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  Some of the processes were described in an earlier post, How to Get an Early Offer (which may be a bit outdated for 2014).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. Hi Prof,
    Thank you for your posts on your blog and it has been really useful.
    I’m a grade 11 student in B.C., aiming for software engineering next year.

    By the end of my grade 11 year, I would have my pre-calculus 12, calculus 12 and physics 12 completed (as I am taking them right now). My friends have told me that taking those grade 12 courses next year and get a really high grade for term 1 would be much more helpful for an early offer. He explained to me this way: I have to work really hard throughout the year to maintain a good grade, yet some could easily get an early offer by only working hard in term one. In such situation, they might even have higher term mark than my final mark (since the concepts introduced earlier in the year are easier and it’s easier to maintain a high grade for one term only).

    The idea bothers me a little, and I’m really curious: are such circumstances true? Does application process value term mark and final mark differently, or is there some other measures taken to be fair to all applicants?

  2. Hello,

    I applied to the biomedical engineering program, but still haven’t submitted my AIF (I’m trying to perfect it! It’s just about ready to go). Am I out of luck? How many spots remain? I’m an IB student, if that makes a difference.

  3. What has been the borderline average for Nanotechnology Engineering early acceptances this year?

  4. Do international students get to replace their english marks with another grade 12 course (i.e. replacing english 12 with economics 12)?

  5. Hello
    I have a question regarding the admission average. What average should we maintain to keep our early offers?

  6. How competitive has geological engineering been? Would an 88.5-89% with an ok AIF give a good shot?

  7. Hello,
    I submitted my application and AIF in December 2013 with a first choice of Mechatronics. I have 95% avg in 5 of the 6, 12 U required. This semester I am studying the 6th required course Calculus& Vectors. I have not received the acceptance so far. I was nominated for the Dean’s award for the FRC and am the Electrical captain of my team. Today our team won the GTA west regional finals. Should I amend the AIF form to add these now? Would making this amendment increase my chances of getting accepted? Furthermore, would making this amendment delay my acceptance?

  8. Hello professor Anderson
    I would like to know what the cut off was for civil engineering last year with/without the AIF factor.
    Let’s say I got accepted to electrical engineering in May, but I don’t want to go into that program and want to switch out to environmental engineering. Will that be feasible or do the applicants have to wait one more year?

  9. I applied to Software Engineering and had a 93% average. If I don’t get into Software Engineering, will I be considered for Computer engineering which was my second choice. Also, what are my chances of getting into Computer Engineering compared to those who had it as their first choice.

    • If you don’t get into your first choice, we will automatically put you into the running for your 2nd and 3rd choices, and you’ll have equal chances with everyone else.

  10. Are the early admissions for international students over? The thing is, I got accepted in to a university, and the acceptance deadline is May 1st, but on the e-mail that was sent out a couple days ago it states that the rest of the offers will be made in mid-May. So what should I do? Contact UWaterloo admissions?

  11. Hello Professor, I was just wondering about scholarships and when they say “Early May Admission Average”, do they mean that your top six marks including pre-reqs will be included? Or is it just pre-reqs alone. By the way, it was great meeting you at the March open house this past weekend!

  12. Hello Prof,

    I am an out-of-province A-Level student, and I applied to Management Engineering through the 105D form. I applied and had all my documents uploaded/mailed around late January. If i do get an early acceptance, when do you believe I will be notified of the offer? Around late March? .

    Thanks for your time!

  13. Professor Anderson I must ask but what is the average required to maintain an early acceptance for mechanical engineering? I fear I might lose mine because my physics teacher has a very difficult reputation and he’s certainly living up to his name so far.

  14. I went to the open house recently and heard for Systems Design eng that there isn’t a cut-off admission average. Can you confirm this? Thanks in advance!

  15. Hello, thanks for all your useful information on this blog! It really helped me understand what I need to do in order to get in the program I wanted, and now I have been accepted to Mechanical Engineering 🙂 Do I need to send in my mid-term marks to be considered for a scholarship? I am afraid that if I do it will hurt my chances of getting a scholarship, as my marks will possibly go down slightly. In addition, I am in the IB Certificate program. I have already taken Pre-Calculus 12 and Calculus 12, and am currently taking IB Math HL. I am worried that both my predicted IB Math mark and my IB exam results will be lower than what I had when my offer was made. Since I have already completed both of the required math courses and received a high grade in both, would performing poorly in my IB course, whether it be in prediction or final exam results, influence my offer of admission or my chances of getting a scholarship even though IB Math isn’t (I think) among my required courses? Thank you in advance.

    • I don’t think that there is a requirement to send in any more marks, except for final transcripts. So, it’s up to you whether you want to or not. Doing very poorly in the IB Math course final grade (equivalent to less than 70%) could be considered grounds for revoking an offer, but I’m sure you wouldn’t do that.

      • Professor, I am an International Student with the following subjects in Class XII (English, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, and Economics). Can you tell me which of these will be considered for arriving at the average for applying to Computer Science?


        On Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 8:58 AM, A Professor in Waterloo Engineering wrote:

        > profbillanderson commented: “I don’t think that there is a requirement > to send in any more marks, except for final transcripts. So, it’s up to you > whether you want to or not. Doing very poorly in the IB Math course final > grade (equivalent to less than 70%) could be considered groun” >

      • Thank you for your prompt reply. By less than 70%, does it equate to less than a 4 on the IB scale? Also, I am curious as to why my IB math mark will still be considered one of the required courses considering that I have already completed Calculus 12 and Pre-Calculus 12. Is it the same case for English too? I have already completed English 12 and also got a 98 on my provincial. It would seem unfair to me if my offer got revoked due to whatever circumstances might arise during my IB exams. Would my IB math and English marks be used in lieu of my Calculus 12 and English 12 marks when calculating my admission average for scholarship consideration then? Thanks and sorry for so many questions.

      • Yes, I think that an IB 4 is the minimum grade requirement if I remember correctly. Situations like yours are always case by case, so I can’t give a categorical answer. But in general, for anyone who does an advanced level course, above the minimum Grade 12 course, we expect that they will continue to perform at an excellent level. For example, if someone does a Grade 12 Calculus course and gets 95%, but then bombs on an AP Calculus course the next semester, we worry that they are not going to be consistent enough to succeed in university when the going gets really tough.

  16. Hello Professor..
    I just wonder if students from other provinces get equal opportunities as Ontario students when being considered for admission??
    Also, has out of province early admission been released yet?
    Thank you…

    • Yes, we’re careful to consider everyone on an equal basis, whether in Ontario or outside. Some out of province offers have gone out, and we’re working on more for late March.

  17. I had applied to Nanotechology Engineering with a 94 average first semester, but I only had 2/5 prerequisites finished in first semester. Will I even be considered until I get my mid term marks for this semester?

  18. Hello Professor,

    I received an early acceptance and I was just wondering if you had any idea on when the Offer of Admission packages will be sent out through the mail. Or if they already have been sent out.

    Thank you in advance

  19. Hello again Professor..
    Im slightly worried that my grade is not balanced..
    Would it have negative impact on admission decision??
    i.e. im getting very high 90s in Maths and Sciences but mid 80s for English…

  20. Hi Professor,

    I am an International student from India and submitted my AIF way back in November 13. I have 96% average and was expecting an early offer. I did submit my IELTS report also. I got early offers from couple of top universities already, but wondering why not from UofW. Can I know whether early offers have started or completed for International students.

  21. I am currently taking Physics in Nightschool but I can drop out until the end of March because that’s the full disclosure date. I want to take it in private school since it only takes a month and a half to finish it. If my Physics marks aren’t available untill mid April when offers are being made will i not get accepted? Should I just stick with Nightschool then? I really need good advice. Thanks for your time.

  22. I’m currently taking a course that’s neither a pre-requisite or will be used as one of my top six marks. It is essentially a filler course. However I’m doing terrible at it (high 60’s) and I fear if it will affect my conditional offer. Is this possible?

  23. Hey Professor, I was just wondering how Waterloo chooses its sixth course for admission average calculation. I sent an email to the Waterloo admissions office a week ago with the same inquiry but have received no response. Would you be able to answer the question? Here is the contents of my email to the office:

    “Hi, I am just wondering which courses Waterloo will pick as acceptable academic courses for admission consideration besides the required courses. I have an independent course on my schedule, which I take first year university courses online under the supervision of my past IT teacher. It is arguably the most rigours and difficult course, academically, on my schedule and I am worried that Waterloo might not take my independent studies course into consideration for admission purposes because Waterloo might not be familiar with it, even though I did explain the course and its contents in my AIF. Since the course is requested by me, the only past independent studies students have done the program in food related subjects and I am the first to do it in computer science related subjects. On my schedule, the course name is “Independent Directed Studies 12A Foods” even though what I do has nothing to do with foods. Should I have my counsellor or independent studies sponsor teacher contact Waterloo and explain the situation?


      • The reply button wasn’t available for the newer comments in the thread so I will comment here to continue my inquiry:

        Thanks for the reply, but I must say I am still confused, and somewhat shocked and disheartened by this news. On the Waterloo website for admission requirement information (https://uwaterloo.ca/find-out-more/admissions/admission-requirements/1/2/1/1/21/0/0), it says that “Courses such as Law 12, Comparative Civilizations 12, and Social Justice 12 are acceptable academic courses for admission consideration.”, I was assuming that it was giving a list of examples for a “6th” course for admission average calculation, after the five required courses. I dedicated a lot of my effort for schoolwork into the independent studies course and have done well enough that it could affect my average somewhat significantly. Obviously if five courses for admission average is just the way it is for BC students then there’s nothing I can do about it now but hope that my admission officer will take the course into account when scoring my AIF. It would be awesome if I could get further clarification on the matter, and perhaps it could be helpful to future prospective students if the admission requirement pages were updated to reflect this.

        Thanks again!

      • For BC and Alberta we will use an optional 6th course if it helps to raise the admission average, but if there is no 6th course (or it lowers the average) we just stick with the minimum 5. So I guess if you had another course with a very good grade we will be using it.

      • Hi professor,
        I am a student from BC and I am applying for software engineering. Would you use Infomation technology12 if it helps my overall average?

  24. Out of curiosity, is it possible for 101 applicants to make changes on second/third alternative programs right now? If so, should we email uwaterloo or make an amendment on “engineering” section in AIF

  25. Hello Professor. I am doing both of my math courses this semester (Advances Functions and Calculus), and I am getting a lower mark in calculus than AF. Will this effect my admission in any way, or will you calculate my overall average?
    Also, I called the admissions office about alternative choices. They said that students that have, for example, SYDE as their 1st choice will have priority over those students with SYDE as their 2nd choice (and didn’t get into their 1st choice program). Is this correct? Thanks in advance.

  26. Hey professor, I have a couple questions to ask (I am a 105 student)
    1. Is writing the Euclid contest very helpful for getting admitted?
    2. If I got lower than 70% in social class, which is a class I won’t use for admissions, does that hurt my chances of being admitted?
    3. As for maintaining the 80% with no required courses under 70% after being conditionally accepted, does that mean not going under 70% for courses like math, calculus, english, chemistry, and physics? Let’s say the required courses were only math, english and calculus, but I also used biology and chemistry in my top 5. Is it just the math, english and calculus that can’t go under 70%?

    • The Euclid and other contests are good practice and can help if you score very highly. None of the required courses can be under 70%, which includes maths, english, physics, and chemistry.

  27. Hi prof I have sent my documents on mid-febuary and waterloo already received it
    but in my quest, there aren’t any update in my document section

  28. Hello Professor..

    I have a question regarding Engineering field..
    Im interested in designing and making new organs so i applied to Biomedical Engineering. However, my teacher told me that my interest is more related to Chemical Engineerng. Is this true?
    Since you are an expert in Chemical Engineering i hope you can answer my question
    Thank you

    • That would be “tissue engineering”, which is a research area in many chemical engineering departments, but it also crosses over into Biomedical Engineering too. There are no firm boundaries, so either route would be fine. Note that tissue engineering is still primarily a research field and not currently practical or commercialized. It’s not something you’re likely to be doing after graduating with a Bachelors degree.

  29. I am applying after completing an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field, and as such I have been asked to “refresh” the required math and science coursework. To that end, I have completed advanced functions and chemistry online via the ILC, and I am currently completing calculus and physics. For the late-March round of early offers for 105 applicants, I am wondering:

    (1) If my old grade 12 physics grade (from when I was in high school) will be used in calculating the early admissions average until an in-progress grade is submitted.

    (2) Whether the transcripts submitted need to indicate that I am currently enrolled in all the prerequisites (i.e. both calculus and physics) in order for me to be considered for early admissions. Because of the structure of the ILC, I was prevented from enrolling in calculus until I completed the first unit of physics, and so the transcript I uploaded earlier with grades for advanced functions and chemistry did not indicate that I was enrolled in calculus.

    Sorry to bother you with such specific questions, and thanks for all your help via this blog!

  30. Hi prof. Would my early engineering offer be rescinded or otherwise reviewed if I now change the part of my OUAC application that asks if I am planning to apply for OSAP? Thank you.

  31. Question regarding about admissions in May
    Let’s say all remaining offers for civil engineering (65?) have been sent out in May. However, 12 people decide to go to other universities and accepted their offers to UofT/Queen’s/Mcmaster/etc. My concern is that, since people with first choice of civil engineering have given offers to their second/third choice, would it be possible for them to get into civil engineering to fill 12 spots by June 2nd without accepting their second/third choice at UW?

    • We never know exactly how many spaces are filled until after the June deadline, so it’s not possible to move people around to their 1st choice program until the deadline is past and we can figure out where we stand.

  32. Hi Professor,

    I was inspired by your previous post on selecting between 5 applicants, so I have made up some realistic admission numbers. Pretend there is only one spot left for a certain engineering (maybe software?) and you can only choose one. Which would you choose? I’d love to hear your insight on this.

  33. Hello Professor,
    Recently I was asked to provide an ELPE by the faculty of Math and now Engineering, despite studying in Canada(for 8 years) and having english as my first language. Is this normal? I wrote the test, but I didnt have any time to prepare, due to the fact that I need to provide a test score ASAP.

  34. Hi, Prof Anderson,
    I am an Alberta student and my grade 11 marks are not very high (average 86 out of 3 grade 11 courses and 2 grade 12 courses) but my grade 12 midterm marks won’t be available until April 17. When is your last date to assess an application of Alberta student? If I submit my marks on April 17, will my application be assessed or it is too late?


  35. Are private schools looked down upon? Will you chose a student who has done all courses in day school over a student who has done courses in private school. Even if one course is done in private school is it considered bad? I am worried because many people say that universities such as Waterloo and University of Toronto do not even look at kids who attended a private school. Is that true? I am only taking one course in private school.

  36. Hello
    I was looking at admission average for Mechanical engineering and it said that a person with 90-95% average will have 75% chance of admission.

    What are some factors for ‘rejection 25%’ of the time?

    Also does the admission really look at mark of non-prerequisite courses like Geology 12 and Law 12

    • The unsuccessful 25% will be the result of inadequate English language scores (TOEFL), a required course less than the minimum, missing a required course, or a low AIF score that lowers them in the ranking. We don’t look specifically at the non-prerequisite courses.

      • Then, just to clarify, do any of the non-prerequisite courses have any influence on admission and early acceptances?

      • Yes and no. They don’t factor into the admission average, but low marks in those courses might make us wait until the final round to see how the in-progress required courses turn out.

  37. Hi Professor Bill Anderson,

    Out of curiosity, what is the typical acceptance average for Systems Design Engineering this year?

    Thank you.

  38. Hi Professor,

    From reading your blog, I have seen that the admission officers may have used a strong datamark to decide on an early offer if there were not 3 or more pre-requisites. I know that for the May offers, only the top 6 (Advanced Functions, Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, English, 1 Elective) will be used to determine the admission average. If an applicant has a poor mark in data and it is not the elective that is going to be used, is there a possible chance that the poor mark in data may influence the decision of an offer?

  39. Hi. I want to get accepted into engineering at Waterloo. are admissions averages similar to last year. i have 87 top 6 average and probably 3/5 in AIF. im looking at Mechatronics engineering at first choice. Are my chances ok? Any alternative plans for my stats to studying engineering at waterloo but gain mechatronics foundation as well

  40. Hello professor,
    Is the competition for SYDE similar to Software/Nano/Biomed thus far? I heard that competition for this program has significantly increased!

  41. I’m a student that has absolutely no experience in programming but I’d like to go into mechanical engineering. What material can I go over through in the summer to gain experience that will help me through my first year?

  42. Was there a substantial increase in the number of applicant for Mechatronics from last year? Has the increase of 45 spots potentially increased chances for individual with 92-93 averages?


    • Yes, there’s been a substantial increase in Mechatronics applicants. I’m guessing that it may have cancelled out the effect of our increase in spaces, so it may be as competitive as previous years. But we won’t know for sure until May.

  43. Hello professor

    I’m a student from BC with an average of 90%+

    I applied for mechanical eng but recently I realized that mechatronic would be a better option for me.

    Is it a bad idea to change my first choice this late?

    Should I change it now or wait until later?

  44. Hello Professor,

    I heard Biomedical Engineering is very competitive this year. I was wondering what the acceptance average was at this time of the year? Were the applicants in the >95% range?


  45. Hello Professor
    Does failing a course or having a very low mark (under 70) in a course that is not part of the top 6 have an impact in the decision process? Is there a minimum grade requirement for all courses including the ones not part of the top 6?

  46. I am a student in Ontario. I have two courses this semester. My day school will send my marks on April 17th. My private school said that the OUAC deadline on April 24th. Is it okay if my private school sends my marks on April 23rd or would it be too late? What time would you recommend they send the marks by? I

  47. Hey professor, what does it mean by ‘individual selection’? Also, will the amendments I make to my AIF be considered equally along with the rest of my AIF? I have added a few significant changes, due to timing.

    • “Individual selection” simply means that we use some judgement to pick from applicants, especially when it comes to picking for the last few spaces (see this post). Amendments are looked at later, not at the same time as the original AIF. The score may or may not be adjusted.

  48. Hello Professor,

    I’m currently taking physics both in night school and day school simultaneously and I’m planning on dropping one before the final date for non-disclosure, the issue that arises is that Waterloo will receive two different midterm physics marks; will they use the bigger one for calculations? Since, they both are being taken simultaneously will any deductions occurs?

    The reason I’m taking night school is since the day school teacher style of teaching is not very supportive which leads students to achieve much lower marks compared to other classes, students struggle more to learn the material. I currently hold 1% less than the highest mark in day school and the highest mark in night school but the difference between the marks are staggering; almost 15%.


  49. Hello professor, I was wondering, if I applied very late (today, March 31), will I still be treated the same as others in terms of acceptance? Or will I be placed under a wait list immediately?

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