askastudent

your student life specialists

Feb 12

lost and worried

hey aska,

i am so worried right now, im not sure what my next step is. i failed a prerequisite computer science course (49%).
i honestly slacked and i understand this but im just confused from where to go on from here. Credit no credit option due date passed and LWD obviously passed. ive emailed the prof asking if i can do anything for him to round up recently but i doubt it. What can i do and what will this ultimately affect?

-lostandworried

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hey there lostandworried,

at this point, there’s not much you can do about the failed course in terms of changing the mark. if the professor refused to round up the mark, you’re kind of at the end of the line.

as to what it will affect: it will bring your marks down on your transcript, sure. your GPA will suffer a little. however, i’m assuming that you’re in first year and this is the only course you’ve failed. if that’s the case, then every other course you pass, do well in, and add to your transcript will just make this course matter less and less. before you know it, it’ll be an insignificant blip in your academic record, as long as you recognize what you did wrong and ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again.

what you should be focusing on now is next steps. so you failed comp. sci. lots of people do it. i know that in a society that encourages you to base your entire self-worth on numbers (grades being no small part of that), failing a course can prompt a full-on identity crisis. what i want you to remember, though, is that you are completely in control of your future. you recognize why you failed, and that means that you understand what you have to do next time in order to succeed – and that is amazing.

now you have a few questions to answer: do you still want to do a computer science POSt? if so, when are you going to retake this comp. sci. course (in the summer, next fall, etc.)? how will that fit in with the rest of the classes in your schedule? if you don’t think that comp. sci. is a good fit for you anymore, then what do you want to do? what prerequisites exist for that program that you’re now interested in?

if you do decide that you want to retake this course (either to get in to a comp. sci. POSt or not), i would recommend seeking out help to make sure that you are successful this time around. the academic success centre is a really wonderful resource. whatever it is you think is holding you back from being successful, the academic success centre probably has a workshop to help you surmount that.

if you’d like to discuss where to go from here in terms of taking courses, POSt planning, etc., i’d highly recommend you make an appointment with your college/division registrar’s office. they can help you talk through all this and come to a solution that makes sense for you.

cheers,

aska


Feb 12

econ will getcha, even in high school

Hey there,
Can’t tell you how much I appreciate about the existence of this site. As you can see from my subject, I’m a current grade 12 students who is struggling with my average and considering retaking a course. My average, I would say it would be around 88-90ish. I know people have a higher chance at getting offer with an average 93-97ish, but I still have my hopes up! Anyways, my school is a 2 semesters system, and I’m taking economics 12 in the first semester. However, I’m not satisfied about where I’m getting right now for economics (84% FYI).  I’m thinking to retake economics in the second semester, and I’m wondering how would u of t see my marks since I’ll be having 2 marks, one original and one retake. I heard some universities will average up between the original and the retake mark, and some universities will take some marks off from the retake mark. Thank you so
much for answering my questions.

Best regards.

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hey there,

the subject line of your e-mail says that you’re applying to Rotman commerce, which makes the answer a little bit different from usual. rotman commerce does not consider retakes, so it probably wouldn’t make much sense to retake economics for that reason. that being said, depending on the other programs you’ve applied to at other schools, you may want to retake it if those other universities do accept repeated attempts.

also, if you’ve applied to other streams at uoft (e.g. humanities, social sciences, etc.) then the repeated course won’t be completely discredited, but it will impact your application in that preference will be shown to students whose marks were the result of a single attempt.

finally, do keep in mind that the only required course for Rotman (in addition to English) is calculus. that means that if your economics mark is not within your top six 4U/M courses (including calculus and English), it won’t be part of your admissions average at all. so another way of approaching this pickle you’re in might be to take another course next semester in which you anticipate you’ll do really well, and boot economics out of your top 6.

best of luck with your application, mi amigo. i wish you a fabulous businessy future, full of tapered dress pants and not-too matchy-matchy suit jackets.

cheers,

aska


Feb 11

your program is gone lol bye

Hey aska! I’m applying for UTSC linguistics but some people told me that they are considering cancelling the subject in that campus! The option is still on OUAC, but what if it’s real? Will I be considered for a similar programme in other campus? Nooooo
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hey there,

first thing’s first: you enter uoft as a program-less student, regardless of the program you listed on your OUAC application. so even after you get in, you have a full year to test drive some courses, and decide if the program(s) you were set on when entering university are really for you. if linguistics goes under after a year or you decide you want to do something else, that’s no problem.

i should note though, that if linguistics is listed in the calendar, it’s real. if the program goes under while you’re in it, you’ll be grandfathered, meaning that no new people will be allowed in, but you’ll be allowed to finish your degree in that program. the university wouldn’t leave you high and dry like that.

hope that helps!

cheers,

aska


Feb 11

M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., 2.Chainz.,

Hey aska,
I am in second year and I’ve been looking into graduate programs lately. I have a set mindset on what I would like to do in the future but I am super confused on how to get there. My goal is to become a pathologist, there is a graduate program under LMP (Laboratory medicine and pathology) at UofT. But I don’t understand the amount of education required to become a liscened pathologist. Do I need a master’s, or PhD, or both? What about a MD? What about writing the MCAT? I see some universities asking for MCAT, while UofT did not when it comes to the pathology program. If I can become a pathologist with a master’s what’s the point of a PhD? I just want to know the educational pathway in becoming a pathologist. Please help.

Thanks

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hey there,

first thing’s first: pathologists are doctors. before you do anything else, you need to get into medical school. uoft’s laboratory medicine and pathobiology M.Sc. program (which i believe is what you’re referring to in your question) is a degree that you get to specialize in this area AFTER your M.D.

there’s no one set path that you need to take to become a pathologist. from what i understand, it’s not as formal a title as “Dr.,” for which there is only one degree that can license you. depending on what kind of pathologist you’d like to be, there are probably different programs that would make most sense for you – at uoft and also elsewhere.

to do an M.D., you definitely have to write your MCATs. i don’t know of a single university in the world that does not require MCAT scores as part of your application, so you can count on writing them at some point.

obviously, a Ph.D. would be more beneficial to you were you to be more interested in research – however, there’s no cut and dry difference in terms of accreditation. you can read about the nitty-gritty differences in terms of program requirements here. there’s also the M.D./Ph.D. program, which you might be interested in. however, your first step should most likely be learning a bit more about medical school. here are some good starting places.

best,

aska


Feb 05

automatically rejected?

Hey,

So im a 3rd year physics specialist, and i took a course That was not required for my degree( Just for the fun of it) and i got the mark back and its 50. This Is the first time i have gotten a mark like This. I am usually a high 70-low 80 Student. I had prospects for physics graduate school at uoft and some other school in Ontario. M’y question Is: How Bad Is going to look on applications or am i automatically rejected? Also, Is it possible to ask my college to base This course on a cr/ncr basis? I only took the course for fun. It has nothing to do with my study. The test of my marks for This semester have been 3.7-4.0, So Can i make a case That This Is not a représentation of my academic ability? I am worried because Most Schools look at last two years and This Is going to be a cold sore of sorts in my transcript.  Thanks

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hey there,

you can always ask, but it’s unlikely that your college will make the course credit/non-credit after the course is over. like, very unlikely.

however, the fact that your mark is so unusual, and that it has nothing to do with physics, can only help your application to graduate school. that means that when a graduate admissions committee looks at your transcript, they are more likely to see this particular mark as a fluke. yes, it might cause your GPA to dip a little, but it’s not going to ruin your chances.

the M.Sc. requires at least a B+ average or better, so if you’ve been sitting at a 3.7+ GPA, this mark probably will not be the tipping point from accepted to not. in other words, your GPA leaves wiggle room for a mark like this.

now i want to be clear that i’m not guaranteeing your admission to any program: competition varies widely from year to year and i can’t make very accurate predictions because i haven’t seen your transcript. all i’m saying is that all hope is not lost.

something that might help your application, if you feel comfortable doing so, is sending an explanatory letter along with your application. most admissions committees will allow you to send along a letter explaining any unique circumstances or unusual results. you can use this opportunity to explain the outlying mark – just make sure to ask whether they’ll accept such a letter first.

cheers,

aska


Feb 03

(Ph)enomenal (D)ollars

Hello ! I’m an International student that wants to go to UofT for gradschool (phD). I’m academically okay for the program (I have an overall A and all that jazz) but…. Where can I start looking for scholarships to live and study at UofT during those years? I’m a bit lost since I don’t know a thing about scholarships for international students that wants to go to Canada – Thank you !!

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hey there,

the major scholarships that fund postgraduate study in Ontario are the NSERC and OGS scholarships. unfortunately, those are only available to domestic students. what i’d recommend is taking a look at your home country’s opportunities, if any, that are available for students travelling abroad. most countries have some form of financial aid for postgrads.

we do have some scholarships available for international students, and i’d strongly encourage you to apply to as many as you’re eligible for, but they do not provide nearly as much funding as is probably ideal.

the good news is, as a PhD student, the university is committed to funding you. all the information about how financial support works for a physics PhD is available on page 29 of this document provided by the department of physics. it shows that if you don’t have access to any scholarships, the university will still be able to support you through RA and TA-ships, and internal scholarships.

here is a breakdown about how much physics PhDs were funded depending on their year, and where the money came from. the aid hovers around $40k per student, depending on the year of your PhD. which is totally liveable.

if you have further questions about how this all works, i’d recommend contacting the financial counsellor at the School of Graduate Studies.

best of luck,

aska


Feb 02

the bar just gets HIGHER and HIGHER

hey aska quick question about uoft’s psych program. I was wondering just how hard it was to be admitted to the type 2L major program. I noticed on their website it’s an 80-84% average and it is limited enrolment so i was just wondering if it’s common for people to be declined?
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hey there,
i’m not gonna lie to you – psych is a very popular program. this means that it is also a very competitive program. they didn’t used to list the average grade cut-off on the website, but i think so many people were confused as to why they’d not been accepted that they decided to make that information public. which, to be honest, has been a wise move. it’s made my job a little bit easier.
so yeah, it’s difficult to get in. HOWEVER, if you are ABOVE that 80-84% range, your chances are not terrible. i think the major reason so many people get turned away is because people will apply who are just on the cut-off of a 75% in PSY100H1 (or an 80% for the specialist). the higher you are above the cut-off, the higher your chances.
unfortunately, i don’t have a handy statistic about how many people get in versus how many people apply, but who knows – maybe more complaining from students will cause that to show up on the course calendar, too. think positive.
cheers,
aska

Feb 02

anxious tutorials

Hi aska! I’m a first-year student and I dread how most of my tutorials take up a huge percentage of my marks. Now, I understand that participating in class discussions is the best way to learn about the lessons and to help us grow and interact with others but I just… can’t. I have social anxiety, and I’m scared to talk to my TA about this because she might think that I’m just making up excuses so I don’t have to talk. Is there anyone else I could consult with about this? :(

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hey there,

i’d suggest you talk with your professor, but i have a feeling that in a (likely massive) first-year class, your prof is going to be even more intimidating to you than your professor.

i really think the best person to talk to about this is your TA. and by the way, anxiety is a totally legitimate reason not to speak up in class. it’s not an excuse, but it is a reason to start a conversation about possible accommodations. and it is highly unlikely that your TA will think you’re making excuses – more likely, she’ll be impressed that you took the initiative to start thinking about a creative solution to your dilemma.

what i would recommend is talking to her (after class, in office hours, by e-mail; whatever makes you most comfortable) about your concerns, and then asking if there is any alternative way for you to gain participation marks. feel free to propose your own ideas. if you’re a bit stuck, here are some of my own suggestions (all of which i have seen put into practice in actual tutorials/seminars):

  • visit your TA every week in office hours to have a discussion with them, one-on-one, about the readings. this narrows the crowd of people you have to talk at from ~20 to 1
  • submit a weekly written reflection about the readings/lecture to your TA, perhaps at the start of tutorial, or via e-mail
  • this one may not work for you, depending on the extent to which public speaking makes you anxious, but: try sitting physically next to the TA. that way, when you speak, you’ll feel as if you’re speaking directly to them, as opposed to across a room full of people
  • is your class on Blackboard? ask whether you can submit your thoughts about the tutorial or readings or lecture on the discussion board; that way, people can write back if they so chose, and you can have discussions online rather than in person

again, i understand that this is not an easy or comfortable thing for you to do, but TAs only want the best for you. they’re usually able to be a lot more invested in their students than profs, and i’ve never encountered a TA who’s not willing to make changes to suit a class’ needs.

you’ve got this!

cheers,

aska


Feb 02

exam black market

Hi i just wanted to find out, it is illegal (against uoft rules) to purchase past test from other students. I am feeling quite inclined to purchase past test from the first time from someone for one of my courses since there is Absolute no past exam/test on the uoft repository.

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hey there,

not as far as i can tell. at least, i can’t find any explicit rule prohibiting it. it seems that viewing of the exam is pretty carefully monitored, though, so i would be – if not suspicious, just careful – of what you’re buying, and from whom.

also, i don’t presume to know your situation or how your program runs or anything, but here’s a friendly tip from aska: try to exhaust the study options presented to you by your professor before seeking alternative materials.

if you got practice exams, textbook questions, passages/articles you need to focus on, lecture slides, etc. then become expert in those BEFORE seeking more help. because (and i’m just gonna put this bluntly here) sometimes these people are just out to make money. that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have something to sell you, but it also doesn’t mean you don’t have to be unwary.

cheers,

aska


Jan 27

can you refund knowledge?

what’s the final date i can drop a course at utsc with a full refund? i’ve been trying to find it but university websites are so confusing. related question, why is it that universities have the hardest websites to navigate? thanks

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hey there,

depending on your program, the dates might be different, but for most utsc students, the 100% refund date has passed – now you have until february 7th to get a 50% refund on a course, so try not to miss that one. i know it sucks, but sometimes refunds just don’t go how you’d like them to.

double-check all the tables on this PDF though, to make sure that you don’t fall into another refund schedule with different dates.

to answer your related question: there’s no good reason, other than that there’s like a BILLION web designers in different colleges, faculties, divisions, etc. who all work on their own department’s web site, which functions in its own unique way and is completely separate from all the other unique web pages at uoft.

we’re like an incredibly large, confusing, annoying patchwork quilt. isn’t that quaint. come to aska for all your quality grandma content.

cheers,

aska


Jan 27

IRe over IR requirements

Hello!
I’m in grade 12 now and really hoping to get into International Relations at U of T! I read online that math was recommended….but unfortunately I didn’t take it this year. It’s not my best subject, but I could probably switch into if I had too. I’m just wondering if I won’t get in unless I have that credit…like will I not be accepted? It would probably bring down my average a ton (93%), but getting in is super important to me. I’m not really worried about doing economics in first year without it, as I would take the lower level course. Please advise!! Thank you:)

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hey there,

before we get started, a quick primer on how programs work at uoft: to get a degree from the faculty of arts & science, you need to be in one specialist, two majors, or one major and two minors. none of these combinations are better or more prestigious than any others – it’s all about how you want to organize your degree.

so, depending on whether you want to stick strictly (there’s a tongue twister) to IR, or add some other disciplines to your studies, you might be more interested in either the IR specialist or the major, respectively.

if you want to do the specialist, they do recommend that you take ECO100Y1 instead of 105Y1 (which is the less intense version of 100), so you would need to take advanced functions and calculus for that course.

since you don’t apply directly to programs in your first year, you definitely wouldn’t get rejected from uoft based on not having the math (i’m assuming you applied to the humanities or social science stream, which doesn’t require math) – however, once you get here, you wouldn’t be able to take ECO100, and therefore be eligible to apply for the IR specialist, UNLESS you had taken advanced functions and calculus in high school.

if you’re concerned about your average, one thing i might suggest is taking those two maths in summer school. keep in mind that you’ll still likely have to send those transcripts in to the university, so you’ll need to maintain a certain average, but hopefully there won’t be as much pressure as during the school year, and you can really focus on doing well.

if you want to do the major, things are a little different. the IR major will accept both ECO100Y1 and ECO105Y1, and doesn’t indicate any preference for one or the other. ECO105Y1 does NOT require or recommend that you take calculus beforehand.

this is a lot to think about, but don’t worry: you have time to think about it. take it slow, reflect on your options, and if you have any questions, aska’s here.

cheers,

aska


Jan 27

counselling on campus

How would one make an appointment to see a counsellor at utsg for depression/anxiety? also are there fees?

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hey there,

if you’re a student at utsg, no, there are no fees. there are two places you can go to make an appointment:

1) health and wellness at uoft is the campus’ primary counselling resource. you may have heard of CAPS (counselling and psychological services) at the downtown campus. that office has now been absorbed into health and wellness, which includes all health services that the campus has to offer.

to make an appointment, you can either go in person to their office on the second floor of the Koeffler Centre (214 College St., on the corner of St. George and College) or book an appointment online, or by phone.

2) your second option, which i have nothing to say about but good things, is counseline. counseline is a counselling service for faculty of arts & science students, offered by the factor-inwentash faculty of social work, that provides in-person counselling out of its Bloor St. building. all you have to do is give them a call and leave a voicemail, and then they’ll contact you to set up an appointment.

you can learn more about counseline here.

best of luck,

aska


Jan 26

you’re all set to LEAVE THIS PLACE

Hi Aska,

Happy New Year!

I have a question regarding switching programs. Let’s say I am majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Computer Science and Media Studies (weird I know). And decide to do a 180 and forget about minoring and just do a major in Computer Science — so basically a double major. Will the credits that I have received from Media Studies still be counted in my degree
requirements? For example, I have to take 5.0 credits of C-level courses and 1.0 credits of D-level courses
<http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~registrar/calendars/calendar/Degrees.html>. Will my C-level Media courses still be included? I am aware of the retroactive fees, but I’ll only be missing two more courses to finish a Computer Science major and I don’t really care much anymore about Media Studies.

Another unrelated question, how accurate is the Degree Explorer?

Take these two requirements:

– At least 0.5 Credits from *MATC01H3* or MATC15H3
– At least 1.0 Credit from MATC01H3 or MATC09H3 or MATC15H3 or *MATC32H3*
or MATC44H3 or MATC63H3 or MATD01H3 or MATD02H3

I took MATC01 and MATC32 already. They are bolded as I have taken them. How come in the second requirement, MATC01 is not being considered?

Thanks.

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hey there,

the answer to your first question is: yes. those courses will count towards your degree requirements just like elective courses would (excluding extras, or any funky course designations like that). as long as you’ve also completed the requirements for all your subject POSts (so that’ll be the comp. sci. and math majors once you drop media), you’re fine.

as for the degree explorer thing: a cursory glance at the UTSC math major listing indicates that, if you did take MATC01H3, it should have fulfilled that requirement. depending on when you took it, degree explorer could just be a little slow in updating. another potential complication that people sometimes run into with degree explorer is that if the program has changed since they’ve entered it, degree explorer sometimes gets confused.

i’m not sure if the math program has changed, but if you find that that degree explorer continues to avoid MATC01 despite your having taken it, just pop into your registrar’s office and ask them what’s up. it could be that something i haven’t considered is causing the problem, and they can help you sort it out.

cheers,

aska


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