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your student life specialists

Apr 17

destress in ten simple steps for only $29.99

How in the heck do I not stress about getting accepted to uni I’m in gr 11!!

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hey there,

well, in the interest of not letting myself get too preachy in long, tedious paragraphs, and also in breaking up the way text looks on this website a little bit, i’m going to present some of my ideas in a list. so here we go!

Aska’s List of Ideas about how Not to Freak Out about University (Yay!)

1. take a bubble bath and watch as all your troubles melt away.

2. eat a piece of cake.

3. start off every day by stretching in bed.

4. hug more people, more often. (not like strangers, though; only hug people you know. and ask first, ’cause some people have a thing about not liking hugs which you should totally respect, and also, people are better huggers if they enjoy hugging, so…anyway. next point.)

5. do well in school! almost forgot about that one. because doing well in school is the only sure-fire way of getting into university. no amount of worrying and anxiety can do more than that. buckle down and work, and try to channel that nervous energy into productivity, if you can. (i know how hard it is, but it’s worth it.)

6. let yourself daydream a little. worrying about university can often be mitigated by a healthy amount of excitement for university; visit campuses, peruse the course calendar to try and find the coolest-sounding courses just for fun, make grand plans without worrying about whether they’ll actually happen. if you’re not enjoying yourself at least a little, then the whole thing isn’t worth it.

7. understand that while you’re probably not the smartest person applying to university, you’re also probably not the dumbest. if you keep working hard, you will almost certainly be accepted somewhere. also, if you’re not accepted, that’s probably for a reason. like, i would probably not be accepted into the navy, but, you know, i would be miserable if i were in the navy, so i’m glad they wouldn’t take me.

8. focus on building memorable experiences, now. school is important, and planning ahead will always make things smoother for you down the line, but that’s not everything. go to concerts. learn a new hobby. take a class at your local community centre. take a trip. read more books. start a new TV show. your life will not be made or broken based on whether you attend uoft.

9. don’t read this blog too much; all this talk about OSAP and subject POSts and stuff is bound to be unnerving for someone not part of that world yet. and if you do read it, know that it’s alright if you don’t understand half of what’s being talked about. heck, i barely understand it sometimes.

10. breathe!

best,

aska


Apr 17

transferring (you to the experts)

Hi there!
I’m trying to transfer to UTM for the 2014-2015 year from another university. This meaning I’d be in second year if I got in. Now I’m worried
sick. I’m afraid I won’t get accepted. I did pretty amazing first semester and was able to get a 3.8 but this semester I probably won’t get more than a 3.0 (That’s just a guess but probably around there). Now I know UTM has requirements for the subject PoSts when it comes to gpa. Then theres also the fact that I can’t enroll into courses until I’ve declared a post. All I want to know is whether I’ll be accepted or not because then I have to make arrangements at another university which just seems really messy to me and want to avoid it.

There was also a question of OSAP, not sure if you would know. I have an resp which I’ve taken out but most of it is with my parents and not in my hand. I did get some of it but it was used up due to emergency’s and I don’t plan to use the one my parents have with them this year. When I apply to OSAP do I need to let them know of this money? I don’t want money that I don’t have anymore to affect my funding.
Thank you!

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hey there,

whoa nelly, you’ve got a lot of super specific question, my friend! i want to offer my sympathies to you for having to go through the nerve-wracking process of transferring. believe me, i’m a transfer student too, and i know how anxious you must feel right now. despite that, i want you to channel the energy you’re currently experiencing that’s making you want to scream in a roomful of people or tear out your hair into something productive.

i’m not gonna deny that asking me questions is usually productive (i mean i can just imagine what a privilege it is to have a chat with me, whatever the circumstance), but in this case, i think your questions would be better directed to people who know about the specifics of your situation. keep checking your application/admission status on the JOIN UofT Portal, but know that UTM will likely wait for your second term marks to make an admission decision, so you might hear back from them as late as the end of May. however, that is still not too late to sign up for courses and declare a subject POSt, so don’t worry.

as for your chances about admission, i’d recommend calling UTM Admissions & Recruitment at 905-828-5400. they’ll have specific information about your application and also about what they look for in applicants, and can probably better predict whether you’ll get in than i can. i know some people have issues with calling institutions on the phone, but it’ll be fine. they specifically say to call that number with admissions inquiries, so you’re good. i promise.

finally, for your OSAP question, there are people at the downtown question who specifically answer questions about OSAP, and i think they’ll be your best bet. you can e-mail them at 0sap.staff@utoronto.ca for general questions, or if you want to talk with someone about your current application specifically, try calling them at 416-978-2190.

i hope that is helpful in pointing you in the right direction!

best,

aska


Apr 17

kindling a love for kin

helloooo

i’m an american born canadian student aka i was born in vancouver so i have a canadian citizenship but moved to america when i was little. because canadian tuition is cheaper and canada is just so cool i am considering going to university in canada. i’m looking into ubc, mcgill, and u of t. problem is i literally know nothing about canada or their system idk. i was just wondering if you could help shed a little light on all of this.

ive heard that u of t is more of a liberal arts school and that undergrad is hella hard there. i want to study kinesiology to become a phyiscal therapist. but i heard that its hard for science majors at uoft to get the classes they need to get into grad school (ex bio physics and chem). is that true? ive heard that many people, bc they didn’t get the required classes, have trouble getting into grad school. i plan on returning to the US for grad school and i would hate for something like that to happen.

can you just talk a little bit about kinesiology at uoft as well? thank you
so much!!

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hey there,

this is the second time i’m hearing this thing about kinesiology students not getting the courses they need, and i’m starting to think i’ve missed something, so if any kin students are reading this, please correct me if you know something about the program that i don’t. however, as far as i know, kinesiology is an entirely different faculty from the faculty of arts & science at uoft, so there’s no way that you wouldn’t get into the classes you need for your degree. also, you wouldn’t be a science major – you would be a kin student, and you would graduate with a B.KIN, not a B.Sc.

as for uoft being hella hard, there’s something to that, but…i dunno. it’s not impossible. as long as you’re prepared to work hard, you should be able to pull through. university is made for regular people with good a work ethic, not genuises. i don’t think coming here would ruin your chances at grad school, either in canada or abroad (and like i said, getting your required courses/prereqs for grad school shouldn’t be an issue).

finally, while i usually try to answer everyone’s questions individually, because even similar questions often have different nuances, i answered a question that is literally exactly like yours right here not too long ago. read that through as well and e-mail me if you have more questions, but i think that post answers everything you’re asking in depth.

best,

aska


Apr 15

picking on the little guy (course)

Hi there,

I was just wondering how many students have to be enrolled in a course in order for it not to be cancelled. For example, one of the 300-level summer courses I want to take has space for 45 students but there are only 17 students enrolled. If it reaches, say, 20 students will it still be cancelled because not enough people are taking it?

Thanks in advance!

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hey there,

the likelihood of a course being cancelled because of low enrolment is very small. enrolment numbers might affect whether the course runs next year, but if it’s up on ROSI and you can enrol in it now, chances are, it’s going to run. I wouldn’t worry about it.

so just remember the large, friendly letters on the front of the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy:

don't panic

best,

aska


Apr 15

WILL I GET IN?!?!

WILL THEY ACCEPT ME AT ST. GEORGE (FROM UTM) IF I HAVE A 3.1-3.2 GPA? TELL ME PLz. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE ACTUAL NUMBERS ARE?

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hey there,

ARE YOU HAVING A STROKE? DO YOU NEED EMERGENCY CARE BECAUSE I CAN SEE YOU ARE SHOUTING QUITE URGENTLY.

dude, if you’re gonna type in all caps, i’m pretty much obliged to make fun of you. just a little bit. just ’cause it sounds like you’re shouting to a stranger over the internet, and you don’t need to be doing that, you know? so i gotta poke fun. but don’t you worry, i answer everyone’s questions; you don’t need to shout to be heard.

alright, your question. are you talking about transferring? ’cause that’ll depend on the program/stream you applied to. whatever it is, whether you’re accepted will depend on whether you completed the program requirements and your previous averages. you can take a look at the anticipated grade range of accepted students for fall 2014 and the average averages of students accepted in 2010 to gauge where you stand. your application to transfer will basically be treated like an application from grade 12 to uoft, so those numbers still apply to you.

also, if you need to convert your GPA to a percentage, you can use this. i don’t have any more specific knowledge than that, unfortunately. i wish i did.

i hope that’ll help you stop yelling so much. it’s bad for your larynx, y’know.

best,

aska


Apr 15

from POSt to POSt

I want to change from Health studies to Sociology which is still under social sciences. Do i just have to change my Subject post? To add any other majors and minors that are not under social sciences, do i just change the subject post? Thanks.

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hey there,

well, the process is different depending on what type of subject POSt you enrol in, but since the Sociology specialist, major and minor are all type 2L subject POSts, I’m going to talk about the process of enrolling in a 2L subject POSt.

so what you’ve gotta do is go into ROSI, enter the code related to your desired POSt, and request the POSt. then your status will be ‘requested’ for a long while – until decisions are made about who’s in the POSt and who’s not. that happens around late june/early july. at that point, your POSt status on ROSI will change from ‘requested’ to either ‘invited’ (an invitation which you can then accept) or ‘refused.’ you can take a look at the criteria they use to determine acceptance into the program here.

if you are refused, you may have a chance to apply again during the second request period, which is between july 2nd and august 31st.

also, if you want to get out of Health Studies, you’ll have to drop it on ROSI, same way you added it.

peace out,

aska


Apr 15

silly pigeon

Hi,

I was just wondering if you knew when the Fall 2014-Winter 2015 timetable for UTSG is going to be released? It probably sounds kind of impatient to be asking this early, but when the Summer 2014 timetable was released I think one of the pages said something about the Fall schedule being released at the end of March…

Thanks for your help =D

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hey there,

it’s up!

best,

aska

P.S. i initially linked to the course calendar instead of the timetable; i’ve just changed it. i guess I’M the silly pigeon now.


Apr 15

an osap follow-up

hi, i’m returning for my second year at uoft. i’ll only be getting 2 credits this year though, so my course enrolment start time is in july. so i was wondering am i just suppose to wait till after i enrol to apply for osap? i want to apply for the 30% off mostly, but they tell you to apply as early as you can. i was just wondering cause i wasn’t on osap last year. i realize this is sort of a dumb question, like, i assume you enrol in your courses first, enter your student number (and all the tax form stuff) on the osap site and that’s how they get the 30% off, by actually seeing your course load. so its needs to be done in that order. but i just thought i’d ask, y’know?

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hey there,

the main thing you have to make sure of is that you apply as early as possible before the deadline to defer payments, which is not the same date as the date you enrol for classes. you don’t need to be enrolled in your courses for the year when you apply for OSAP, just as long as you’ve enrolled in them by the time you actually have to be, y’know, taking classes.

course enrolment isn’t really directly related to applying for OSAP – it’s something OSAP checks up on after you apply, later in the year. the important thing you need to focus on is having your application in well before the deadline to defer payments, which is August 19th at the downtown campus.

cheers,

aska


Apr 10

what a(n) (o)sap!

Hi,

I’m entering 3rd year this upcoming term and, financially, my school savings just aren’t enough. This may seem like a simpleminded question but, how does one apply for OSAP? Also, are there specific deadlines I should be aware of? How will I know if the application is successful? Will anything appear on ROSI?

Thanks!

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hey there,

i really wish you’d specified which term you were going into. does ‘upcoming’ mean the summer or fall 2014? *diva sigh* accuracy, people…

‘s ok, i’m over it now. so, if you’re taking courses in the summer, you’ve missed the march 31st deadline to apply for osap and defer payments. you’ll now need to go physically to enrolment services and fill out a deferral form – that is, if you’re not able to pay for the courses in full by april 24th.

if you’re talking about fall 2014, then you’ve got lots of time left to apply, but you should still do so as soon as possible. the application opens in may, but the sooner you apply after that, the sooner you will be assessed* and the sooner you will be all ready to defer your payments** in august. there’s no real deadline for osap; just make sure to have it done a couple weeks before the date you need to defer payments to the school, which is august 19th.

as for applying, it’s fairly straightforward. it’s done online, and utm has released a really great step-by-step powerpoint about how to do it if you haven’t before (but obviously just don’t put UTM as the school you’re attending if you’re downtown or at UTSG).

OSAP typically communicates with you by e-mail when anything significant happens, good or bad, so just keep an eye out there for information about your application. but don’t worry too much about verifying if you’ve done it right; if you just go through the steps and fill everything out as the website prompts you to, you should be fine.

i don’t think anything happens on ROSI when you apply; you just go to ROSI to defer your fees after you’ve applied for OSAP.

i hope that all made sense. please e-mail me if you run into any problems!

best,

aska

* assessed = i.e. for financial need, which determines the amount of funds released to you.

** deferring payments = osap gets released to you in chunks throughout the school year.  this means that if you’re getting osap to pay your fees, you need to let the school know that it’ll take you some time to pay them, but that you understand it’s your responsibility to pay them, and that you will pay when the money is available to you. this is done on ROSI, and is called “deferring your payment.”

P.S. by the by, it’s not a simple-minded question. believe me, i wish i’d had someone to ask about it when i first applied.


Apr 10

a funny joke that’s worth reading

Here’s the sitch I’m in grade 11 and getting high 80′s and 90′s in everything except biology (high 70) Will this affect my entrance next year? I want to apply to st george

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hey there,

i doubt it, dude. your grade 12 marks are generally more important than your grade 11 marks (and by generally, i mean in every case except early admission, which is when the university sends out a handful of admission offers in december to people who applied in october/november; but don’t worry about that). you should just go by what they say here; since they’re only talking about grade 12 marks there, that’s what you should focus on.

also, i guess it’s around the time of year when i’m going to be getting a lot of questions like this, so YO, GRADE 12′S, LISTEN UP: i don’t have much to tell you about admissions that isn’t on the admissions website already. like, i can probably share a personal anecdote or say something funny about your question, but usually, the admissions website and this document are basically what i’ll be referring to to answer the bulk of your questions.

now for something funny, as advertised.

are you ready for this though. i don’t think you are.

what do you call a really fast zombie?

….

a ZOOMBIE! ha!

best,

aska


Apr 10

choosing a residence building

Hi :) I received residency offers from SMC for the coming year, I was wondering out of the 4 buildings at SMC, which one is recommended? I really just want a room that has good natural light, but I can’t really find any photos of inside of the buildings.

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hey there,

unfortunately i don’t know off the top of my head because i am much too lame to live downtown, but the thing that would be most helpful for you, i think, rather than trying to find pictures, is to go on a residence tour. especially now that it’s going to be nice and sunny for a while, it’ll be the perfect way to figure out exactly how you feel about each residence building.

best,

aska


Apr 10

career choice SHOWDOWN

Hey Aska,
I’m in a real dilema here. I just got accepted into OISE J/I program, and I’m excited and all, but the horrible job market for teaching in Ontario is a real bummer. I also got accepted into nursing, but after a 5 year undergrad experience, I’m not too sure I want to go through another 4 years. Nursing is great but the shift work and immense stress is also troubling. Plus OISE is cutting half its program and extending the program from 1 year to 2 years starting in 2015. I’m at a lost here, and I’m really not sure where to go next year. Please offer me some advice =’(

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hey there,

it seems to me you’ve already done some research on this. you probably know more about the job market for teachers in Ontario than i do, and you probably know more about nursing. i could dig up some statistics for you that might tip you one way or the other, but i feel like you can do that on your own, so i’ll just try to change your perspective a bit.

to me, whether you do 2 years or 4 in school is not the main concern. either way, in under a half a decade, you’ll be finished with school, and ready to spend at least forty years on one career. since that amount of time massively eclipses the time you’ll spend in school, i think you need to focus on that. the question, then – which i will continue ramming down all your throats ’til you’re sick of it – is what you’ll enjoy more.

if you really want to be a teacher, then having to travel to another country to teach shouldn’t be enough to put you off that career. of course, moving is demanding, and trying to do your job in a culture (and sometimes a language) you are unfamiliar with is incredibly hard. shift work is also hard, especially in such a physically and mentally demanding job as nursing. but, like, life is hard, you know? jobs are hard. i have the best job imaginable, and sometimes even i wake up tired and don’t want to commute for two hours to get to it, and sometimes i mess up at work and i feel stressed out about my mistake for the rest of the day. it happens.

no matter what you do, your job is going to come with roadblocks. but the career you pick needs to be something that you love enough that you are willing to push through the roadblocks. and yeah, i think those roadblocks should be part of the consideration: are you willing to move province or country if you can’t find a job teaching in ontario?* are you willing to work long shifts at strange hours? but also, consider what it is you really want to spend your life doing. i know that’s easier said than done, especially when there’s no way for you to test-run the job, so to speak, in a volunteer or internship position.** but that’s the thing that should ultimately determine your decision, i think.

sorry i can’t give more help than that. hopefully this gives you something to chew on, at least.

best,

aska

* by the way, i understand that it is super tough landing a teaching job in toronto, but it’s not impossible, especially if you start applying for tutoring jobs and stuff now to build your resume.

**though if you can get a volunteer position at a school or hospital, i’d highly recommend it; that’ll definitely well-inform your decision.


Apr 08

aska learns how to succinctly explain the 12 distinct credits rule (whoo!)

whats the rule on courses that qualify for both your majors? do they count for both?

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hey there,

the rule is called the ‘12 distinct credits‘ rule. a quick (but not foolproof!) way of calculating the number of credits that you can share between majors is to add together the number of credits that both majors require, and then subtract 12.0: the remainder is the number of credits which can be applied to both majors.

however, it can be pretty tricky to keep track of this yourself, so feel free to check with your registrar’s office to make sure you’re following this rule properly. degree explorer also does a good job of monitoring it as well.

cheers,

aska


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