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Admission Information Form waterloo aif

    • You have 3 weeks to complete the AIF once you receive the email from us confirming your application to Waterloo.

Why should I submit an AIF if it's not required?

Improve your application

The AIF can directly help your admission chances, especially if you're near the bottom of the admission average range for your chosen program.

Completing your AIF can mean the difference between getting in and just missing out on an offer of admission.

Because well-rounded students are proven to be more successful, admission committees can take your extracurriculars into consideration when evaluating your application.
This is also an important question as the Admissions Committee can derive a lot from what you read. If you read a lot of engineering related material, be sure to include this and explain how this applies to Waterloo Engineering. If you like some fiction, use a metaphor to related it to the program. Do not feel required to only mention engineering related material as cleverly relating fiction to engineering could be more beneficial if done properly.

Co-op (Get an early start on your résumé)

70% of first-year students are in co-op at Waterloo. If you're in co-op, this means you'll be applying for jobs in first or second year.

So how do you demonstrate that you're employable? The work experience, volunteerism, "soft skills", achievements, and distinctions that you include in your AIF are strikingly similar to the things you'll want to put on your résumé when you're applying for jobs.

By completing the AIF, you'll have a head start on creating a great résumé for co-op or summer jobs.


Content from the AIF is used to make scholarship decisions for over 500 scholarships across campus. By completing your AIF, you may be eligible for additional scholarships.

First, you include your Grade 12 level U or M courses that you have completed or currently completed during the current school year , as well as any final grade you have received in any of them. You also have to specify what kind of schooling it was (summer school, night school, etc)

In many cases, if you don't complete an AIF, you are not eligible for the scholarship.

Special circumstances

The AIF is the place to share any special circumstances (be they personal, medical, financial or other) that may have affected your academic record.

Sharing these challenges or situations can help the admissions committees to better evaluate your application, providing context for changes in academic performance or goals.

Rest assured, any details about your circumstance are kept 100% confidential.
Firstly, think of what your goal is as an engineer. If you have a goal that you want to achieve where engineering greatly helps you achieve this, this is a very good reason to pursue engineering. Especially if the goal is a noteworthy one that is not solely about you.

Faculty of Engineering, Software Engineering


  • The AIF is required for admission.
  • You have 3 weeks to complete the AIF once you receive the email from us confirming your application to Waterloo.

Why do we use an AIF in Engineering?

Waterloo Engineering is a world-class, globally competitive engineering program with a large number of applicants for a limited number of spots.

The AIF, which is required for admission, helps serve as a differentiator among many applicants with similar (excellent) grades and also enables us to select applicants that have the necessary skills and experience to succeed in our demanding programs.

If you apply to Waterloo Engineering and don't submit an AIF, you will probably not get an offer, even if you have a 99.9% high school average and meet all the other requirements.

Your friends or relatives may claim that they received an offer in past years without the AIF, and this may be true, but that is no longer the case.

Things get a little confusing here. Waterloo Engineering’s website indicates that you must fill out the “Student Profile Form (SPF)” but this actually refers to the Admissions Information Form (AIF). In order to do this, you must create an account for WATIAM. To do that, you’ll need the Waterloo ID number, which was included in your acknowledgment email that was sent after Waterloo received your application. From there, you’ll be able to login to Quest and begin your AIF.

Professor Bill Anderson's blog

If you're applying to Waterloo Engineering and you aren't familiar with this blog, you're missing out. Professor Anderson's admissions blog has suggestions and insights into the Admission Information Form and how it's used in Engineering admissions.

If you took summer school for English, chances are that the admission team won’t really care too much. Even if it was “because it’s harder during day school”. This is because Waterloo has the ELPE (English Literacy Proficiency Exam) which is a lovely exam you get to write during any term before 2B testing to see if you can write a proper essay. This test lets Waterloo know how your writing is. And if you’re still not convinced as to whether or not the admission team cares about English, we had a friend who got a 76% average in grade 12 English but he is in Electrical Engineering and doing fine (he did have 95%+ averages for every math and science though).

Highlights and tips for your Engineering AIF

All Engineering students are in co-op, so you apply for jobs starting in your first year. If you haven't had a job before, how can you demonstrate your employability?

  • So-called "soft skills" like communication and collaboration count - not only for the co-op jobs, but also for the many projects and labs you'll be in with your fellow students.
  • Responsibility and commitment over time are factors. In many cases, an activity that you carried on for a longer period would be looked at differently from something that was just a couple of weeks long.
    In the alloted character limit, highlight your best EC’s that apply to this program. If you have done with robotics in some high school club, make sure you mention this. As well, any leadership positions should also be mentioned. Again, be sure you relate back to Waterloo Engineering.

    Quality over quantity.
  • Use the "Additional Information" fields to highlight what's special or different about your extracurriculars, awards and employment.

Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Financial Management


  • The AIF is required for admission.
  • You have 3 weeks to complete the AIF once you receive the email from us confirming your application to Waterloo.
  • Why do we use an AIF in Math?

    An AIF is required for admission because of the high volume of applications that we receive and because we are looking for well-rounded students who have had meaningful experiences outside of the classroom.

    A student who can do well in school while also engaging in other activities is more likely to be successful at university.

    This is the most important part of your application. This is the main essay question and ultimately has the biggest impact on your chances of getting admissions. Essentially, you just want to write about things that you can related to Waterloo Engineering. Ensure you demonstrate the values Waterloo Engineering is looking for; commitment, passion, efficiency, leadership and ambition. Waterloo wants good graduates, and telling them you want to be successful will make them want you as a student. Please feel free to contact us to help you with this and ensure you have the best essay possible.

    The Faculty of Mathematics AIF looks mainly at 4 categories of information


    We ask about your courses to gain additional detail that might not be obvious from your transcript.

    Did you repeat any courses? Did you take certain courses at night school or summer school? A penalty may be applied to your AIF score if a course is repeated or taken outside of regular day school as this may represent an unfair advantage over those who did not.

    This is not mandatory as it only applies to students not currently in high school or CEGEP, and is just intended to describe any other relevant courses you may have taken.

    Did you take more than the minimum number of courses required for admission? There's no penalty for only taking the minimum number of courses but the ability to do more may improve your chances of admission.

    The AIF allows you to explain why you took a course in summer school and what that course was. If your reason is sufficient, then from what I have heard, they will not penalize that mark. If your reason is unsatisfactory, then it is said that the mark will be penalized as summer school is looked down upon. That being said, you saying “it’s very hard at my school” is not a very good reason most of the time. University is much harder and I can’t say if the admission team will consider difficulty as a valid reason, especially because they don’t know for sure if it really is as hard as you say it to be.

    Non-academic activities

    We are keen to learn about your activities outside of the classroom, as we place a high value on well-rounded students.

    We evaluate performance and involvement across a range of activity types, including clubs, sports, music, arts, leadership, volunteerism, and employment.

    This area has many possibilities as to what you could put down. Make sure to include any special programs. For example, I was in my school’s Arts program for music, specifically the violin, so I was in my school orchestra for 4 years. This would be put as an extracurricular activity. Because there’s so much you can put here, I’ve decided to put in a section right below this on what you should aim to include in your activities section. In the list that asks for all your activities, fill that up as much as possible.

    No one type of activity is more important than another. What we're looking for is excellence outside of the classroom that complements excellence within.

    Math contests

    Contest participation is not required for admission, but strong performance on math contests can help earn you a place in the Faculty of Mathematics. The Euclid Contest is particularly important because it is used as an important factor in awarding most of our Math scholarships.

    The AIF is a fairly long process so YOUhub has broken it down for you and given you ALL the questions and how to answer them. We can also help you with these if you contact our Admissions Consulting. We have done many applications before and will ensure you submit the best possible application.

    The Canadian Computing Competition is worth mentioning as well. The CCC is most relevant for Computer Science applicants, but if you wrote it, don't hesitate to include your score even when applying to other programs.
    THAT BEING SAID: If you still have a summer left (grade 11 or lower), I highly suggest not taking anything other than English in summer school if you really must take something!! Keep in mind that engineering involves the hard maths and sciences. That’s probably what’s going to make your first term in university difficult, not English.

    Performance in mathematics contests tends to correlate with performance as a Math student. The ability to prepare for and perform well on a math contest is an objective measure of competence, and one of the best ways to prepare for a math contest… is to write more math contests.

    The AIF process is quite exhaustive but is absolutely essential to fill out correctly in order to get into Waterloo Engineering. As mentioned previously, grades will only get you so far and it is the AIF that will really differentiate you from other students and is a key component on how to get into Waterloo Engineering. In order to maximize your potential, please contact our Admissions Consulting Services and we’ll be happy to help you.

    Other information

    If there is other information that you think we should know about, tell us in the appropriate places on your AIF.


    We require that you provide contact information for a math teacher who could act as a reference for you. This allows us to follow up on any questions about your curriculum or performance in senior-level mathematics courses.

    If you’re applying to Waterloo because maybe you follow a professor’s research (unlikely, but possible) then that’s very valid. Or maybe because Waterloo offers something other schools don’t…like co-op, then that is also valid.

    If you are not attending a high school, college, or university, we will ask for a personal/professional reference.

    The process

    A team of readers, consisting mainly of retired high school mathematics teachers, scores most of the AIFs. There are many advantages to using this group; they understand high school students and they have a passion for math.

    Now you probably knew all of this already, so let’s get into what makes an AIF good. A quick disclaimer that all the information presented from here on out is according to information that has been gathered and observed. None of this is officially presented by the University of Waterloo nor can it be said that it is 100% accurate. However, I do believe that upon going through the process and reading and hearing what others have said, that the information here can do nothing but help.

    The scorers receive training and then evaluate submitted AIFs to generate an AIF score for each student. You can never hurt your chances with the AIF.

    Highlights and tips for your Mathematics AIF

    • Show us how you are involved in activities outside of the classroom and in the world around you.
    • Demonstrate the ability to manage multiple activities and priorities while performing at a high level.
    • Use the "Additional Information" fields to highlight what's special or different about your extracurriculars, awards and/or employment.
    • Even if you haven't already been writing the mathematics contests, strongly consider writing the Euclid Contest.

    Accounting and Financial Management


    • The AIF is required for admission, and is due by March 1, 2017.
      Any kind of event that you helped plan/run. This stuff looks amazing on an AIF. Initiative, time management, leadership, teamwork, people skills, communication skills. This covers so much that you can brag about. Not only that, but think of the purpose of the event. Is it to fundraise for charity? Gather food for a food bank? Depending on the reason, you can show that you care about more than just yourself.

    Why do we use an AIF?

    The School of Accounting and Finance carefully selects students from among a large pool of highly qualified students. We make use of the AIF, along with your academic performance, and the results of your Accounting and Financial Management Admissions Assessment (AFMAA) online assessment.

    Here it is important you show that you did research about Waterloo and that you are a good fit for this program. Be sure to highlight that you are passionate and have a deep interest in Engineering. Be sure to related everything to Waterloo Engineering as this show your research and your interest in the program. This is the second most important part of your application and ultimately getting into Waterloo Engineering. Be sure to use up as much as the 900 characters as possible but remain concise and to the point.

    Our goal is to admit students who have the right preparation to be successful in a rigorous full-time program, not simply those with the best grades.

    The AIF captures your interests, goals, hobbies, jobs, and community involvement.

    This is only required for Software Engineering applicants, but here you basically just describe your knowledge of programming. If you do not have much knowledge, do some research and indicate your interest in learning certain programming languages. Don’t worry if you don’t have any extensive programming skills…that’s why you go to school.

    We are particularly interested in your initiative, leadership, time management, people skills, and understanding your interests and involvement.


    We also ask about courses taken to augment the information on your transcript. Questions include:

    • Did you repeat any courses?
    • Did you take certain courses at night school or summer school?
    • Do you have more than the minimum 6 courses required for admission?

    Admission is competitive. Normally, we expect students to take courses through their regular day school.

    This is fairly self explanatory. Be careful here and explain why you had to take any courses or why you took any courses other than regular school courses. Use the 600 characters to ensure the committee that you didn’t take the course outside of regular school as a way to get an easier grade.

    Success at university is easier if you are able to manage all university courses in the prescribed terms.

    We understand that students may occasionally have good reasons for taking courses outside of regular day school.

    Now, if you took summer school for a math or science, then unfortunately there isn’t much I can say. Engineering courses are heavy in the maths and sciences, making this quite serious as the admission team may doubt if your mark reflects your ability. Unfortunately, if you do not have a valid reason, the best thing to do would be to put your actual reason down.

    Students are required to provide an explanation on their AIF.

    We consider whether applicants have taken repeated courses. We prefer that you not repeat courses, but we consider reasons why it was necessary to repeat a course, paying particular attention to exceptional or extenuating circumstances.
    Please note that repeated grades are discriminated against as they will likely not consider repeated courses. If they do consider them, they will deduct 5% off of that course’s mark.

    On your AIF, you have an opportunity to provide an explanation for any repeated Grade 12 subjects.

    The process

    A team of readers from the School of Accounting and Finance reviews submitted AIFs. We are interested in the quality of your activities as well as the diversity of experiences.

    Separate this firstly as to why you are interested in the specific program, followed by why you are interested in Waterloo. In your conclusion, make sure you indicate how your reasons for choosing Waterloo Engineering will help you with your future career.

    These evaluations are included along with your academic performance and your AFMAA interview to reach an admission decision.

    Tips for your Accounting and Financial Management AIF:

    • Show us how you are engaged and involved in the world around you.
    • Demonstrate the ability to manage your activities and priorities while performing at a high level.
    • Some students will engage in many activities while others may focus intensively on a smaller number of activities; interest and quality are most important.
    • Use the "Additional Information" fields to highlight what's special or different about your extracurricular activities, awards, and/or employment.
    • Accurate and concise writing will be critical for your career - prove that you can deliver these things with a well-written and error-free AIF.
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