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UWaterloo vs Universities of Ottawa and Carleton

  1. Aug 5, 2011 #1
    Hi everyone. I'm a high school student in Ottawa, Ontario. I am thinking about going into engineering.

    Here in Ottawa there are 2 universities - uOttawa and Carleton. Both are good universities and have decent industry connections. If I choose to stay in my city then I will be much better off financially - both universities would offer scholarships of $4000/year and tuition is around $6000/year. I'll also be staying with my parents so that will save me a lot of money.

    Then there is uWaterloo. Its tuition is around $10000/year and it MIGHT offer me $2000 worth of scholarship just for 1 year. I will also be spending lots of money on rent & food.

    The only reason why I'm considering uWaterloo is because of its reputation and co-op program. If I stay in Ottawa and do co-op then I can only get 3 work terms. If I go to Waterloo, then I can get 6 work terms. This, and Waterloo's reputation might make it easier for me to get a job once I graduate. And that is what matters to me the most - getting a good job after university.

    So, with all of this info in mind, please tell me how I should proceed. Is uWaterloo's reputation and co-op program worth the financial setback?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2011 #2


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    Welcome to PhysicsForums!

    Waterloo definitely has some cachet, both here in Canada and abroad. However, the other universities in Canada aren't exactly chopped liver. After all, it's not as if only Waterloo grads get hired for engineering positions while Carleton and UOttawa engineering grads staff fast food restaurants. Actually, in this down economy, there's a good likelihood that there are some from all of the aforementioned schools doing that on at least a short-term basis (or working retail, or labour, or something similar).

    As I've mentioned in some of my other posts here, Engineers Canada (the umbrella organization for the provincial engineering organizations, such as PEO or APEGGA) does a good job of ensuring that accredited engineering schools throughout Canada are on an even keel when it comes to delivering undergraduate engineering education. Co-op seems to be an important feature to you, so you'll be heartened to hear that both UOttawa and Carleton have co-op programs in addition to the traditional stream (a.k.a. hopefully finding an appropriate summer job yourself)

    I don't believe that you can get a golden ticket from any of the above institutions--ultimately, it's up to you to take advantage of the opportunities afforded, and hopefully, you'll have enough karma / good luck to have opportunities go your way (and sometimes, it'll be drought, and sometimes, when it rains, it floods). The best advice I can give to you is to schmooze and network (not in a sleazy sense, but it definitely pays to keep an ear to the ground, to see what's out there, to refer suitable friends onto positions you yourself can't take, and to not burn bridges).

    Good luck with your decision, and hopefully you have the luxury of choice (i.e. the grades and means to attend all the institutions in question--I think the total application fees for all three are like <$200).
  4. Aug 6, 2011 #3
    I agree with MATLABdude. Carleton does have a 6-term co-op option, with the first summer being optional (so most do 5 terms). The engineers I have spoken to in Ottawa say the it will be a bit easier to find a job outside of Ottawa with a b.eng from Waterloo over Carleton (this is also true for large firms) but in Ottawa there is really no advantage. And if you're choosing between uOttawa and Carleton, it's Carleton no doubt!
  5. Aug 6, 2011 #4
    You got some fairly good answers on reddit. If money and location is your concern then go to Carleton. If co-op is your concern (you'll earn money to pay off school) then go to Waterloo.
  6. Aug 22, 2011 #5


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    Not quite $100k (based on their estimates), but if you're living in residence it's still pretty pricey, even if you're Canadian:

    I don't know the local housing / renting market, nor the local cost of living, so I have no idea if you'd be able to substantially lower rent / "meal plan" by living off-campus.

    EDIT: Did I mention the food will probably be better at the Mom'n'Pop Inn, as opposed to meal plan?
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