Jump to content

Menu

Maths people: what do you know about University of Waterloo


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

We are continuing our search for a suitable second home for our advanced ds.  We have discovered that University of Waterloo (which places somewhere from 20 to 30 in the world in mathematics) has 4 full ride (plus living expenses) scholarships for students who can medal at the IMO as a junior.   DS was 5 points off a bronze last year, so this is not totally out of the question. What make Waterloo particularly interesting is their co-op program.  They run a three-term year-round academic year, which alternates between academic terms and 'co-op' terms. A co-op placement can be at places like Google and Facebook. So it takes you 5 years with a AAC ACA CAC ACA CAC, so 8 academic terms and 7 co-op terms. The co-op terms are paid which helps defray the cost if you don't get a scholarship plus it gives you a great resume.  It would also help ds determine what type of math he wants to focus in. 

 

Does anyone have any impressions of Waterloo? Thanks!

 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We just toured there in October. We walked around ourselves for maybe 5-6hrs before chatting up the officers at the visitors center. They are very welcoming to young freshman. Their youngest is a 12 years old in Physics, Math and Chem. They didn't find it weird that we were asking. My husband did an exchange program there back in the mid 90s. They have expanded a lot over the years and the engineering buildings are lovely. The math building is near the admin. We went there while vacationing at Niagara Falls, Ontario. It was an easy drive. We parked at a day parking lot instead of the metered parking ones.

 

12 year old freshman link http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/university-waterloo-12-year-old-student-diki-suryaatmadja-1.3748608

 

No idea about math. Hubby was in electrical engineering and we were touring the engineering facilities.

Edited by Arcadia
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't know much about them.  Their reputation is good, but many of those cooperative programs have a drawback associated with their strength - by having a coop, the course structure can become rigid.

 

With a clear preference for a career path, this is not an issue.  For a polymath, I wonder?  Really, I don't know enough to say.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike, this is really interesting.  Would you mind expanding on what you are saying, as it will help me come up with the right questions to ask. 

 

Ruth in NZ

 

Again, I really don't know their program.  But, some co-op programs have rigid course requirements and sequences, with the idea being that the student has a certain level of readiness to be placed in the work force after only 2.5 or 3 years.

 

If you are considering a blended degree of some type (multiple degrees, or a specialized polymath degree), then you should chat with the dean - not just the counselor - to see what flexibility exists.  It can get tricky to schedule out courses with a custom curriculum, as some may be offered only once every two years, making it tough to get all prerequisites in place and in time.

 

For example, our older one is leaning towards something with a hybrid of mathematics, computer science, economics and strategic management (the data science "unicorn") - or maybe with psychology, philosophy and neurobiology thrown in (broad-spectrum artificial intelligence).  To achieve either of those, his choices of universities may be limited, since he will need a lot of scheduling flexibility, and therefore likely a large university or unusually customizable program. 

 

Waterloo appears to offer a lot of different specializations catering to very particular blends of talents.  Looks good, but does it align with your son's interests?

 

OTOH, the co-op can give some impressive experiences for the focused student, and an easy path to a great career.  Depending on the future job market, that may become very significant.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike, my ds has no idea what area of specialty he wants to go into.  My thinking right now is that he needs a large program so he can dabble in many courses, but I was also attracted by the Co-op idea as a way for him to try out different industries that need mathematicians.  Do you have any ideas as to how I can help my ds narrow his focus a bit so we can find an appropriate university?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike, my ds has no idea what area of specialty he wants to go into.  My thinking right now is that he needs a large program so he can dabble in many courses, but I was also attracted by the Co-op idea as a way for him to try out different industries that need mathematicians.  Do you have any ideas as to how I can help my ds narrow his focus a bit so we can find an appropriate university?

 

No, but when you figure it out, let us know!  ;)

 

We have the same problem here.  It's much easier with the younger one, who decided on physics before 1st grade, and has stuck to it doggedly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure if this will help or not, but I will share my experience and a question you could ask.  If the school is set up for co-op in math, then the problem may be moot.

 

I double majored in math and computer studies (what would today be a BA in computer science) 1979-1984.  I participated in a 5yr co-op program for computer studies - nothing like that existed for math.  We were on the quarter system.  Co-op started summer after sophomore year.  Then one quarter each of the last 3 years plus summer would be co-op.  It was designed so that 3rd year co-op quarter was spring, 4th year co-op quarter was winter, and 5th year co-op quarter was fall.  My 4th year, I took number theory and prob&stats.   Each was a 3 quarter class and having a co-op quarter in the middle was not going to be practical. I was able to switch my co-op quarter to spring, so I missed the 3rd quarter of each class.  I suppose I could have picked them back up in my 5th year spring quarter, but I think I had all the math credits I needed for the major, so I never did. 

 

So, the question I would ask would be how many math classes are 2 or 3 quarters (or terms) long and how does that work when academics are interspersed with co-op?

 

Good luck to your ds!  I enjoyed my co-op experience and would definitely do it again given the opportunity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...