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Lisa Liu: How to Calculate Your Chances Of Getting A Co-Op Job in Processing

Two computer monitors glowing in the dark of a red chic modern office

The first week of co-op applications, I found myself wondering if I had applied to enough positions to get a co-op position in the first round of applications. Eventually, I got so wrapped up in wondering what the probability of me getting a job in the first round was, that I decided, “Hey, why not simulate the interview process and get the actual percentage probability, if just to curb my co-op anxiety?”

And so that’s exactly what I did. First, I took the total number of positions I had applied to thus far (60), and then I multiplied that by the percentage of applications that had already done interview selections (5/17 applications resulted in an interview = 30%).

60 x 0.3 = 17

Thus, my predicted number of interviews, should 30% of applications result in an interview (a number that may change in the future), is 17.

The average number of candidates for an interview in WaterlooWorks appears to be 8. Assuming that I am an average candidate, I would have a 1/8 chance per interview of actually getting the job.

Knowing these factors, I wrote a program that simulated an 8-sided die being rolled an X amount of times. If the 8-sided die landed on 1 at least once during those X amount of rolls, that means that the interview was successful that I got a job offer in the first round of applications. Then the overall probability of this outcome was measured by assigning two variables to each respective outcome and then dividing them at the end.

The results of the program were that if I got 17 interviews with an average chance of 1/8 per interview, my chances of getting a job in the first round of co-op applications were 90%.

Chart displaying simulation results with different inputs: Comparing the # of predicted views vs % chance of getting a job in first round

Link to the program (written in Processing) so you can see it work for yourself:


Lisa Liu, GBDA '19

Lisa is a 3rd Year GBDA Student who creates weird and unique animations.


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