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Waterloo or McMaster. Software engineering. Help.

A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Hey guys.

So, I've been accepted at Waterloo AND McMaster and since I'm not a Canadian resident/national/passport holder etc it's a big deal for me. I'm really excited about it and I'm really happy I got into these prestigious Universities.

The thing is, I can't decide where I should go. I've been through most of the topics regarding this particular issue but I didn't come across anything definitive. Or anything that would put the issue to bed for me.

So I was hoping you guys could really help me out here?

A bit more detail about my 'case':
I've been accepted to Software engineering at both the Unis. Co-op at both.
I've applied for residence at both. And so far McMaster has offered me a single/separate room because of my admission average. This is a definite plus for me.
I'm almost done with my A levels and I'm confident I can get good enough grades to secure admission at both.

Since I'll be living in residence, the campus is a huge deal for me. Especially the sports facilities since I'm a pretty decent football(soccer) and volleyball player and I'll be hoping to continue both at my Uni. The city/locale the campus is located in is of interest to me as well.
The faculty or teaching staff for my program is extremely important as well.

Also, since I've applied through the OUACs international applicant form, I can only apparently accept one University. What's up with that? -_-
So since Waterloo just sent me my acceptance on the OUAC a few days ago, I had already accepted McMaster. Because their deadline was approaching and I'd heard nothing from Waterloo. So I believe I can definitely go to McMaster right now. All I have to do is pay the deposit to secure my residence room and then get sufficient grades in my finals.
So if I decide I'd rather go to Waterloo(depending on the types of responses I get), what am I going to do then?

So keeping all this in mind, I'd really appreciate it if you guys could help me out a bit.
Thanks.
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12 replies
 
A photo of LXY LXY
Hi there,

Firstly, I'd like to say an early: Welcome to Canada! lol

Congratulations on your offers. Both are rather nice schools.
In Canada, I think Waterloo would be generally considered the more "prestigious," or more rewarding choice. Notice my key words are "general" and "prestige." This does not mean that a student from Mcmaster will automatically get a worse job than a waterloo grad, but it does mean that waterloo grads are often subject to more opportunities.

Now to break it down.
Waterloo's software engineering is jointly held between it's engineering and Math faculties. Both are quite world class. However, the one thing that Waterloo has over Mcmaster(and most of the rest of the world...) are it's co-op connections. Waterloo has SO MANY connections it's not even funny... and you will get ample exposure to the industry before graduating.

However, stereotypically speaking, waterloo has more of an "antisocial" feeling. They're not exactly known for their sports programs(outside of badminton/ping pong etc). Chances are, the program at waterloo is rumored to be slightly more difficult, so you will have less of a chance of pursuing varsity sports(which take up time). Their athletic facilities are not as nice as Mcmaster's.

As long as you submit your deposit for residence for waterloo before June 2nd, you're guaranteed residence I believe. You can only accept one university because you can only attend one=). Of course, you have to fulfill your conditions, just like Mcmaster. You're pretty much in the same situation for both.

Now for Mcmaster.

The entering average is much lower than that of Waterloo(we had people with 90s rejected from waterloo this year. Keep in mind they take more than just marks into count). Therefore, I guess on average you can say that roughly the population gained lesser marks in high school.

Sports facilities are pretty nice at Mcmaster. I haven't seen them personally, but I've heard good news. Student life is generally more fun.

In terms of the town, it is called "steeltown," cause there's lots of steel factories. Although Mcmaster does border on Lake Ontario(I think?) the view won't be THAT great.

But they're both respectable universities.

Keep in mind, for Mcmaster, you're not actually in software yet, you're in their first year engineering program, after which you can pick(if you have the marks). Some programs are competitive(but you probably got free choice so you won't have to worry about that).

My opinion?
I'd say just go to waterloo. You can probably handle mediocre sports facilities for 5 years. The opportunities are unrivaled. Waterloo is the co-op king. Your classmates will be like-minded individuals, and you'll come out of it knowing what you want to pursue.

Does that cover it?
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A photo of Stranger Stranger
Congrats! :bball:

I'd say do the software engineering at Waterloo... But I'm biased. :P
Waterloo also has the largest co-op program in the world. You can get money, experience, and connections.
Computer science is a specialty of theirs so I presume they have a great SE program too.


Where are you from? :p
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A photo of waazup waazup

@Stranger wrote
Congrats! :bball:

I'd say do the software engineering at Waterloo... But I'm biased. :P
Waterloo also has the largest co-op program in the world. You can get money, experience, and connections.
Computer science is a specialty of theirs so I presume they have a great SE program too.


Where are you from? :p



So what do you plan? I'm starting to think Comp Sci is a better program than SE..
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A photo of North North
As LXY metnioned, one of the biggest differences is co-op. Waterloo isn't an old university, but it was founded as an engineering co-op school. Co-op is what really defines UW.

I'm not going to comment on the programs specifically because I never really looked into engineering for myself and I haven't been to McMaster's campus. I do live close to UW though and I've been on campus a lot.

Many people will tell you that UW's campus is not very attractive - and for mayn people I can see why. Due to the age of the university there are some odd architectural designs. But, the new buildings are really nice - including Engineering 5. That being said, it is not for everyone. Though I'm sure you probably have, take the virtual tour of UWs campus on their website to try and get a feel for it (since you probably can't come for a visit :P) - http://www.findoutmore.uwaterloo.ca/virtualtour/

With regards to residence at UW, you do not get to pick what type of room you want. You can request certain styles or buildings, but the system is a lottery that is not influenced by marks or anything else. The UW housing websites also have virtual tours of each residence - http://www.housing.uwaterloo.ca/


Even though you have accepted your offer from McMaster on OUAC, you can change it to UW as long as you do so before June 2nd. Since OUAC will not let you accept 2 offers this will invalidate your McMaster offer - so don't change until you're 100% sure because you might not get that offer back.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous

@Stranger wrote
Congrats! :bball:

Where are you from? :p



Brace yourself...

I'm from Pakistan. :P
You were warned. :P
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous

@LXY wrote


Does that cover it?



Thank you. :)
It does cover most of the things I was worried about and you gave me your honest opinion which was what I was looking for.

But I've seen the Mac campus online and it looks great. Really beautiful with a balanced mix of old and new architecture. And I really liked it.

The sports facilities are, as you said, better at Mac. And I don't think I'll be able to get through Uni by playing table tennis or badminton alone. :P
I know Waterloo has all the other major sports but there's no beating the David Braley athletic center at Mac.

As for the academic side of it, I realise Waterloo is better. Mainly because of it's co-op program and also since computer related programs happen to be it's forte. Although I do have free choice at Mac. So I'm kind of set on software engineering.
The thing is, I want to get into the field of game design. And Mac has a specific program for that. Waterloo doesn't. So I feel Mac is better for me in this regard.

In the end, for me, it comes down to a good overall experience + studies at Mac versus just studies at Waterloo. At the moment I'm leaning heavily towards Mac.
Waterloo sent me an email about sending me some package by mail so I guess I'll have my decision by then. Hopefully. :P
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@North wrote
Though I'm sure you probably have, take the virtual tour of UWs campus on their website to try and get a feel for it (since you probably can't come for a visit :P) - http://www.findoutmore.uwaterloo.ca/virtualtour/



Haha got that right. :P The first time I set foot on Canadian soil it'll be in August/September. :D


@North wrote

With regards to residence at UW, you do not get to pick what type of room you want. You can request certain styles or buildings, but the system is a lottery that is not influenced by marks or anything else. The UW housing websites also have virtual tours of each residence - http://www.housing.uwaterloo.ca/





That's a bummer isn't it... Cause Mac have pretty much guaranteed me a separate room as long as I pay the deposit. And Mac has this thing where you can actually recommend someone to be your roommate. Like a friend etc... It says on the residence app that it isn't guaranteed that you'll get paired up with a roommate of your choice but people going to Mac tell me it works.
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@SZ11 wrote


That's a bummer isn't it... Cause Mac have pretty much guaranteed me a separate room as long as I pay the deposit. And Mac has this thing where you can actually recommend someone to be your roommate. Like a friend etc... It says on the residence app that it isn't guaranteed that you'll get paired up with a roommate of your choice but people going to Mac tell me it works.




I'm pretty sure you can recommend someone to be your roommate at Waterloo too. I'm sure you can do that for suite-style at least. You can always try for a single/interlocking room at Waterloo. It's not guaranteed, but it's fair (since it's a lottery system). If you want a single room for sure, try to get some friends together for suite-style, but that might be difficult/impossible since you're from out of the country.
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@PaperPen wrote

@SZ11 wrote


That's a bummer isn't it... Cause Mac have pretty much guaranteed me a separate room as long as I pay the deposit. And Mac has this thing where you can actually recommend someone to be your roommate. Like a friend etc... It says on the residence app that it isn't guaranteed that you'll get paired up with a roommate of your choice but people going to Mac tell me it works.




I'm pretty sure you can recommend someone to be your roommate at Waterloo too. I'm sure you can do that for suite-style at least. You can always try for a single/interlocking room at Waterloo. It's not guaranteed, but it's fair (since it's a lottery system). If you want a single room for sure, try to get some friends together for suite-style, but that might be difficult/impossible since you're from out of the country.



Yes you can. Most residence places prefer that you do that to avoid roommate conflicts, anyway. I haven't met anyone here that didn't get to be with the roommates they chose on their residency form, actually.

IDK how residence goes at Mac, but at Waterloo, it is NOT first come first serve, so even if you accept your offer on the last day you will have just as good chances as anyone else that is applying.

As for the program, all I'm gonna say is that you will have a huge advantage with our co-op program. The # of jobs available for Software Engineering and Computer Science is more than any other faculty. Not gonna brag anymore than that, check out mroe of my posts for info or PM me.
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A photo of bbjunaid bbjunaid
Is that even a question? Obviously Software Eng. at Waterloo. Sure you'll get raped in waterloo, but your gona get 5-6 co-op terms under your belt, possibly with companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple etc, and may even be considered for full time. I know kids who do engineering at Mac, and none of them can find jobs in summer.
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