Are you interested in applying to the AFM program at the University of Waterloo? Well one of my online students from last year Reuben got in!! I got him to share his grade 12 experiences below :)

What were your marks in all of your grade 11 and 12 courses?

Grade 11:
Introduction to Entrepreneurship (BDI3C1) – 95
World Religions (HRF301) - 89
Functions and Relations (MCR3U) – 88
Health and Physical Education (PPL301) - 90
Introduction to Financial Accounting (BAF3M1) - 97
Introduction to Computer Science (ICS3U1) - 86
Biology (SBI3U1) - 82
Physics (SPH3U1) - 74

Grade 12:
Intro to International Business (BBB4M) – 88
Religious Education (HRE4M1) - 96
Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U) – 90
Principles of Financial Accounting (BAT4M1) - 94
Business Leadership (BOH4M1) - 94
English (ENG4U) - 92
Advanced Functions (MHF4U) - 88

When did you receive your acceptance?

I got accepted on March 16th.

What subject(s) are you best at? Weakest at? Was it always like this? What are your favourite subjects?

I was always best at business oriented classes. I’ve always been interested in everything business so it was easy for myself to work hard and do well because I was enjoying what I was doing. My weakest subject has always been everything science related. I believe this is because I’ve never really liked science and because of that I never cared enough to try as hard and instead used that time to focus more on business and other subjects. My favourite subjects in school were always math and business. Ever since I was a child I have found math and business very interesting and knew I wanted to make those a part of my life going forward. This also led me to trying really hard in both subjects and actually wanting to learn from them.

Did you have a tutor(s)? If so, for what courses?

I had a tutor for Advanced Functions that I would go to before a test, along with AllThingsMathematics and Patrick.

Did you work during your grade 12 year? If so, how many hours per week? How did it affect your studying?

I worked at Dollar Tree during my grade 12 year, as a cashier and stocker. In the beginning of the year I was working around 12-16 hours a week and it was negatively impacting my studying, as I spent less time doing work and it was showing in my grades. Eventually I asked to only work weekends so I was only working 4-8 hours a week and it helped greatly because I could spend more time doing work and because of that I did better in school.

What were your study habits like? Were they the same everyday?

During grade 9-11 my study habits for classes were very poor. I did not study for most classes and just expected to do well in every class. My parents are very strict about studying so they always used to yell at me and say I need to improve or else I’ll never get into university. These study habits were a reason some of my marks from grade 9-11 were not that good.

When I started grade 12 I knew that I needed to improve my habits or what my parents said would come true. I started writing more notes and looking over them everyday so I could memorize them and be prepared for tests and assignments. Also, everytime before a test, my friends and I would go to chatime which is a bubble tea place and just sit there for hours reviewing course material and helping each other prepare for the tests. We would look over practice tests and attempt them until we were confident in the unit and ready for the tests.

I believe that my shift in study habits from grade 9-11 to grade 12 was a huge reason why grade 12 was my best overall average and I improved in all classes that I previously did not do as well.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in? Did it affect your studying?

From grade 3 and still going I was part of a badminton club and competed in numerous tournaments. These rarely affected my studying habits as it was only on Tuesdays and Fridays from 7:30-10:30. I also was a part of the school badminton team from the end of March until May. We had practices for an hour and a half for about 3 days a week. This didn’t affect my studying because after practices I had plenty of time to study still.

I was also captain of the school tennis team from the beginning of October until the end of November. My team had practices 3 times a week for 1 and a half hours and sometimes I would stay later with the coaches to practice more. I don’t believe that this affected my study hours that much because practices usually ended before 5 so I still had plenty of time to go over school and do my work.

Briefly describe your 3 closest friends (or the 3 people you most talked to and spent the most time with) during your grade 12 year. Did they have any affect on your results in grade 12?

Friend 1:

  • Low 90’s average like myself
  • Was in many of my classes
  • Part of Student Senate instead of sport teams
  • Hung out together to study for big tests coming up
  • Very supportive
  • Procrastinated quite a bit which I also did
  • Attends University of Laurier for BBA/Financial math double degree
  • Positively impacted my grades as he always pushed me to do better and get better grades

Friend 2:

  • High 80’s average
  • Was also in many of my classes
  • On the Cross country, Soccer and Track teams
  • Hung out together to study
  • Very supportive
  • Sat beside each other in most classes and sometimes played games instead of paying attention which I do not recommend
  • Got accepted to Guelph for Economics and Finance but deferred and went back for 12+
  • Positively impacted my grades because many times I had to help him with problems and by doing so it helped me learn more and be more prepared

Friend 3:

  • Low 90’s average like myself
  • Was also in many of my classes
  • Took part in Student Senate instead of sports
  • Hung out together to study
  • Very supportive
  • Didn’t procrastinate as much as me
  • Attends Laurier and Waterloo for a double degree in Math and Business
  • Positively impacted my grades because he always pushed me to be my best self and would help me if I ever needed help with anything

What advice would you give to someone when they’re preparing for the supplementaries in the application process (interviews, forms, etc)? What mistakes did you feel you made in this process? How would you have prepared differently to avoid these mistakes?

My advice is to start formulating the answer to the questions as soon as you have access to them. Sometimes the university will have the questions posted on their website, which is what Waterloo did. Try your best to start coming up with an answer to them as early as possible so you have a lot of time to edit it and get feedback. When I was doing it, my english teacher offered to edit my answers and help me improve my answers, so I would definitely recommend asking a teacher to help make your answers better.

There were three questions that I had to answer during my interview and a personality survey I had to answer after. The first question was to talk about a time I experienced a setback as a team and what we did to solve it. The second was to talk about a time when I had to work with people of different social backgrounds and the last question was asking what makes you stand out from the rest of the people applying. These questions were broad so it was key to spend a lot of time formulating an answer to make it perfect.

Something I wish I did differently was not to be so nervous when I was doing the interview. I feel that my nerves caused me to mess up my words sometimes, but if that happens I recommend not making it seem like a big deal and just keep going like nothing happened. If you over exaggerate you messing up the words then the selection committee won’t like that.

Why did you choose the AFM Program at Waterloo? What are you looking to get out of the program during and after?

I chose Waterloo for AFM because Waterloo is one of the best schools for business in Canada and also has the largest and most successful co-op program in Canada. I always wanted to go for business and finance and I knew that if I could get into Waterloo they would give me the best chance to succeed. Waterloo also doesn't just emphasize school work and academic success, they also put almost as big of an importance on mental health and having fun.

I hope that Waterloo will help me learn more about Finance and Accounting and the co op will help me network with future employers so I can get a good job in Finance when I graduate.

If you were able to go back to the day before Grade 12 started and give yourself advice, what would it be?

I would say to my grade 12 self to just be myself. I know that I can do anything if I try my best so I don’t need to change myself to improve, but instead just try harder and make my habits better. Also to stop procrastinating because when I save everything for the last minute then my best work will not show.