I realize now that I’ve never written much about our wait list processes, so this is probably a good time to do that. Our wait list operation depends a bit on the specific circumstances, so I’ll try to explain it along the lines of several common scenarios.First of all, as far as we know at this point we have sent out enough offers to fill all the programs up to their space limits (including the fact that many will not accept the offer). Whether we actually achieve those targets is not knowable until after the offer acceptance deadline in early June when we get the numbers. Therefore, nothing will happen with the wait list until that deadline passes. Here are some common scenarios:
Changed your mind:
You got an offer to your first choice engineering program, but now you are more interested in another engineering program. We will put you on the wait list and see what we can do in June. At that point we look to see if there are available spaces. If there are, the we look at the wait list and select people until the spaces are filled. If there are more people than spaces, it will be a competition based on grades and AIF score, just like the initial admission process. Note that for this process to work you have to accept the initial offer to Waterloo (otherwise you’re in the last scenario, below). Therefore there is a possibility that your switch won’t be approved and you will remain in the original program, and you should consider this possibility before accepting an offer to Waterloo. If another university has offered you the program you now want, that might be a better bet.
Didn’t get your first choice:
You might have gotten an offer to one of your alternate choices that you put on the AIF, but still want your first choice. You can ask to be wait listed for this purpose, and the process is about the same as above. Again, it won’t be considered until June, and may be a competition for a few spaces. If you didn’t get into your first choice in the initial admission, there is a good chance you won’t be competitive for it in this process either, especially for the most competitive programs like Biomed, Mechatronics, and Software. Again, before accepting an offer to Waterloo you should assume the worst case condition that you will not be able to switch and will remain in the alternate program. Switching later in the summer or during first year is a possibility, as discussed in some older posts on Alternate Offers and Switching Programs.
Didn’t get an offer to engineering:
There are lots of people who didn’t get an offer to engineering, but would like to be considered in June if space is available. This includes people who did get an offer to another program at Waterloo, and those with offers to other universities. Again, we will put you on the wait list and go through the process described above. The one difference is that people in the previous scenarios get priority for spaces (since they are already admitted and confirmed). After the internal switches are done, we go to the external wait list people to fill any spaces. Many years there are very few, if any, spaces available but it’s impossible to know in advance. Note that because this process can only happen in June, you will have to accept an offer somewhere else beforehand. If you accept an offer at another university, and are then offered a space off our wait list there are two significant drawbacks: 1) you will have to withdraw your acceptance at the other university and lose whatever deposits you made; 2) you will not get residence at Waterloo and will have to find your own accommodations.
If you’re interested in pursuing a space through our wait list, you just have to let us know by email (email@example.com), with your name, Waterloo ID#, what your current state is (program, not admitted?), and what you would like to be considered for (you can specify more than one program if you want). In mid-June, we’ll contact you with an answer, either positive or negative. If it’s positive, we’ll ask to you confirm that you still want to go ahead (since some people change their mind in the meantime) before making any changes.