to admission decisions. Each year the vast majority of applicants are admitted based off their grades and AIF scores as that information forms the most important part of any admissions decision.

What is considered a very good score on the Euclid?

The Euclid Mathematics Contest is scored out of 100.  In most years, the average score is between 45 and 55.  In most years, scores above 80 are considered to be very good. As mentioned, students with good Euclid scores, strong grades and AIF scores, are given consideration for Faculty of Mathematics Entrance Scholarships.

I wrote the Euclid last year, will last year’s Euclid be used for admissions and scholarships? 

Only the Euclid score from the year in which an applicant applies is used directly for admissions and scholarships decisions. Writing the Euclid in previous years can help an applicant’s AIF score like all other contests written prior to grade 12. 

How do I register for the Euclid?

Students register through their school. Students are encouraged to connect with their math teacher(s) about writing the contest. If your school has never written a CEMC contest before, your school can register by filling out the New School Registration Form. For this year, schools must register for the Euclid by March 21st 2017. If a student’s school will not register for the Euclid, students are encouraged to connect with another school in their area willing to register additional contestants.

What content is tested on the Euclid?

The Euclid tests a variety of concepts taken from mathematics curriculum up to and including the final year of secondary school. While content knowledge is necessary to perform well on the Euclid, equally important is an ability to reason analytically and creatively solve problems.

How should student prepare for the Euclid?

The best preparation for the contest is to solve lots of problems from old Euclid Contests. The CEMC posts past contests and solutions online. Past contests will help familiarize students with the structure and content of the Euclid. Additional preparation material, including eWorkshops covering the major topics on the Euclid, are available online from the CEMC.

Who marks the Euclid Contest?

A team of teachers, retired teachers, professors, and university students mark the Euclid and other CEMC contests. Watch this video to learn more about contest marking.