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