yconic - Biggest Decision of my Life - Computer Engineering at Waterloo vs Comp Eng at U Of T
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Biggest Decision of my Life - Computer Engineering at Waterloo vs Comp Eng at U Of T

A photo of ramitpal ramitpal
Hi friends ,

First of all my heartiest congratulations to all who got into University .
I have a very important question to ask . I have got offers from both Waterloo and U of T ,computer Engineering Programs at both .

I want to know in which university should I do my Computer Engineering Degree .
Kindly elaborate on the basis of the following :

1)Course Difficulty .
2)Co- op
4)Social life
5)Employer rating .
6)Employment Rate after Graduation .
7)Annual Wage after or during Graduation .
8)Living Expenses - Off Campus and On Campus .
9)Worth after or during Graduation
10)Transfer to US Universites after second year or Graduation for further Studies.
11)Transfering from One Engineering Program to Another .

I have to make decision by this Friday , Kindly Guide me .
:colors: :cheers:

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5 replies
A photo of BrackenClelk BrackenClelk
Either one's fine. Waterloo's co-op alternates between study and work; UofT's co-op is done in one year as PEY (they might offer an alternating 4 month schedule too, I don't know). If you want to go to Waterloo, select the stream where you'll be the most senior class for the most terms (usually stream 8) - you'll have much better co-op placements.

Social life... you're in computer engineering, don't expect too much of it. UofT's night life is probably better, it being in Toronto and all, and likewise, the rent will be more expensive than in Waterloo.

Employer rating... honestly, you're splitting hairs. Waterloo's co-op for me has always been fantastic, and I'm sure UofT's is just as good. Note though, that co-op positions during the fall and winter terms (which is possible due to Waterloo's 4 month rotation) are less competitive than co-op in the summer (which is the case at most other universities).

And as for course difficulty, eh. It's engineering. No way around it.

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A photo of greygoose greygoose
Hello sir! Glad to see you are taking your university decision seriously.

I'd first like to prefix anything I'm going to say with a note on the programs: they will most likely be equivalent for all intents and purposes. So in this regard, either choice is probably good. That said, let's talk about the sugary details. Keep in mind that I am a UWaterloo student, and not in engineering. That being said, I can probably still offer some insight.

1) Course difficulty.

Probably about equal for either. You're splitting hairs on this one.

There is a big difference in the university culture though. Engineering is always a competitive program, but UW tends to be less competitive gradeswise in general. It makes for a little less stressful and a little more cooperative atmosphere.


UWaterloo probably wins here. You will be alternating between study and work terms, and progressively move up in job quality and responsibility, whereas my impression with U of T is that their "co-op" is done all at once and will depend on your grades once you get into university.


By this, you mean unpaid work? Or research opportunities? I'm not sure, I'd lump this under co-op.

4)Social life

U of T is in Toronto, which is a much bigger city; assumedly, there's a lot more things to do. I personally enjoy my time in Waterloo more than I've enjoyed my time in Toronto, but that's mainly because I can't go out at night alone here, and entertainment here is far more expensive than in 'Loo. (I'll get to that later re: living costs.)

People describe both schools as "full of nerds", so hopefully that doesn't bother you :P But if you're at U of T, you're in Toronto! I can't imagine it would be hard to find a party. And in Waterloo, if the nerds disappoint, there's always Laurier down the street.

5)Employer rating

Waterloo likes to brag about all of the world class employers that hire its co-ops and grads. I can't say that U of T would disadvantage you here, but the advantage of the UW co-op is that you could potentially work for 4 or 5 different top employers and find one you like. The PEY program sounds like a single, drawn-out internship.

6)Employment Rate after Graduation

No idea. I would assume it is comparable. Engineers are in pretty high demand. I know Waterloo likes to brag about its post graduation employment stats, which are certainly 90%+. I wouldn't believe that U of T's are any worse.

7)Annual Wage after or during Graduation

I've had a hard time finding this information, but the UW Eng website states that in the sixth and final work term, the average salary is $760/wk. So I can't imagine you'd be making less than 40k/yr graduating. I suspect it would be far more depending on how skilled you are, seeing as I know a few people making more like 60k/yr in work term #4.

8)Living Expenses - Off Campus and On Campus

Living expenses on campus are always extremely high, as you pay for the convenience. U of T's fees are probably marginally higher.

Off-campus, Waterloo will definitely be cheaper. Living in KW will in fact be cheaper overall. One thing that has driven me crazy about Toronto is the cost of eating out--it's insane! Food is often twice the price that it is in Waterloo for comparable quality and quantity. Groceries could be a little bit cheaper in certain areas of Toronto, but you'll make up for that in rent costs. This is assuming you're going to the downtown U of T campus; I imagine the ones in Scarborough and Mississauga would be a little less pricey.

9)Worth after or during Graduation

Essentially the same.

10)Transfer to US Universites after second year or Graduation for further Studies.

After graduation, for grad school? Both are reputable enough to get you into a school in the states, assuming your grades are good. But I would certainly say anything you've published/any research you've done as an undergrad would probably be far more important than the school you're attending.

As for transferring mid-way through your undergrad degree, I don't see why it would be worth it. Education in the states is far more costly and not a lot more prestigious. It's very hard to transfer in after first year, and you'd probably run into a lot of credit equivalency issues. Seems like way more of a pain than it's worth.

11)Transfering from One Engineering Program to Another

Depending on the engineering program, this will be of similar difficulty at any university most likely. Surely it would be easier to transfer from computer engineering to electrical engineering than to chemical engineering. But I imagine this mostly reflects on your persistence to change programs and your grades, rather than the school itself.
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A photo of fedex1 fedex1

Well a lot depends on YOUR priorities. I just got done with 2nd year of U of T computer engineering and it's a really good but hard program. I had the exact same dilemma as you did, and I can say that I am really happy with my choice. In the end it boiled down to Co-op vs PEY for me. Being an international student, I didn't want to give up my summers and I really wanted to be with my family back home in the summer for at least the first two years. Also, I'm not completely set on PEY so it's still something that I can think about, while at Waterloo co-op is mandatory. I still have time to decide whether I want to extend my graduation by a year and see if it's worth it. Now for the other factors.

1)Course difficulty-

This is pretty subjective. I think U of T has a fairly hard program, especially the second semester of second year which is extremely challenging. I've /heard/ that U of T exams are harder than the ones at Waterloo, while the class average at Waterloo maybe higher making it more competitive. Again, I can't really back this claim and it's most likely speculation but this is what I've heard.


There are pros and cons to both.

Co-op pros:
- You get more variety when it comes to jobs. If you're one of those people who gets bored with mundane tasks, you might prefer this because you get a flavour of multiple jobs. Also if you work for really good companies, it looks amazing on your resume. I once saw a guy who had Google, Amazon AND Facebook on his resume after 2 years of study. You generally won't find that at U of T.
- During your study term you will generally be more hireable. It's common to hear U of T students complain about how 'Waterloo kids will be taking our jobs this summer'

PEY pros:
- It's generally better to work on a HUGE 16 month project from start to finish than to do one 4 month project.
- I've seen quite a few people get hired at really big companies like IBM, AMD etc. which have special slots for 16 month interns applying.

3)Social life-

Umm don't think you'll have to much time for social life but I guess I would give this to Toronto. It's a very big city compared to Waterloo and there's a lot to do, better nightlife etc. I have friends who come all the way from 'loo to Toronto becuase there's more to do.

4)Employer rating-
While you're in uni, general trend is that Waterloo students will have more experience, so they have a higher chance of getting employed.

5)Employment Rate after Graduation
Pretty much the same. Especially for computer engineering, they're equally prestigious.
However, if you're looking to get hired outside North America, I'm pretty sure a lot more people have heard of U of T.

7)Annual Wage after or during Graduation
I have no idea. I think they'd be the same as U of T and Waterloo grads will be applying to the same jobs and it boils down to personal skill.

8)Living Expenses - Off Campus and On Campus
What greygoose said

9)Worth after or during
Should be the same

10)Transfer to US Universities after second year or Graduation for further Studies.
I have no idea about 'after 2nd year'. But for grad school, they generally look at grades and not the university of study. Again, I've heard that average grades at U of T are generally slightly lower than those at Waterloo, but I suggest you look into it.

Final verdict-

Both of them are equally good when it comes to prestige and education. So it's your needs that matter. PEY vs Coop may be very important to you. So may cost of living. Personally, if you want to go into the hardware aspect of computer engineering, I'd suggest U of T; the labs are really challenging and the university has ties with big names like Altera and AMD. People have generally recommended Waterloo for software and I think that you'll meet better programmers at Waterloo. For e.g, you get to learn OOP in second year at U of T, while they start with that at Waterloo. I'm gonna do core software and I was not completely happy with the fact that there was a lot of emphasis on electrical courses (at U of T) which I inherently hate. But that's just me.

Hope this helps :)
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A photo of g93 g93
Between greygoose and fedex1 they have done a great job of giving the pros and cons for both schools.

I was thinking of not posting this after seeing their posts, but I will anyways.

My friend who is very smart chose UW for computer engineering. He really wanted to go to UW, and was recommended to do this by his father, who works for a large tech company in a senior position. My friend had the marks to get into basically any program but chose computer engineering. I'm not really sure why, but I trust he had very good reasons.
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A photo of 4getmenot 4getmenot
I'm not sure if you've made your decision yet but I thought I would comment on #10).

The top graduates of UW's computer engineering class have great opportunities in terms of graduate studies at U.S. schools. I know a number of Computer Engineering grads who have gotten offers from the likes of UC Berkeley, MIT, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford. I am not in the engineering field but I understand these four are considered the best of best for computer engineering grad studies. I am sure if you did well at either school some of the doors to the U.S. schools would open as well.
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