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Need help with which program to go into!

  1. Jul 19, 2011 #1
    Hi guys ,
    I am currently studying in Toronto , and will be starting my grade 12 coming september.
    I heard that i'm gonna have to apply to Universities in december/january , and I have some issues with the program I want to go to and was wondering if i could get some help!

    I am not exactly sure what electrical engineering is all about , but I love physics and math thats why i want to go to Engineering. I'm still not sure whether this is the right choice for me , the reason why i want to go to electrical engineering is cus from what ive heard is that it has alot of physics and math and jobs are easier to get as compared to other types of engineering.

    I am aiming for Waterloo since ive heard that its the best in Engineering because of its Co-op program. But im not exactly sure how the co-op works , so could someone please tell me that

    third thing , what average do you usually need to get into waterloo for sure? and do they really look into extracurriculur activities for engineering program? or extracurriculur only matters for business degrees.

    fourth thing , I plan to do Masters for in USA or do MBA at schulich or some other good university in Canada. Which university fits all my needs for doing my undergrad?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2011 #2
    Electrical Engineering is always a good choice. Interesting material, fanstastic job prospects, etc. You shouldn't worry TOO much about the employment opportunities for your eng degree - engineering in general has high employability. You should do something that you enjoy and can picture yourself doing 40 hrs a week for the next 40 years. Most uni-level engineering programs in Canada are basically the same for the first year and they're pretty good about letting you switch if your marks are decent. As for programs with a lot of math and physics, I would recommend either Eng Phys, EE, Mech, or Civil, depending on what kind of physics you're interested in (there are many) and how much math you are willing to subject yourself to. EP and EE both have a LOT of math and electrical physics, with EP also having a concentration on quantum and particle physics. ME and CE tend to be more about classical mechanics (boring, imo) and a lot easier on the math and theory side of things.

    Co-op is where you supplement your academic studies with work terms in your field, or you can work for a prof. You do performance evaluations and a work-term report as well. Co-op is a big benefit, as when you get out of school, you'll already have work experience, which employers appreciate.

    I think the cuttoff for UW eng was around 90 when I applied a couple of years ago. It's probably around the same, but it fluctuates a percent or two each year.

    You can go to just about any accredited engineering program and then pursue your masters here in Canada, down south, or across the pond. Don't get drawn in by the aura of UW. Make sure you check out your options at other schools such as McMaster, UofT, etc. I know it's a cliche, but you'll be spending the next 4-7 years (eng is hard) at whichever school you choose, so make sure you have a look at the campus, talk to people who go there, and figure out if you will enjoy your time. UW drove me away because it was a depressing bunker with a higher than average number of depressingly workoholic people.

    Hope my answer was helpful. Best of luck!
  4. Jul 20, 2011 #3
    It was 84% a year ago.
  5. Jul 20, 2011 #4
    Interesting. That's a pretty big difference from when I applied. Do you know if cutoff avg is based on specific stream, or is general to the faculty? Or maybe UW is just on the slide... :P
  6. Jul 20, 2011 #5
    @Schrodinger : thanks so much for responding !

    okay a few questions , the part which i like in physics is Dynamics and kinematics and that stuff.. I find electricity fun too , but SOMETIMES i find it kindaaaa hard to understand how the generator etc. work since u have to visualize it in your mind in a 3D way, but its not that hard likes its manageable.As for math , i enjoy nearly everything in math but mostly its Trig and Algebra. I haven't taken Calc yet , which ill be taking in my second semester of Grade 12. lets just hope its fun :D
    and , i just wanted to know , whats the way to like get into co-op ? because from what ive heard , people were telling me before getting the co-op the uni asks you to write a test and what not and you usually require a GPA of above 3.5 to get a job since companies look for smart people.
    And as you mentioned that u didnt really enjoy waterloo life since people were always studying , but like , isn't that actually good? you stay away from partying 24/7 and wasting your life and study and get good marks leading to a successfull life in the future. I understand that for some people social life is a really big factor , but honestly the only days were i actually feel like taking a rest is Friday and maybe saturday.

    PS : I love trig and algebra. Does EE have alot of that ?
  7. Jul 20, 2011 #6
    If you're looking for mechanics and kinematics and stuff like that, EE isn't going to give it to you. After first year, you won't ever see it again, so keep that in mind. Remember that it's not as much about "being able to do it" as "enjoying it and being interested in it". I would, however, recommend keeping an open mind toward electrical physics, as it gets more ingrained and you may not have as much trouble visualizing it.

    Co-op is managed differently at different schools. I believe that UW has mandatory co-op and I think almost everyone gets jobs... it's just a question of how good your job is ;). I couldn't tell you whether or not there is a test, but I'm sure someone on this forum is in UW eng. In my co-op at McMaster, it's lot more slack. It's something that you can tack onto your degree optionally and as long as you are a student in good academic standing (over a 4 avg, or 1.7 if you prefer), you qualify. They don't really go out of their way to help you and there's a short (and painfully boring) course that you have to do, but they offer resume critiquing, career fairs, etc which are pretty helpful.

    I thought the same way as you do about the partying before I went away to school, but I and a lot of people who I know at UW had a pretty quick reversal of opinion after a semester. Ultimately, you need to be able to balance your own life, rather than being limited by your environment. Furthermore, my point is one of having something to do on those Fridays and Saturdays, not about getting hammered the night before a physics midterm- you can't afford to be doing that in ANY engineering program (well... maybe once in a while... but you shouldn't) I'm not saying don't go to UW, it's a great school. All I'm saying is check out the campus and talk to some students there before you set it in stone.

    EE has plenty of trig and algebra, but you probably won't recognize it from what you've seen so from your high school courses so far. The trig becomes waves and the algebra becomes matrices. You will probably start on wave mechanics in gr12 physics and you MAY see matrices is your calc course (I did in mine, but there were others in my first year at uni who had not). Mostly, EE is calculus, but don't worry. Calc is a lot of fun if you have the right interests, which it seems like you do. And besides, by the time you get to second year, calc, trig, and algebra will all blur into one giant unholy mess (with a few other things).
  8. Jul 20, 2011 #7
    Thank you so much for answering my questions :D:D:D

    Okay and just a question of out curiousity , is uni life like a realllllllllllllllllllyyyy large jump from High school life?
  9. Jul 20, 2011 #8
    Yes and no. Some things are a huge (but always manageable) change, and some things aren't as big of a leap as one might think. In your first semester, the courseload won't be the part that gets you. The big change is going to a new environment with new responsibilities and fewer rules. Assuming you move away from home, you will be living in a whole new place, with new friends, new teachers and a completely different life structure. Don't freak out though. All of these changes are actually big positives if you do them right :) Your friends will probably be closer and more relatable, since there are so many different people to be around and so much to do that you likely won't find much time for your "acquaintances". This is a pretty big contrast from high school where everyone knows everyone and you have to just deal with people. The coursework will feel a lot more rewarding and interesting, both on the merits of it being more advanced, more specialized to your interests, and taught by someone who is usually an expert in the field. The biggest change though, is in how you lay your day out. In high school you have a block of class, then you go home, maybe study a bit, play some video games, do some chores, etc. At university, your life will become a lot more hectic, but generally only as much as you want it to. You'll have less class hours, but don't let it fool you. The actual work that you will need to put in will average on around 13-16 per day (at least it did for me when I wasn't doing all-nighters etc, its really not a homogeneous thing). Some times you won't have much to do other times, you'll feel like there's more than you can handle, but just stick it through and work hard - you'll do fine.

    After first semester, the hard stuff starts to set in. Not mind-blowingly impossible, but you'll notice a jump. Make sure that you're aware of the resources available to you (office hours, help centre, classmates, physics forum) and don't let yourself get behind. After first year, there will again be a jump in difficulty, and it will be bigger, but you will, again, be more motivated and enjoy it more. I'm told I'm in for another jump like that again this year (I'm going into 3rd year), but it supposedly eases up a bit in 4th.

    Two other pieces of advice: stay in residence 1st year, if possible; and avoid buying your textbooks at the bookstore if you can... they gouge.
  10. Jul 20, 2011 #9
    Oh.. Well , just need to focus on my grade 12 for now , get the grades, and get into all the good universities :D

    Btw i was looking over at some ME lectures over at youtube , fluid mechanics to be more specific. It looks pretty fun :eek: as compared to looking at EE Lectures about logic gates and circuits etc. (Not saying that they are bad either)
  11. Jul 20, 2011 #10
    Yep can't go wrong with either, just do what you can see your self enjoying for your your career. You'll know better after your first year :)
  12. Jul 20, 2011 #11
    Get an applied math degree :smile:! Micromass will back me up on this!

    I'm actually thinking of going to U of T for their applied math program: http://www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/calendar/prg_mat.htm [Broken]

    By the way, mathematics isn't the same as what you learn in high school it's all about writing a proofs. For instance:

    1. Prove that the [itex]\sqrt{2} \notin \mathbb{Q}[/itex] through contradiction

    2. Prove the infinitude of the primes by contradiction.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  13. Jul 20, 2011 #12
    @Kevin_Axion : Get a math degree and do what with it ? :O you want to get a degree with which you can work and make some cash. Getting a math degree can you help towards becoming a teacher or a prof though.
  14. Jul 20, 2011 #13
    I've actually done a lot of research. Yes, engineers have the highest out of undergrad pay on average but if you're solely going in it for the money you'll hate it, seriously. Applied Math degrees are very diverse and can work in many engineering fields, finance fields (quants: one of the highest paid jobs), mathematical biology, statistics (very high demand). computer science, software development, video game design and many other fields. I wanted to do engineering and I'm still considering it but I'm afraid that specializing so early on won't allow me to do other things in the case that I change my mind. And plus, I love math, the purest and most beautiful subject to study :smile:! Oh yea, I also saw a recent study and Mathematicians/computer scientists were second in salary next to petroleum engineers. Do what you want though, this is just how I feel.

    EDIT: A lot of them also end up doing research in physics.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  15. Jul 20, 2011 #14
    Yes. Don't go into engineering for the money. You will either fail out or regret it for a long time. Choose something you enjoy, but ALSO make sure that it's something that you can get a career in.

    Some universities don't require you to pick an engineering specialty until 2nd year, and then further specialize until 3rd year. For example, I am at McMaster and in 1st year I was in "General Engineering" (I thought that I wanted civil eng at this time). After 1st year, I decided that I preferred more quantum mechanics, electromagnetics, and math, so I went into Engineering Physics. Now I'm going into 3rd year and doing Engineering Physics - Nuclear & Energy Systems. On top of that, I know people who have switched their major 3 times. So don't worry about getting confined to one thing too early.
  16. Jul 20, 2011 #15
    What are you planning on doing after university? What companies are looking for engineering physicists?
  17. Jul 20, 2011 #16
    @The above
    I am not going into engineering for its money lol. Like i enjoy Math and Physics , and i like solving problems. Engineering has all of this AND a good career. Its balanced in all ways , that the reason why I want to go into it.Honestly speaking , I personally like the feeling of ME more then EE. But like im just a grade 11 student. I dont even know yet what both these engineerings are EXACTLY about. So just got to wait and finish grade 12 and First year uni then decide as schrodinger mentioned.

    PS : Schrodinger, if u dont mind , may I ask you what was your high school average that got you into McMaster?
  18. Jul 20, 2011 #17
    Here's the careers link from our faculty, just some examples:

    http://engphys.mcmaster.ca/Level%201/Jobs%20in%20Engineering%20Physics.pdf [Broken]

    Also, I know that some schools do things differently. Ours essentially sticks 3 different engineering disciplines under the same umbrella with a common 2nd year. The programs are Nuclear Engineering, Photonics Engineering, and Nanotech Engineering, as well as an interdisciplinary option. Other schools just have a broad sciency engineering, so make sure you check that out if you're planning on doing EP. There's a lot of jobs in Nuke, in particular, because a sizable portion of North American NEs are going to be retiring in the next couple of years (there's a big age gap). Aside from those three branches, a lot of EP work tends to be centred around emerging device technologies.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  19. Jul 20, 2011 #18
    I had an 89 (just short of an extra $1000...). I know people who have had as low as an 84 though.
  20. Jul 20, 2011 #19
    How is McMaster? Like teaching wise and also the Co-Op ? Do you manage to actually work somewhere part-time or its just ALOT of work?
  21. Jul 20, 2011 #20
    Oh and I always wonder why mechatronics is not famous as ME and EE are seperately? 0.0
  22. Jul 20, 2011 #21
    McMaster is great teaching-wise, as well as the campus, the surrounding area, and in particular, the engineering community. The co-op leaves a little bit to be desired in terms of them actually helping you to find a job, but if you get good marks and put the effort together to go job hunting, you should be fine. I've had engineering jobs each summer, but to be fair, I got it through networking (which is crucial in any case).

    Mechatronics is a little more specialized, and there isn't the same amount of demand. Also, I believe it's pretty new.
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