Chances for 2015

Here is an updated version of a post I’ve been creating for several years.

The 2015 Admissions brochures for Engineering and other programs have recently been uploaded.  We have continued to include a table showing admission probabilities (“chances”) for different programs and grade ranges.  It seems that many people find it useful for getting a realistic impression of their chances at admission, so that they can plan accordingly.  In the graphic below is a copy of the latest version.  This is based on the 2014 results and as usual we caution that 2015 may be different, since it all depends on the competition level (which is unknown in advance).  In 2014 the level of competition went up quite a bit, as illustrated in a previous post.  Maybe it will go down in 2015, since we know that’s the general direction of the demographics in Ontario, but we’ll see.

For convenience and readability, we lump the grades into ranges in this table.  Some people find the big jumps in probability between the different grade ranges to be difficult to interpret, so I have been generating graphs that provide interpolations between the various grades in finer detail.  As always, the grades shown here are the raw, unadjusted averages of the Grade 12 required courses (or equivalents).

For last year’s  graph I used a cubic spline interpolation technique (with linear endpoints), which is one popular method for finding values between sparse data points.  I liked that result, so I used the same method for this year (and it was easy to use last year’s MathCAD file).  As before, I assumed that the probability in the table above corresponds to the mid-point of the grade range, and that there is zero probability below 80%, and 100% with an average grade of 100%.  As before, I used MathCAD for the number crunching (here is a nice description, for those that might be interested).  And below is the result:

Again this year, one of the graphs has a bit of an over-prediction at the upper end, showing a greater than 100% probability (which of course is not physically possible).  Fixing that would require trying some different interpolation methods, but it’s not worth the effort since it’s just an approximation (there is no point in getting more precision in an imprecise estimate).  Otherwise, it looks pretty good.

As usual, these are rough estimates and not guarantees of any sort.  It’s possible to have a 99% average and not get admitted if, for example, you don’t submit a required document or don’t meet the English language proficiency requirements.  It’s also possible that changes in competition levels will move a program from one line to another (either left or right) in the upcoming cycle.  But it gives some guidance about what the expectations might be for various programs, and something to work towards.

86 thoughts on “Chances for 2015

  1. Hello sir,

    Is there another list of probability of offers compared with the standardized test scores? Or is that not as important as the grade range?

    • I assume you mean SAT or ACT? We don’t track those directly and they are not required for applicants within Canada. So we don’t have enough data for any meaningful statistics.

  2. Is the admission average in the graph and the one that you use for admission inclusive of the 6th course? Or is it just the 5 required courses? And if we are doing two additional M and a U courses, which one is given priority? Thanks.

    • Those are “admission averages”, but the number of courses included depends on the school system. Within Ontario, it is 6 courses (including the 5 required ones). For the 6th course, we automatically pick the highest grade from any of the available U or M courses. There is no priority for any specific one.

      • I also took an online summer course ENG4U, and the Waterloo website updated information including a statement about an adjustment to summer school courses. Can you please elaborate under what circumstances an adjustment is applied? And what is the adjustment?

  3. Does fast-tracking some of the required courses with 90+ averages raise my chances of admission(since I’ve completed some of the required courses) or will they just wait for my other grade 12 marks then make a decision? Also, if you have really good extracurriculars(such as starting your own non-profit) will that boost my average?

    Thank you!

  4. The difference in probability varies by a large amount for those in the range 90-95, surely it is misleading to group the entire range together and average it out?

  5. I remember reading that the class space capacity for SYDE was 120, but for the class of 2019 there are only 90 students. I’m just wondering if it was because to make space for the BME class, or Systems was just not so popular this year.

  6. I heard that if your AIF is excellent, your admission average will be upgraded a few percentage… Is that true

  7. Hi, is the AIF form bonus marks added to the admission average according to the graph, or is that graph based solely off of marks and not addition from the AIF

  8. Dear Professor, does a similar mark in academic vs advanced placement/gifted course carry the same weight? Say 2 students with same average of 92%, one is academic courses, and the other mainly or only AP courses. Thank you.

  9. How is the admission average for engineering calculated for B.C. students? Is it with the five prerequisite courses, or is it the latter plus another “approved” grade 12 course?

      • Do the admissions crew eliminate a person when they see a low mark (for ex and 80% in chemistry), however the student can improve significantly by the end of the semester? Or do they wait until they have the final semester 1 marks?

        I was given admission into Chemical with a high school average of 88~89%. PLEASE be advised (and advise your students too, Professor), Waterloo is VERY competitive even compared to most of the other TOP engineering universities out there. Fellow students, please don’t focus all your attention and research on getting into university. Rather also realize what your chances are like staying in university. Realize how difficult it might be if your aptitude is under the 90% mark and the classes are tailored towards a student body which is at an average of I’d say around ~95ish. It makes a huge difference. With 90% your probably close to top of your class in high school and at waterloo you’d be near the bottom. *Please also consider chances of staying in engineering when considering schools* That is all.
        …Lastly, I’d say… It takes an extraordinary amount of hard work to be successful at Waterloo and pretty to close to it at other engineering schools too (BUT there is a significant difference). I’d tried it but, unfortunately, failed. Still, in my opinion, Waterloo is THE BEST engineering school in Canada…. even though its been a terrible decision/experience for me, of which I take all responsibility.

        Best wishes.

      • Sorry to hear about your struggles. There is always a certain fraction of the class that has trouble with the transition to university, sometimes including those with 95%+ high school averages. We try to help as best we can, but sometimes it just takes time.

  10. Hello,
    I am an International Student..I have completed my this June 2014 and is planning to study at U of Waterloo Electrical Engineering Program.My grades in Alevels are Maths-A* Physics-A Chem-A Biology- A.O levels(IGCSE)-6A* 1A.So I m wondering whether I ecen stand a chance of getting accepted at Waterloo.Do I require to take SAT and SAT subject exams to strengthen my profile.And does AIF count towards admission for International students.Can someone get denied for a bad AIF score?

    • A mix of A and A* grades are generally quite competitive. SATs are not required unless you’re taking an American curriculum. Yes, AIFs count for everyone, but we don’t reject applicants on the basis of the AIF alone.

  11. Hi Professor,
    I am an International student from India and graduated with A level qualification.In the requirements it is mentioned about 3B min in A levels and B in English at GCSE/IGCSE.Are admission averages calculated using grade in English at IGCSE/GCSE?or is it just for meeting English Language requirements? I have a grade of C in English at IGCSE.Will this lower my admission average?But my IELTS score is 7.5 which is more than that mentioned in requiremnts (7).And is Edexcel INTERNATIONAL ADVANCED LEVEL ACCEPTED by U of Waterloo? GCE Alevels are no longer provided in my country by Edexcel.

  12. Can good score in IELTS(7.5) outweigh my C grade in IGCSE English and boost my admission average?And how do I convert my A level grades to U of Waterloo admission Averages ?

    • No, we will still use the IGCSE grade in the average. IELTS and English courses are two different things, in our opinion. A level grades should be mainly A* or A to be equivalent to 90%+ averages.

  13. Dear professor,
    I was wondering how repeated courses impact admissions? I took ENG4U in the summer online hoping to fast track but I realized after that the learning style was not for me and what I was used to, however I didn’t end up dropping and ended up with 51%. I am taking it at day school and completed with a 95%. Will my situation impact my chances of admissions? How will admissions recruitment officers calculate my average? Thank you!

  14. I am wondering whether all required courses are weighted equally. I was looking at the courses a computer engineering student would take, and if I understood the timetable correctly, there is only one mandatory chemistry course which is taken during the first year. Chemistry is my lowest mark, sitting in the high 60s, meaning I can’t get accepted at all. I’m positive I can increase my mark, but wouldn’t it unfair to weigh chemistry the same as for example, advanced functions (which I am doing well in, and there are more mandatory math courses)?

  15. Hello,

    I am a grade 12 student and I plan to join Management Engineering. This summer I took Grade 12 U Data Management as a summer course. This was done for acceleration purposes only as I had never taken Data management before. I achieved a mark of 93% and I was wondering if there was any problem with putting this on my AIF/application form. Are summer courses weighed as equally as regular courses? Or will there be a certain percent that will be taken off because it is a summer course?

    Thank You

  16. Hello Professor,
    Will a student from B.C. have a lower chance at admission than a student in Ontario? This is worrying me because I heard that admissions are more competitive with students outside of Ontario.

  17. I am applying to UW. My OUAC Choice # 1 is UW Engineering and OUAC Choice #5 is UW Math (DoubleDegree with W.Laurier). Does my OUAC ranking matter i.e. if I were to rank my Math as OUAC Choice # 2 is there a better chance? Also, is it possible that I get offer from both Engineering and Math programs of UW? Many thanks

  18. Hi there,

    I’m a first year science student at a post-secondary institution who is hoping to get into the Biomedical Engineering program. I had a grade 12 average of about 92% but a 3.88 semester average and a 4.0 average in my two science classes. How are my chances of getting in? You don’t have to give me a definite yes/no, but I just want to know in case I have to apply to other schools.



  19. Hello professor,
    I am from Bangladesh.I appied to University of Waterloo last year and was refused in Electrical Engineering as my first choice.This year I have applied to Electrical Engineering at U of Waterloo as my first choice once again.But I want to list Biomedical Engineering as my first choice and Electrical second.Can I change this?Will the admissions officer doubt my intention if I change the program?And will I be disadvantaged of being refused once?
    I am a student under BRITISH Patterned system.I have completed my A levels. Do I need to send my provisional certificate (contains both marks+grades) or the final certificate which contain the final grades of individual A levels subjects? Does admissions committe base admission decisions on A level subject marks or only the grades?

  20. Hello there,
    As an IB student, I was just wondering how IB scores correspond to this graph. I’m currently being predicted a 42 including bonus, would that be considered to be in the mid to high 90s?
    Thank you 🙂

  21. Hi
    I was just wondering how completive Mechanical Engineering is this year compared to previous years. Currently I have a 92.0 average and I was wondering about my chances of acceptance to Mechanical or Civil engineering with a decent AIF score. Also, is there anywhere I can find out if my school has an adjustment factor?
    Thank you!

  22. Hi professor,

    I am trying to upgrade 4U English mark by repeating it. Since you do deducted marks if the course is taken in summer school, would repeating the course in summer school or night school be treated differently from repeating the course in regular school? Also, is there any disadvantages for people that are applying for the second time(or even more)?

    Thank you!

  23. I found that there was an error ouac and two of prerequisies did not appear on ouac. I panicked and informed my guidance counsellor. she put those courses and marks again manually, but OUAC already sent the marks to all the universities before that. Now it is corrected on ouac too. Do you get to see the updated marks on ouac or you get the marks only once in February. i there anything i can do now? like contack universities and see if my school can send the transcripts to them directly.

  24. Hey prof. I have around a 94 average at the moment and I applied to BME. Is the class size still 40 students? If I don’t get into my first choice, BME, will people who apply to what is my second choice as their first choice have greater consideration over me?

  25. Hello Professor. I am considering transferring into first year Engineering from a CS program elsewhere (I already understand that I would be starting again from first year). Do you know what my grades should be for something like that? I assume I don’t need as high of an average as a high school student, but do not know what should be expected of my marks.

  26. Hello,

    I am wondering the admission average for electrical and computer engineering are lower than the other engineering disciplines when its regarded as one of the tougher disciplines by both the professors and the students?

    • Admission averages have nothing to do with the “toughness” of the program. It’s all just a matter of competition, i.e. number of applicants and number of spaces. ECE has a lot of spaces, so the competition is not so intense. (and personally, I don’t believe any engineering discipline is tougher than another. They’re just different.)

  27. Hello, I applied for software engineering with 94% average I checked the quest today and i have got conditional admission to computer engineering which was my second choice. Does that mean i got an alternate offer and i will not get into software. Is it possible to switch to software engineering in the next year??

  28. Pingback: Reviewing Results | A Professor in Waterloo Engineering

  29. Hello Professor,
    Thank you for such an informative blog for anxious students and parents alike.

    I want to know if the admission average range is the same across all systems of education like- OSSD, British A level, Indian system of AISSSE by CBSE etc. I am a parent from India and here the marks awarded at school in grade 11 and 12 are not as higher as mentioned by various students in many forums. My son has been an outstanding student at school from his primary school days with a 10 CGPA in grade 10 and various awards and scholarships by govt. of India, still his marks at school in grade 11 has been only in the high 80’s or low 90’s. This, we have been told by the school teachers That they purposely evaluate the papers very strictly and keep pushing the students to do better in the final board exams. Since we have to send the school transcripts of grade 11 and first semester of grade 12, I feel that it might be a disadvantage.
    So is there a different admission average for different systems of education from all over the world?
    Thanking you in advance.

    • Thanks. We are well aware of the different grading practices in Indian schools (and many others around the world), so we have methods to take that into account during our admissions decisions. I wouldn’t worry about the specific grades you see on the websites too much, as they are primarily based on Canadian schools. Any applicant who is in the top end of their school should have a reasonable chance for admission to our programs.

  30. Hello Professor,
    Thank you very much. My son is in grade 12 now and we are eagerly awaiting the admission process for Fall 2016. Could you pls let us know the date of commencement and deadlines for the same for non-Ontario students?

  31. Hey professor, I was wondering if English marks are a lower priority for getting into an engineering program at Waterloo or are all courses weighted equally? Also how does one’s chance of getting into mechatronics weigh in on that acceptance compared to percentage chart?

  32. Hi Dr. Anderson, this is a very informative blog. I am thinking of transferring from an economics program at McMasters to Waterloo’s program in Software Engineering. My marks are not that great in first year, and I was just wondering what is the average admission average for post-secondary students?

    • To be competitive, post-secondary applicants need good grades (like high 70s), but for Software Engineering (one of the most competitive) at least mid 80s would be necessary.

  33. Hi Sir,
    While,I was talking to my counsellor, about the impression that my marks in 11th exam and midterm exams of 12th would make, she said that when the school sends score transcript to a university a note will be added which will say that-“Consider 70% marks as 90% marks. As our school is preparing the students for the external exam, our marking schemes in the internal exams are very strict leading to low overall percentage in these exam”. How will waterloo act in such situations? My 12th first exam score is 84%. Our school has more than 2,500 students in 12th and the highest score among them was 89.75%.(It’s a very competitive school) What grade will be assigned to me?

    I am preparing for IIT JEE(Advanced), which is one of toughest exams in the world. I am in the top 5% in the special classes for this exam[A class of 60 students]. How it would help me in the admission process?

    • We are very familiar with the Indian high school practices of tough grading, and use our own estimation methods or predicted grades provided by the schools. We also consider Gr X exam results (if taken). If the school lists your ranking, we will consider that too.

  34. What are the chances of getting into the engineering program with A level grades of ABB in maths physics and chemistry? are these competitive?

  35. First Question: Im currently in grade 12 student in high school. I really want to get an early admission from the university, but im not sure if i can as i only have 2 M/U courses first semester. I heard that you need at least 3 to be given an early admission?

    Second Question: Ive heard that universities look at your second semester grade 11 marks for early admission. What courses do they look at to determine if he/she gets early admission?

Comments are closed.