Admissions Decisions Finished

All offers and rejections for our Engineering programs have now been posted on our Quest system and the offers eventually show up on the OUAC system too.  Every year’s admissions seems to get a little more challenging and complicated and this year was no different with about 13,000 applications and the launch of our new Architectural Engineering program.  As usual, there are a few happy people and a lot that are not so happy.  For perspective, a few statistics might be helpful:

  1. Applications overall were up between 5 and 10%, but a few programs stood out.  Namely, Computer and Systems Design Engineering applications were up about 30% each, and Biomedical up about 15%.  Increased applications means higher competition and more rejections since the available spaces didn’t change.
  2. Overall, about 75% of our applicants did not receive an offer.  For some programs like Software and Biomedical Engineering, closer to 90% of applicants didn’t receive offers since there were so many applicants and a very limited number of spaces.
  3. As usual, we gave out some alternate choice offers in a number of programs, although there are limits to how many we will offer in any one program.  This year, a lot of Software applicants put Computer Engineering as an alternate, which makes some sense.  But with the 30% increase in Computer applications, there was quite a bottleneck and many were no doubt surprised to get no offer.

At this stage, all of our spaces are now allocated and we wait until the summer to see if the predicted number of people accept the offers.  We don’t have an appeal or reconsideration process, because the spaces are filled to the limits (and beyond).  We make more offers than there are spaces, with the assumption that a certain fraction will choose to go somewhere else.  Generally our predictions are accurate within 1 or 2%, and there are usually no spaces opening up during the summer.

For those with offers to engineering and are thinking about wanting to change programs, our suggestion is to forget about it.  Recent experience suggests that it is not likely to happen because of space limitations in most programs, even after first year.  The engineering programs have no obligation to take transfers, and lately many have refused to do so.  Therefore, if you’re not reasonably sure that you will be satisfied with the offer you have, you should seriously consider another offer.  Our open house event for admitted applicants on Saturday May 26 is a good last chance to visit and discuss your potential future program with faculty and students.

12 thoughts on “Admissions Decisions Finished

  1. Hi professor,

    I was just wondering — is it easier to get admitted into engineering programs during early admission rounds? I feel like many of my friends with average qualifications got in during the February rounds while others with excellent grades and very good AIFs got deferred/denied in the May round (they did not apply for early admission).


    • No, our process is designed to be fair across both rounds. Your limited sample size makes it difficult for you to draw valid conclusions, but our reviews with all the data look reasonable.

  2. I think this is said every year, but wow the growth of applicants and the amount of people being rejected with 95+ averages is becoming insane.

    Surely this can’t be sustainable and something has to be done or admissions in a few years time is going to be insanely difficult. Or does after a certain point, do marks become irrelevant as it becomes nearly impossible to differentiate from a 97 or a 98?

    What are the admission team’s thoughts about the current admission process and climate?

  3. Thank you for sharing these admission details Prof. Anderson.
    They are very helpful for schools working to support students
    interested in Waterloo engineering programs.
    Rosemary Evans, principal, UTS

  4. Hello Mr. Anderson,
    I was wondering if the transfer from Electrical Engineering to Computer Engineering in first year would still be possible seeing as they take the same courses?

  5. Dear Prof. Anderson and Kevin;

    This is definitely an increasing challenge for schools and universities. I look forward to hearing your thoughts Prof. Anderson.

  6. Dear Professor,

    For all admission decisions, is there a small group of admissions officers who literally go through each application and watch each interview before making each decision? Or is the process a little different?


    • There is a team of people doing various things, probably a couple of dozen in total. Some review Admission Information forms, others review interviews, some analyze transcripts, grades, and other documentation. The information is all assembled for the engineering admissions team and faculty advisors to start making decisions.

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