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AMA: UofT First Year Engineering Student (Track One). Ask about university, engineering, other subjects, admissions…whatever!

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EDIT: Just to give another update, I'm half-way through 3rd year right now. Just went through the PEY process and wrapped that up, so if you have any questions on any of that, I'd be more than happy to share some firsthand experiences! 

I was also accepted to Waterloo, Ottawa, and Mac way back when, so you can ask q's about those as well.

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what are my chances of getting in with around 92 avg ? i'm applying to computing and financial management at UW and computer science and computer engineer at both UW and UT and UBC.
I am international student so i don't really have a strong profile.
50+ hours at science world
40 hours at local computer shop
helped out at a local Chinese festival
Tutorial leader in grade 11 and 12
Might go volunteer for an engineering company in Jan/Feb but don't know if i can still write it into my application... Thanks for ur response!!!
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For comp eng at Uoft & UW, you should have pretty solid chances. I think 92 is right around the average for ECE at both. Not sure about UBC, but I'm guessing they're similar. Your EC's are honestly not bad at all too. Solid profile all around - probably right in the middle of the applicant pool for Uoft & UW ECE at least.  

I don't think CFM is *that* hard to get into UW, so I'd assume a 92 gives you decent chances there as well. 
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Omg thank you very much! I actually didn’t even sleep for the past 2 days going through all the threads and I was on the edge of killing myself loool thank you very much for what u are doing!!!!
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Key to getting 80+ in any class?
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In any given (university) class (for engineering at least), it's honestly not difficult at all IMO to get an 80+. The hard part is doing that across 5+ courses and then also doing that consistently over multiple semesters. You do that and you have *at least* a 3.7 cGPA, which is really great and technically high enough for basically ANY job & company you can imagine. 

Class averages for engineering at Uoft range between C+ to B for the first 2 years of study at least (3rd year is honestly the same as well). I had one class that ended up with a B+ average in 2nd year and I know the faculty was not happy with that at all lol. B- and B are the most likely ones, so this means you have to do ~5-10% better than average to get that 80. 

To just be average, it is typically enough to do roughly what is expected. Learn the material (either by showing up to class or learning it in your own time), prep a bit for examinations, and put solid effort into the assignments, labs, etc. There's not much else to it than that. I think the people who slip into the C range usually just really struggle with the material on a fundamental level (this has happened to me!) so they do poorly on examinations (which make up the bulk of your mark) or they are just not motivated to put in the time to score well on assignments (this has also happened to me!).

Doing the problem sets (if it's that type of course) and ACTUALLY going through past exams properly should set up you up well for that 80%. Honestly, i think an element of this also comes down to being strategic. Scrape for marks wherever you can get them and leverage the opportunities you get to do so. I had a course this semester that was sort of rough for me but managed to pull out an 80 on the dot (which is a big difference in GPA). I recognized where I sat in that course and when the course project came around, I made sure to put in a lot of work on it because I knew the exam would be pretty mediocre as well (since this was a class where I kind of struggled with the fundamentals and slacked off a lot). 

So honestly, if I could boil getting an 80+ down to one key, it would be to be rock solid on all assessments. You can't really afford to slack at any point. You have to completely leverage any assessment type that is "ace-able" - for many courses, this includes problem sets, labs, and small assignments. Midterms and exams are more fickle because they require thinking on the spot, but most of these types of assessments should be absolutely more than doable if you just put in A LOT of time. And that's ultimately your decision. 

I'll be honest - I REALLY slacked off this semester (in the sense that there were like 4 courses where I didn't show up to 75%+ of their lectures, lmao) but I will have pulled off an 80+ in every single course when marks come in (and am expecting a sessional GPA between 3.8 on the low end to 3.94 on the high end). How? By being strategic and knowing exactly where I needed those short bursts of effort to capitalize at the most opportune times. Sometimes, it really is about working smart and not hard. I've learnt this over my years here and it's even more true in the workplace. Execution is ultimately all that matters at the end of the day and there are MANY ways one can execute - not all of them include blood, sweat, and tears. This is a tough lesson to learn, especially IMO for minority students (I say this myself as a minority student). 

In summary: put in the time to do super well on the non-examination stuff and then prep well for the midterms and exams. If you do this, you should get an 80.  

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What do you think is the best university after Waterloo for software engineering? I'm looking at uOttawa and Western but leaning to uOttawa.
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Both have coop programs for SE, so I don't think there'd be a huge difference. I'd probably lean towards Western just because the school has a better overall reputation, but for work experience, Ottawa is going to be rock solid.

That being said, it makes practically no sense to narrow yourself into just software engineering programs. If you're interested in software, you should be open to leveraging programs outside of just straight up SE (which is not offered at all schools). If you are interested in software engineering/development as a career, I would prioritize the following programs, in order:

1) Waterloo SE/CS/ECE (more or less in that order)
2) Uoft ECE/CS 

If you can't get into any of the above, then Western or Ottawa SE will serve you very well, but IMO you should try to get into the above first (UNLESS you REALLY dislike physics - in that case, cross out ECE). At the very least, if you're avoiding ECE due to all of the coursework in circuits, electronics, etc., then you should still be strongly considering CS at Waterloo/Uoft. 
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Yeah based on what I've heard Western has a better rep but their coop isn't good whereas Ottawa has a better coop but a lower rep. What would be more important reputation or experience?

I don't think I can get into Waterloo and Uoft since my average looks like it'll only be 89%. I've thought about redoing physics as the class average is low and it's dropping my average but is it true they would put a 10% penalty on the 2nd attempt? I've thought about Queens ECE as well. Computer Science  isn't an option since my family only wants me to do engineering. I figured software engineering would be a nice middle ground. What do you think?
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In that case, Ottawa would be the better choice. Experience trumps reputation, especially since it's not even like Western has an amazing reputation in tech anyways. I was under the impress that Western's SECOOP thing (some special coop program just for SE's) was pretty solid but i've only heard limited things about it. 

Queens ECE would probably be okay as well, but there's also no coop program. They have QUIP (similar to PEY in structure) but it doesn't seem well developed. I think Ottawa is a strong choice here. 

I think your family is definitely being silly with the engineering thing, but I don't think it'll make a big difference. The only two CS programs really worth going overboard for IMO are Waterloo and Uoft's. You won't get into either UW or UTSG with an 89. In any case, Uoft's POST stuff with CS is a pain, so it'll save you a lot of stress anyways.    

You may not want to do this, but I'd say it's definitely worth throwing in an app to Uoft and UW engineering for ECE. You're below their typical average for ECE (which is usually a low 90), but you never know! Also, with uoft, you could hypothetically be accepted for some core 8 and then transfer into ECE after 2nd year. As long as you don't fail a bunch of courses, you should have no issues transferring. Alternatively, you could go to Ottawa for SE, work hard, and pick up some decent coops. 
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I've heard that some people switch programs once they are accepted before even starting first year. Is that the case? I know it doesn't matter much since the 1st year is same for everyone but just wondering. 
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Yeah, you can ask for a transfer before classes start and I think it mostly comes down to available space.
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1)Do you think if an admission average of 86 will get me an acceptance at UBC engineering? (I doubt you know but I thought it would be worth a shot to ask)

2) How are you managing the course load now and are there any different study habits you changed as you move along the course?

3) can you share some of your secret study spots on campus :)? 
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1) Don't know much about UBC engineering admissions, but my guess would be that unfortunately an 86 is too low. 

2) Well, i'm in 3rd year right now and the way i've managed my course load has varied from year to year. In 1st year (esp. 1st semester), i managed things poorly. I didn't put in the necessary time for the most part, i didn't plan my time well, i didn't really look ahead to anticipate high workload periods, etc. In 2nd year, I was an absolute monster though and had scheduling and time management down to a tee. Nearly every hour was super efficient. Biggest difference was obviously mindset and attitude, but on a practical level, what helped was just staying on top of things (i.e. knowing when tests, assignments were coming) and really sitting down and scheduling and planning. When you lay things out on a calendar and actually allot time to studying, activities, etc. you can see more clearly how much time you'll need where you "crisis points" may arise, how far ahead you should start studying, etc. I had a near 4.0 GPA in my 2nd year as a result. One of the bigger changes in habits for me was to leverage professors and TAs. I actually asked questions in class as soon as I didn't understand something and would pounce on profs after class with questions on the material if something was unclear. This helps in being consistently up to date with the material and on top of things - this is important because once you fall behind, it can be difficult to recover! 

In 3rd year, i didn't exactly lose this time management skill set. I just didn't really apply it to school. I turned my attention towards PEY + EC's so far in the year. Even with severely slacking off in class (after dedicating time to other endeavours), I learnt the system enough and still managed my time well enough to most likely (fingers crossed...) walk out of this semester with a sessional GPA between 3.8-3.9. Which I'm more than happy with, of course. 

3) Most of the libraries are fine. I hate the SF library, which is where most of the engineers study. Gerstein is alright but is often too overcrowded with life sci students. I'll honestly study all over the place. In 2nd year, i used to study in the Pit quite a bit. This year, i mostly studied in computer labs rather than libraries because I often needed things on the ECF computers. My 2nd year courses were mostly pen and paper (or something I could handle on my laptop), so i'd just be in various libraries or the pit most of the time. 


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What makes university so hard? Does the material we learn get alot harder or is that there is just a bigger workload?
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I'll answer this mostly with respect to engineering, but provides caveats where appropriate for your typical non-engineering major. It's hard for a couple of reasons: 

1) There is a big jump in the sheer amount of work. Some of this just comes from the way things are structured. In high school, you were taking a max of 4 courses in a semester that was spread across like ~4.5 months. On top of that, by grade 12, many students rack up spares, so a lot will only take 3 courses per semester in grade 12. Now in university, you're taking at least 5 courses (and for engineering, in some cases, up to 6 full courses). That's already a sheer increase of 67% - 100% in just the amount of courses you're taking! On top of that, you also have these courses crammed into smaller time frames. For instance, the university fall semester stretches from the first week of September to the first week of December. That's exactly 3 months! That's at least a 25% reduction in time on top of the jump in # of courses.

Then on top of that, classes are going to run through much more content. I'll give you an example. In 2nd year, i had to take a course in probability. In grade 12, i took data management, half of which was probability (more or less). I thought that this would carry me for a bit in the course and let me slack a bit for a few weeks. I was very wrong! We ended up running through literally all of that content from data management within the first lecture and a half (so within the first week). Everything beyond that was fresh content. 

2) There's less hand holding and it can seem tougher to get support. Going off of the probability example from above, they just expect you to put in the work to learn the stuff. I remember some people kind of complaining a bit that they had never touched probability before (i.e. didn't take data in high school), but the prof is not going to alter things based on that. They just shrug their shoulders and you have to deal with it. There was another case in a 2nd year computer science course of mine where an assignment required knowledge of multivariate calculus (which no one in the program had taken). When the prof heard this, nothing about the assignment changed - we were expected to just learn what we needed to learn to get things done! 

There is actually quite a bit of support available in university if you look around hard enough. The trick is that you have to look. In high school, lots of classes had kids sitting in those little table groups. The teacher would give the lesson and then walk around, jumping into conversations, desperate to help. It's been so long since i've been in that environment that it almost feels laughable now, lol. In lectures, there are usually very few questions asked even though I KNOW for a fact that like 50% of the class (often including myself!) doesn't understand anything just said lol! Nothing is stopping you from asking questions, but i think there's something about the setting of the big lecture hall that intimidates people. I also think a lot of people are just lazy and don't take ownership over their own learning, but that's another conversation altogether... 

3) The content is just hard. The high school curriculum is stupidly watered down. I know this is arrogant and probably kind of dumb to say, but I genuinely believe that there is nothing in the public high school curriculum that is hard. None of it. If you get a poor grade, it's for other reasons, but not IMO because it is inherently hard material. I've had more than a few courses in this program that have genuinely been difficult. It makes sense because you're learning more advanced material (and all of this is, once again, happening at a higher pace). 

4) Other life things getting in the way. The university age years are pretty important for your typical person and for many people, there's a lot going on and lots of changes. For many people, it's the first time they have some freedom. For many, it's their first time away from home. For many people, it's the first time they're confronted with their academic limitations. Many will fall in love for the first time. Many will get black out drunk for the first time. Many will stress over what the heck they're going to do with their degree. You also have stress over the internship hunt and grad school apps, and so forth...there's a lot going on. You must be mentally tough to handle all of this. It's not difficult to kind of just drown in all of these anxieties and you obviously can't do well in your courses like that. 

That's my answer.  
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How was highschool for you prior to university? Did you find it really easy? Were you work habits changed drastically?
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"How was highschool for you prior to university? Did you find it really easy? Were you work habits changed drastically?"

In hindsight, high school was really easy, but i wouldn't say it felt that way during high school. My average saw a modest increase each year in high school, so i was constantly getting better and improving things. By grade 12, things were clicking well academically and my average came out to be between 96 and 97 at the time of my admissions. In comparison, my average in grade 9 was 84. In grade 10, it was 90. In grade 11, it was 92. 

I would say i never really had TOO much of a hard time grappling with the material. It didn't feel too difficult. I feel like i was able to pick up on concepts a bit quicker than most students (although some concepts obviously still required me to put in work). 

This changed in university. I still feel like i'm not bad at picking up concepts (better than the average student here for sure) but it takes much longer for things to sink in. I think that's just a product of the material being more challenging and, more importantly, professors expecting a deeper level of understanding and engagement with the material.  

So this obviously required adjustments on my part. One was having a greater focus on really understanding the material. Secondly, it also just meant i needed to put in more time. I couldn't just rely on going over practice problems for a bit and expecting to pretty much ace the test, like it was in high school. Also, this meant i had to do a better job at reaching out and getting help. This meant asking questions in class, going to tutorials, etc. Finally, there's a mindset change - if you don't get it immedaitely, that's okay. Don't get too discouraged and keep trying. There were instances for me where things literally didn't click until ON the final exam lol.  
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Any regrets so far in your university experience?
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Well, several over the course of my ~3 years, but the thing is with me, i'm constantly reassessing the way i'm doing things and reflecting on those regrets and changing my behaviour to account for all of that. So right now, I don't really have a regret that hasn't been "solved". Of course, each year has sprung a different kind of regret, which i'll go over below (along with what i did to solve it):

First Year Regrets
- Regretted how little effort i put into some of my early courses and this defeatist attitude i carried with me with some courses ("oh engineering is hard, i'm not supposed to do well anyways!"). I pulled off a very solid average at the end of first year (low 80s), but i wasn't happy with the process. In 2nd year, i changed a lot of things. Had more of a killer mindset, set the bar much higher for myself, and then (most importantly) actually executed by scheduling my time a lot better and putting in A LOT of hours (like seriously a lot) into school and ended up with an average in the low 90s and a near 4.0 that year
  
- Regretted how little time i ended up spending on ECs and how little i felt i had developed non-academic skills (i.e. the "softs"). I wanted to take more leadership opportunities. I didn't just want to be a "nose to the book" type - outside of just pure research grad school aspirations, that kind of attitude will not get you very far. In the summer after 1st year, I made an effort to look out for oppportunities to get involved in the school community and take on a leadership role and managed to get one. It was a great learning opportunity for me and I really grew in that position. From that position, I was able to (one year later), spring board into more impactful leadership positions (and ones that looked better on a resume) and I've had an even more rewarding experience from those - these leadership ECs also played a pivotal role in me getting the PEY that I got this year too. 

- Regretted not being very social and not making more friends (and i guess not "taking chances" in social settings in general). This honestly wasn't fixed in my 2nd year, but only this year (my 3rd). More on this below 

2nd Year Regrets
- Mostly, i just regretted a poor social life. I put a ridiculous amount of time into academics over the course of this year and most of my remaining time just went to ECs and building my resume...but i remembering thinking throughout that I really never did anything "fun". Basically, going into 3rd year, i just made more of a conscious effort to do fun things. Whenever other people i knew would float ideas and ask me if i wanted to do things, i'd jump on it rather than thinking about some obscure review i wanted to do that night. I also was more likely in 3rd year to make suggestions on things to do. It was definitely tough to do and i had to sacrifice some time i would have spent on school, but there really is such a thing as overkill when it comes to school. You'll see diminishing returns fairly quickly. Even if my grades were a bit worse in 3rd year compared to 2nd year, they were still great, and i was mentally happier than at ANY point in my university career. Also, part of this was due to all of the time i spent on PEY stuff, so not just social things. 
- Honestly, other than that, 2nd year was amazing on so many levels. I had an ideal vision for how it would turn out and literally everything fell into place. Things worked out because i came in a clear plan with clear steps on what exactly I needed to do to execute...and then i put in a ton of time actually executing and getting things done. I had some ECs going, I was slowly building up my resume nicely for PEY the following year, my GPA was pretty much as high as it gets that year, I felt great and confident in my coursework, and I landed an industry internship that I had been eyeing almost a year prior to that. A lot went well. 

3rd Year Regrets
- Most regrets here just circulated around PEY stuff and i'm honestly currently too deeply embedded within all of that to really reflect on it and see if i really have any regrets. I'm happy with the firm i'm at and with the position (mostly with the firm though) and I see room for the exactly the type of growth i want to see in my career. However, i still can't stop thinking about whether i made the right decision and if maybe something else would have been better, you know? We'll see how this unfolds in the coming years, I guess... 
- No other regrets from 3rd year, tbh. I put in VERY little work in my courses for 3rd year, which i feel kind of bad about it, but i honestly had more important things on my plate to take care of this year. I've honestly lost almost all interest in school and am just excited to graduate and get going with my career. Super pumped for PEY and the extended break from school! 

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It's amazing how much you did over those 3 years and grew as a person but how do you manage to get outside that comfort zone? It's easier said than done and I often have trouble with it.
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Yeah, that's a great question. Getting out of your comfort zone is a tricky thing. 

It's ultimately a mentality thing. Everything you do is ultimately dictated by your brain and I've really become a big believer in the notion that your attitude and mindset really shapes how you perceive the world and (as a consequence) how you *feel* and how you take actions. Buying into this idea i think really empowers you and can help you feel like a lot of this is ultimately within your control (which i think is true, personally). 

With respect to comfort zone, i think it first starts with thinking critically about why that comfort zone even exists and why people fear leaving it. Those are habits you don't change not because they're necessarily good, but because they were embedded within you a while ago and now it's just the way you do things. Change is uncomfortable because change is uncertain - i think that's more or less the core of the fear behind getting out of the comfort zone. You know EXACTLY what your life looks like with your current habits because that's simply your current life. Even if it's not IDEAL, it feels comfortable because it's a KNOWN - humans are weird like that. New behaviours and attitudes are scary because there's uncertainty...even if it SHOULD give you better outcomes, you don't KNOW that becasue you haven't lived it yet. 

I think getting over the comfort in known quantities is an important step here. I started gaining pleasure in exploring the new unchartered waters of a change in behaviour or mindset! If it doesn't work out...there's no harm, really. You can usually just revert back and pivot to something else that works better for you. Realizing that there's ultimately no harm is important too. It's scary to take the first step...but once you do it, you'll realize it's not as terrifying as it seems. It's like dipping your toes in water - uncomfortable at first, but you never want to get out once you're in :) 

I also try to think of the positive rewards i could have in the future if i just change certain things. This is psychologically difficult for humans - this is because we naturally devalue "deferred rewards" and vastly prefer things we can get NOW. Lots of times, you have to go through some pains when changing something to get to the reward. You must acknowledge this and i think you must take pleasure in the journey of working hard towards some reward...i honestly get a lot of excitement out of that journey. So much that not getting the reward at the end isn't as bad as it was before because i'll still have learnt new things along the way.
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Hi there. Firstly thank you so much for this post. I have some questions. How many hours of classes did you typically have in first year, and were they evenly spread out (ie. Similar times every day) or was your schedule all over the place. Like what did your typical day look like? Furthermore I was wondering if you make your own schedule like in the sciences or if the faculty just gives you a schedule you have to follow? How long did it take you to find a good balance between work and social life? If you get an offer of admission that means that the university thinks you have a good shot at surviving right?Sorry I am very anxious and excited! Also apologies if there's questions you've already answered I try my best to read most of the comments on this thread but I might have missed some ?. Thank you so much for any answers, your help is greatly appreciated ❤.
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I'm going to answer with respect to engineering and throw in caveats for other programs, where applicable: 

>How many hours of classes did you typically have in first year, and were they evenly spread out

For engineering first year, it was right at 30 hours per week of class (this includes lectures, tutorials, and labs). I haven't been over 30 since then and have oscillated from like 26-30 hours/week total of class. All of these are scheduled at VERY regular hours. ALL of my courses so far have been between 9am and 6pm, usually with a few hours of spare in between for lunch, relaxing, homework, etc. It's only humanities electives which will sometimes be really late or something. 

For non-engineering, class hours are typically like 10-20 hours, from what i understand. Their class times seem to be a bit more erratic, but it may also just look that way since they're looking at much fewer hours in class. 

>Like what did your typical day look like?

Typical day for me was to wake up at ~6:30am, get ready and commute to campus for 9am class (and study a little bit while commuting). Then, attend classes and stuff from 9am to 6pm. As I said, there are a few hours of breaks in between this time to grab lunch and also chip away at problem sets, and so forth. After 6pm, i'd usually do on-and-off studying for about 3 hours until 9-ish. This would include general review, problem sets, prepping for midterms, maybe working on a project/assignment, etc. I'd also answer emails and handle some EC-related things. Then, i'd commute home (while studying on the commute), eat dinner, and just relax for the most part until midnight and go to sleep. 

>I was wondering if you make your own schedule like in the sciences or if the faculty just gives you a schedule you have to follow?

You're just given your schedule for the first 2 years at least. For almost everyone in eng, you don't have any choice in courses for the first 2 years so they just tell you what to take. Starting in 3rd year, you'll get a bit more freedom depending on discipline (mostly just ECEs get freedom). You should be able to choose at least a few courses here. In 4th year, you should be able to choose 6-8 courses. However, in both years 3 and 4, you usually won't have lecture sections to choose from since the class sizes are not big enough. Therefore, you're still stuck with a predetermined time slot and don't have much choice there. 

>How long did it take you to find a good balance between work and social life?

Technically, the answer would be 2 years :) I had practically no social life in my first 2 years. I definitely talked to people and was friendly with everyone, but never hung out with people outside of class. In 3rd year, i started being much more social and came out of my shell a bit in that sense. I honestly wouldn't say i've found a balance per se, just because my academics suffered a bit this year with the improved social life lol. I'm confident i'll be able to get things right next semester though...but we'll see! I think i'm very close right now. 

 >If you get an offer of admission that means that the university thinks you have a good shot at surviving right?

For engineering, 100% yes. There are so many strong applicants to choose from for uoft engineering, that they'll only accept you if they believe in your aptitude and are confident you'll make it through. Engineering does not have a super high drop out rate. The students here are legit and they work hard. For other programs at uoft in arts/science, i honestly think they don't believe that - admissions for some programs are just automated and accept pretty low averages. 

Let me know if you have any other questions! Happy to help :) 

 
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Firstly, thank you for such detailed answers! Secondly, I do have more questions haha. When you say problem sets, how long are these and how long does each question typically take you? Are these mandatory or kind of like homework for your own practice and study? How many assessments do you typically get in a semester, I know most of the focus is on exams and midterms but I saw you mention getting higher marks in not midterms to allow for a buffer. How do you find the learning environment? How are the class sizes? I've heard a lot of bad things about uoft but those generally come from people in arts and science. Can you maybe give some pros and cons about the faculty as compared to the school and just in general as well? Wow these are a lot of questions omg. As always, your help is greatly greatly appreciated, I couldn't thank you enough <3.
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>When you say problem sets, how long are these

A couple of questions. They're usually due weekly (if they're due at all). I'd say they take a couple of hours, which is vague, but it honestly ranges. Maybe like ~5 hours or so would be a decent mean? Questions vary in difficulty. There are usually some easy ones (like "hey let's see if you've been paying attention at all") and some more difficult ones. 

>Are these mandatory or kind of like homework for your own practice and study?

It depends on the course. I've had courses where they're graded (usually for 5-10% of your total grade, but i've had 2 courses where they were worth 20%). In this case, they're basically mandatory and you want to try to do well on them. In many other courses though, they're just "suggested problems" - do them if you want some practice, but no one's grading them. These are usually taken up in the tutorials. 

>How do you find the learning environment?

Not really sure what you mean or what a "learning environment" entails, but it's more than fine. You yourself are more important than a "learning environment" and i'm confident i'd be able to study and learn just fine in most places. My profs are helpful when i have questions. My classmates are also helpful when we're working together on problems. Not much else i can ask for.  

>How are the class sizes?

For engineering, in the first 2 years, you're probably going to be in lecture rooms with ~150 students, but it depends on the program. For some, it'll be smaller, but i don't think it goes higher (for larger disciplines like ECE, i believe they get split into multiple sections). Tutorials are usually like 40-ish students. In 3rd year and beyond, your classes can get very small. You could have lectures that are only like 15 students or so. 

>Can you maybe give some pros and cons about the faculty as compared to the school and just in general as well?

PROs
- Strong culture and strong sense of community 
- Well contained with buildings and everything so it almost feels like a smaller school within uoft 
- LOTS of great things to get involved with outside of class that are great for having fun, but also learning new things and building your resume 
- Well respected by employers, grad schools, etc.
- High quality hardworking and intelligent students and professors - it's a very motivating environment that i've learnt a lot from 

CONS 
- High pressure. Engineering is hard, and especially so at uoft. Some people can't handle it
- Competitive - i think some ppl get the a feeling that it's competitive. I personally don't really feel that, but it's a potential con. 
- If you prefer coop over PEY, i guess that's a con as well 

I can't really think of too much else that's a big negative to uoft engineering specifically. All of the negative things I've ever heard can basically be summed up as: "This place is hard and i wish it had coop instead of PEY"   
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Thank you so much! I really hope I get accepted honestly I'm so excited at the possibility of being there! Thanks again! <3
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Hi, I was wondering if you could help me figure out my chances of getting into Track One for the 2018 year. My grade 11 average was a 92.5, and this year my projected average is around 92-93% I am worried because English and chemistry are in second semester and I'm also doing ap math meaning the universities will receive on going marks for both calculus and functions. I'm aiming for a 94% in both functions and calculus. I'm getting around a 93 in grade 12 physics. My third course this semester is computer engineering and though my mark is great in that class my understanding is that they won't look at it for my admission average. My extra curricular include: photography - I've done shoots for people's art projects and my friends dance place. I also have an ig page (idk if this counts for anything). I have been in 2-3 band ensembles for the past four years. I am very involved in the local mosque, volunteer there regularly as well as for their summer camp, I take Arabic classes, and I was first in my class for their Friday school program. (Again I don't really know the value of any of these) I am also a math and physics tutor, I tutor high school level. I am also a co executive member of my schools robotics club and that has many responsibilities. I have also participated in uoft's engineering outreach programs (like DEEP). Apologies if this is an unnecessarily long post... I am extremely thankful for any help from anyone.
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Oh also relating to the musical ensembles; we have won gold and high silver awards at the Collingwood music festival and also the national musicfest just an add on that may be important haha. Thanks again!
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Your profile looks very strong. For Track One, it's getting really competitive, so i think ideally, you'd want to be closer to like 94-95 with your average. However, 92-93 (if you can actually get there) with strong EC's should make you a very good candidate. With your projected average, I wouldn't expect to get in during the first round of offers. However, you should have a strong likelihood for 2nd round.

Not sure if you've done the SPF yet, but if not, here are some quick tips on how to frame some of your EC's to maximize them --> if you get into T1, it's going to be your SPF because your average is just a hair too low: 

- Robotics exec --> this looks like your main leadership position, so it's important that you stress it. Focus on the leadership aspects and the responsibilities and accountabilities you had. Put a lighter focus on how this showed your passion for engineering, technology, and, MORE IMPORTANTLY --> the engineering design process. They'll eat that right up :) 

- Musical ensembles --> this is always fun to see and gives diversity to your app. DEFINITELY mention the awards you've won and the scale at which you won them (ex. regional, national, etc.). This is CRITICAL. It puts it at another level when you actually show that you performed well (because that implies you put a lot of time into that craft --> you can explicitly mention this in the description for this EC). 

- Volunteering --> this is great. Focus on the responsibilities that you had and other skills i'm sure you picked up with this, including time management, planning, leadership perhaps, etc. 

- Art stuff --> this is really cool and definitely adds diversity, but it doesn't look that structured. That's okay though (I had something similarly unstructured on my SPF). Describe what exactly you do and definitely provide a link to y our IG so they can check it out and be impressed :) They'll definitely remember your app if you can impress them with your photography and whatnot! 

- DEEP --> this is also good - definitely mention this. It shows passion for subject material (which you can explicitly mention). If you want, you can even say how you were interested in exploring engineering and DEEP really helped you solidify that and gave you a look into what real engineering looked like and that inspired you even further, etc...they'll also eat this right up

- Tutoring --> this can also be a strong add, but it's not very unique because everyone with good grades in HS tutors. This shouldn't be a central part of your app. Definitely mention it but don't lead in with it. Focus on aspects of tutoring like effective communication, coordination, planning lessons, etc.... 

- Arabic classes - mention this, but i don't think it's that big of a deal. Most important is that 1st in class thing. Definitely mention that. 



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Thank you so much for your help! Yes, my average isn't quite where I wanted it to be, I don't know what happened haha I just lost all motivation as the year started. As I'm applying, and especially with your reply, reality is starting to set in, which is giving me more motivation to work hard moving on as I seriously want to get into this program it honestly sounds great. Also, I have a follow-up question, by spf do you mean the area where they ask you to list your extracurriculars in the application? Also related to this, in the description area for that part, is that the area we describe everything? (just clarifying) Thank you so much for the extra help too! You have really helped me realize I have to put in a lot more work, and also some sort of an idea as to where I stand. This thread has honestly helped me so much you have no idea thank you so much <3
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Also, another question sorry, my rankings were 1. Track One 2. Computer 3. Electrical 4. Mechanical, I was wondering if there is a similar sort of situation/competition for all of these. Thanks again!
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Yes, the SPF refers to the place where you write about EC's.

And yeah, description should be the place where you just explain the EC in detail, along with responsibilities, skills used, maybe even things you learnt from them, etc. 

And your grades are very good btw. Track One has just gotten really competitive in recent years. 

Regarding your rankings:
Keep T1 first because you have a solid shot. For 2 or 3, only pick one of comp and electrical. They're both the exact same for the first 2 years and you can automatically switch between the two as a result - because of this, they basically have joint admissions, meaning acceptance to one means acceptance to the other and same with rejection. Therefore, don't waste a spot on both! ECE is easier to get into and your average puts you right at the average of accepted students for ECE, which means your odds are solid. I'd also probably drop mechanical for something less competitive. Mech actually has a higher entrance average than ECE, typically. 
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Wow thank you so much your responses have been incredibly helpful and you respond so quickly too! Your responses have helped alleviate not exactly anxiety but the whole not knowing much aspect. Thank you so much. (I'll probably be coming back as more questions arise lol tysm <3)
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How expensive is UofT compared to Waterloo? I heard that UofT has a cheaper 1st year, but Waterloo has co-op 1st year so what would be cheaper if I got accepted to both?
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It depends on a few factors. For instance, will you be commuting to uoft or living on res (or off campus somewhere)? If the latter, your costs will obviously be MUCH higher! For me, going to UW would have meant res, but with uoft, i ended up commuting. Commuting to uoft rather than living downtown saves me about 10k/year (so about 40k at the end of my degree). 

For tuition, they're both the same, mostly. I believe Waterloo is a tad bit more expensive because the coop fee every single term is pretty hefty. That being said, it is a lot easier to "pay as you go" with Waterloo's coop structure. 

I think if you look at your net finances at the end of the degree, it'll likely be mostly the same. However, with uoft, assuming you do PEY, the bulk of your revenue over your degree will come later on in your degree and (more or less) in one big chunk. With waterloo, your revenue comes in smaller chunks but is obviosuly spread across a longer period. With waterloo, you can conceivably take a coop term's earnings and use them to cover a good chunk of your costs for the following academic semester. If you make enough money, you can even cover all of your costs! 

The way uoft engineering is structured, even if you land decent paying jobs in your 1st and 2nd . year summers, you'll have to use the revenue generated there to cover 8 consecutive months in school - there's very little chance that you'd be able to cover all of those expenses with just one summer. 

If it means anything, by commuting to uoft, i am projecting myself to graduate ~10k in surplus (i.e. i'll have generated 10k more in revenue than what i spent TOTAL - including tuition & commuting costs there). This is after working a tad bit above minimum wage for all of my 1st year summer, and working at a tad bit more over my 2nd year summer, and then getting a decent paying PEY. 


________________________________________

If you can provide more details on your cost profile (i.e. will you be on res or commuting, what's your intended major, etc.), i'd be happy to help you breakdown your costs more and do a little analysis.  
 
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Hi there, you mention EC'S a bunch on this thread, my question is what kind of EC's are you involved in and what kind are available to students in engineering? Also what are your favourite things about your program/the faculty/the campus? Great thread by the way absolutely love it!
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I'd rather not say exactly just to maintain some pseudo-anonymity,  but i'm involved as an executive with a few organizations that I would call "opportunity providers". Basically, if you come here, you'll learn about clubs that really help students and are basically just focused on helping students get jobs, or build real world experience, or improve their skills, etc. I'm really passionate about this kind of work, so that's why i put in the time with these organizations. I'm an exec on 2 of these sorts groups. I perform different functions for each group on purpose so that I'm diversifying my skill set while taking part in these ECs. 

Aside from that, i've also contributed to multiple publications in the engineering faculty. This is more so just for fun more than anything else.  

This is the stuff that I'm CURRENTLY doing at the same time. I've also done stuff in the past (i.e. my first 2 years) that leaned more towards volunteering and public policy oriented things (again, that was mostly out of interest). I' also dabbled with a design team for a bit in 1st year. 

________________________________________________

As for what kinds are available...there are tons. 
- You can join intramural sports teams (some are competitive so you have to tryout). There are your basic ones, but you also have stuff like the dragonboat team. 
- If you like writing, there are publications to write for (serious ones like The Cannon but also funny satirical ones like The Toike...and also other ones of varying types in the rest of uoft at large) 
- There are lots of cultural clubs to join, if you want to do that
- There are clubs that are more of the "opportunity creator" clubs that I'm an exec on. You can be on the exec side where you're helping to run it OR on the other side where you're the one actually participating and taking advantage of the opportunities they create for students (i've been on both sides, FYI). Some of the best examples include stuff like the Volunteer Engineering Experience Program (VEEP), the You're Next Career Network (YNCN), the Galbraith Society, etc. 
- There are industry group relevant clubs (ex. stuff for people interested in particular fields. Some examples include: AI, oil & gas, food engineering, finance, robotics, consulting, etc. ). People join these clubs to stay up to date with news in the industry, get some networking done, etc. 
- Model UN, debate club, stuff for public speaking like Toastmasters, etc. I've heard great things about toastmasters and am interested in doing more stuff with them this year! 
- Gaming clubs 
- Hobby related things, like dance clubs
- You can help contribute to making the Frosh experience 
- You can help organize the annual Skule musical festival 
- Obviously TONS of design teams! These can range from stuff like making a self driving car to autonomous submarines, to super fuel efficient race cars, to human powered vehicles, to satellites that may literally go into space, etc. 
- Clubs that help you build some skills while having fun - an example that comes to mind is this sumo robots thing where over the course of the year, you build a sumo robot (and code it and everything) and then everyone fights each other's robot at the end of the year. They help you along the way in building your robot. 

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Favourite thing about program/faculty/campus:

Programm --> Industrial Engineering 
I'm not going to boost it too much, but i'll just say that i personally like it because it aligns with my interests well. I never felt like much a tinkerer in the physical sense and was worried that engineering wouldn't be a good fit for me as a result. Indy looks at systems, processes, and organizations a bit more abstractly (and those things are more intangible by their nature), which I enjoy more. It just ended up being a good fit. 
I also like the fact that it's not too big. The program has grown in size recently which is unfortunate, but it's still at ~120 kids which isn't too bad. I feel like i know most of the ppl in my program which is a nice feeling for sure. 
I also like the career opportunities out of this program, which is nice. 

Faculty --> Engineering 
The faculty here is great. First off would be the people. There are extremely high quality students here, many of whom are doing (and will do) truly great things. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by such peers and you will learn A LOT from them if you just open up your ears! It'll make you a better engineer and better person as well in the long run. 
Professors are also really quality in terms of their research. The faculty is widely respected in Canada and abroad for very good reason - this results in many extremely cool research opportunities that you can get your hands on. 
Another great thing (going back to the people aspect) is that they're more than just smart - many of the students are super interesting and talented in a wide range of things and have a wide range of interests, and as a result of this diversity, you get all of these amazing clubs and opportunities and fun things to do with your classmates through ECs or whatever. Grades are important but THIS is why any school/program that is truly good and cares about fostering something special looks at an applicant's ECs and capacity for leadership. You know all of those clubs I listed above? ALL of those were founded by students are completely run by students. You don't get ANY of that if everyone has their nose in a book 24/7. Uoft has those people, but the engineering faculty is very diverse and its a key strength for it.
Also, it's a well respected faculty with employers. You need to put in the work yourself, but it's one of the top engineering programs in the country and the faculty's name will not hold you back at all (and will do quite the opposite in most cases).   
Finally, there's a very strong sense of community and companionship within engineering. It almost feels like a small school within the larger uoft. So even though the school is massive, as an engineering student, i honestly don't feel any of that. It feels close knit within engineering.

Campus --> St. George 
I love the downtown campus and the way it's designed. Ryerson is also downtown, but i like uoft's campus better still. Ryerson is located in a more "lively" part of downtown with Dundas square and all of that, but it's very scattered as a result, with classes in seemingly random buildings. Uoft is a bit further from the "core", but it's nice because it's still downtown (i.e. a quick walk to the core) AND you get the benefits of an isolated campus. Uoft is like its own little village within Toronto. As a result, all of the buildings are school buildings and you also get some beautiful green space, courtyards, etc. (which is hard to find downtown!). You also have the old, victorian architecture, which i personally love. This is something you don't get with schools that are relatively young. There's a lot of history with the St. George campus and i personally love that. 

Also, there's just so much to do in toronto and uoft is so close to it all. Even something as small as grabbing a coffee - there are so many neat places, some of them pretty hispter-esque, that are so close to campus. Chinatown is also right there, which is great for food. There are so many amazing restaurants within walking distance, and from so many different cuisine types. You also have tons of places where you can watch movies, live shows, plays, musicals, orchestras...all right there near campus. There are also 4 major sports teams that play in Toronto!  

To summarize, it's a beautiful campus that's relatively closed off and has lots of old style architecture with lovely green space...all while being walking distance from several amazing pockets within a world class city...so lots of fun things to do! 

 
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Thank you for the such detailed answers! Really appreciate it
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I think everyone knows how great Uoft engineering is but I'm curious to hear what you think is both underrated and overrated about it? Maybe some not so obvious things.
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Now THAT's a great question! This one will be fun :p 

Underrated:
1) The community --> Uoft in general gets a bad reputation for being this massive, soulless place where students are backstabbing, uber competitive, etc. This is way overblown in general, but there are honestly some truths to it in arts/science. However, this really isn't the case with engineering, which is very much isolated from arts/sci. There's a great sense of community here and if you open up, the eng faculty can become like a 2nd home for you! There are schools which everyone acknowledges have great engineering cultures (like Queens & Mac, for instance), but I honestly think Uoft rivals them for its close knit community. 

Overrated:
1) How much employers will love you just because you're from uoft. There are lots of companies that have strong hiring pipelines from uoft engineering because of its quality, but you're not going to win out over someone who's better but from another solid school. Basically, i think too many people walk in and expect to skate by with their degree and get hired just because they're from uoft. You WILL absolutely be unemployed if you're lazy, unlikeable, and/or do poorly in class! 

2) The quality of students --> even though i've harped elsewhere in this thread about the quality of students and how that's big plus, they are honestly many lazy and dumb students here. I'm sure they're lowkey talented in some respect, but they definitely don't show it! Most students are fine, but not anything outstanding. Then, there is the small percetnage that are absolutely exceptional, and i think that's the differentiator between this place and most other engineering schools (top-heavy, if you will, but still quite deep). I think Waterloo, as a comparison, is deeper in engineering talent but likely equal at the top.  

3) PEY --> you can definitely find a position that works great for you, but it's not like super amazing or anything. Your odds at nailing a top company are higher with a coop program because you get several attempts. With PEY, it's basically one and done. This isn't a problem if you realize this early and are proactive and therefore work hard from year 1 to create a strong application profile. But most students are not like that. They don't think about their career until 3rd year (when PEY comes around), and they may get relatively mediocre positions as a result. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised at the wide range of positions that interested me, personally. If you're mech, civ, mse, etc. you will have a tougher time because there is a narrower breadth of postings for them. 

I'll try to think about other points for each but nothing else comes to mind immediately... 
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How did you avoid burnout during second year? And how did you be so successful? Say I did every reading, practice questions, and other homework will I be able to do good or would I have to put in extra effort in addition to that? How often are there surprise questions or things you didn't really cover in your exams? Did your GPA come in handy and give a little boost over your peers when it came to PEY?
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>How did you avoid burnout during second year?

Yeah, it's hard to say. I really did work pretty insanely hard in 2nd year on both schools and ECs. On my count, based on how i scheduled my time in my calendar, it looked like i was putting in ~70-75 hours into that sort of stuff on a weekly basis. And doing so consistently. I'd say one thing was that i really was motivated to do well and was confident that if i put in the time, i'd do well. Getting good grades back on midterms and stuff also provided nice incentive to keep going. However, you can still get burnt out even with motivation. Honestly, to me, i never really understood the idea of "burnt out" - i think it's a lazy excuse by people. Burnt out to me means that you just physically cannot handle what you're doing anymore and you're wearing down and becoming sluggish as a result - if this happens, you're burnt out and need to take care of yourself! You definitely need BREAKS, but you don't need the sorts of activities that consume a ton of your time. I had well scheduled breaks where I'd put everything down for like an hour and just relax, browse the internet for a bit, etc. Also, 10pm - midnight every night would be "down time" for me where I'd eat dinner and just relax - i liked having this down time leading into bed time because it helped de-stress and ensure decent sleep. I never studied leading into bed time and i didn't come close to pulling a single all nighter. Latest i slept on a school day in 2nd year was 1am, i believe. 

But the burnt out thing is overblown. I really just do NOT believe anyone that tells me they need to be laying League of Legends for 4 hours a day and then also watching Netflix for 4 hours each day just to not be burnt out. I basically removed any of that kind of stuff from my daily regimen. Like honestly, i just shake my head if i hear someone say their bodies literally cannot handle reading for a few hours in a row. Really? It just blows my mind that my grandfather could have been fighting in a bloody war at this age, and here we have kids in beautiful buildings complaining about sitting in a freaking chair and focusing for more than an hour on end. If i'm not putting in significant time into my school work (as i did this semester, tbh), it's not because i can't physically handle it - it's because i'm not academically motivated and i'd rather do other things with my time. The first step in doing well is being HONEST with yourself and throw away the textbook excuses every pampered uni kid loves to lean on. 

Just to be clear - i worked VERY hard in 2nd year, but i was totally healthy. I hate reasonably well (i.e.very little food truck garbage, unlike 1st year), i got 6 hours of sleep EVERY single night (which is enough for me), and had well spaced breaks scattered across the day. I'd also always take most of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights off just to hang out with people for a bit, relax, etc. I was NOT studying 24/7 AT ALL!! You don't need to do that! Everyone just needs to actually be efficient with their time and stop throwing away so much of the day to unproductive nonsense like video games. Socializing with people is still very important and i made sure to do that at least on the weekends. There's lots of time in the day - if you use it well.

>And how did you be so successful? Say I did every reading, practice questions, and other homework will I be able to do good or would I have to put in extra effort in addition to that?

I suppose you're talking strictly about academics. Showing up to class would be the first step (although you can honestly do pretty well without showing up to class, once you get the hang of how uni works - i did this this year). However, that's not enough because 1st year and 2nd year me did that and 2nd year me did a lot better. Beyond just showing up, be actively engaged. My 2nd year lectures became mentally exhausting for me compared to 1st year because i was constantly thinking about what the prof said, trying to think ahead, etc. When the prof would pose questions to the class, i'd always try to think hard about them and would often be the only person raising my hand to contribute. I also started asking questions in lecture, which i didn't do in 1st year. I also asked questions immediately after class to fill in any gaps in my knowledge. Basically, i used my lecture time VERY efficiently. If you do this, you will not need to do as much work outside of class. In 1st year, i showed up to lectures because it was the thing you were supposed to do. In 2nd year, i showed up to lectures to actually LEARN. 

After being an active lecture-goer, it just game to concept review (okay, do i really understand this?), and then practice. And yeah, honestly, if you work hard in lecture to understand the content, and then do a bunch of the practice problems (no, you don't need to do them all, necessarily), you should do well. Of course, there's that level of intelligence and insight that can take you from "well" or even "really well" to elite, because you will often get curve ball questions that require thinking on the spot during exams. However, being prepared should really really help you with those. I don't see why you couldn't nail an A- in every course, even without really getting to the point where you ace those hard exam questions. You do that and you have yourself a 3.7, which is technically good enough for every company and every role on this planet.   

>Did your GPA come in handy and give a little boost over your peers when it came to PEY?

Yes and no. A "good" GPA is important because competitive companies may filter on GPA first. However, the returns on a high GPA as you go up are marginal. Your skill set, experience, and actual interview performance are more important (no one cares about GPA once you get to the interview anyways). For example, in my final interview with my company, i had to give a presentation on something - at that point, it was all about my performance there and nothing to do with my GPA. 

Just to be clear, a bad/mediocre GPA will hurt you, but there is little to be had going from good to great, from what i've seen (assuming you're not looking at any sort of grad school). For example, i think being under a 3.0 will hurt you at many places. 3.0 is a common cutoff for large companies. Definitely work hard to stay at 3.0 or above. Beyond that, i feel like 3.5 is the next magic number - you'll be competitive for the vast majority of jobs with a 3.5 (as long as the rest of your profile is strong). Thee are only very select few positions where you'd want to see more of a 3.7+. 

And trust me, the difference between a 3.5 and 3.7-3.8 is nontrivial. Beyond that, getting p to a 3.9+ or so (compared to like a 3.7-3.8) really doesn't seem to offer much of a boost (despite requiring A LOT of extra work). 
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Would chemical engineering be a good choice as a program if I'm interested in med school but want a good backup, and I like chemisty and biology. Is it possible to get a 3.9 GPA in chem eng?
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I don't think it'd be a bad choice. Doing extremely well is obviously going to be difficult in any program, but more so in an engineering program, so be way of that, obviously. I'm not sure how many of the chem eng courses would actually count as prerequsities for certain med schools anyways though.
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Hey I read that you're in industrial engineering at UofT. What jobs would I be able to get coming out of this program? I'm talking about actual jobs after you graduate, not PEY placements. Would the pay be good? How much demand is there for industrial engineers?
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Bit of a cliche, but there's quite the mix and it depends on what you enjoy and what you're good at. Most common that i see would be: 

- Supply Chain & Logistics --> these are jobs for large manufacturers, CPGs, etc. (examples might include P&G, Walmart, Canadian Tire, Johnson & Johnson, Home Depot, Weston Foods, etc.) 

- Business Intelligence/Analytics --> more of the "modern" spin to indy. This is where you put all of the data-related courses to work. This is all about just leveraging data to gain insights and drive change. All sorts of companies have these sorts of ppl, doesn't matter what industry. 

- Process Analyst. Very common in the big banks, but also other large companies. Basically, you're either looking at improving business processes or something to do with manufacturing ops, etc. 

Those are basically the main 3 big buckets...most ppl fall under on of the above. Biggest in terms of volume would be #1 and #3.  You always consistently have a small portion of the class that goes into something outside of "traditional indy" but still something that indy technically prepares them for to some extent. These include "actual consulting" (i.e. not internal consulting, which is basically what process analysts do), actual finance, actual data science (i.e. not simple BI stuff), software engineering, etc.  

The pay is solid, but not nearly as high as ECE. It's right around average for engineering students out of Uoft. The average salary is ~45k for pey and you can expect your salary to . fall within 40-50k. At graduation, you can probably expect close to an average of 50k, with like 45-55k as your range. IMO, that's a damn fine start, but salaries are obviosuly not nearly as sexy as CS/ECE where good students can pull 60-70k for PEY (and more!). Demand looks very solid though. Aside from ECE, i'd say industrial has the highest employment rate for pey up to this point. 
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Hi, I am a first year student in Computer engineering, done semester One (didn't get my GPA yet, but gonna be above 3.0). I am kind of worried about gearing up for my PEY and resume, not sure what to do.
1) How do we go about getting research positions with professors? Is the probability of getting in first year very low? How should I approach a professor when I don't have any established achievement at university (no GPA)? Also, should I apply to any professor, or ones that have taught me?
2) If I don't get a research position, then I'll try to get a semi relevant co-op position. How should I go about doing this? I really don't know anyone who could get me a job in a tech company. Since you got a position in Bell, please advice how you got this. What skills did you have to crack the position? If you are comfortable, can you disclose more information about job? What was the process for applying?
3) In case I cannot get a co-op position, then can what should I do to improve my resume? Should I do a retail job, just to make money?
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1) As a first year with non-elite grades (as in not 3.8+), your course of action is to just reach out to professors and try to hook up a volunteer position in a lab. Without an established university record, you do this by expressing passion and interest in their work. Your department's website should describe profs research areas and interests. Look for ones you think you'd be interested in, and try to look into the field a bit and then also try to look up a few of that prof's big papers and recent work. You don't have to understand it. In fact, that's a great lead-in ("hey Prof X, field Y seems really cool and i learnt recently that you work in it. I was trying to read your paper on topic Z, but i didn't quite understand parts ABC. Could you explain these to me? I'm super interested to learn more about this!"). Just cold email them telling them you'd love to work with them if there are any openings in their lab (after expressing clear interest in their work). You can also ask to swing by their office hours to talk to them in person if you prefer that. Don't restrict yourself to profs who have taught you. You want to be doing research in the ECE department and you've probably only been taught by 1 ECE prog (if at all) so far, so that'd be nonsensical. 

Tip: Don't spend too much time (or any at all, tbh) gunning for the super star profs in the department. It'd obviously cool to get into their labs, but it's super unlikely. For you in ECE, that means i'd probably not spend effort in trying to work with Jonathon Rose or someone like Jason Andersen, etc. Optimal profs to go after seem to be tenure track (so they have a tfon of active research going on as they try to get tenure) but not like established super stars. NOTE: I did NOT succeed in swinging a research thing after 1st year despite trying and I think the reason was because I focused on the "big profs' too much. 

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2) First of all, I didn't get a position in Bell. Not sure if you're thinking of another thread??? lol I've never applied to Bell in my life! I was working in something that was not engineering related but relevant. It was a job for the university teaching kids how to code, basically. I had volunteered with the organization in the past, so that made the application process a bit easier for me, i suppose. 

If i were you, my #1 priority would be trying to swing some mediocre software gig. At this stage, the best you can hope for is something in QA, which is in the software space, but not actually "dev work" (but that's okay). Your 2nd best bet would be research. Worst case, you should spend the summer doing side projects - just try to code something from scratch - something fun! Pick a problem and solve it! Build a full scale app, a full stack website, etc. Honestly, if you get some impressive projects under your belt this summer, you'll have positioned yourself reasonably well to get a real software internship next summer. 

Anyways, as for finding jobs, i don't have too much advice, tbh. Hit up the startup career fair run by YNCN. It's coming soon (Feb 2nd, i believe) and it's going to be at MaRS. Startups are great if you can show your passion for coding and some skill as well. Otherwise, you can try the CLN job board and general boards like indeed. Highest probability is connections though. 

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3) Ended up answering this in #2 --> basically: side projects. Don't just "learn a language" - MAKE SOMETHING and then put that on your Github and show it off!!! That's the best way to go about this. You can work retail too if you need $, but spend the bulk of your time on projects. 
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Do you know anything about UTAPS? Since the new OSAP has rolled in, I'm just wondering if there is a decrease in how much UTAPS gives since OSAP simply gives much more than they used to in terms of grants. Will I be able to still get a decent grant from it?
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I don't know anything about specifics here, sorry :( 

Alls I know about UTAPS is that it's there to meet any unmet need. Therefore, if you go for OSAP and you still don't have enough by $X, UTAPS is supposed to fill in those $X for you. If OSAP is giving more money, then logically, you should get less from UTAPS (but that should only be because you don't need as much from UTAPS). 
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Hi! I'm currently torn between UofT and Waterloo because of program choices. The Track One program at UofT is the most appealing to me because of obvious reasons (not sure what I want to do yet, get to dabble a bit in everything, etc.) However, I would honestly prefer Waterloo's co-op program over UofT's PEY, but have no clue what discipline to apply to at Waterloo! Having gone through UofT's Track One program, would you suggest it, or do you wish you had chosen your program right from the beginning?
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First, i should clarify some things about Track One because you don't really seem to have a strong grasp on the program. 

All of uoft engineering's is designed to have a pretty general first year. This is to make it as easy as possible for students to switch around and maintains flexibility. Similarly, Track One is general but no different from any of the other discipline's first years, really. For instance, T1 students take the exact same courses as ECE's in first year. Compared to mech and industrial, all courses except one are the same. And so forth. It worries me to see so many students ready to accept offers at places even though they haven't reviewed the curricula! 

So to answer your last question, no, i don't wish i chose my program from the very beginning because it provides 0 advantage whatsoever (at uoft). In fact, it was nice because i got to make T1 friends and then also friends in the discipline i eventually chose. The only advantage of T1 is that it basically guarantees your transfer into any discipline, whereas switching outside of T1 is typically easy but technically not guaranteed. 

In terms of your decision, the answer is that it really depends. If you really value coop over PEY that much, then you're obviously going to want to go to Waterloo. For me, although coop was obviously very attractive, i decided that at the end of 5 years, i would regret choosing the wrong discipline more than choosing PEY over coop (and i really didn't think at the time and still do not think that coop is THAT much better than PEY, if at all, to make me make forget all other factors). 

But that was just my decision analysis. Personally, i was scared of ending up in the wrong discipline. It should be noted that you can obviously switch disciplines at UW after 1st year or whatever, but it is just, to my understanding, more difficult in the sense that you may have to repeat a few courses. I think in some cases, you may have to basically repeat a semester, but that's actually not a big price to pay to get yourself in the correct discipline. 

So, you should first look into things and see how difficult it is to switch disciplines at waterloo after 1st year. Then, if you are okay with paying that potential price and you significantly value coop over PEY, then you should go to Waterloo.
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Hey, I was just wondering how you're able to list your choices for UofT engineering. I want undeclared as my first option but I know it's super competitive so I want civil as my second option. However, the OUAC application does not allow me to do that stating that I can only choose 1 program from the St George campus. 
Please, Any help would be appreciated. 
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you choose your 2nd,3rd,4th choices on the Engineering applicant portal
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^^^ after you get the acknowledgement email from uoft and set up your account and access the engineering applicant portal one of the parts of the application is listing your program choices
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I'm having trouble deciding which school to apply to. I'm stuck between McGill, UBC, Western, and Queens. I am looking to apply to computer or software engineering, depending on which program is offered by the school. I will also be applying to computer science. I am confident that I have the marks to get into all of these schools, so I figured I might as well save some $ by only applying to one of them. After all, you can only attend one program lol. I really want to get a job in the US, preferably in cali/SV. I would be happy with a job anywhere in the US, really. With this in mind, which school has the best reputation and industry connections with tech employers in the US? Is there another school that I should consider applying to? Ik Waterloo and UofT are really good, but I will also apply to one of the schools mentioned above as a backup. Ignore all other factors such as tuition, cost of living, social scene, etc. I am only considered with the bottom line, which in my case is finding a good paying software engineering job in the US.
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You are only applying to one? Lets say you don't get in?
(No hate. Just curious)
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I don't know how tight you are for money & i don't know what your profile looks like, but honestly, it is not a smart idea to only apply to one of these. UBC and Mcgill are MUCH too competitive on their own to be used as backups to Uoft or Waterloo. Even QUeens and Western are not in any way easy to get into. You should, at the very least, apply to one of UBC/Mcgill and one of Western/Queens (and honestly, one more true safety...but again, i don't know what your marks are). 

Anyways, for your goals, i feel like UBC would be your best bet. They have a coop program, it's a well respected school, and they're also west coast, so they should be reasonably known in California. I can't imagine Queens or Western being known at all in California, especially for tech, so i wouldn't prioritize them personally (unless i'm wrong about all of this). I don't know anything about Mcgill's reputation in tech in California, but it is maybe the most well known Canadian school outside of Canada in *general*...so there's a good chance that if a random American has heard of a Canadian school, they've heard of Mcgill. Again, not sure how this stacks up in the tech world specifically (where Waterloo is well known, but basically unknown outside of tech), but it still means decent odds they've at least heard of it.   
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Sorry, I should have given you a better background. My average is 95%. My EC's are pretty average tbh, nothing great but I was still involved in the community. McGill does not consider extra curriculars, which is why I am considering it a backup to UofT. I've heard that UBC cares about the supplementary a lot. But with my average, what programs would I be guaranteed into? I hear people with 95 that get rejected to Waterloo, so I'm not really confident there. How are my chances for UofT?
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Would UBC be known in California JUST because they are west coast? I am a bit confused about this part, please clarify.
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Uoft and Waterloo should both be likely for ECE. For CS, you're still only looking at average chances at Waterloo and a good chance at uoft, but far from a guarantee (i knew of ppl who were rejected with 95 averagers for CS at St. George). 

You should get into Queens and Western for sure. I'd be very surprised at any rejections there. Mcgill should also be pretty likely, but i hoenstly don't know anything about their admission averages for CS and eng. 

Just to clarify, to my knowledge, UBC is not a big name in SV. However, being in the same general "region" shouldn't hurt at all. If UBC has a reputation in SV, it's going to be due to the fact that it's a good school primarily. My GUESS is that UBC is slightly better known in SV compared to Mcgill. 
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Do you really think I have a good chance at waterloo ECE with 95 and average ECs? I'm debating whether or not I should put my backup choice as my first choice. I heard that only 15% of seats are reserved for those who put a program as their alternate choice. My backup is management engineering.
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Im still on the fence on choosing between Queens and Western. Western is recommended if you get AEO status, but I'm not interested in business. Everyone who goes to queens engineering generally loves it there. Does one of these schools generally have a better reputation than the other? Which school would it be easier for me to get a higher GPA at? I've also heard that a few UOIT students got jobs is cali, but idk if this is a troll or if they just work at some random startup located in cali lol.
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I mean, first of all as you sort of alluded to, you shouldn't just blindly be chasing "Cali". California is a state along the western coast of the united states with some pretty nice weather in some places. That's all it is. Silicon Valley is different from SF, which is different from Sacramento, which is different from Oakland, Compton, Santa Cruz, San Diego, Cupertino, etc.....There are some amazing jobs in California, but also crappy jobs for startups run by 3 people where they pay you in only "equity", which is the biggest joke. Big difference between working for a tech giant/unicorn compared to one of these random startups. If someone says they just "work in Cali", it's probably the latter because i don't know why you wouldn't specify that you were working for Google/UBER/whatever. 

Yes, i think a 95 + decent EC's is enough for ECE. That's my opinion. Maybe it's not enough this year, who knows. I'd be shocked if it wasn't enough to get into management engineering.

In my experience, people at Western have mostly loved their experience in engineering there as well. I think you'll enjoy yourself at both places. Queens has a fanatastic culture and looks like a fun time so if you're into that and you actually fit into that culture, you'll have a great time. You were asking before strictly about getting to "Cali", so that's why i didn't mention any other factors. 

I don't really think there's a reputation gap between Queens and Western for engineering. Slight edge to Queens if i had to say. I don't imagine either school being noticeably easier than the other. 
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How is Ottawa Software Engineering? Does their coop program have connections to big tech giants in silicon valley? Do their coop students get software jobs in the states, and what is Ottawa's reputation like there?
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Hey I'm going to go to that program so I did some considerable research. Unfortunately they don't really have those connections to silicon valley only Waterloo has that. They do have really cool opportunities though being a tech hub with a ton of companies near by. They have connections to companies like EA, Amazon, Shopify, etc. Also if you really wanted you can apply to those tech giants yourself. There are some people who got coops in the states but it isn't something common. They don't really have a reputation like uoft/waterloo but I doubt getting a degree there will hold you back. Imo uottawa is the best option for software engineering after Waterloo but ofcourse I may be biased since I'm going into it so make of that of what you will haha.
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Hi, for second semester computer engineering, my courses are calc 2, programming, electrical (ECE110), dynamics, esp 2, and a seminar.
Can you please give some advice to do well in calc 2 (bernardo, I heard his tests are hell and there also a group component to tests), programming (completely new to it), and dynamics (said to be the hardest course in the semester)?

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Calc 2 didn't have a group component when i took it. He uses that for other classes (ex. i had to do those with him in differential equations), but i don't think you'll have to do it. Just in case something's changed, i'll give some tips below though...

Calc 2
I ended up with an A in this course. For bernardo, he definitely stresses a deeper understanding of the material and also being able to simply problem solve - for him, that's getting a real situation you most likely haven't seen before and using the analytical toolkit he's taught in class to break it down and appropriately tackle it. 

He is very creative with his problems and is NOT a lazy professor, so don't expect him to recycle any questions. He'll have past finals/midterms posted on his website and you should definitely do them, but they honestly do NOT help as much as you might feel they do in other classes (where profs clearly don't give a crap lol). Basically, you have to keep this in mind while studying. You have to ask yourself, do i really understand this enough to apply it to a completely novel situation? Try out the harder problems in the textbook (those word problems and conceptual questions that come at the end of sections) --> those are a decent approximation to his test difficult. Same idea with the hardest problems on the problem sets, although those are always a step below his exam problems. 

Keep in mind that Bernardo is a fantastic lecturer and great at explaining concepts, IMO. Take advantage of this by showing up to class and going to his office hours! He really is great! He's the only prof i'd really go ever go to office hours for. Also leverage the TAs and ask them lots of questions to ensure you're understanding things. 

Also Keep in mind that lots of ppl are going to do terribly on the tests lol. So your grade is going to get adjusted at the end to get a B- or B average for the class. So don't feel too discouraged throughout the semester. Keep your head up and always give it your all on each assessment! 

Programming 
I ended up with a C+ in APS105 (the harder version of the programming course). You're CE so you'll be taking the same one. APS106 (the easier version) really is a LOT easier. It's missing the last like 20-30% of content in APS105 (which is some of the harder stuff) and their labs were a joke compared to APS105 IMO lol. 

Anyways, i actually tried to practice programming (for the first time) in the summer prior to 1st year and i still didn't do well in this course. Just to be clear, most of that is totally on ME --> lots of people were able to get A's in this course even though it was their first time coding. I'll tell you what i did wrong...

Definitely ask for help from TAs as much as possible. They'll help you understand concepts and they can also be of great help on your labs (i.e. projects). Even profs help A LOT for lab projects and will sometimes even sit their and code with you lol. I was very much in a "lone wolf" mindset for that course (and semester - my 1st in university) and it bit me hard in this course. I think that's honestly the biggest thing.

Another thing is that you should really PRACTICE concepts! The beauty of coding is that it's so easy to test your ideas - just write up your solutions to problems in code and run it! I was lazy and would often not actually test my code and just practice with pen and paper and that was bad! 

Dynamics 
This was a solid but not super great course for me (B+ - just missed an A- by 1% though). It also made me not want to do mech lmao. One thing is to make sure you can do the problem set questions yourself. In my year, they always took up the p-set q's in tutorial, and i eventually got lazy and would just go there to record the answers and stuff. Definitely do them independently, then collaborate with other ppl, and then go to tutorial to see how the TAs approached the problem. And then synthesize all of that. The fundamentals of this course are relatively simple (conservatino of energe, F=ma, etc.), but as it is with physics in general, you have to be able to apply that simple start to new problems and then work from there. Just remember that every problem is ultimately going to fit into one of those frameworks. I don't have much advice for this course other than this, tbh. 
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ok thank you!
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Do you think it is possible to have a part time job with an engineer major?
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Absolutely possible. I know more than a few people who manage it. You just have to make sure you're mindful of the hours you're working and also be mindful of any other commitments you have. Make sure you communicate all of this to your employer as well. 

Also, a decent chunk of ppl put in so much time into EC's, that it's more or less a part time job itself. Basically, there are many ppl out there who manage to dedicate a nontrivial # of hours to nonacademic endeavours.    
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Hi, do you know anything about the work study program? How doable is it if one wanted to participate in EC's as well as doing well academically in Engineering. Also can you elaborate on it more, I read the website but I still have questions... are there specific jobs that the university sets aside as for work study? Thanks
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Yeah, once you're enrolled, you'll have access to the career learning network (CLN) and work studies are eventually posted there each year. These are usually for jobs where a prof or department is hiring you. Some of them are like office jobs. Some are more like software/coding jobs. Others are research assistant positions. And so forth. 

Each job will vary in the # of hours, but i think it's supposed to be like a max of 10 hours. Some of them will only be like 5 hours or something. Most profs will probably be flexible on these #'s too. 

I guess it's doable, if you're able to put in 5-10 hours into it. That's not too bad, as long as you stay on top of things. 

They can be pretty competititive though, especially the research ones. I applied for several in my 2nd year, and only got one for something i wasn't excited about (data entry), and didn't even hear back from any of the other profs, lol. That was pretty disappoiinting. If you can get one and manage the workload, it definitely looks great on your resume! 
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Hello! I am applying for engsci at U of T and Nanotechnology engineering at Waterloo, and my average should be about 97 (though I’m not totally sure how 40/42 IB marks or 4 7s and 1 6 for the courses I’m applying to engineering with converts to percentage), and I was wondering if that in addition to good ECs would possibly get me accepted, and also if it would get me entrance scholarships? I’m really worried about both acceptance and scholarships tbh, and if anyone knows anything about those I’d be super grateful for your input!
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You should get into both with your profile. Scholarships are more debatable. I think you'd be very close to getting some decent money from both schools. Usually, you need really great ECs to get a lot of money though (either that or a crazy average like 98-99).
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