Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Applying to Waterloo; Mechatronics or Mechanical?

  1. Nov 8, 2011 #1
    Hey guys, im kinda in a dilemma here about applying to Waterloo (I'm currently in highschool present in Ontario) for mechatronics or mechanical engineering. I was wondering if you guys could help me out with some experience in engineering in general and such to make an informed desicion, since my knowledge is limited in highschool.

    So the way Waterloo has students apply to their factuality is by choosing only one feild of engineering they want to be picked for, but can specify a "second choice" in their aif (some form to fill out about the student's life outside of school). My original plan was to apply for mechatronics, since it is the harder one to get in, requiring 'high 80's', and suggest mechanical as my second option in my aif since it just requires mid 80's. I planned to do this because the professors said at the open house said it would be MUCH easier to switch from mechatronics to mechanical, since it is less competitive to get in, creating more flexibillity

    However, I REALISTICALLY see myself applying with an average around 87 or 88 (with a worst, worst WORST case scenario of 86). With this lower than expected average, im questioning even applying to the mechatronics undergrad program at all!

    this is not just because marks though. After being on this forum a bit, it seems that mechanical is much more broad and you learn about many more fields than any other program, and im worried that mechatronics may restrain that. This is also because you CAN specialise in mechatronics from mechanical in waterloo, but you just start the programing in 3rd or 4th year

    however, my aif will be very strong, and this form can add 1-5% on your admiration average. I have been very involved in music being in an arts school i had to audition for, as well as tons of sports and volenteering as well. however, I did take english in summerschool, and i may be penalised a bit for it, since it is frowned upon, BUT i had to in order to fit in all the courses i wanted

    so my resulting question is should i put my first choice of engineering for mechanical or mechatronics. Because mechanical is easier to get into, if i put mechatronics as my second choice, they will not even look at that and my mechanical application will get priority. However, it seems that mechanical may be much more broad and better to go into for my undergraduate studdies (since you CAN specialise in mechatronics from mechanical in your 3rd to 4th year). But if apply to mechatronics and get in, it is supposedly real easy to drop down to mechanical if i dont really like it. but if i DONT get it to mechatronics (which may likley with my marks), mechanical will be my second choice, and i will not get priority to mechanical engineering as opposed to those who apply to mechanical as their first choice.

    Im sorry for making this thread so big and tedious, but these decisions are big and tedious to me! thank you all very much for the support, i greatly appreciated any help

    P.S, both these feilds intrest me because i like things that move, that are big (such as cars and areospace things) and things that are high tech

    Thanks again!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2011 #2
    Since your marks are very close to the acceptance and it could go either way, I would do a risk/benefit analysis.
    1st Mechatronics, 2nd Mechanical
    Best outcome Accepted
    - You have all the options to stay or drop down if you don't like it.
    - You don't get into mechatronics and, bumped down to mechanical don't get into that either.- averages can change from year to year

    1st Mechanical, 2nd mechatronics
    You get into mechanical and find you like it a lot and have no interest in mechatronics.
    You find out in first year you really want to go into mechatronics. So you work really hard first year, get a high average and transfer into mechatronics.

    In your shoes I would apply to Mechanical with no regrets. I have friends at engineering at waterloo and the first year is mainly general anyways so transferring would not be a problem especially with high grades, universities are pretty relaxed when it comes to changing majors. All they really care about is your money and if you can succeed in the program there should be no problems. The consequences of applying to mechatronics would be much more severe especially if it is unclear.

    I hoped this helped. Applying to universities is stressful and confusing and having second and third opinions always help :smile:
  4. Nov 9, 2011 #3
    Alright, thanks for the input! Judged by what some if my teachers had told me, I'm thinking of just going straight into mechanical now. I went to the Waterloo campus and it just felt like a second home to me, and it seems that having that special 'mechatronics' name does not have an advantage when trying to find some random job (unless it's REAL specific).

    Even though my mind is preety much made up, cab someone who is in mech eng or nechatronics kinda clear up the difference coming out with the different degree IF I specialize in mechatronics from mechanical? All the help given is greatly apprechiated
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook