Waterloo Engineering: Supplementary Essay Examples & Video Interview Questions

If you are looking for Waterloo Engineering essay examples, video interview questions, and general guidance on the Admissions Information Form (AIF), then you’ve come to the right place. 

This Application Prep guide is fully updated with the 2021/2022 application.

Before you dive in, it’s important to understand that Waterloo’s admissions committee receives thousands of applications every year. To help set you apart from the crowd, you need to demonstrate a clear sense of self, strong life experience, and exemplary communication skills.

Our ‘full student’ coaching process does exactly that. If you’re not working with a coach, be sure to read the Self-Awareness, Goal-Setting, and Deductive Communication Skills Guides.

The Deductive Communication Approach™ is a ‘top-down’ method that lets you communicate your skills, experiences, and interests in a unique and memorable way. All Waterloo Engineering AIF and video interview examples and templates use this approach.

We use essay templates to show you a suggested essay structure that uses the Deductive Communication Approach™. Using this structure does not mean your essays will be the same as other students because it is designed to help you create unique answers that are completely authentic to your individual identity and experiences.

We also suggest following the 5-step essay writing process we teach, seen here.

If you’re serious about getting into Waterloo Engineering and reaching your fullest post-secondary potential, connect with a coach. It’s never too early to receive coaching.

For more information about Waterloo Engineering, check out this free Program Guide.

Table of Contents 

  1. The Admissions Information Form (AIF): Four main components; Sections 1-4 examples and templates; and More. 
  2. Video Interview: How to prepare; Common questions; and More.

2021/2022 Waterloo Engineering Application 

The Waterloo Engineering Admissions Information Form (AIF)

The Waterloo Engineering AIF is a required online form (in addition to your video interview, which we’ll discuss below). 

In the AIF, you’ll be asked to fill out questions that tell the admissions committee more about you, like your background, interest in the program, and prior education. 

The AIF has four main components:

  • About You: Part A
  • About You: Part B
  • Courses Completed
  • Engineering Essays

There are a few Waterloo Engineering AIF essays in these four sections. Some are required, whereas others are optional. 

COACH’S TIP: Even though some essays are listed as optional, we strongly recommend completing the following questions (don’t worry, we’ll give you more details and examples for each below):

Section 1, About You A: Questions 1 and Question 3

Section 2, About You B: Question 4

Section 3, Engineering: Question 1, Question 2, and Question 3

Here’s a helpful video with a basic introduction to the Waterloo Engineering application and the AIF.* 

*These videos refer to older versions of AIF examples. Keep reading below in this blog and check out our Waterloo Engineering Guide for the latest examples.

In this guide, we’ll break down each question and provide Waterloo Engineering essay templates and examples for each question so that you can create unique, clear, and concise answers.

Want to take your AIF to the next level? Connect with a coach to get started. 

Waterloo Engineering AIF Section 1: About You – Part A

This section asks you to describe your interest in the Waterloo Engineering program, as well as details about your extracurriculars and employment activities. 

Before getting started, check out this video about AIF Section 1: About You – Part A:

Here are the questions: 

WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 1, QUESTION 1 (REQUIRED ESSAY) – REASONS FOR CHOOSING WATERLOO

“Tell us about your education goals, your interest in your chosen program(s), and reasons for choosing to apply to the University of Waterloo (maximum 900 characters).”

Waterloo Engineering Essay Question Breakdown – Reasons for Choosing Waterloo

This question is designed to help the Waterloo Engineering admissions committee get a better sense of who you are, where you come from, and where you want to go.

Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well guess what…they write the question like this on purpose…

Most applicants will give the same types of answers, listing their interest in a career in Engineering and choosing Waterloo because it’s a top-tier program in this field. However, Waterloo wants to see applicants who have thought deeply about their goals, their future, and their interest in Engineering beyond the surface level. Simply saying that you want to graduate and be an engineer will not get you into the program. Instead, you need to come up with a few points that show your uniqueness and authenticity.

Luckily, you’ve already done most of the heavy lifting for the first part of this question (‘tell us about your education goals’) if you’ve completed the Student Identity Blueprint, especially the University Aspirations section. When you did this, you worked with your coach to create audacious yet authentic goals based off of these aspirations, and you found ways to take them to the next level — and this is exactly what the Waterloo admissions committee wants to see in this section. If you haven’t completed your Blueprint yet, connect with a coach now.

For the second part of this question (‘your interest in your chosen program(s), and reasons for choosing to apply to the University of Waterloo’), do some research on Waterloo Engineering specifically and the university as a whole. See if there are specific professors, clubs, mission statements, courses, etc. that stick out to you. This will show that you have made an educated decision in choosing Waterloo, and that you have just as much to offer them as they will offer you.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Template – Reasons for Choosing Waterloo

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy within the doc).

The general structure of your answer to this question should have these four parts (click here to learn more about each of them):

  • Part 1: Engineering Hypothesis/Answer & Main Reasons (100-200 characters)
    • Capture the reader’s attention and give a preview of what’s to come. Be specific to Engineering.
  • Part 2: Waterloo Hypothesis/Answer & Main Reasons (100-200 characters)
    • Write something captivating that answers the question, “Why Waterloo?”
  • Part 3: Supporting Arguments (200-400 characters)
    • Give some details as to why Waterloo is the best place for you to study. 
  • Part 4: So What? (200-300 characters)
    • Write a few points about how your goals and interests make you a good fit for the program and an asset to Waterloo  more generally.

REMEMBER: Highlight your interest in Waterloo and Engineering here, but don’t panic if you feel like you can’t get into a huge amount of detail about your passion for Engineering. You’ll have plenty of opportunity in Section 4: Engineering to discuss it more. 

COACH’S TIP: Don’t worry about writing complete sentences at first. Just write 2-3 bullet points under each section, just to get your ideas down. You can edit and perfect your answers later. If you’d like some more tips about writing these essays, check out our Deductive Communication Approach™ Guide.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Examples – Reasons for Choosing Waterloo

Here are some examples of how to answer this question.

In this guide, we will give you examples for Electrical Engineering, Systems Design, and Mechatronics Engineering.

REMEMBER: Please note that all of the examples in this guide are EXAMPLES ONLY and are NOT meant for you to copy.  

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example 1: Electrical

waterloo engineering essay example

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example 2: Systems Design

waterloo engineering essay example

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example 3: Mechatronics Engineering

waterloo engineering essay example
WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 1, QUESTION 2 (REQUIRED LIST) – EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

“Please list any extracurricular activities or areas of significant interest. These could include leadership or participation in school organizations or projects, athletics, travel, community, social activities, drama, music, clubs, personal hobbies and/or significant volunteer work.”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Template – Extracurricular Activities

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

This section is one of the easier ones to complete. Simply fill in the:

  • Activity Type: Athletics, clubs, community work, drama, hobbies, music, other, project, school organization, social activity, travel, or volunteer
  • Description/Title (40 characters or less)
  • Start Date (month/day/year)
  • End Date (month/day/year)
  • Whether you did this activity in Grade 10, 11, or 12
  • Hours per week
  • Weeks per year
Waterloo Engineering AIF Example – Extracurricular Activities

Here’s an example of what this section might look like:

waterloo engineering AIF essay example

Do you have a bunch of extracurriculars and you’re not sure which to include? Connect with a coach for help.

WATERLOO ENGINEERING SECTION 1, QUESTION 3 (OPTIONAL, BUT RECOMMENDED ESSAY) – EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

“Provide any additional information about anything in the table above.” 

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Question Breakdown – Extracurriculars: Additional Information

This question gives you the opportunity to provide more information about the ECs you listed in the previous section.

We highly recommend completing this section because it will allow you to give the admissions committee some insight into who you are, where you come from, and what you care about. All of this is key if you want your application to stand out.

COACH’S TIP: You only get 600 characters (including spaces) for this question. When writing your essay, focus on your extracurriculars as a whole, and briefly reference 1-2 specific activities as examples. Looking at the big picture (i.e. what you learned, skills you gained, passions you developed, etc.) will show your purpose for taking part in these extracurriculars and how you grew as a person by doing them.

Use this section to focus on the impact your extracurriculars have had on you, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’ve learned along the way. Focus on traits that Waterloo looks for, like being a leader and innovator or being organized and able to manage your time. Drive home the idea that you have real-world skills and that you are using the extracurricular activities as a way to set specific goals that will help you have a positive impact on the world both now and in the future.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Template – Extracurriculars: Additional Information

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

We designed the template for this section to help you highlight your best extracurricular achievements in a memorable and unique way. 

REMEMBER: You have a maximum of 600 characters for this section (including spaces). 

The general structure of your answer to this question should have these three parts (and should be one paragraph in the end):

  • Part 1: The Pitch (100 characters)
    • Provide a quick high-level pitch of how your extracurriculars have made you a better applicant. 
  • Part 2: Details (350 characters)
    • Mention any quantifiable or significant outcomes from your extracurriculars. 
  • Part 3: So What? (15 characters)
    • Describe what this means to your candidacy (i.e. how does it make you a better applicant and a great fit for the Waterloo Engineering program?)

COACH’S TIP: In this section, make sure you showcase your problem solving, time management, leadership, and/or engineering commitment in each. This will help your application stand out and be more memorable.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Example – Extracurriculars: Additional Information

Here’s an example of how to answer this section:

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example 1: Electrical

waterloo engineering AIF essay example

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example 2: Systems Design

waterloo engineering AIF essay example

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example 3: Mechatronics

waterloo engineering essay example
WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 1, QUESTION 4 (REQUIRED LIST) – EMPLOYMENT

“Please list your most significant part-time or full-time employment in the past 2 years, beginning with the most recent.”

If you have been away from school or university for more than two years, you can send a current resume to myapplication@waterloo.ca (make sure to include your Waterloo ID#). 

Waterloo Engineering AIF Template – Employment

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

Enter your employment experience in reverse chronological order (i.e. your older experiences at the bottom and your most recent at the top). 

Fill in these components: 

  • Employer (max 30 characters with spaces)
  • Description/Title (max 50 characters with spaces)
  • Brief description of work/your role (max 254 characters with spaces)
  • Hours of work per week
  • Start date
  • End date
Waterloo Engineering AIF Example – Employment

Here’s a Waterloo Engineering essay example of what this section might look like:

waterloo engineering essay example
WATERLOO ENGINEERING SECTION 1, QUESTION 5 (REQUIRED LIST) – SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENTS, DISTINCTIONS, AND AWARDS

“If you have received any academic or non-academic awards or distinctions, please list them below. Please provide the Size of Competition if you know how many people participated.”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Template – Special Achievements, Distinctions, and Awards

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a copy).

Enter your special achievements/awards/distinctions in reverse chronological order (i.e. your older experiences at the bottom, and your most recent at the top. 

Fill in these components: 

  • Award Type (i.e. academic or non-academic)
  • Award, honour, or distinction type/name (254 characters with spaces)
  • Year you received it
  • Size of the competition (i.e. how many people you competed against/how big the applicant pool was)
Waterloo Engineering AIF Example – Special Achievements, Distinctions, and Awards 

Here’s a Waterloo Engineering Essay Example of what this section might look like:

waterloo engineering AIF essay example

Waterloo Engineering AIF Section 2: About You – Part B

This section asks you to describe your prior education, and you’ll have the opportunity to discuss any relevant outside circumstances or additional personal information.  

Before getting started, check out this video about AIF Section 2: About You – Part B:

Here are the questions: 

WATERLOO ENGINEERING SECTION 2, QUESTION 1 (OPTIONAL ESSAY) – CIRCUMSTANCES

“Are there any issues or circumstances (e.g., medical, personal, or financial) that may have affected your academic record?  If YES, please describe the circumstance in detail below. We are particularly interested in issues or circumstances that directly affected your academic performance and that led to a rise or drop in grades or to changes in your academic or personal goals. (900 character limit)

Note: If you need more space than what’s provided below to submit additional information about your issues or circumstances, please include this information in the Question #4 – Additional Information box at the bottom of this page.”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Question Breakdown – Circumstances

Whether we like it or not, sometimes tough things happen that are beyond our control.

Waterloo Engineering recognizes this, and wants to hear about any circumstances that might have affected your academic performance, extracurricular participation, etc. Use this section to discuss an event or circumstance that caused you to struggle during high school and one that might have affected your grades, like an accident, death in the family, financial restrictions, or other situations.

When writing about your specific circumstance, make sure you emphasize the impact that it has had on you. Depending on your situation, it’s also a great idea to use this tough time as a way to emphasize positive things, like lessons you learned, your resilience and determination, and/or your appreciation for a support system that helped get you through it all. Use this essay as a way to show that greatness comes from adversity, and that you’ve become stronger as a student, leader, and person because you went through it.

Not sure what qualifies in this section? Not sure if your circumstance is worth mentioning? Connect with a coach to discuss it more. 

REMEMBER: This section is optional. Don’t make up a circumstance because you feel like you have to. This section is an opportunity for you to explain a dip in your grades, but if you don’t have one, skip this section. 

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Template – Circumstances 

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

The general structure of your answer to this question should have these three parts (get a detailed breakdown of these components here):

  • Answer/Hypothesis (<150 characters)
    • Start by simply mentioning what the circumstance was.
  • Main Reasons & Supporting Argument (<400 characters)
    • How did this impact your grades/academic performance? 
  • So What? (<350 characters)
    • Describe what you learned from this situation and how it will make you a better student at Waterloo. 
Waterloo Engineering Essay Examples – Circumstances 

Here are some examples of how to answer this question that discusses an accident the student was involved in.

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example 1: Accident

waterloo engineering essay example

Waterloo Engineering Example 2: Death In Family

Waterloo Engineering AIF essay example

Waterloo Engineering Example 3: Numerous Situations

Waterloo Engineering AIF essay example
WATERLOO ENGINEERING, SECTION 2, QUESTION 2 (REQUIRED LIST) – INSTITUTION(S) ATTENDED

“The name and location of the secondary or post-secondary school(s) you are now attending or have attended should be listed below. Are any secondary or post-secondary schools missing from the list? If yes, please add them in the space below.”

For this section, simply write the name and location of the secondary/post-secondary institution(s). 

It looks like this:

waterloo engineering essay example
WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 2, QUESTION 3 (OPTIONAL LIST) – POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION

“Have you taken or are you currently taking courses at a college or university?

If yes, give the name of the college or university, the start and end dates of your studies there, and the number of courses you took. You are required to submit all official final college or university transcripts.”

For this section, simply check off whether you’re taking at college/university.

It looks like this: 

waterloo engineering essay example
WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 2, QUESTION 4 (OPTIONAL, BUT RECOMMENDED ESSAY) – ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

“In addition to the specific information requested in all of the AIF questions, please tell us anything else about yourself that you would like us to know when we review your application.  Please make sure to complete all sections of the AIF before submitting this page. (900 character limit)”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Question Breakdown – Additional Information

Think of this essay as your final pitch to the admissions committee about why you should be accepted to the Waterloo Engineering program.

There are thousands of applicants — what makes YOU different?

Is there a certain trait that everyone always mentions, like your unwillingness to give up, your epic math skills, or your ability to see the world in a unique way? That trait is exactly what you should focus on here.

Digging deeper into this will drive home the point that you are different from other applicants and that the admissions committee would be crazy not to let you in.

Using this essay to explore of differentiating trait will also show that you have self-awareness and have an interest in constantly improving. If you’ve filled out our Student Identity Blueprint, then you probably have a pretty good idea about all the cool things that make you, you — and now it’s time to share them (keep reading to learn how). If you haven’t filled out your Blueprint, connect with a coach to get started.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Template – Additional Information

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

We designed this template so that you can choose one thing that differentiates you from everyone else, like your creativity, perseverance, or your wide range of experiences, which are all things that the admissions committee looks for. 

The general structure of your answer to this question should have these four parts (get a detailed breakdown of these components here):

  • Part 1: Answer/Hypothesis (100-300 characters)
    • Introduce that one thing that helps you stick out from other candidates.
  • Part 2: Main Reasons & Supporting Argument (300-450 characters)
    • Tell the admissions committee how you would describe yourself. Be personable and unique here, while making it clear why this one trait is such an important differentiator.
  • Part 3: So What? (100-150 characters)
    • Provide a final explanation of why you are the best fit for Waterloo and why you know you will succeed there. 
  • Part 4: Discussion/Conclusion 
    • Write a final explanation about of your Main Reasons/Supporting Arguments. Try to make it catchy and memorable. 

COACH’S TIP: This section is your final pitch — it’s the last opportunity you have to tell the admissions committee why you would be a great fit for Waterloo, so make it count!

Not sure which differentiator to focus on? Connect with a coach to choose the best one.  

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Example – Additional Information

Here are some essay examples for this question, focusing on various differentiators:

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example 1: Creativity

waterloo engineering AIF essay example

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example 2: Perseverance

Waterloo Engineering essay example

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example 3: Multi-Faceted Pitch

Waterloo Engineering AIF essay example

Waterloo Engineering AIF Section 3: Courses

This section focuses on the coursework you’ve completed in school, as well as additional outside courses

Before getting started, check out this video about AIF Section 3: Courses: 

Here are the questions:

WATERLOO ENGINEERING SECTION 3, QUESTION 1 (REQUIRED LIST) – CURRENT COURSES

“List your current courses and courses that you will complete by the end of the academic year.”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Template – Current Courses

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

You are required to list the following information:

  • Course name
  • Level 
  • Scool
  • Completion Date (if incomplete, write IP) 
  • Whether you added this course as (if applicable)
    • Night School
    • Summer School
    • Saturday School
    • Distance Education/Online 
  • Repeated 
  • Course mark 

COACH’S TIP: There are specific instructions for Ontario students, students outside of Ontario, and all students, so make sure you read the instructions carefully to ensure you’re giving the correct information. Also, do not try to convert your grades from 1-100 (e.g. 91%). AP uses grading from 1-5, so under “level” list AP and then put the actual grade in the course mark section.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Example – Current Courses

Here’s an example of what this section might look like:

waterloo engineering essay example
WATERLOO ENGINEERING SECTION 3, QUESTION 2 (OPTIONAL LIST) – COURSES PRIOR TO FALL 2021

“List all the courses you’ve taken in Grades 9-11.”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Template – Courses Prior to Fall 2021

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

You are required to list the following information:

  • Course name
  • Level 
  • Scool
  • Completion Date 
  • Whether you added this course as (if applicable)
    • Night School
    • Summer School
    • Saturday School
    • Distance Education/Online 
  • Repeated 
  • Course mark 

COACH’S TIP: Just like in Question 1, make sure you read the instructions carefully for Ontario students, students outside of Ontario, and all students. 

WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 3, QUESTION 3 (OPTIONAL ESSAY) – ADDITIONAL COURSE INFORMATION

“If you are not attending high school, CEGEP, or equivalent, list courses relevant to our admission requirements for the program(s) you applied to. Please explain your background in this section. (900 character limit)”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Question Breakdown – Additional Course Information

This essay does not need to be extremely detailed, but it is meant to provide the admissions committee with a brief explanation about additional courses you’ve completed and why you completed them.

Answer these questions in your essay:

  • What was the additional courses?
  • When did you take this course?
  • Why did you take this course?
  • What was the outcome?
  • How will it help you at Waterloo (optional)?

Do this for every course that falls into this category, making a separate paragraph for each.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Template – Additional Courses Information

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

Complete this section if you took courses outside of high school that weren’t repeated or upgrade courses.

We designed this template in a way that will help you organize your thoughts and give the necessary background for each course, so that you can easily turn it into an essay. 

You’ll see sections for: When, Course Name, and Background. 

Add bullet points in each section, and when you’re done, take out the bullet points and make complete sentences. It’s that easy!

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example – Additional Courses Information

Here’s an example of this question using the template, and then easily turning it into an essay:

waterloo engineering essay example

Here’s an example of an essay from the above example: 

In the summer of 2017 after I graduated high school, I took a C++ course. We never had a specific C++ class in high school, however, I wanted to broaden my skills and therefore while I was out of high school, I took a C++ course that I believe will assist me in Software Engineering at Waterloo.

Moreover, in the fall of 2017 while I was working, I took a computer engineering class. Although there was a computer engineering class in high school, since it was not a requirement for any programs, I did not take it. Now that I want to attend Systems Design Engineering, I believe this will be a valuable class to take.

WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 3, QUESTION 4 (OPTIONAL ESSAY) – COURSES NOT TAKEN AT YOUR REGULAR DAY SCHOOL

“Please provide a reason why any Grade 12 (or equivalent) courses listed above were not taken at your regular day school. (900 character limit)”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Question Breakdown – Courses Not Taken at Your Regular Day School

This essay does not need to be extremely detailed, but it is meant to provide the admissions committee with a brief explanation about courses you’ve completed outside of regular school and why.

Answer these questions in your essay:

  • What was the course?
  • When did you take this course?
  • Why did you take this course?
  • What was the outcome?
  • How will it help you at Waterloo (optional)?

Do this for every course that falls into this category, making a separate paragraph for each.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Template – Courses Not Taken at Your Regular Day School

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

If you checked “Night School”, “Summer School”, “Saturday School”, or “Distance Education/Online” for any courses in Question 1 and/or Question 2, explain why you took those courses here. 

Like Question 3, we’ve created a template that will help you create bullet points under “Course Name” and “Explanation” for each course, and then use that to easily create an essay afterwards. 

Do this for every course that falls into this category.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Example – Courses Not Taken at Your Regular Day School

Here’s an example of this question using the template, and then easily turning it into an essay:

waterloo engineering AIF essay example

Here’s an example of an essay from the above example: 

I took ENG4U in summer school. As a result of playing Junior Hockey, my workload during the school year is intense. As a result, I need to take courses in the summer to balance the workload during the school year. Even though I am taking one less class during the year, I still have an above workload during the year as a result of hockey. 

WATERLOO ENGINEERING SECTION 3, QUESTION 5 (OPTIONAL ESSAY) – REPEATED COURSES

“Please provide a reason why any Grade 12 (or equivalent) courses listed above were repeated. (900 character limit)”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Question Breakdown – Repeated Courses

This essay does not need to be extremely detailed, but it is meant to provide the admissions committee with a brief explanation about courses you’ve had to redo and why.

Answer these questions in your essay:

  • What was the course?
  • When did you take this course?
  • Why did you have to take this course again?
  • What was the outcome?

Do this for every course that falls into this category, making a separate paragraph for each.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Template – Repeated Courses

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

If you took a class again, like Grade 12 Math or English, explain why you did that here. 

REMEMBER: If you repeat a required course, Waterloo will either take the original grade OR the new grade, and then deduct 5 points off that. For example, if you got an 80 the first time you took Grade 12 Math and then you took it again and got a 90, Waterloo will record it as an 85. If it is not a required course, there will be no adjustment. 

Like Question 4, we’ve created a template that will help you create bullet points under “Course Name” and “Explanation” for each course, and then use that to easily create an essay afterwards. 

Do this for every course that falls into this category.

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example – Repeated Courses

Here’s a Waterloo Engineering essay example of this question using the template, and then easily turning it into an essay:

waterloo engineering essay example

Here’s a Waterloo Engineering essay example from the above example: 

Due to the circumstances listed previously, my grades in ENG4U fell sharply. As a result, I repeated the course in order to improve it and perform as I normally would had it not been for the circumstances. My original attempt at ENG4U was 15% lower than my ENG3U and therefore I was confident that I could do much better. After repeating ENG4U, my grade was 10% higher than my ENG3U course.

WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 3, QUESTION 6 (OPTIONAL ESSAY) – UPGRADING

“If you have been out of school and are in the process of refreshing your academic skills for admission to the University of Waterloo, such as by taking pre-university-level mathematics courses, please list the course(s) below. (600 character limit)”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Question Breakdown – Upgrading

This essay does not need to be extremely detailed, but it is meant to provide the admissions committee with a brief explanation about courses you’ve had to redo and why.

Answer these questions in your essay:

  • What was the course?
  • When did you take this course?
  • Why didn’t you complete this course previously?
  • What was the outcome?

Do this for every course that falls into this category, making a separate paragraph for each.

If you have the character space, briefly emphasize your passion for engineering here. Showing willingness to upgrade so that you can pursue a degree in the field of engineering will showcase your passion, dedication, and interest in engineering.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Template – Upgrading

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

Like Question 5, we’ve created a template that will help you create bullet points under “Course Name” and “Explanation” for each course, and then use that to easily create an essay afterwards. 

Do this for every course that falls into this category.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Example – Upgrading

Here’s an example of this question using the template, and then easily turning it into an essay:

waterloo engineering essay example

Here’s a Waterloo Engineering example of an essay from the above example: 

After graduating high school, I took MCV4U at an adult high school. Originally when I graduated high school, I wanted to go onto Political Science and therefore I did not require this course. However, I have since realized that my passion lies with engineering and therefore I took MCV4U in order to be eligible for Software Engineering at Waterloo.

If you are unsure about what category your courses fall under for Questions 3-6, or you’re unsure about how to create simple and informative essays to explain each course, connect with a coach anytime for help. 

Waterloo Engineering AIF Section 4: Engineering

The last section of the AIF gives you the opportunity to show the admissions committee your prior knowledge and interest in engineering. You talked about it a bit in Section 1, but here you can really expand on it. 

Before getting started, check out this video about AIF Section 4: Engineering:

WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 4, QUESTION 1 (REQUIRED ESSAY) – ENGINEERING INTERESTS & GOALS

“Briefly explain why you are interested in engineering and particularly in the program to which you have applied. Comment, for example, on your interests and abilities; your career goals; exposure to engineering through school-related and other experiences; and discussions you have had with engineers, teachers, current or past Waterloo students. (900 character limit)”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Question Breakdown – Engineering Interests & Goals

This section is entirely focused on why you’re interested in engineering, what your university and career goals are, and how Waterloo Engineering can help make those goals a reality. It is meant to be a general overview of your interests and goals (more on this below).

First, focus on answering the question “Why Engineering?”. This can include talking about when you first became interested in engineering, your exposure to engineering thus far (like through courses you’ve taken, books you’ve read, extracurriculars, etc.), or a family member/friend who inspired you to pursue a career in this field. Was there a ‘eureka’ moment in your life when you knew that this is what you wanted to do? When writing this section, think beyond simple statements like “I always knew I wanted to be an engineer.” Dig deeper and find the why.

Then, based off your interest in this field, briefly discuss the goals you’ve set for yourself. Show the admissions committee that you’ve really thought about what you want your future to look like. Do you want to be an engineer so that you can make a positive difference in the world and help people? Do you see a problem that you think you can solve? Are you excited to innovate to make the world a better place? Talk about these things a bit here. Then, emphasize the fact that Waterloo Engineering is the only program that can help get you there (don’t give away too much about your goals while you’re at Waterloo Engineering because you’ll have the chance to get into that more in the next question).

Incorporating these points will articulate your passion and dedication, while showing the admissions committee that you would contribute to and make a great addition to their program.

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Template – Engineering Interests & Goals

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a copy).

The general structure of your answer to this question should have these three parts (get a detailed breakdown of these components here):

  • Part 1: Answer/Hypothesis (100-175 characters)
    • Write a quick and interesting statement to grab the reader’s attention and make it clear that you’re interested in engineering
  • Part 2: Main Reason & Supporting Arguments (350-500 characters)
    • Write a few sentences about what got you interested in engineering and what continues to keep you interested in it. Talk about your interests, exposure, etc. 
  • Part 3: So What? (250-400 characters)
    • Based on your interest in engineering, what are your long-term engineering goals and (briefly) how you will achieve them. 

COACH’S TIP: This section is for a high-level description of your interests including your long-term career goals. Question 2, on the other hand, is more detailed in that it explains how Waterloo specifically will help you with the goals you outline in Question 1. 

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example – Engineering Interests & Goals

Here are examples of how to answer this question for Electrical Engineering, Systems Design, and Mechatronic Engineering.

REMEMBER: These essays are EXAMPLES only and are NOT meant for you to copy.

Example 1: Electrical Engineering 

waterloo engineering AIF essay example

Example 2: Systems Design

waterloo engineering essay example

Example 3: Mechatronics Engineering

waterloo engineering essay example
WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 4, QUESTION 2 (REQUIRED ESSAY) – MORE ABOUT YOUR GOALS

“What sorts of things would you like to do or accomplish in Waterloo Engineering and why? (900 character limit)”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Essay Question Breakdown – More About Your Goals

You’ll notice that this question is really similar to Section 4, Question 1 (and they’ve done that on purpose). In the previous question, you discussed where your interest in engineering came from and how it has developed over your time, and briefly mentioned some goals that you have as they relate to engineering. This provides a general overview of your interests and goals.

In this essay question, you’re asked for a future-focused and specific breakdown of your goals and how they directly relate to Waterloo Engineering. List some goals (like the ones you mentioned in the previous section) and then relate them to this specific program. It is better to choose one or two really focused goals, then a bunch of goals you haven’t thought much about or can’t back up. Quality over quantity here.

Before writing anything, do some research on the Waterloo Engineering program, like notable faculty, students clubs and societies, the different fields of engineering that the program offers, co-op opportunities, etc. Check out our Waterloo Engineering Guide for all the essential information about the program, all in one place.

Write specific examples of how these aspects of the program can help you reach those goals if you were accepted. This is the ‘why’ part of the question. For example, say your dream is to develop a program that allows people to donate to a cause they care about by rounding up payment on their purchases (like if they buy a sweater and it’s $45.00, then their bank app will automatically round up to $50 and donate $5 to a charity of their choice). You talk about this a bit in Section 4, Question 1, but here you show exactly how attending Waterloo Engineering can make this a reality. You could write that Waterloo’s extensive program offerings, like Computer Engineering and Software Engineering, would allow you learn improve your prototype app while learning other ways to make it more user-friendly. You could also mention a Waterloo Engineering professor who has worked on a similar program and could help you take yours to the next level.

If you aren’t sure which goals to choose and

Waterloo Engineering Essay Template – More About Your Goals

Get started on your template here. (Click File > Make a Copy)

The general structure of your answer to this question should have these three parts (get a detailed breakdown of these components here):

  • Part 1: What (Answer/Hypothesis) (400-600 characters)
    • Describe the things you want to achieve at Waterloo Engineering
  • Part 2: Why (Main Reason & Supporting Arguments) (200-400 characters)
    • Describe why you want to do these things
  • Part 3: Conclusion (So What?) (less than 150 characters) 
    • Describe how doing these things will help you achieve your long-term goals 

COACH’S TIP: Make sure your answer is laser-focused on Waterloo here. You want to show that your interests align with Waterloo Engineering specifically and that it’s the only program that will help you achieve your goals (while also showing that you’ll make a great addition to the program).

Waterloo Engineering Essay Example – More About Your Goals

Here are some examples of how to answer this question.

Example 1: Electrical Engineering 

waterloo engineering essay example

Example 2: Systems Design

waterloo engineering essay example

Example 3: Mechatronics

waterloo engineering essay example
WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 4, QUESTION 3 (OPTIONAL ESSAY, BUT REQUIRED FOR SOFTWARE ENGINEERING) – PROGRAMMING KNOWLEDGE

“If you have applied to Software Engineering you are required to demonstrate that you have experience in developing well-structured, modular programs. However, all applicants should list their programming experience if applicable.

For every programming language in which you have at least four months of programming experience, list the language, number of months experience you have in using the language (not how long you have known it), and capacity in which you used the language (e.g., courses completed, work experience, self education). (600 character limit)”

Waterloo Engineering AIF Template – Programming Knowledge

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

In this section, you need to list the programming languages that you’ve had at least four months of experience with. 

We designed this template so that you can provide a quick snapshot of your abilities, while also showing how they are applicable to the program you’re applying to. 

In the template, write the following details: 

  • Programming Language
  • Duration
  • Description (less than 150 characters) 
Waterloo Engineering AIF Example – Programming Knowledge

Here’s an example of what this section might look like:

waterloo engineering essay example
WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 4, QUESTION 4 (CHECKBOX) – SCHOLARSHIPS

“Do you want to be automatically considered for an entrance scholarship? A separate application form is not required.  Please see Questions 5, 6, and 7 below for special instructions.”

In this section, simply check the “Yes” or “No” box.

WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 4, QUESTION 5 (CHECKBOX) – SHAD VALLEY

“If you have attended the Shad Valley program, you can be considered for one of our scholarships for Shad Valley alumni.  Be sure to discuss Shad Valley experiences in your AIF.”

In this section, simply check the “Yes” or “No” box. 

WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 4, QUESTION 6 (CHECKBOX) – FIRST Robotics Participation

“Some Engineering applicants may be eligible for a unique scholarship based on their participation with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

Have you been active on a FIRST team? If so, please be sure to discuss your FIRST experiences in your AIF.”

In this section, simply check the “Yes” or “No” box. 

WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 4, QUESTION 7 (REQUIRED, IF APPLICABLE CHECKBOX) – CHEMICAL, CIVIL, ENVIRONMENTAL OR MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

“If your first choice program is Chemical, Civil, Environmental or Mechanical Engineering, consider applying for the $10,000 Suncor Emerging Leaders Awards Program. Applicants must complete the online interview that will be used in the selection. This is one of Waterloo Engineering’s premium awards, and further details are available here. Are you planning to apply?”

In this section, simply check the “Yes” or “No” box. 

Did you know that our Youth Coaches have helped over 1,000 students win more than $5 million in scholarships? Work 1-on-1 with a coach to learn more about Waterloo’s scholarships and create a memorable and unique application to improve your chances of winning. 

WATERLOO ENGINEERING AIF SECTION 4, QUESTION 8 (SHORT TEXT) – ALTERNATIVE CHOICES

“If we are unable to offer you a place in your first-choice Engineering program, we may be able to consider you for an alternate Engineering program by clicking the link below.”

Click the “Alternative Choices” link and choose the other engineering option. 

Waterloo Engineering Video Interview 

Great job! You’ve finished Waterloo’s AIF! Now it’s time to focus on the video interview. 

We know that video interviews might seem scary, but with the proper preparation and guidance, you’ll have the confidence and communication skills you need to conquer this part of your application. 

Overview

The Waterloo Engineering video interview is technically optional, but we highly recommend you complete it because it counts for three points of your overall application. 

Here are the main things you need to know for this component of your application. 

The video interview:

  • Is done in a separate system called Kira Talent, where you can take practice questions to get the hang of the system. You’ll get an email from Kira Talent asking you to check in.
  • Takes 30-60 minutes to complete the entire assessment process.
  • Starts with a Welcome video that you must watch, and then you Register (add name, photo, and email address), then test your camera, microphone, and brower. Finally, you do two practice questions so you can get more familiar with the platform.
  • Has two questions: one video and one written/video. For the video question, you get 30-60 seconds of prep time and then 60-90 seconds to give your final answer. For the written question, you get 10 minutes to answer.
  • Allows the admissions committee to get to know you, while seeing how you communicate and respond under pressure. 

For more information about Waterloo’s video interview check out this video:

WATERLOO ENGINEERING VIDEO INTERVIEW QUESTION 1
Question About You

The first question is always going to be about you.

Common themes include:

  • Your educational goals
  • Your career goals
  • Any challenges/problems you’ve faced and overcome 

For these types of questions, make sure you:

  • Answer the question directly
  • Provide justification
  • Provide an example
  • Summarize
  • Make it applicable

When doing so, remember the following:

  • Always tell the interviewer something about yourself that helps your application
  • Your answer should support your brand
  • Differentiate yourself
  • Stay concise / don’t be redundant
  • Keep it structured

While you won’t know the exact questions until you start the video interview, there are a few common themes/questions we’ve seen over the years.

Here are some of the Waterloo Engineering video interview questions we’ve seen: 

  • What makes you a leader?
  • Describe a situation where you showed exceptional leadership.
  • Who is somebody you consider a role model and why?
  • What do you believe are traits of a good team member?
  • How would you deal with peer conflict?
  • Describe a situation where you have been a tremendous team player.
  • How important is your community?
  • Grades are the most important factor in evaluating students. Agree or disagree?
  • What is your ultimate life goal?
  • Describe a situation where you had a significant responsibility. How did you manage? 
  • What are traits of a reliable person?
  • What is your favourite quote?
  • What do you think has had the biggest impact on who you are today?
  • Can engineering have a positive impact on the world?
  • Tell us of a time when you faced a tremendous challenge. How did you overcome it?

When it comes to the Waterloo Engineering video interview, practice makes perfect. 

Not sure how to approach and answer these questions? Connect with a coach to improve your communication skills, think about possible questions and how you’ll answer them, and do mock interviews. We guarantee this preparation will give you the confidence you need to pull off a truly outstanding video interview. 

Here’s a sample response to the question: “Who is somebody you consider a role model, and why?”:

WATERLOO ENGINEERING VIDEO INTERVIEW QUESTION 2

Creative/Problem Solving Question 

The second question can be a video interview or a written question, which might be about yourself, a problem-solving question, or a surprising curveball.

Make sure you have a pen and paper so you can jot down notes if it is a written question. 

There are three general types of questions you could be asked for Question 2:

  • A position question. They will give you a statement, and ask if you agree or disagree. Always pick a side and then justify.
  • A personal preference question. This is similar to the previous question, but your own experiences should drive your answers. 
  • A deductive reasoning question. They give you a problem to solve, and you must use deductive reasoning to come to a conclusion. To learn more about communication using deductive reasoning, check out this helpful resource

COACH’S TIP: Since you won’t know if the second question is a written or video response, practice questions should be done in both formats so you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.

For most problem solving questions, use this methodology whenever possible:

  • Define the Problem. Explain why the situation was problematic
  • Analyze the Problem
  • Generate Possible Solutions
  • Select the Best Solution(s) and Action to Take
  • Lesson learned

REMEMBER: If the question is written, do not copy and paste your answer from a document like Word or Google Docs. Kira Talent has partnered with an anti-plagiarism company, and if they see that you’ve copied and pasted your answer and you’ve answered it really quickly, they could interpret this as plagiarism (even if you wrote the answer yourself somewhere else). If you have notes in a separate document, make sure you wait out the entire time of the question.

Here are some of the questions we’ve seen: 

  • Describe a situation in which you found a creative way to overcome an obstacle.
  • Tell me about a time that you identified a need and went above and beyond expectations to get things done.
  • Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
  • How would you test a calculator?
  • How would you estimate the number of gas stations in Canada?
  • If you were a pencil in a glass, how would you get out?

Here’s a sample answer to the question: “Grades are the most important factor in evaluating students. Agree or disagree.”

When it comes to the Waterloo Engineering Video Interview, preparation is key. Not sure how to prepare for your video interview or want some insight into how to approach it? Connect with a coach and we’ll tell you everything you need to do so you can feel more confident and prepared during the interview.  

For over a decade, we have worked with hundreds of students. Our coaches have a strong success rate preparing students for their AIF supplementary essays and video interview.

As a part of our 1-on-1 Youth Coaching services, we will walk you through the admission process, give you advice as you prepare your application, help you build self-awareness, and improve skills like communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start your future, today!


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