your student life specialists

Aug 30

facebook goes ghost

Hi there! I’m unable to send my question through your website. I was wondering if you could tell me when midterms usually are? I’m a first year student going into the humanities department. I have to go on a trip during the first week of October and I would just like to make sure that’s not midterm period.


hey there,

are you saying that you were unable to send an e-mail to askastudent dot innis at utoronto dot ca? because really – it’s not rocket science, folks. i try to make a point of not answering facebook messages but i’ll answer this one to hold it up as an example to everyone: please, have a heart, just e-mail us your Q’s. facebook doesn’t notify us half the time we have messages, and we look at our inbox more. help us help you.

generally speaking, it’s a super not-good idea to go on a trip in the middle of the school year. if it is unavoidable, you will be risking missing a midterm test. there is no official ‘midterm period,’ but october is around the time that midterm tests start happening.

the first week still might be a bit early for humanities students, who tend only to have one midterm per class sometime around mid- to late-october (whereas life science students typically have two, so their first midterms come a little before humanities’ students, and their second midterms a little after), so you may be okay. but you won’t know for sure until you get your syllabi in the first week.

if you’re really in a jam, make sure to communicate it with your professor/TA. it may be possible to reschedule midterms, but telling your instructor early and taking the initiative to come up with an alternate arrangement is essential if you end up having to go that route.



Aug 29

mumble mumble fees mumble

Hi there! In July, I requested to have my course fees calculated on a per-course basis (3.0 FCE) and I just recently added another half course for the winter semester. Should I wait for the 0.5 FCE fee to show up on my financial account or should I contact my registrar? Thanks in advance!


hey there,

i’m not really sure what you’re asking. if you added a 0.5 credit course on ACORN, the fee for that course would be added to your account invoice automatically. that means that you would need to pay for that course as well, as the rest of your fees, by the stated deadlines.

if you enrolled in the course but the fee for the course hasn’t appeared on your account invoice, then call your registrar’s office and they can figure out why the fee hasn’t appeared yet.

if you’re in 3.5 FCEs, you’re still eligible to be on per-course fees instead of a full-time program fee, so if that’s what you’re worried about – don’t be. you’re still within the per-course limit.



Aug 26

elevate that gpa

Hi there askastudent,

I have a couple questions that have been bothering me for a while. I am currently a fourth year student, and I would like to take a couple more courses to elevate my cgpa, though for all intents and purposes at the end of Winter 2017 I will be eligible to graduate.

Do all courses taken after the minimum 20 required for graduation count as extra courses?

And is you diploma CGPA different from your over all CGPA? What I mean to say is does your diploma GPA count the cumulative GPA of 20 credits only, satisfied by subject post and breadth requirements? Or is every course taken in your time at an undergraduate institution count?



if you take over 20 credits, these classes will still count toward your cgpa, however, there are exceptions that you need to consider. for example, if you take over 6.0 credits in 100 level courses, the extra courses you take will not count towards your GPA.

another thing to consider is if you are trying to get a higher GPA for grad school, every grad school has a different procedure in terms of looking at your grade. some will just consider your 10 most recent credits.

in terms of your diploma CGPA and your normal CGPA, it will be the same. i hope this answered your question!



Aug 26

sad, but true

I currently have an unconditional offer from University of Toronto, but I’ve also gotten an offer from another university which I’d prefer to go to. I can’t seem to find a way to contact University of Toronto that I won’t be going to their university this year as I do not currently reside in Canada, and they seem to be very slow at responding to my emails.
I still haven’t paid any fees to University of Toronto. If I don’t contact University of Toronto about my withdrawal, would there be additional fees I need to pay?
In a nutshell, Do I need to contact the university about my withdrawal? if so then how?
Thanks for your time



if you haven’t accepted the offer or paid any fees, you will not be registered. there are no additional fees that you will have to pay if you have not triggered registration. in not paying your fees, you’ll be sending a pretty obvious message to the school that you won’t be attending.

however, there should be an option on the OUAC portal for you to decline your offer to uoft. if you can’t find that, it may be that your acceptance of another’s university’s offer automatically declined your offer to every other university. don’t make any assumptions though. you should definitely contact enrolment services to get some help in formally declining your offer.

we’re sorry you’ve chosen another school, but we wish you the best of luck in your endeavours!

*but seriously, i bet your new school doesn’t have an aska, which automatically makes it worse than U of T. sad, but true.



Aug 26

too busy for orientation

Hello! Just wondering but I have a lot of other stuff to do during what would be frosh week, (such as shopping for supplies, getting my Tcard etc etc), and I was wondering if I should register for frosh week regardless? Will I be able to do both/get my “money’s worth”? Thanks ^^


hey there,

as a long-time grump and misanthrope, i can testify that frosh week can be fun – even for people like me. it takes some doing to make me enjoy an event like orientation, which is loud, busy, and crowded. however, cheesy as it may sound, it’s a great opportunity to make friends. this is especially true if you won’t be living in residence and won’t have as much of an opportunity to meet new people.

also, orientation (when done right) is a positive experience, and those don’t come often around here. there is an incredible pessimism about university, especially at uoft. while you are in it, it’s difficult, you’re often in over your head, and you want it to be over as soon as possible. this feeling is amplified by the thousands of students around you – in your classes, in your friend group, on facebook – who feel the same way. orientation week is a way to kick off four years of pessimism with a joie-de-vivre that is pretty difficult to conjure up once school actually begins. and that enthusiasm, as hokey as it may seem in the moment, makes a difference.

if i can’t get you with the emotional argument, there are a lot of practical positives to orientation as well: it helps you get familiar with campus, there are relevant info sessions as well as (largely irrelevant) fun activities, and you can ask questions of your frosh leaders, who are upper year students that actually want to give you advice!*

and finally: you will have plenty of time to get your TCard, buy textbooks, and do everything else you need to do even if you participate in frosh week.

all that being said, if it still sounds like something you just don’t want to do, then hey, you don’t have to! orientation is just one week. you have four years of decisions ahead of you, so you may as well start off on the right foot by making a decision that you are comfortable with. do you.

i hope that helps!


* outside of orientation, this is rare. most people just want you to stay out of their face as they try to get through lecture on three hours of sleep.

Aug 24

job eat job world

Do you think it will be hard for me to get a decent job straight after graduating university with BA Honours in Political Science?

Aug 18


Hello, so I’m currently on academic probation after my first year and due to personal family issues, my father asked me to transfer for a year to St Marys university in Calgary, and then come back to utsg. Will I be able to get transfer credits for the courses I do at the other institution and do I have to reapply or can I just re-register for courses for the semester I come back for?

Sincerely, a very sad confused person


hey there,

as long as you have a mark on your transcript (and you must have, because you can’t be put on academic probation if you don’t have any marks), you’re officially in uoft.

wow, how vague. what do you mean by that, aska?

i mean that once you’ve received a mark at uoft (specifically, in the faculty of arts & science), you can come back to uoft anytime you want. so if you leave, get into another university, and come back after a year (or two, or five), all you have to do is get re-registered (and cough up twenty-five bucks) and sign up for courses.

that being said, if you are on academic probation at uoft, you cannot receive transfer credits from another university. that means that if you were to follow through with your plans to transfer to St Mary’s, none of the credits you received there could be transferred back to your UofT degree.

a little bit of unsolicited advice for you: don’t plan so far in advance. if you think it’s a good idea to transfer to St. Mary’s, do it. maybe you’ll really like it and decide to stick around there. that’s great! maybe not. maybe you decide to come back to uoft. that’s great, too! try to take life as it comes to you. changing schools is always a scary thing, but it’s going to be ok.

and uoft will always be here (very like another ancient school), if you ever decide to come back. i hope that makes you a bit less sad and confused.

best of luck with all of it,


Aug 18

f is for friends who do stuff together

Hi I’m starting at uoft soon and I’m an international student so I will literally not know anyone when I start! Any tips on how to make friends?



first of all, welcome to canada! i hope you love toronto as much as i do.

“how do i make friends” is a question we get a lot on askastudent, so if it feels like i’m repeating stuff i’ve said in the past, i apologize. since you’re asking this question, i assume you haven’t read those entries. no worries!

orientation week (or the less politically correct ‘frosh week’) is a place where you’ll be bombarded by hundreds of people from your college. even if some events seem lame, i highly recommend you attend orientation week. people will be talking about it for years and you’ll feel like you missed out on an important aspect of the university experience. this is your opportunity to take your pick. play the field, mingle, and be cool. if you aren’t cool, don’t be cool. just be yourself so the friends you make will know who you are as opposed to who you’re trying to be. after frosh week, if these friends stick, they’ll probably be the ones who will stick around for a while.

if they don’t, that’s okay, it just wasn’t meant to be. here comes option 2 if frosh friends are a no-go.

if you live in residence, attend res events. take advantage of floor bonding activities because they’re literally there for you to meet friends. bond with them.

if you aren’t living in residence, that’s okay too!

participate in an extra-curricular activity or two! u of t has clubs for everything you could possibly think of. join a choir, throw a frisbee around, or play chess! you’re bound to find a club that you’re interested in.

lastly, don’t be afraid to talk to people in class. it’s always good to have a friend in a class in case you decide to sleep in for one of your 9am classes. But you know, aside from using these people for notes, you can actually try be friends with them!

personally, i make friends with people when i find out we dislike the same things. ‘dislike’ is a strong word and emotion but i feel like it’s very easy to make friends if you complain about the same things. but that’s just me. maybe don’t do that. love one another and be kind, like ellen.

not to be a debbie downer, but remember that friends are easy to make but hard to keep. it’s going to take some effort to keep some of these friendships going, just like it’ll take time for you to get used to having long distance friendships with people back home. don’t forget to make an effort to reach out or see each other some time. let them know you care! soon enough, you’ll have a squad, if that’s your kind of thing.

peace and love,


Aug 16

again and again…and again

Hi, since I need MAT135 up to a 60% for cs major but i only got a 50% during the school year, but i am not doing too well this summer, now i wonder what will happen if i fail this course during the summer, will it still count in my gpa or no


hey there,

those differential equations giving you grief, eh? i feel you on that one.

according to the Rules & Regulations in the course calendar, it looks like you can only repeat a passed course one time. i’m specifically looking at the line that says: “Students may not use this one-time-only allowance to subsequently repeat a passed course again after having repeated the same course for reasons noted in i) above, i.e., they may repeat a specific passed course only once.”

that seems pretty clear cut to me, however, since these repeated courses must be added by your registrar’s office, it’s possible that your college registrar could make an exception in certain circumstances. or maybe not. i dunno. best thing to do? talk to them about it.



Aug 15

i feel bad for engineers, i do

Dear ASKA,

If you stop taking courses mid-degree to do other stuff, perhaps for years, can you come back and finish university?

The APSC faculty has this time limit in which you have to do all your courses:

“To qualify for a degree, a student must complete a full undergraduate program as outlined in the Faculty Calendar within NINE calendar years of first registration, exclusive of mandatory absences from his or her program.”

There doesn’t seem to be anything relevant in the A&S calendar besides this:

“Re-Registration in the Faculty Students who were previously registered as degree or non-degree students in this Faculty, who have completed at least one course in the Faculty, and who wish to return after an absence must submit a “Request for Re-registration Form” (charge $25) through their college registrar’s office. Re-registration is necessary for students who have not registered in this Faculty within the previous 12 months.”

So, what is the expiration date on taken courses? Or do all art-scis have all the time in the world?

This is the only concern I could think of – if there are others, please let everyone know!

(Category: degree requirements)


hey there,

you’re right, arts & science students have no time limit on their degree. they can take off as much time as they want, and come back to complete a degree at any point. if they are away for more than a year, they just have to pay a $25 fee to get re-registered.

as far as i can tell, the information you found is correct. looks like engineers only have nine years to complete their degree. so, you can take time off, just not an indefinite amount. i guess it’s more important for an engineer’s knowledge to be fresh in their mind than it is for me to clearly remember the finer points of Bezukhov’s character in War & Peace on convocation day.

so there you go! one more thing engineering students can add to their ‘woe is me’ repertoire. you’re welcome, nerds.



P.S. i know how to categorize posts, my dude. i appreciate the help, but there’s no need for backseat blogging here on askastudent.

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