How to Get an Early Offer

Lots of applicants are keen on getting an “early offer”, which for Waterloo Engineering is typically in the early March to early April timeframe (the final offer round is in early May).  There is no particular benefit to getting an early offer, other than relief from the stress of uncertainty.  Actually, there is a downside:  a few people with early offers relax too much and lose out on scholarships (which are decided in May) or sometimes even lose their offer when their final grades come out.  But most are OK, so how to get one of these early offers?  Following is a list of things to do:

  • Apply to one of our engineering programs through OUAC by mid to late January.
  • Submit your Admission Information Form (AIF) by February 8 (or soon thereafter).
  • If applicable, submit your proof of English language proficiency by early to mid February (TOEFL, IELTS, or other test scores).
  • If you’re not in a regular Ontario secondary school, submit your first semester grades as soon as possible.  (If you’re a regular day school student in Ontario, your school will submit them electronically, so no need to do anything.)

That’s about it.  The key is to have things submitted early, generally by early to mid-February, even though some deadlines are later.  If you get everything submitted, here’s how we will typically make the early offer decisions in early March through April:

  1. If the AIF is not submitted, we will not make an offer, so those are screened out first.
  2. If the English language proficiency is missing or uncertain, we will not make an offer.
  3. If there are fewer than 3 marks for the Grade 12 required courses (or equivalents), we will usually not make an offer.  We prefer to wait until more of the required course grades are available.
  4. For any of the missing required Grade 12 courses, we will use the relevant Grade 11 course as part of the average. (E.g. if you haven’t taken Grade 12 Chemistry yet, we’ll use your Grade 11 Chemistry mark.)  After we calculate an average, we see if it falls in the top half of the applicant pool (based on last year’s numbers).  If it does, then we’ll probably give an offer if nothing else looks unusual (e.g. repeated courses, inconsistent Grade 11 versus Grade 12 marks, any other missing data).

So, with this process we fill about 35 to 40% of our spaces, then wait until May when we have the rest of the data and Grade 12 grades to use in the final big competition.  As always, our goal is to try to be as fair as possible when comparing applications.  Also, we have a lot of applications, so it takes time to work through them all.

If you don’t get an early offer?  Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you’re not a very good applicant or we are snubbing you in some way.  As noted above, perhaps some of the information was not available or delayed, so we decided to wait to be fair to everyone.  Many of our applicants will get offers from other (less competitive) schools before they hear from us, so that’s normal too.  Your final decision isn’t needed until early June, so still lots of time to consider your options.

138 thoughts on “How to Get an Early Offer

  1. Is it ever possible for a certain mark to be deducted or its weighting reduced for admission average calculation if it is written about in the circumstances portion of the aif? In my personal case it is a grade 11 course pulling down my admission score for the early round of offers.

  2. Hi, I will be applying fall 2015 for university. I currently in grade 11, my first semester was not the greatest my average was 80%. I know I can do better, some teachers caused it to be low. I was wondering what kind of chance I would have of getting early acceptance? And I’m early acceptance do universities only look at grade 11 marks or grade 11 and grade 12 first semester midterms? Thanks, hope to hear from you soon professor.

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