Summer Preparations

For the new students joining us in September, it may be tempting to think ahead to a relaxing summer vacation before starting university.  Perhaps, but there are some things that you could or should consider doing.  They will make your life much easier in those first few months of university as you adjust to the new pace and demands of a co-op program.  So, here’s my list of recommended summer activities that will have you ahead of the crowd when starting university: Continue reading

Mentions in the News

There were a couple of unexpected mentions of Waterloo on the international stage recently.  In the first one, our Prime Minister Trudeau used Waterloo as an example of Canadian creativity and innovation, at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland.  A video clip from that part of his speech is below.  The Prime Minister points to our high intellectual standards, focus on entrepreneurship, and diversity.  (I should clarify that when he says that 50% of our graduate engineering students are international, he’s referring to our Masters and PhD students.  As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, we have only a bit less than 15% of our available undergraduate spaces available for visa students.)

In his speech, the Prime Minister refers to Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley startup funder and mentoring program.  Here is a video interview he did to explain why he is so interested in Waterloo students.

In another mention, British actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson mentions the HeForShe IMPACT Scholarships Waterloo launched last year, in support of increasing math and engineering gender balance.

Overall, it’s always nice for universities to attract attention for good reasons.

 

Admissions 2016: How it’s going to work

We are getting ready for our first major Open House event on November 7, and that reminds me that I should do an update on this popular post, with some revisions and clarification for the upcoming September 2016 admissions cycle.  No major changes from last year.

Here is an overview on how the process works and the approximate timelines.  As usual, this is specific to Waterloo Engineering admissions; other programs and universities will have their own unique variations.  Also, make sure you look through our admissions webpages for exact deadlines and official requirements since this is just an unofficial, quick overview and I can’t cover every detail for every variety of applicant and situation. Continue reading

Where Do Waterloo Co-op Students Work?

It’s a common question from prospective students and parents, “where are the co-op jobs located?  Are they mainly around the Waterloo area?”  The answer is definitely “no”, they are not just around Waterloo.  But with over 4,000 employers that hire at Waterloo it’s actually a bit hard to start listing off some companies and places.  Many of them are smaller or specialized companies that the general public rarely hears about.  However, there is one interesting resource that starts to give some insight. Continue reading

Preparing for the OUF

The Ontario Universities’ Fair (OUF) is coming up next weekend (Sept 19-21), and the admissions staff have been busy preparing.  There are travel and hotel arrangements, training of volunteers, and all sorts of other things to do.  The OUF is held in the Toronto Convention Centre, and all Ontario universities have people there to meet with prospective students, parents, etc.  There is a website with more information. Continue reading

Biomedical Engineering Starts Here

Exciting news for those who have been asking about Biomedical Engineering at Waterloo!  All the necessary internal and external approvals have been received and we are launching an undergraduate (B.A.Sc.) program in September 2014.  So the OUAC application centre should now be able to take applications to this program.

A prosthetic eye, an example of a biomedical e...
A prosthetic eye, an example of a biomedical engineering application of mechanical engineering and biocompatible materials to ophthalmology. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll provide some brief details about the program below, and then some more detailed thoughts and comparisons in future posts.

  • Like all of our engineering programs, this one will have program-specific courses right from the first day, and will be a mandatory co-op program (alternating 4 month periods of academic and industry work experience).
  • This will be a modified Stream 8 program (i.e. the first co-op job starts at the end of 1st year, after 8 months of academic study).  One unique feature is an 8 month workterm between 3rd and 4th year, followed by eight months of academic work.  This gives more time to focus on one work term job, and more time to focus on a major design project in 4th year.
  • The Biomedical Engineering program is a joint undertaking with input and teaching by several departments including Systems Design Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biology, and the School of Anatomy.  It pulls together a lot of biomedical engineering expertise that already exists across those departments.
  • The curriculum was designed with significant input from industry and graduate schools, so it should be very relevant for either path.
  • Admission requirements:  same course requirements as all of our other engineering programs. (in Ontario, ENG4U, SPH4U, SCH4U, MHF4U, MCV4U, + one other U/M course).  High school biology is not required.
  • Grade requirements?  Hard to say, because that depends on the level of competition (i.e. number of applicants and their grades).  There are only 45 spaces available in 2014, so we are guessing that mid to high 80’s might be necessary but it could go higher or lower.  If you are interested, just apply and see what happens.
  • Another unique feature:  the program provides the opportunity to focus in a couple of interesting areas, namely Neuroscience and Sports Engineering.
  • It is expected that there will be significant interactions with Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology, as well as the Schools of Computer Science, Pharmacy, Optometry & Vision Science, and the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience.  A lot of biomedical research already takes place at Waterloo, as brought together in our Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology, so there should be opportunities for students to work on research projects (as there are with all of our programs).

There are other details I will cover later, but let me know in the comments if there are specific topics or questions I should try to address.