Waterloo CS

I know Waterloo has a great CS program. I includes required internships as part of your education-job experience is heavily emphasized in IT fields. Its costs for international students is also really low. Why is its acceptance rate so high for such a lucrative and competitive program?

You should not try to compare acceptance rates in the US versus acceptance rates in Canada.

In Canada admission is relatively predictable and largely stats driven. This means that students who know that they will not be accepted largely do not bother to apply. Also, if you compare the total number of spots available at the top Canadian universities, there are enough spots. Putting these two together, if you are very close to being the top student in your high school, then you know that you will be accepted. As one example of this, when I was a senior in high school I knew that I would be accepted to McGill – it was my only safety. Therefore I only bothered applying to one other university (a reach in the US, which was where I went).

In comparison in the US admissions to the top schools is very hard to predict and is based on a lot of subjective considerations. Also, for the very top ranked universities there are not enough spots to accept all of the “close to straight A” students. Also, high school sophomores and juniors get huge amounts of mail every day encouraging them to apply to the top universities. Therefore students apply to a much longer lists of universities.

Admissions is a very different game in the US versus in Canada.

CS decisions came out this week for class of 2025 and the acceptance rate for Canadians was 4%. As an international student, it will be much, much lower. I’ll just guess and say 1%. Really no different for a Canadian applying to a top tier US school. Waterloo’s Engineering and Comp Sc programs are the most competitive programs in the country. There were 8,100 Comp Sc applications for 345 seats - 1,500 Software Eng. applications for 125 seats - 1,200 Dual degree applications for 50 spots. There will not be a waitlist this year. The Facility of Math had just over 18,000 applications for approx 1,200 spots. (stats came from a recent post on a reddit discord) Waterloo is incredibly difficult to get into …

@Gymkid01 is correct. The acceptance rate to Waterloo CS has been below 10% for at least 5 years. Last year, because of covid, they thought their yield would be low and admitted more than usual. The opposite happened and they ended up with more than twice the number of students coming. I’ll bet that they cut way back on admissions this year.

This article is all about Waterloo engineering admissions, but CS admissions is very similar. Chances of Admission for Fall 2021 – The Road to Engineering

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Waterloo did over admit last year because they were anticipating lower acceptances due to covid. They are referred to as ‘225’ because they admitted an extra 225 students - across the board. However, this year Waterloo admitted their regular class size. They had a huge increase in their applicant pool…as did every other top tier school. It’s interesting because the above article/blog post states that they were anticipating applications to be down for fall of 2021 and therefore admission rates go up this year. That obviously was not the case. Nevertheless, it’s been a challenging and competitive year for all top tier schools.

It was actually 225% of the intended number of CS students for 2020. https://twitter.com/plragde/status/1270832312641617922?lang=en They accepted 500 or so too many students. The math department was also over target.

It remains to be seen if they over-accepted for 2021 because students have until June 1 to accept their offer.

Dude - thanks for attaching your tweet and clarifying % vs # !! :wink: I’m sure you’re aware that a few extra offers are always made, assuming there will not be 100% acceptance and there will be no waitlist list year. OP asked why is the acceptance rate ‘so high’ and I think it’s been demonstrated here that it’s not. Any other stats you have and can share would be awesome!!

Thanks for clarifying.
Will UWat give the option for overadmitted students to take a gap year? Does that decrease next year’s acceptance rate

I think you’re asking if students can take a ‘gap’ year. You would have to call and ask. Students would have commit first (or have been admitted) then you apply for a gap year - it has to be approved - it’s not automatic. Call or email admissions for information and clarification.

Have you been admitted this year or looking to apply next fall?

Good luck with things :grinning: