askastudent

your student life specialists

Sep 30

no, i DON’T have $3 for a hot dog

The most important question I’ll ever ask: Where’s the free food at?

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hey there,

finally, people are asking about the real issues. i’m so proud of you for being brave enough to voice what’s really on all our minds.

there used to be this really great uoft account that just tweeted different places on campus you could get free food, but as far as i can tell, that account no longer exists. some things are just too good to last, i guess.

however, UTSU often has events with free food, so following them would be a wise move. for example, their free Welcome Back BBQ was just two weeks ago. your respective college’s student life twitter almost definitely tweets about free food events, too.

what? you don’t know your own college’s twitter? fine. here we go:

innis, new, st. mike’s, UC, vic, woodsworth and trin/trin.

itsfreeuoft is another godsend of a twitter account. it tweets about all sorts of free things, not just food, but i figure it’s still worth it.

best of luck in your noble quest, and please, remember to keep your ol’ pal aska updated on where the free pizza’s at.

aska


Sep 30

admissions averages changing like a boggart at a concert

Hey aska I heard that the humanities average for St George went up from its usual 80-84 average. I can’t get ahold of admissions and I’m applying in November Could you please tell me if it changed?

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hey there,

i can’t believe people are already applying for another year of school. soon, aska’s time will be over and a new generation of students will be here…all of them smarter, quicker, and more energetic than aska…sigh…

anyway. existential blip over.

the average you need to get in every year is kind of impossible to tell. it changes every single year, depending on how ruthless your competition is.

what you can do is take a look at the anticipated averages of people who entered uoft in this year. that number can give you a rough idea of what you may need to be a competitive applicant. however, it’s a guide more than it is a rule.

crazy stuff happens in the uni admissions arena. nothing is for certain. that said, if you know the average averages of the previous entering class, you’ve got a pretty good handle on what you’ll likely need to get in, too.

good luck,

aska


Sep 29

coming back strong

HI Aska,
I am in a terrible predicament. This is going to be long so please bear with me.
I started at U of T Life Science program in 2009 and I am still at it. This is my sixth year at U of T and I am still in my Third year based on the credits I have obtained.
So, basically my story is that two of my family members died in first year and I started my slide downward from there on. I went from a 3.7 gpa to a 3.3. In second year, I did found out that my grandmother’s cancer was back and had metastasized. I did okay but i started losing interest in my studies. In the ended up with a 2.8 GPA. My grandma passed away in the summer before my 3rd year. And I pretty much started ruining my academic career… I did the first semester (with 3 courses) of 3rd year and dropped out the second semester with a GPA of 2.5.
Came back the next year and pretty much did the same thing as the previous year – did one course in first semester and dropped out of the rest. I thought that was the lowest I could go but, low and behold I didn’t get any help from anyone. I went to my college registrar’s office and they basically said that i should try to do better and try all the resources available at u of t. I pretty much was so depressed that I just continued on a self-destructive pathway and decided to come back in for another year 2013-2014. I pretty much failed everything. GPA plummeted to 2.1.
When my family asked me about how I haven’t finished university yet I didn’t have any answer. I had just spent five years of uni, wasted tons of money and only ended up with 11.5 credits and 2.1 GPA. My family sought of help an intervention (for lack of a better word) and told me to get my life back in control. They told me what i already knew that I was ruining my life and all the potential that I had. I have gained 40 lbs over this period cause pretty much all i did was stay in my bed and stuff my face with food. I had decided to just give up on uni but, seeing my parents crying because of what I was doing to myself sought of gave me a final spark to do something with what I had left of my university career.
So, finally to the question I have for u. (Sorry for the long rant about my sordid past). I am back for another year. This is my sixth year in u of t. I have 11.5 credits so I am considered a third year student and have a GPA of 2.1. Is there any chance that I could actually salvage any the rest of my academic career?? I know I should have asked for help a longtime ago but, now that I am finally getting to it is there anything u can suggest?
Thank you,
JJ
Looking for a light in the dark tunnel of my life.

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hey there,

well, your health and wellness is your number one priority. if you feel unhappy with where you are in your life, then attending to that is important. on campus, CAPS and Counseline are great counselling services, if you think you could benefit from that.

the academic success centre is your go-to place for academic support. your college’s writing centre is another good resource.

i’m sure your college registrar gave you the same resources, and more. all these resources, though, assume that you’re going to decide to complete your degree. if you’ve returned to school, obviously i want everything to work out for you at school.

however, you don’t want to be doing anything that seems worthless to you. that’s just not cool.

if you’re doing your degree for a purpose (e.g. a job, to get an additional degree/certificate, interest in the topic of study etc.), then not only do i think you can salvage your academic career, but that you should.

on the other hand, if school makes you miserable and your previous difficulties have been a result of doing university instead of what you really want to do, then, honestly, drop it like a hot potato.

if you are invested in seeing this through to the end, you totally can. it’s possible to improve your GPA from a 2.1 with 8.5(+) credits to go. you just have to do a bit of exploring to find a support system that can help you.

the awesome services i listed are included in the fees you pay every year, so why not take advantage of them?

at the very least, you owe it to yourself to investigate a little bit, and see which, if any, of these resources can be useful to you. once you build a network of support, success will seem a lot easier, and maybe you can even start to see that light at the end of the tunnel.

best,

aska


Sep 29

“fall” “break”

Just curious as to why U of T doesn’t have a full reading week in the fall like other universities seem to have?

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hey there,

i’m curious, too. i haven’t been able to find any official explanation of the reasoning online. this Varsity article gives a pretty good overview of the issue, though it questions why we only get a two-day break instead of a full week, as we do in the winter term.

for what it’s worth (and this is JUST ASKA’S OPINION – i’m not speaking on behalf of any university administration), it makes sense to me that in a school where full-year courses typically make the winter term heavier than the fall term, that the break in the winter would be longer than in the fall.

but hey, we’re all allowed our own opinions on the matter. freedom, and all that.

hope you enjoy your (albeit modest) break when it does come,

aska


Sep 29

a very exhaustive examination of admissions to grad school (whoo!)

Hey aska! I’m very keen on getting into either Mengg or MS in CS at UofT. I’ve done my Btech in electrical and electronics with 66.76% from a tier 1 college of India. I have a 1.3 year work ex with a big data analytics firm. What are my chances of getting into the program. ? Gre 312. Toefl 104+ expecting.

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Hey there,

so. you’ve got a Bachelor of Technology and now you want to continue the roller-coaster ride that is engineering at UofT. great!

admissions says that you need a four-year Bachelor’s degree, which you have. You also need to have attended a 1st. div. college, which you did. finally, your TOEFL score is comfortably above the minimum requirements for admission.

the only thing i’m not sure about is your average. to get into engineering, you need to have completed your degree with at least a B or B+ average in the final two years of your degree.

i’m not sure whether that 66.67% you mentioned is a) reflective of your four years, instead of just the last two, and b) works on a different GPA system than ours.

the uoft website doesn’t allude to any different GPA scale in Indian universities, so i would contact the faculty of applied science & engineering to ask them whether your GPA scale matches theirs. also, make sure that the average you’re using to calculate your likelihood of admission is the average of your last two years of school.

if that average is at least a B+, then you’re an eligible and competitive applicant.

finally, make sure that you check the admissions requirements for the specific department you’re interested in within the faculty, because some of them have extra requirements like letters of reference (that’s where your work experience could come in handy).

the M.Sc. in comp. sci. also requires a B+, but only in your LAST year of study.

the TOEFL requirements are the same as those for engineering, and they don’t specify a preferred GRE score.

the GRE actually seems like an asset rather than a requirement, because they say that “[a]pplicants from outside Canada are encouraged to submit scores from the GRE General Test, and are encouraged to also submit scores from the GRE Subject Test in Computer Science, Mathematics, or a related discipline.”

the one thing that might complicate your admission to the M.Sc. is that “[p]reference will be given to applicants who have studied computer science or a closely related discipline.”

i don’t know how closely electrical and electronic engineering is related to computer science, but it may be something you can ask the department of computer science.

and that’s it! sorry for the information dump – i hope it all makes some sense. best of luck on your application!

cheers,

aska


Sep 25

“wacko” subject POSts

is it true we need to have 2 majors or a specialist or some other wacko combination to enrol in a subjectpost?

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hey there,

it is true! and, if i may shed my cynical, outer shell for a minute and speak in defence of uoft, it’s actually not that bad a system.

the standard subject POSt combinations in the faculty of arts & science are: one specialist, two majors, or one major and two minors. (you can also do a specialist and a minor, two majors and a minor, etc., but it’s not required).

this means that if you only have one, singular interest that you’d like to study, you can do that through a specialist. however, if you want to combine several interests or you’re not entirely sure what you’d like to study, you can do that as well!

it’s actually a system that allows for quite a bit of flexibility, which i am all for.

embrace the wacko, is what i’m saying.

aska


Sep 25

do you believe in life after psych?

Hi there,

I’ve applied for a psychology major program during the second request period this past summer, and i got the results saying they refused me. i’ve completed all the requirements for the program so i had hope and it really sucks right now. they sent email to all the applicants saying, they only had space to admit approximately 1/4 of applicants for each program; thus the cut-off averages were high and we were unable to admit all of those who met or
exceeded the minimum admission requirements. I planned my this year’s fall and winter courses around psychology thinking i’ll get into the program and i even planned to fulfill graduation requirement by end of summer 2015 so i can graduate in November. I’m thinking of applying to the minor program in April, but i really wanna get into the psych major and i’m very passionate about it. I’m already a 5th year student so i don’t wanna spend 6 years in school. To get into the major program do i have to take another course to even exceed the requirement so that i have a better chance? Please help, what i can do. Is there anywhere else i can take other courses to get into the program?

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hey there,

man, i’m sorry you didn’t get in. psych is tough, and the awful fact of the matter is that a lot of very worthy people apply and don’t get into the POSt.

if you’re (justifiably) saying that you just don’t want to stick around for another year, then it might be time to graduate with whatever POSt(s) you do have, and look for alternative ways to pursue psychology.

you’ve already taken lots of psych courses, so even if you don’t graduate with that degree, you still have the knowledge. do you want to be a doctor? great, apply to medical school. grad school? great, apply there, too. maybe there’s a college program that suits your interests, or a job. the list goes on.

most graduate and professional schools don’t require that you have a specific degree coming out of your undergrad. they may prefer certain areas over others, but there’s usually some wiggle room there.

so maybe the best thing to do now is plan to graduate and start thinking about what’s next. how can you incorporate your passion for psychology into your future?

as for getting into psych in april, it may still be possible. as far as i know, it’s more important that you get high marks in the required courses, rather than that you take a surplus of courses to get into the program.

however, it may be worthwhile to take a few more psych courses, maybe to complete the requirements for a minor, or to boost your GPA for the next time you apply to the POSt (if you decide to do so).

whether that is a good or helpful idea, though, depends on your academic history, which is why you should probably make an appointment with…you guessed it…your registrar’s office.

the best thing is to chat with your registrar about all this, because they can advise you not only about courses and applying to psych again, but also about other possibilities for this year, and after graduation.

best,

aska


Sep 23

i want my money!

does aska know how long it takes for an osap probation decision to be made after a letter indicating proof of academic progress is submitted to enrolment services? got put on probation cuz didn’t complete 4.0 credits cuz transferred campuses and credits don’t count towards program usually so i dropped courses to save money/time. it shouldn’t be a big deal i think/hope but i would like my funding ASAP.

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hey there,

this time of year, enrolment services has a pretty fast turnaround time for this sort of thing. i would say that anything bordering on 2 weeks is longer than typical right now.

if it is coming close to two weeks since you submitted your letter, just contact enrolment services again and ask them when they expect the decision to be made.

you can also ask them whether the fact that you changed campuses is having any effect on the wait time, while you’re at it (it may, but i can’t say for certain – it’s worth it to ask).

xoxo, good luck,

aska

P.S. throwback to the video this title references.


Sep 23

mysterious impossible courses

Hi! I was looking at summer courses, and I came across CSC207H1Y. Would students have gotten a half-credit or a full credit? How would this impact their eligibility for a summer work-study position? Thanks.

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hey there,

i  think you misread the course code there, chum. i see a CSC207H1 on the 2014 summer timetable, but no CSC207H1Y.

and it’s a good thing, too, because ‘H1Y’ is not a thing (at least, in the faculty of arts & science – not true for the faculty of engineering, or for certain independent studies courses in artsci).

you can’t be in a half-year course and a full-year course at the same time. unless you’re cheating.

anyway, if you’re in a half-year course, you’d need to pick up at least 0.5 more credits over the summer to be eligible for work-study.

cheers,

aska

 


Sep 23

after psych

hey!

I’ve been reading your is for some time now and was hoping you could help me out. I am a 3rd/4th year student and I spent all of last year taking the required courses to graduate with a major in psychology on time. Even for this year I picked courses relevant to the major in hopes that I would have enough marks to at least get into the minor. What sucks is that i didn’t get into either. And it turns out that for the last 2 years, the average threshold has been pretty high so the calendar was wrong. I just don’t know what to do. I honestly hoped that I would get in and I really wanted to graduate by next November. I basically spent an year taking courses that I didn’t,t even need. Is there even a remote chance of getting 85% in a 200-level psych course at UTSG?

Best,

Lost and depressed

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hey there Lost and depressed,

well, i hate to be that person, but the calendar isn’t wrong. psychology’s minor, major and specialist are all type 2L subject POSts, which means that there is a finite number of spaces in each POSt. so, even if you meet the prerequisites, you may not get in.

that said, don’t be too hard on yourself for it. psych is insanely popular in this faculty, so the competition that you were up against was not insignificant (to put it mildly).

i think now is the time to weigh your options and decide what you want more: to graduate with a psychology POSt, or graduate by next November.

if you don’t want to be here over four years, it may be wise to start planning to graduate with whatever POSt(s) you’re currently in.

as for whether there is the chance of getting in 85% in 1 200-level psych course: beats me.

people do it, so it must be possible, strictly speaking, but one person’s possible is another person’s impossible. without knowing your strengths, i have no idea whether it would be possible for you, and that’s what’s counts.

what i would do is make an appointment with your registrar’s office. they can take a look at your whole academic history and advise you on your options.

based on your transcript and chatting with you one-on-one, they can tell you whether they think that 85% is feasible, and also, whether it’s a good idea to pursue a psych POSt again.

if you had a specific question about a 200-level psych course, the undergraduate administrator at psych would be your first point of contact. you can also talk to them about the possibility of getting into a psych POSt in the next enrolment period.

best of luck (hoping you feel a little less lost and depressed),

aska


Sep 22

pls let me leave, uoft

Hello!

I am in last year with the intention of graduating in June and, after checking Degree Explorer, I saw that I was missing a credit from BR=5 :Physical and Mathematical Universes. I just completed AST201 this summer and I passed (I took it as CR/NCR because I am terrible at astronomy!). Anyhow, I am just a little worried; I was so sure that AST201 covered that requirement. Or do I have to take ENG287? (I wanted to take that initially, but AST201 worked better for my schedule).

If you could help me clarify this, I would be immensely grateful!

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hey there,

AST201 definitely fulfils the 5th breadth req. category, so you don’t have to worry about that. second, credit/no credit can be used to fulfil breadth requirements, so that’s also fine.

my bet is that degree explorer has just been slow in updating the breadth requirement category from this summer.

we are still only in september, and this is a busy time for people who work with Portal. i’d give them a bit more time to update everything before you start to worry.

if you do want to make certain that you’ve done everything you need to graduate, what you can do is make a grad check appointment at your registrar’s office. then you can get confirmation from a real, live human whether everything is hunky-dory and you’re on track to graduate this june.

cheers,

aska


Sep 22

drop ‘em like they’re hot

Hey! Right now I’m enrolled in 3.5 FCE for this year and I’m thinking to drop down to 2 FCE. When is the last day to do this? Thanks!

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hey there,

the deadline to drop courses without leaving any trace of ‘em on your academic record is November 3rd for F courses, February 16th for Y courses and March 8th for S courses. take note of those dates now, folks, before it’s TOO LATE.

cheers,

aska

P.S. a bit of unsolicited advice: keep in mind that a drop from 3.5 FCEs to 2.0 FCEs changes your status from full-time student to part-time student, which means a change in fees that you have to request, and possibly a change in your dealings with OSAP, if you get OSAP, though they’ll notify you of any changes if they happen.


Sep 22

shout out to this person for not asking *me* their math question

Hey! I looked at the math aid centre schedule, and I don’t see my course. Is it still cool for me to walk in and ask a TA if they are available to help me out even though my course isn’t listed? Thanks, Aska!

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hey there,

well, the location in sidney smith (assuming you’re on the downtown campus; i really really hope you’re at the downtown campus) says that it is intended for students in “MAT133Y, MAT135H, MAT136H, and possibly other courses.

i’d say the “possibly other courses” part is an open invitation to go in and see whether you can sniff out a TA who at least recognizes what you’re trying to learn. i’m not sure how strictly they follow the schedule, but i think it’s worth it to try.

even if your question is not necessarily something they specialize in or are there for, they might be able to help you.

and if they can’t help, you can at least count on finding a sympathetic ear from a graduate student in mathematics who probably knows all too well what it’s like to study some obscure branch of math that no one has every heard of. otherwise, you may have to go searching at one of the other math aid centres, or find a private tutor.

i hope you find someone who can help you!

aska


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