your student life specialists

Jul 28



I tried to comment this but for some reason, the comment verification system didn’t work.

I just wanted to say, you’re HILARIOUS and very edgy. Please keep the excellent work!!! And if whatever you’re doing doesn’t work out for you, consider going into writing as a profession.



hey there,

thanks a lot, dude! i try really hard to be a dark and brooding edge-lord, mostly in an ironic way but i do worry for the earnestness of my jokes sometimes.

i have to mention though, that there are two of us writing for askastudent at the moment, and all the good writing comes from my counterpart. when she takes over, i fully expect the quality of this website to increase exponentially in quality and decrease exponentially in outdated sonic meme references.

i don’t even know what my profession is going to be yet (possibly eating saltines while crying? binge-watching broad city? getting into petty arguments with people who don’t deserve it against my better judgement?), but i do hope that writing will always be a part of it. i want to do something meaningful with my life – which you may not have guessed, considering i write like someone whose life is going south fast and who wants to take as many first-years down with me as i can.

maybe i can just be a dan brown ghostwriter as a job. even if i’m not fulfilled, at least i’ll always be entertained at work.



P.S. we are in the process of trying to fix the comments – sorry it’s taken so long!

Jul 27

don’t roll your eyes at ME


I’m a (very) part time student and I’m trying to figure out how applying for POSt next year will work. I’ll have 3.5 credits in the September. I’ll be taking a 1.0 course which will bring me to 4.5 credits. Can I wait until the April when I have 4.5 credits to apply for POSt or will this be problematic? I’ve done so many searches and I’m still unclear how this would work. Maybe I’m just over thinking it. But there seems to be an issue with people not being able to take courses they wanted because they’re going into second year without a POSt. Am I going to be unable to take the 1.0 course that September? What happens?

Thanks in advance,




what i’m understanding is this: by the end of this summer, 2016, you will have accumulated 3.5 FCEs. you’re taking 1.0 FCEs this upcoming Fall/Winter, meaning you will have 4.5 FCEs by Summer 2017.

you can only apply for a subject POst if you have 4.0 full course equivalents, so yes, you will have to apply to your subject POst after you complete your next 1.0 credit. if i’m following your timeline correctly, that would be Summer 2017, between April and September. i don’t really see any real reason why you won’t get into your 1.0 credit course for September (unless the class is full), since you’ll still be considered a first year student, and so you don’t need to be in a program yet to sign up for courses.

lucky for you, the subject POst request period will be after you complete your course, so don’t fret. you’ve still got quite some time before you have to deal with it!

if your confusion is coming from the fact that you’ll have 4.5 FCEs by next Summer instead of 4.0 on the dot, don’t worry, that’s not a problem either. while you’re at 3.5 you should not be enrolling in courses. it’s once you complete at least 4.0 that you sign up for programs. for you, that will be next Summer.

hope this cleared things up for you!

*a message from your mom: “if you keep rolling your eyes like that, someday they’ll get stuck there!”



Jul 27


incoming first-years: it’s that time again! except for you guys, it’s “that time” for the first time, because you’ve never done it before. and no, i’m not talking about eating spaghetti meatballs with your sweetie. i’m talking about COURSE ENROLMENT.

you may have heard from older friends that course enrolment is this terrible, harrowing process, that uoft is out to get you and doesn’t want you to get into your courses, and that the system is set up for you to fail.

i’m not gonna argue with you if you want to make yourself out as a victim of The Man. but if you don’t get into any of your courses, it’s probably just because you’re a dingus who wasn’t prepared. that’s the hard truth.

FORTUNATELY FOR YOU, aska wants to help you leave the nest and become a fully-fledged, competent uoft student. so today, i am going to be resolving the most commonly asked first-year questions on course enrolment day – which, this year, is on the 28th of July, also known as TOMORROW.

1. i don’t understand what i’m supposed to take in first year – what are my mandatory courses?

there are no mandatory courses. at many other Ontario universities, the university will enrol you into your mandatory courses. you may be hearing about this from your friends at Western and Ryerson and Ottawa and feeling a twinge of panic, because you haven’t heard ANYTHING about mandatory courses, and as far as you know, you have to do all of your course enrolment yourself.

uoft isn’t a hand-holder. it’s more of a cold, distant parent that gives you abandonment issues. however, like the rich, neglected child who gets to have a lot of pool parties because their parents are always away, what may seem like a frustratingly hands-off approach will actually provide you with freedom and flexibility in the end.

unlike your friends at other schools, you have no mandatory courses, strictly speaking. as a first-year student in the Faculty of Arts & Science (excluding Rotman Commerce students), you have to figure out what courses you want to take in order to apply for programs in your second year. after first year, you’ll need to be in 1 specialist OR 2 majors OR 1 major and 2 minors, so you should enrol in the courses you’ll need to be eligible for whatever combination of programs you’re interested in.

some programs, like the international relations major, require that you take certain courses and achieve certain marks in those courses in order to be considered. other programs have no requirements at all, except for the completion of at least 4.0 credits – the mathematics major is an example of this.

so what you have to do is take a look at the calendar, figure out what program(s) you’re interested in, and see if there are courses you’ll need to take in order to be eligible to apply to those programs. once you do that, you will likely have some credits left over to take pretty much anything else you want. you may consider using them to fill breadth requirements, or simply to take courses for general interest.

2. why is my start time different from my friends’? We’re in the same year/program/board games club!

do not assume that you have the same start time as your friends. do the leg work and figure out your start time BEFORE the 28th. log in to ACORN and double-check. if you’ve never logged in to ACORN before, figure it out now. you will not be able to log in to ACORN on the day of, UNTIL your start time hits. that’s why it’s important to check NOW if you have not already.

you can do it. aska believes in you.

3. i can’t enrol myself into a course even though i meet the prerequisites!

if i were in charge of creating a transition pamphlet for first-year students, it would be a blank 8”x11” sheet of paper with two words on it: ENROLMENT CONTROLS.

if you can’t add a course to your cart on ACORN or enrol into it, and you can’t figure out why, it’s almost definitely because you don’t meet the enrolment control – i.e. the restriction or priority that allows only certain students to take the course.

for example: let’s say you’ve been admitted to Year 1 Life Sciences. you want to take MAT133Y1 because it looks more interesting than MAT135/136. but WAIT! ACORN is not letting you add the course to your enrolment cart! desperate and in despair, you go to the timetable and search ‘MAT133’ in the search bar.

you notice that there is a yellow bar that says ‘Enrolment Controls: Priority (P)’ under each lecture section for that course. you open the yellow bar to see that there is a priority for Year 1 Commerce and Year 1 Social Science students – which is not you. you’re Life Science. still following? good.

what does this priority mean? well, you’ll have to wait until August 5th at noon to enrol in a course if you don’t meet the priority. assuming there is still space, you can enrol in the course at that time. if there is an R for restricted (instead of a P for priority) and you’re not in the group of students listed, then you cannot enrol in the course at all. if there is an E, then you cannot enrol in the course directly, but must apply through the department that offers the course.

capice? good. i don’t want to hear about it any more.

4. i don’t meet the prerequisite for a course but i still managed to enrol in it! did i pull a fast one on ACORN?

no. ACORN can’t tell whether or not you have the prerequisites for a course; it’s not that smart. the main way that ACORN manages course enrolment is via enrolment controls (see above). however, that doesn’t mean that prerequisites are irrelevant. after course enrolment, departments will go through their courses and remove students – without warning or notice – from courses if they don’t meet the prerequisite(s).

you can check to see if a course has prerequisites on the course calendar.

5. why can’t i enrol in any more courses?!

you are only able to enrol in up to 5.0 credits (that includes waitlisted courses) until August 5th. on August 5th, the limit goes up to 6.0 credits. if you can’t enrol in a course that still has space, and you meet the enrolment control, it may be because you’ve hit your limit.

best of luck on the day of, kids. and remember: no matter how difficult you find course enrolment to be, it’s only gonna get harder from here on out.



Jul 25

the friendship, loyalty and compadres program


I’m an international student and it’s oh so hard for me to get out and make friends. The FLC program sounds helpful enough (socially and academically), but after a summer of putting together a schedule I like, I don’t want the standard timetable to mess with my first year seminar or my Calc professor preference. Can I edit my schedule for one or two classes and still be part
of a FLC?

I’ll be in Life Sciences.

And if I can’t edit my schedule, is a FLC really worth it?

– 🙁



now, i could explain all the benefits of FLC to you and try to convince you that it’s a great idea, but i have never been a part of an FLC. however, here at askastudent, we strive to deliver the truth.

here are the truths:

“FLC is fun times.”- a trusty source

“first year life-sci is very hard.”- multiple trusty sources

while a “flick” is definitely a good place to make friends, please know that there are plenty of other opportunities at U of T for you to make friends. classes are a great place to start! clubs are also plentiful – check out the handy uoft clubs database here.

if you want to partake in FLC for the academic opportunities, by all means, do! however, if it doesn’t work with your schedule, don’t worry about it! i would recommend prioritising your ideal schedule for first year because it’s more important to get into classes that actually count for credits.

if you don’t end up doing an FLC, remember that the first year seminar that you’re interested in will also be great for you academically.

turn that frown upside down, you have nothing to worry about! and hey, if you like our posts on facebook and leave us flattering comments, maybe we can be friends! (k tbh that was mostly a shameless plug, we actually have enough friends)

kidding. we only exist because of you guys. keep writing us please!



Jul 25

midterm madness

Hey there,

I wanted to know what can be done to view a midterm past the midterm review date. I didn’t get a chance to view it and really need to check it since there’s a possibility a mistake was made. If it helps its for a bio exam at utsc. the life science department is so stingy when it comes to exam viewings so i’m worried there is nothing i can do to view it now. Its just so odd to me the uni has issues with students wanting to view their own exams. There worth so much of our mark so i should be allowed to at least
check if a mistake was made.


hey there,

was it an in-class midterm or a final exam? if it was for a midterm, then you should be able to talk with your instructor about it. most profs are pretty willing to let you review a midterm, especially if you are concerned that there may have been a mistake.

if it was a final exam, that’s a whole ‘nother thing. there seems to be no flexibility in terms of viewing final exams, since they actually physically destroy them after the deadline.

i mean i feel your pain, but if you didn’t think to check about this mistake until 90 days after the fact, i feel like it wasn’t that important to you? i dunno. feel free to double-check with the utsc registrar’s office to see if they can provide any additional information.



Jul 25

killed, or worse, NOT ACCEPTED TO UOFT


Sorry to bother you, but I have few questions about the IB Diploma. I was accepted into University of Toronto Mississauga on December 11, 2015. I completed my IB tests around May and got the results earlier this month in July.
I was very sad to see that I had not been awarded the IB Diploma. I was only one point off.
I am in somewhat of a panic mode and very stressed about what will happen. The letter said that they reserved the right to pull my acceptance.
Does that mean they will definitely pull my acceptance? Or is there a little hope for me?
Is there anything I can do to decrease the chance of my acceptance being pulled at this point?

Thank You!


hey there,

it is possible that your offer could still be revoked if you didn’t meet the conditions of your acceptance. before you get into a full-on TIZZY however, please note that it is very rare for this to happen. a couple of percentage points is not the kind of thing uoft will send you packing for. if there was a severe drop in your marks between December and now, then that may be something to worry about, but usually the kind of kids uoft attract tend to…how shall i put this delicately…blow things out of proportion a little bit.

even after years of answering first year questions, i still don’t entirely understand how IB works, so i don’t really know what “not being awarded the IB Diploma” means. i would say that if that was a condition of your acceptance and you didn’t meet it, you should definitely speak with enrolment services about your concerns. if you were only one point off, however, that’s not usually something to get hugely worried about.

i know that was a lot of waffle with not a lot of certainty, but i wanted to give you a balanced answer. the best thing to do is really to talk to enrolment services, because they can look at the details of your record and give you a much more precise answer than i can.



Jul 22

i’m not sure what happened here

Hi i’m an international student hoping to come to uoft after graduating in december this year! i was wondering when uoft intakes are? is there only a fall intake?


hey there,

unfortunately, if you’re applying for admission to uoft as an international student, you can only apply for the Fall session, i.e. the session beginning in September 2017. the application process starts in late September/early October 2016 though, so make sure to read up on how to apply so that you don’t miss any deadlines!

assuming you get in, you’ll have like nine empty months between graduation and coming to uoft, and unless you’re diligent at keeping yourself busy, you run the risk of becoming very, very bored. in the interest of combating that, i have compiled a list of potential activities for you:

1. make a humongous house of cards. as you build, think about how it symbolizes he precariousness of your life at this moment in time, floating between two schools, two realities, two versions of yourself. the card house crashes down. you become someone else.

2. go on a trip. if you can’t afford to go on a trip because you’re saving all your money for university, fantasize about going on a trip.

3. make candles with a bro – even though it’s a cliche.

4. commune with the spirit of aska’s lost motivation. i’ll pay you $10 if you can convince it to come back to me.

5. transcend time and space. dance with Jupiter, which is only the size of a thimble in your massive, loving, purple palm. stare at yourself in a mirror. you can see yourself at every age, simultaneously. you understand that you are infinite. time is not frozen but you exist outside of it, and you watch it melting slowly like an ice cream sundae. you open your mouth to laugh, and a flock of swallows come out of your throat. they freeze on impact with space, hanging amongst the stars like a cosmic mobile.

6. kick back with a couple of beers. no wait. you’re probably like 17, aren’t you? apple juices.



Jul 22

i read something somewhere about it


I finished my first year at UTSG and I’m thinking of taking a gap year. During the gap year, I’m thinking of attending a language school to improve my French skills. But I think I read somewhere that attending an institution while taking a year off is prohibited. I’m not sure if this policy only applies to post-secondary institutions or any institution at all. I would really appreciate some information on this.

Thanks 🙂


hey there,

i’m not sure what the rule is when it comes to “post-secondary institutions.” i only have incredibly specific and non-transferable knowledge about uoft that is probably taking up too much space in my head. lucky me.

anyway, the only time this would be true is if you are away from school because of a suspension. students are not allowed to receive transfer credits from another college or university while on suspension. obviously, uoft bodyguards aren’t going to burst in on your first day of class at ryerson or centennial and strong-arm you out of the lecture hall. you can still take courses elsewhere, if you want to. they even kind of encourage it, since it may “help improve your academic skill level before you return to university studies in the Faculty of Arts & Science.” it’s just that you can’t use those credits towards your uoft degree.

if you’re actually just taking a gap year and you’re still in good standing, however, you can totally take courses elsewhere, AND you could potentially (emphasis on the “potentially” – take a look at transfer explorer to see how the courses at the other institution might transfer over to uoft) even get transfer credits for your degree, if that was something you wanted to do.

so go ahead! allons-y, as they say, nous allons avoir un aventure.



Jul 21

the Beats, Aristotle, and some pontificating on BBAs


I am a 2nd year student at UTM. I was accepted into “intro to social sciences” when i got admitted into UTM. I applied and got into management specialist  (bba) post this year.

1. My acorn still says intro into social science but my subject post is management specialist.

Even on the degree explorer it says degree is social science and subject post is management specialist.

Does it matter what my degree post says?

Will i still be getting a bba degree?

2. I also applied to a minor in environment management and a minor in earth science (planning to drop one soon).

I saw the requirements for earth science minor and its a piece of cake, but i feel its useless to compliment a management specialist with a earth science minor.

Same goes for environmental management minor, a bit more work but does it go with a BBA degree?

How will the minor show up on my transcript?

Will adding the minor still get me a BBA degree?


hey there,

i like the spacing of the sentences in these e-mail. it reads kind of like an anxious poem. maybe you’re the next ginsberg. the next Big Beat Auteur.*

1. yeah, that’s nothing to worry about. at some point in the summer, your POSt code (that’s fancy ROSI talk, feel free to ignore it completely) will change from Year 1 to Year 2. that’ll just be a superficial change, however; as long as you’ve completed at least 4.0 credits and you’re enrolled in your specialist, you are a second year student.

a good way to tell if the SWS is recognizing your year of study properly is by your start time. if you had a second year start time, then you have nothing to worry about. and yes, you will get your BBA and become a wonderful businessperson with several snazzy suits, i’m sure. not to fear.

2. i feel like you’re going at your degree from a different perspective than i did, so i don’t know if i’ll be able to answer this question to your satisfaction.

my philosophy is: if you want to do it, then do it. anything can go with anything. are you doing them both? are you the same person? if yes, then congrats! you made the things go together.

don’t be so worried about what will make you look appealing in the vacuum-packed version of yourself that you present to employers. packaging can come after; your passion comes first. did you know that aristotle wrote on everything from physics to biology to ethics to metaphysics? a lot of the stuff he said was wrong, but he did it because he had an interest and that made an impact.

technically, if you’re already doing a specialist, you don’t NEED another minor. but if you have a real interest in one of them and you’re willing to put in the extra work, then go with the one you’re more excited about! you’re saying earth science is “a piece of cake.” is that the only reason you’re considering it? do you prefer it over environmental management? if so, then you should do it.

alright, i’m off my soapbox now. next question.

the minors will show up on your transcript exactly as they do now – listed along with your specialist and any other programs you may add, near the top of your transcript.

finally: yes, as long as you are in a management specialist, you will be graduating with a BBA.



* get it? because it’s B.B.A.? which is your degree? anyways…

Jul 20

Yet Another Anxious High School Kid TM

Hey Aska,

Firstly, thank you so much for this site! I’ve been checking it every few days since i found out about it, and thanks to you I’m slightly less likely to have a full on panic attack when i apply to uni.

I’m starting grade 12 in an Ontario high school in the fall, and i want to apply for social sciences at uoft, probably for either International Relations or Peace, Conflict and Justice. My grades aren’t /amazing/, but I’ll probably have an average in the mid to high eighties when I have to send them in, so…ok?

I do a lot of extracurricular stuff- I’m the president of a social-justice-y club, the editor of the school newspaper and I will have
been a “senior mentor” for two years, and I know I can get recommendation letters from each of these. (sorry if this sounds like the pretentious part of a resume, I can’t help it) Even if these positions would be irrelevant with regards to admissions, would they (or recommendation letters) help me with anything else, like getting into the college of my choice, school clubs or scholarships?

Also, do you think International Relations or Peace, Conflict and Justice would be more relevant to a career in human rights?

Thank you so much!


hey there,

i’m glad my sass and bad humour calm you down, kid. i mean, it’s kinda weird, but i’ll roll with it. what’s your deal? are you a sucker for pain? if so, uoft will be the perfect choice for you. it’s a match made in a 9am calculus class!

while i appreciate the vagueness of your question about admissions and the probably unintentional john green reference, i still can’t give you a straight answer. i’m not about to risk going against a decision made by admissions. all i can do is point you to this chart right here; feel free to compare and contrast, and draw your own conclusions.

as for your extracurricular experience, you’re exactly right. it will all mean diddly-squat in terms of admission to the university, but it will come in handy for scholarship applications, the experience may be valuable when it comes to joining clubs in university, and it can – potentially – be useful for college applications.

not all colleges in the faculty of arts & science require supplemental applications. in fact, most don’t. the only colleges that actually require an application are victoria college and trinity college, because they’re kooky like that. if you’re interested in either of those colleges however, their student profile application forms will be your chance to shine.

finally, your program question: IR and PCJ are two peas in a pod. you can’t go wrong with either of them. i wouldn’t worry so much about which one will be more relevant (especially since ‘human rights’ isn’t that specific a goal in itself). a better way to narrow them down is to look at the practical implications of each choice.

for example, you’ll need to determine is whether you’re after the specialists or majors in IR/PCJ. the difference between a specialist and a major is that a specialist asks that you complete more credits (13.0 for IR and 12.0 for PCJ), and therefore, one specialist is enough for you to obtain your degree. majors require fewer credits (both IR and PCJ require 7.5 FCEs for their majors), and therefore if you’re in an IR or PCJ major, you’ll have to supplement it with either one other major, or two other minors.

content-wise, all four options (the IR specialist, PCJ specialist, IR major, and PCJ major) are pretty similar, but there are subtle differences in terms of which courses you would need to take for each. study each program on the course calendar to get a feel for which would be the best fit for you.

if you really can’t decide, consider a double major in PCJ and IR. they complement each other wonderfully.

my final piece of advice is this: keep your options open. all of these programs are type 3 programs, which means that even if you meet all the prerequisites in first year, you still may not get into the program, since there are limited spots for enrolment. what i’m saying is: backups are non-optional, and be ready for plan B to become plan A.

but don’t worry about ANY OF THAT right now, because you still have a year left of high school and subject POSt enrolment is at least two years away. a lot can happen in two years, so take it easy. enjoy your summer break. play pokemon go. try to be a kid again.

you can start by closing this tab and looking at prom outfits in the next one.



P.S. thanks for providing the perfect title for this post in your e-mail subject line. i love the self-deprecation. keep it up and you might even be as great as aska, one day.

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