University of Waterloo for international students in India – CS and other programs

Recently a student from my high school, who was also interested I coming to the same University as I am, texted me regarding some questions he had about the whole process. So I realized that’s it is not just him. Many students have concerns about their future education and the admission process of universities abroad.
In this post, I am going to post all the questions he asked me and answer them one by one. I just thought that this would be helpful to any student in India who also wishes to come to the University of Waterloo for undergraduate studies.
As an international student myself I can relate the impediments that can be faced by the students abroad, and in their application process, so I believe this is something that would be helpful to students not only in my high school but students all over India who want to come to Waterloo but lack a sense of direction.

Recourses:

  1. UWaterloo CS for Future undergrads: https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/future-undergraduate-students
  2. Check admission requirements: https://uwaterloo.ca/future-students/admissions/admission-requirements
  3. CS coop UW: https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/future-undergraduate-students/co-op-and-regular
  4. Sports and activities: https://athletics.uwaterloo.ca
  5. Life at Waterloo: https://uwaterloo.ca/future-students/student-life/day-life

When is the appropriate time to apply?
Ideally, you should start looking at universities at the beginning of your grade 11. However, if you are in class 12, it is still not too late. You should always keep in mind the application deadlines for your specific program. This can be found on the corresponding page on the University’s website. Follow Resource 1 for further information.

As per the appropriate time to apply, apply as soon as the application intake opens so you can get accepted in the first round. But even if you don’t worry, you will still have a chance in the second round.

REMEMBER!
If you are planning to study abroad, your grade 9, 10 and 11 grade ACTUALLY matters. Make sure you are performing well in your academics at your highschool. If you ICSE, try to keep your English score up. Having mathematics as a subject in your grade 11 and 12 also boosts up your application.

What should my CV include?
Basically all your extracurricular activities, volunteer work you did, competitions you participated in and courses you took and all that. If you need help with designing a CV/Resume, email me at resume@raghavkharbanda.com, and I can personally help you design one ๐Ÿ™‚

How much is the tuition fees for the computer science programme? How much of it will I be able to pay on my own?
Usually, for UW, an international student pays around 25000 CAD on an average each term including residence and meal plan. Prices vary depending upon your program.
You may be able to earn a year’s worth of tuition and maybe more if you land a nice job during your coop terms combined and.

Would taking the JEE exam help me in any way for my admission?
Ahh now, this is a tricky question!
If you are planning to study abroad, JEE is of no use at all. You will only need JEE exam if you want to get into an Indian university or college. For foreign universities, only your School grades matter and any extracurriculars that you do.
However, I would strongly suggest that you do give JEE even if you didn’t prepare for it. Think of it as a backup option if the foreign university thing doesn’t work out. You won’t have to drop a year then to give JEE again and get into an Indian college. It’s also a good way to evaluate where you stand.

Is there any other alternative university that might be a little less pricey but would be the same for the long run?
If you are an international student and want to pursue higher education at a UNIVERSITY in Canada, your budget is undoubtedly going to go up, unless you get approved for scholarships. And even then it’s going to cost too much. Colleges are usually a cheaper option, and you graduate in lesser time (2 years), but university education is always valued more.
There are a lot of other options to choose from in Canada. I would suggest going on each University’s website and look into that and do some research. Only some universities offer a coop program, and UW is one of them. From my own experience, the coop program has helped me a lot both academically and personality-wise.

Would I be able to get crack into the Silicon Valley if I go through Waterloo?
Good question! Everyone wants to go to Cali. The University of Waterloo has its own job portal called Waterloo Works, and there are a lot of job postings from California/silicon valley/san Francisco etc. You can apply to them for your coops but let me tell you that there is a lot of competition. It’s not impossible though. I have seen many people getting coop jobs in Cali.
The only thing is for full-time jobs after graduation, companies may hesitate to sponsor you for your H1 Visa, so if you are a US citizen living in India, you have more chances that you will land a job in the US. Your academic performance also equally matters. For coop jobs, you only need a J1 visa, and you can get that in a month or so if you apply in time. The main thing is, if you keep your academic score high and perform well at University, and maintain a good resume, yes you can crack into silicon valley. Also, don’t be sad if you don’t get your first job there. Work at some small companies first, improve your resume, get more experience and then certainly you will get a job there.

How is the Co-op programme for computer science students?
Coop program for CS is pretty popular and high in demand. I have attached a link in resources that you can refer to for coop. Resource 3.

How is life at waterloo, and what all subjects can one choose?
Life in waterloo is peaceful. It’s not as populated as other cities like Toronto. Personally, I like it because it is very student-friendly.
For CS, some courses are preselected for you and then you can add more courses as electives.You can choose from an extensive catalogue of courses. The course requirements are listed in on the course website. See Resource 5.

Would I be able to work along with my studies? Is it advisable?
While I would not suggest working outside the University while studying, you should definitely look for part-time job opportunities within universities. You can find a lot of paid and volunteer opportunities within the University on UW LEADS (which is the University’s portal for finding job and volunteer opportunities within the University). This will give you something to add to your resume before your first coop

What is the scene of extracurricular activities and housing?
I would highly recommend living in residence for your first year. It is usually hard for international students to find off-campus housing. You can participate in several extracurricular activities. The University of Waterloo has a dedicated website for that. You can enroll yourself in clubs and school sports teams on the athletic and rec website in resources. See Resource 3.

Do I need to have any extra skills or certificates before applying?
It is always good to have extra skills but even if you don’t have anything yet, don’t be demotivated. It is never too late. Always look for opportunities and take part in activities that you can add to your CV later. Do volunteer work like designing software for people etc. Go to competitions. In short, take initiative. All this will increase your chances of getting into University.

Is it worth it?
If you are passionate about your dream, anything that takes you even one step closer to your destination is worth it.

MORE QUESTION? RECOMMENDATIONS? EDITS?

Post them in comments and I will do my best to work on them!

QUESTIONS ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO IN GENERAL?

Email me at hello@raghavkharbanda.com or post them in comments and I’ll create a new post for general questions!

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