Admission Myths and Misconceptions

There are always a few myths and misunderstandings we encounter when talking to applicants.  Here are a few of the most common ones.  As usual, these items are specific to Waterloo Engineering, and other programs or universities may be different.

  1. Waterloo should be ranked #1 on the OUAC application to be seriously considered.  No, it really doesn’t matter at all to us how you rank us.  We’ve sent offers to people who ranked us as #15 or 20 in past years (why do people apply to that many places!?).  The ranking is just used for statistical and predictive purposes.  Our philosophy is that if you applied and paid the fees, you deserve serious consideration like everyone else.
  2. You need a 95% average to get an offer.  That would help, of course, but most of our programs do have lots of people admitted with averages less than 95%.
  3. We have a quota for female admissions.  Wrong.  We (and the engineering profession in general) certainly encourage female interest and participation in engineering, but gender is not used for admission decisions.  In my opinion that would violate the spirit of human rights legislation.
  4. We have a quota for Ontario residents.  No, there are no reserved spaces for Ontario applicants.  Our spaces are open for Canadians and Permanent Residents of Canada, no matter where they are coming from.
  5. We have a quota for non-Canadians.  Actually this is true, not a myth.  We have only about 210 spaces in Engineering for “visa students”, and the rest (about 1,350) are reserved for Canadians (or Permanent Residents).
  6. Visa students are taking away spaces from Canadians.  No, not at Waterloo.  Those 210 spaces are not government-funded, so if we didn’t fill them with visa students, then they wouldn’t be available to anyone at all.  Visa students are charged much higher tuition fees to make up for the fact that there is no government funding to support those spaces and associated costs.
  7. People can apply for early admission.  No, there is no early admission application process.  People just apply, and we might decide to send a few of them offers in March (which is “early” for us).  Most offers go out in May.
  8. People apply with their “top 6” grades.  No, you just apply and we receive all your grades electronically (from Ontario schools, universities, and CEGEP), or you arrange for your transcript to be sent to us.  There is no need (or ability) to select certain grades for us.  We will pick out what we want.
  9. The admission average is based on the “top 6” grades.  For us, “top 6” is somewhat of a misnomer.  For Ontario applicants, the admission average is based on the 5 required Grade 12 courses plus the highest other 4U/M course.  It’s possible that those 5 required courses are not your “top” grades.  Also, a number of other school systems don’t have 6 courses in the admission requirements, so “top 6” doesn’t apply to them.
  10. The timing of when you submit your application can affect your chances.  No, our systems are set up to ensure everyone has a fair review and chance at admission by the time the final set of offers come out in May.  As long as you meet the deadlines and submit the required stuff, your application will be given equal consideration like all the others.

20 thoughts on “Admission Myths and Misconceptions

  1. which one grow more than other in percentage, 210 for No-Canadian, and 1350 for Canadian? About how many percentage grow each year?

  2. Hello,

    I had a question regarding Saturday language school credits. I know that it can be used as a top 6 mark but because it is a year long course, midterms come out in January and final marks come out in June. If the university looks at our marks in February, would they use the midterm mark in our top 6 average calculation? Or would they use gr 12 marks from other courses that are completed even though you have a higher mark in the language school course.


    • In the February round we usually only use the 5 required subject marks, not the 6th course, for Ontario applicants. For technical reasons it is not easy for us to pick out the 6th mark at that point, so we only do it in May.

  3. Hi Professor,

    I am a Grade 12 high school visa student in Toronto and I will be graduating with a Ontario diploma in June, 2016. If I apply to university of Waterloo through 101 form, am I still in the “210 spaces”?

    Looking forward to your reply.

  4. Hey, Prof
    I was just wondering about how many people actually got in who had marks of 80-85 85-90 90-95 95-100 in 2015 (last year) for the civil/environmental/geological engineering group? How many people applied in total and how many people of those got offers?

  5. For international students there is a 4 year English requirement. In my school, I came in the middle of the year, and my school is “non-semetered,” and thus I finished 4/5 units for English I in 9th grade. In tenth grade, I took English II with 6/5 units and another English class [not English I, II, III, IV] but a seperate English class.

    Will admission be a problem due to this? My counselor said the second “English” class was good enough to fill the requirement?

  6. Hello professor, I just have a small question regarding the marks on CUDO. I saw you answer a question asked previously on this post with the CUDO website. The marks on their seem quite low for engineering. I was wondering if those numbers were the averages when the student was accepted in to the program (so like with the first semester and 2nd semester mid term marks) or is it the final grade 12 mark (so after they got accepted and had to maintain an 80 average). This will just clear up some confusion I have on the requirements.

  7. This post is old, but I wanted to ask this question in a relevant topic. I’ve heard that Waterloo engineering looks unfavorably on students who take 1-2 spares In gr12 regardless of whether they were taken to develop ECs/other studies. Is this true?

  8. Also a late question, but at the time you apply if you already have all 6 of your required courses (5 pre-requisites and 1 other 12U course with mid-high 90s), will you get (somewhat) of an advantage in terms of getting an early offer if you have a good AIF? Thank you!

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