First Rounds of Offers for 2015

We just finished processing our first round of offers for applicants who are Ontario high school students. These should be appearing via Quest, OUAC and email.  As usual, we 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’ll be processing some non-Ontario applicant offers in the next few weeks (these take a lot more effort to analyze and sort through).

Some universities give out a lot more earlier offers for Engineering, 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 ranked order, but you’ll just have to take our word for it.  There are a variety of reasons why an 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. The AIF was not submitted by the time we started assembling the decision data.  If an AIF wasn’t submitted we consider the application to be incomplete and won’t make an offer, 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 IELTS) or proof of English language schooling outside of Ontario.  We skip these too.
  4. Inadequate Grade 12 grade data.  We usually look for at least 3 Grade 12 required course marks. In a 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 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 offer, keep working hard too because there are still plenty of offers (up to 2,000 more) to come in May, for the roughly 2/3 of spaces still available.

82 thoughts on “First Rounds of Offers for 2015

  1. If I submitted the AIF in November and completed English, Chemistry, Physics, Advanced Functions, and Calculus before second semester, should I be concerned that I didn’t receive early admission?

  2. Professor, you mentioned that the average admission average was 94-95%. Was this before the AIF and other factors or after? Also, can you give an idea of what the dates were before which the english test scores and/or AIF should have been submitted to be considered for early offers.

  3. Hi Professor,

    When you say that scholarships depend on the grades you get in late April, do you mean the Entrance scholarships? And if so, aren’t they based on final marks from late June for an Ontario applicant like myself?

    • Yes, our major entrance scholarships are based on the averages in late April (for Ontario applicants). June grades might adjust some scholarships, but won’t get you any new ones.

  4. Hi Professor
    I have 3 questions:
    1. How many offers were sent out for mechanical eng this first round?
    2. How many offers will be made in total for mech eng by the end of may (including early offers), in other words what is the target enrolment
    3. Was cival or mechanical eng more competitive this year?

    • The total target for mechanical is around 220, so I guess we’ve committed about 70 spaces so far. Civil and mechanical are similar in competitiveness, it appears at the moment.

  5. You said that you’ll be processing some non-Ontario applicant offers in the next few weeks. Does that include international students on a study permit in other provinces? Or are they still just for Canadians and Permanent residents?

    I need to get an offer for civil engineering as soon as possible as my current study permit expires at April 30th. I graduated last semester and my final grades are(Britsh Columbia): Calc12: 100, Pre-Calc12: 100, Physics12: 98, Biology12: 98, Chemistry12: 97, English12(not including provincial exam yet):88, Ielts: 8 out of 9. Do you think I will be qualified to get an offer in the next few weeks?

    If I use an offer from another university to apply for a study permit, can I change my mind in the last minute to attend UWaterloo instead? I am really in a hurry to get back to my country where there is short-term job opportunity waiting for me in lieu of just staying here doing nothing.

  6. Do you know when the faculty-specific scholarships will be awarded? Will we hear about them in the official acceptance package or at a later date?

  7. How do you find out your score on the AIF? I heard some people call in and they tell them is that true?

  8. Dear Professor,

    When assessing international students especially the ones studying under the Cambridge A level curriculum, do the final grades in the A level exams matter most, or a mixture of school transcripts and A level exams. For instance if I have average grades in physics in my school exams but an A* in my A level examinations are chances for admission reduced significantly?

  9. Hello Professor,

    I have a couple of questions regarding scholarship decisions. When handing out scholarships, do you take into consideration both first semester and second semester marks (I’m an OUAC 101 applicant) or is it based solely on the marks which were used during admission decisions? Also, if I improve my admission average in the second semester, will that improve the scholarship amount?

    Thank You.

  10. I have recently received an early admission to electrical engineering, but lately I am lending towards the software side of things. I was wondering if it is possible to switch my offer of admission for electrical engineering into computer engineering without ruining my current offer. I know it is extremely easy to switch between CE and EE once you are in ECE, so I am not sure if I should request a switch now or when I get in.

  11. Hey Prof,

    I got my acceptance for SYDE! I just wanted to say thank you for all the insight and information on the application process/AIF.

  12. Hi Prof,
    I was wondering if any decisions are based on not accepting multiple students from one school to the same program. One of my friends was accepted to the same program as I applied to, however, we both felt he was a weaker applicant than me. Also, if I took English in Summer School under a different Board, would that be held against me?


  13. Thank you Prof. Anderson for the informative posts and keeping us all in the know!

    I’m applying to CS co op this year and though I know this isn’t your department, perhaps you’ll know the answer to my question.

    This year I’m only taking 5 U/M courses. I have one 3U course in my schedule as well that I need to finish my SHSM. Is having such a light course load this year going to impact me being eligible for first round admissions? I have 4 courses in already completed(TEJ, ICS, MHF, MDM).

    Thanks again,

  14. Hi Professor,

    I am an out-of-province applicant, if the admissions committee receives my transcript for semester one around February 18th, would that be too late to be used for the first round?

    I looked of my Quest at the document portion and there has not been updated on the date my transcript has been received. My school changed their system so now the transcript is more detailed than the previous version as it shows my class mark, diploma mark, and then final. (The previous version only showed my final mark.)

    Thank you

  15. Prof Anderson

    As a UW alumni and parent of an aspiring student, I just wanted to thank you for demonstrating such transparency.

  16. Hey Prof Bill Anderson!
    Is a switch into systems design possible this early into the year? What is the likely hood of successfully transferring from ECE to SYDE?

    Thank you, Anonymous

  17. Hello Professor,
    I had ILC mail some documents to Waterloo (they sent it to “Admissions & Student Awards, 200 University Ave West”), since they cannot be sent electronically. How long does it usually take before they are acknowledged to be received?
    Thank you in advance

  18. Hi Prof,
    “As usual, we 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).”
    I am confused by the quoted sentence. Do you mean that early offers will only be made to Canadians and Permanent Residents? How about international students studying in Canadian High School on study permits?
    Thank you!

  19. Hi professor,
    I was wondering if you knew what the cut-off was for people accepted in the first 1/3 of mechanical engineering?

  20. Hello professor,
    I am currently in high school, and interested in biomedical engineering. I was just wondering what kind of co op jobs will the students get at waterloo? Sample job titles in each work term? What about job prospects of this field in Canada? Is it better to do a bachelors first in traditional engineering and then specialize in biomed?

  21. Dear Professor Anderson,
    I received an conditional offer to Waterloo’s Chemical Engineering program.


    Waterloo’s Quest application system has not given me instructions on how to submit this document listed above. Is this something I need to send by mail to the same address that I sent my high school transcript? (It has not given me an option to upload online).
    Thank you for taking my question.

  22. Hi Prof

    I was wondering, if I didn’t get a first round offer would I be allowed to update my AIF before the next round in May. Also if the answer is yes, then when is a good time to complete this by?


  23. Hi Professor,

    Thank you very much for the post, it is most helpful! I am a visa student studying in a high school in Toronto. In the first paragraph of this post, you said that “[…] to fill up to 1/3 of our available spaces in each program (more specifically, those spaces reserved for Canadians and Permanent Residents)”. I am wondering, does this mean visa students will not be considered for Early Offers although their applications qualify for it? I have completed and submitted my application early last month, Is there any chance I could get a reply in March or will I have to wait until May anyway?
    Thank you very much for your help!

  24. Hi, thanks for the update! I saw in your post on transfer students that you don’t really care about high school grades once we start university. I’m a current first year at UCLA, and I received an A+, A, and B (Math) last quarter. In high school I received all 7s at IB. I applied for the 1A term- will my high school grades still not be considered important? Basically what I’m asking is, has the B in Math ruined my chance of getting accepted?

  25. Hi Professor,

    Do you happen to have any data about how many applicants there were for Software Engineering versus how many offers were given out? I am just curious what the competition is like this year.

    Thank you!

  26. Hi professor,

    I received an email regarding a conditional offer into the environmental engineering program at Waterloo, however, when I went onto OUAC, the offer was not listed beside the University of Waterloo. Is it still too early to accept an offer of admission? Is there any way to fix this?


  27. Hi Professor,

    Would you be able to tell me what grades competitive university applicants for first-year engineering have? I’m curious if straight As across the board are expected, or if a mix of As and Bs are acceptable since these are university-level engineering courses.

    Thanks a lot for running this blog, and answering questions. It’s very helpful!

  28. How are scholarships decided for transfer students? I know that you need ~94% high school average to get a $2000 scholarship. What would be the equivalent approximate GPA for transfer students? Thank you!

  29. Hi Professor
    I am a Canadian citizen but I am currently living and studying outside of Canada. I have applied through 105D.In the first paragraph of this post, you said that “[…] to fill up to 1/3 of our available spaces in each program (more specifically, those spaces reserved for Canadians and Permanent Residents)”. I am wondering, does this mean I will not be considered for Early Offers although my applications qualify for it? I have completed and submitted my application early late December, Is there any chance I could get a reply in March or will I have to wait until May anyway?

  30. Why do you look at other courses such as data and do you look at others such as biology too? Thanks

  31. Hi professor,
    I’m an international applicant who had applied for CS and SE both (preference in that order),
    I received my offer for SE a few days ago, does that mean I’ve been rejected for CS?

  32. Hi Professor Bill.
    Thank you very much for sharing these valuable information to students.

    My question is :

    I already received an offer for Mechanical Engineering for the new term starting Sept 2015.
    Is it possible to switch to Mechatronics now before June 1 ??? If not now, is it possible to do so during my 2nd term/ 2nd year ??

    • Switching before June 1 is generally not possible now that all the spaces have been committed. It might be possible later, but the chances are slim in most cases for Mechatronics.

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