"WATER WATER WATER"
"LOO LOO LOO"
Most Waterloo students find the above cheer somewhat cringe-worthy and unpleasant to hear on days outside of orientation week. Yeah, it's the school cheer in order to provoke school spirit, but every U Waterloo student knows that the cheer is only appropriate during the frosh days. Anyhow, the University of Waterloo is not your typical high-level post-secondary institution. It is certainly ranked high as seen from the QS World Rankings (152) and the Times World Rankings (173), and it may be worldly known for its engineering, math and computer science, but what most students from around the world do not know is that there are many, many more reasons why they should give the young Canadian school a chance and shine among the next generation of students among all fields of interest!
1. Cooperative Education.
I'm not saying this may be the most important factor for choosing the University of Waterloo, but it definitely stands out, and many people know the university for its amazing cooperative education opportunities. The university is the recipient of the world's largest post-secondary cooperative education program. There may be other universities around the world trying to promote their established co-op programs, but "Waterloo" may be a common name one will hear when you ask someone about a good cooperative education school with an amazing lineup of degrees. Waterloo will prepare anyone well for their upcoming professional career with co-op opportunities in EVERY. SINGLE. FACULTY.
2. A University City.
Waterloo, ON, Canada is the home of three major universities/colleges. These comprise of the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. Since the city is considered by most as just a town, a small population with a high concentration of university students provides a vibrant atmosphere full of young individuals working to succeed in their education. Many restaurants, areas of interest and entertainment locations target students specifically and have student deals or even accept your student card as a means of payment.
3. Technology, technology, technology!
Did you know that outside of California, the Waterloo-Toronto corridor in Canada takes the second spot for the largest concentration of tech companies? Waterloo itself, being a city full of young innovators and entrepreneurs, sparks the interest for computing, engineering, science and technology! If you have heard about the insane reputation the math, computer science and engineering programs have at the University of Waterloo, then it's about time to understand why these programs are so well-known. Fueling the minds of many who have potential to innovate and increase the world's technology understanding is the main goal of the programs. Stephen Hawking, understanding the importance of the role the University of Waterloo has on nanotechnology, quantum computing, software and hardware, attended the opening ceremony on the the Quantum-Nano Center opened on campus.
4. Business and... what?
Science and business. Environment and business. Arts and business. Math and business. Recreation/sport and business. Why is the school allowing a wide variety of programs to implement a business education? Well, with business and whatever you may be studying along with it, you obtain the best of two worlds. Why not study what you may be passionate about but still obtain a degree involving business skills that make you prepared for the workplace? Nevertheless, these programs are relatively new, but are growing fast in the Waterloo community and gaining a significant reputation. In addition, cooperative education is either required or available for all business programs. And if there is a certain business field you may be interested in, the School of Accounting and Finance is there for you! A program dedicated to supporting your passion in a specific business field without having to suffer general business within your first year while also emphasizing on the co-operative education program sounds like a dream.
5. Silicon Valley.
You knew this would show up. I would be yelled at if I didn't mention this topic and you know it. The University of Waterloo is the most famous and well-reputed university outside of the United States to provide co-op students down in California, working for the largest technology-based companies existing in the world today: Google, Microsoft, Spotify, Snapchat and Yelp! And that's only five I named off the top of my head. One doesn't even need to be in computer science or engineering to partake in such a dream. Other programs such as the business programs listed above are also capable of achieving this feat.
6. An underground and overground tunnel system.
You can walk through the entire campus without stepping outside! This probably does not sound as exciting as it seems, but trust me, Canadian winters are not friendly, especially to those who prefer warmer temperatures. Now you can attend the University of Waterloo without worrying as much about hypothermia. (Just kidding, but winters can get annoying.)
7. Start specializing in your unique field starting at day one.
Few universities like the University of Waterloo allow a freshman to dodge the general first-year courses or programs they take and instead start specializing straight away! Programs here are designed so that starting from the moment you begin your life as a student, you know what program you are in and what you are specializing in. To give that opportunity to students instead of making them take general first-year courses or having them apply into a program in their upper years is rare, and the University of Waterloo knows that. Such prestigious programs that allow this to happen include the School of Accounting and Finance, the School of Planning, Engineering, School of Pharmacy (conditional admission), Biotechnology, School of Computer Science, Mathematical Finance and Actuarial Science!
8. An effective trimester schedule.
For those involved with cooperative education, a flexible trimester schedule allows you to interplay four to five semesters of work with the regular amount of school you must partake in to graduate. If you think landing in co-op will delay your graduation date by a lot, the truth is: one can finish four or five semesters (comprising of four months) of internships with four years of university education and only graduate a year late! Even if you are not in cooperative education, your summers will be off and you get to graduate a year earlier!
9. Party at Ezra.
And who could not forget St. Patricks Day? Just kidding, many people neglect it. However, the University of Waterloo and its neighboring Wilfrid Laurier University can be found on the opposite side of the spectrum, partying on a specific street known as "Ezra." Together with Wilfrid Laurier University, "Ezra" is one of the biggest and most famous dates among university students in the city of Waterloo. Thousands among thousands gather to party like there's none tomorrow - unless St. Patrick's Day ends up on a weekend; if you can afford to suffer two hangovers in a row.
Last but certainly not least, "Velocity" is a famous university-affiliated entrepreneurship program provided by the University of Waterloo! Belonging within a university that owns the world's largest free start-up incubator in the entire world may be hard to believe, but with so much technology and innovation around the area and with so many young innovators with expertise in technology, computing and science, Velocity can never find a better home. The university's motto, "Ideas Start Here," also stems from the fact that Waterloo can help turn ideas and dreams into reality. If you ever have an amazing idea that you think can turn into a million dollar project, and you have the mind of an entrepreneur and a passion for your solution, then Velocity will always be there for you to take the first steps towards entering the hall of fame.
Although the list stops here, I assure you that the reasons carry on and on. Welcome to the University of Waterloo: where ideas start here, bright minds learn to shape the future and an atmosphere of Waterloo spirit is never ending!
Lead Image Credit: Kasey Fu