Early Offers 2014

A revised and updated version of a post from 2013.

We just finished (February 20) processing our first round of offers for applicants who are Ontario high school students, and they have been posted in Quest.  It may take a few more days for OUAC to be updated and emails to go out.  Some of the processes were described in an earlier post, How to Get an Early Offer (which may be a bit outdated for 2014).  But to summarize, we took the data we had at that point and made enough offers to fill up to 1/3 of our available spaces in each program (more specifically, those spaces reserved for Canadians and Permanent Residents).  These are applications where we have enough data and it’s clear that they are competitive, based on previous experience.  We were quite conservative this year, and  gave out fewer offers than in 2013, since we want to leave lots of spaces for a fair competition in the final round in May.  In part, this is because application numbers are up significantly again this year and it’s hard to distinguish fairly between applicants when there are so many with similar grades.  So we think it’s better to hold off until the most complete data is available in late April.  We’ll be processing some non-Ontario applicant offers in the coming weeks.

Some universities give out a lot more earlier offers, but that’s simply because they have a lot less competition for spaces and can just go ahead with whatever they have.

We sent out less than 1,000 offers, so now there are well over 5,000 applicants wondering why they didn’t get an early offer and comparing notes with others who perhaps did.  My advice is to not spend much time worrying about it.  From an applicant’s perspective, the decisions will possibly appear to be somewhat random and irrational.  To us, the decisions are quite reasonable because we can see all the data put together in context and all the applicants in rank order, but you’ll just have to take our word for it.  There are a variety of reasons why an early offer wouldn’t be made in this round, and I’ll summarize them here:

  1. You are not an Ontario high school student (OUAC Form 101 applicant).  If you applied on Form 105, we haven’t made any offers to that group yet but will start in the coming weeks.
  2. No AIF was submitted by the time we started assembling the decision data.  If an AIF wasn’t submitted we didn’t admit, no matter what the grades are like.  Some applicants may want to check that they actually clicked on “Submit”, and not just “Save” for their AIF.
  3. Missing or inadequate English proficiency information, either a test score (e.g. TOEFL) or proof of English language schooling outside of Ontario.  We skip these too.
  4. Inadequate Grade 12 grade data.  We looked for at least 3 Grade 12 required course marks. In a very few cases we went with just 2 if the Grade 12 marks were very high, the Grade 11 courses were also very strong and there was a strong ICS4U and/or MDM4U grade too.
  5. Some grades may not have reached us in time for this round.  In a  fraction of the applications there are missing grades when we make the early decisions because of the timing of data uploads and downloads from the school and OUAC.  This can result in what seems like “random” offer decisions.  The grades that an applicant knows they have, and what we  can actually see at a specific point in time can be different.
  6. It might appear to us that you’re not enrolled in all of the required courses.  This can happen if you are taking one of them in night, online, or private school, and that information hasn’t filtered into OUAC yet.
  7. The AIF was submitted but not yet scored when decisions were processed.  We score as many as we can before starting decisions, but it’s not feasible to wait until they are all scored.  So for some applicants, they wouldn’t be getting the full bonus from the AIF score during the early round of offers.  However, they will all be scored before the final round of offers.
  8. If you had any Grade 11 or 12 course grades less than 70%, we might have decided to wait until we get the rest of the grades in April to ensure they remain consistent.
  9. The grades and scores were just not competitive enough for the limited number of spaces we filled at this point in time.  For most programs, the average admission grades were in the 94 to 95% range.

For those who did get an early offer, congratulations, but keep working hard because your scholarships depend on the grades we get in late April.  For those who didn’t get an early offer, keep working hard too because there are still plenty of offers (up to 2,000 more) to come in May.

298 thoughts on “Early Offers 2014

  1. Sir,
    My friend and I got into argument about marks for May offers. He said that for May offers, midterm marks are not being used in fact, there will be another update on OUAC, He was extremely confident which makes me doubt a little. I thought May offers are based on midterms, am I right?
    Also with 93% top six average, do I have a good shot for software engineering and computer engineering?

    • Offers in May are based on first semester final grades and second semester midterms. There is another update on OUAC in July with final grades, which we use for checking offer conditions. Can’t really comment on chances; a lot of applicants have similar grades.

  2. If I get an ECE acceptance and want to switch into Software Engineering, how hard would it be in first year (1A, or 1B). Also, if there is still space past the June 2nd deadline to accept offers, is it possible for me to switch into SE? Thank you.

    • Switching always depends on space availability, so it can range from straightforward to impossible. Demand for switching into SE is usually high, so in recent years it has not been happening much.

  3. Professor, what would you estimate the admission average of Soft. Eng. to be this year? With, and without the AIF scores.

  4. Hi Professor Anderson,
    Thank you for posting this helpful information. I was wondering for software engineering: if I have not taken a computer science course at high school, but I decide to take a high school course in the summer after I graduated grade 12 in summer school, would the admissions officers factor this into their acceptance decision?(My current experience involves self-taught material).

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question!

    • Usually for software engineering, we want to see evidence of programming experience before we make an offer, and what you might do in the future is not really a factor. Also, it’s better to get work or volunteer experience in the summer after grade 12, to build your resume.

  5. Hi Professor,

    From my understanding, it is possible to switch engineering programs with consideration of space availability and such. However, would it be the same to switch into a different faculty + program (ie. Faculty of Environment – Geography and Environmental Management Program) during early stages of undergrad? And if so, what is the process + difficulty of doing so?

    • It’s pretty much the same process. You just ask the other faculty/program and they will determine if they have space and if you meet their requirements. It’s just some internal paperwork.

  6. Hi professor, do you happen to know the averages for last year’s EE, CE, and SE acceptances? With/without the AIF, thank you!

  7. Professor how many offers does the engineering admission team make per year for the software engineering program? I understand that there is ~125 spots available per year but some choose to attend other schools.

  8. For software engineering does the previous software experience section affect only the AIF mark or does it play a direct role in picking students. Because i only have experience through my computer science class.

  9. Hi Prof,
    Would CCC second stage invitees with 90% admission average stand a decent chance for software engineering?
    Thanks 🙂

  10. Hi Professor!
    I’m wondering if 105D offers are still rolling and should we still expect 105D offers in May when there are more 101 offers coming?
    Thank you very much!

  11. so if I don’t get an offer until early May it’s safe to say that I didn’t get admitted right?

  12. Hi professor Anderson,
    I was just wondering if participation in the Euclid math contest will have any direct impact on the admissions process for computer engineering? I am asking because I missed the deadline to apply for the contest at my school.

  13. Hi Professor

    I was wondering if you would be able to give us insight on the most competitive engineering programs to the least. Thank you!

  14. When exactly do the may offers come out?
    (I think last year’s was around May 6th, will it be same time?)
    Also, do they all come out at once?(even rejections)

  15. I wasn’t sure where to post this so sorry if it is out of place.
    Does your score/participation in the upcoming Euclid Math competition impact your offer of admission? If so how significantly?

  16. Hello,
    I was wondering if the admissions or scholarship decision committees will see the Euclid mark from this year at all. I’ve already been admitted to Biomed Eng, but I am recovering from a concussion so I didn’t really finish the contest (I can get a max of 39 marks). Will they see this mark? I don’t want to be disadvantaged for scholarships because of this.

  17. Hello Professor…
    Im asking you this question becuase im interested in tissue/genetic engineering

    I just wonder if Waterloo’s undergraduate biomedical engineering program teaches any of tissue or genetic related engineering?…
    Or are tissue/genetic engineering programs available for graduate study only?? (for any universities?)

    I know its not admission related topic, but if Waterloo’s undergrad program does not offer these programs, Im guessing there will not be a big difference in attending other universities since i will have to apply for graduate program again??

    Sorry for such long question and
    Thank you very much

    • Tissue and genetic engineering are topics that might get mentioned in an undergraduate program, but I highly doubt you’ll get any hands-on experience with it at Waterloo or anywhere else. Those are more of a research topic, and they take hundreds of hours of lab training before you can do anything useful. Some of our co-op students do workterms in research labs, and that would be the way to get into it, followed by graduate school research if you want to pursue it further.

  18. Pingback: How to Write a Great AIF / Bo Peng's World

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