askastudent

your student life specialists

Jun 30

four hundred levels of CHALLENGING

Hi aska, I’m going into my 4th year and doing 2 majors (English & Sociology), so I’ll have to take 0.5 FCE at 400-level for each POSt. Is it a bad idea to take both 400-level courses in one semester? 400-level courses are, I heard, quite intensive & the two topics I am passionate about are offered only in the fall semester. I’m so torn about this it’s genuinely stressing me out. The topics for 400-level courses in winter, annoyingly for both eng & soc, just don’t interest me as much. Thanks!

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hey there,

my friend, i understand that feeling. long gone are the days when you could hide behind the 80+ other people in your class if you forget to do a reading. in 400-level classes, you’re on your own. there’re only about a dozen of you and you WILL get called on and the professor WILL figure it out if none of you have read the material for that day. it’s happened to me. and yes, it was really embarrassing.

also, everyone gets really smart, really fast in fourth year. i’ve looked around 400-level courses and been bewildered by people with whom i took 200-level classes suddenly knowing their stuff, making insightful points, having strong opinions about this or that interpretation of a text, and otherwise making me feel like i’ve got an IQ slightly below that of the average mussel.

that being said, 400-level courses are also fantastic. best case scenario, you actually get to have an interesting conversation with your class. it’s almost like you’re learning from each other. if you can imagine such a thing.

another bonus: assignments are fewer and further between, and you typically have more creative control over them. 400-level courses actually let you come into your own as an academic, research your own interests, and develop projects all on your own.

of course, that’s all really hard. but it can be fulfilling, academically; you know, if you go in for that sort of baloney.

on a personal note: i took 3.0 400-level courses in my fourth year (i had a lot of persnickety requirements to fill) and i did just fine (the other 1.5 credits i took were 300-levels). the 400-level ones were challenging, but in a good way. hopefully doing 1.0 FCEs of them will be just the right amount of challenge for you.

i hope that helps???

aska


Jun 28

co-op and an extended car metaphor

i have a little trouble with enrolling my program on Acorn. i want to do linguistics specialist coop but then i just realized the enrolment date for this program had passed. Should I just leave my program blank right now? Can I still get into the related coop courses/workshops in this case? Thanks!

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hey there,

there are a few things going on in this question. it has, as the business people would say, “a lot of moving pieces.” lemme try to address some of them (though i am not, myself, a business person per say. i do rock a pleather briefcase, though):

firstly, if you are not currently in a co-op program at UTSC, you can’t just apply to a co-op POSt via ACORN. you have to apply to co-op as a whole, the same way that at the downtown campus, you have to apply to transfer internally if you want to switch faculties. that application required a supplementary form that was due in April.

if you’re currently not in co-op, you probably wouldn’t be able to get into the associated work-term preparation course (which i assume is what you’re talking about); see 6B.5, since that is taken in your first year of co-op.

as for what you should do in terms of programs now, with course enrolment looming ever closer on the horizon: you should NOT leave it blank. in order to sign up for courses, you’ll need to be in an acceptable combination of subject POSts, i.e. 1 specialist OR 2 majors OR 1 major and 2 minors. if you’re not, ACORN will put up a big STOP sign in the metaphorical road to your course selection, and you will stay parked until you pull a program or two into your back seat for the ride.

what would make the most sense to me, since you’re interested in the linguistics specialist – co-op, is to do sign up for the next-best thing for the time being. the regular linguistics specialist (i say ‘regular’ only to distinguish it from co-op; obviously, i’m not commenting on all the linguists out there, who i’m sure are extraordinary people in their own right) has unlimited enrolment, which means that you can sign up for it after your first year and are guaranteed admission.

to continue the car/road metaphor, unlimited POSts are the cupholder of car accessories; everyone can get one. if you decide to apply to a limited POSt, you should have an unlimited one in your back pocket just in case.

all this is to say: you need to make sure you’re in an appropriate number of programs by your start date for course enrolment, otherwise you will be in big trouble on the day of. and aska doesn’t want that.

drive on, linguist,

aska


Jun 28

the end of the line?

Here’s a rather unique situation for you I think…. Perhaps you can help???

I began my degree in the fall of 2000. The last time I was enrolled in coursework towards said degree was winter of 2012.
During this span of time I incurred a few academic suspensions due to low gpa. I was able to defer suspension on medical grounds twice. But ultimately by the winter of 2012 I had used up all my tries and my status has currently been set to “refused further registration”.

I have completed 21.5 credits in total including all degree requirements for my double major. So all I would need to do, is enough coursework of any kind to increase my cgpa from a 1.43 to a 2.0 to graduate. I need advise on how to go about this.

If I took courses at another university and did well, would they be transferable towards my academic status?  Any idea on the likelihood of another university in the city taking me on given my existing transcript from UTSC just for a few random courses?

Please direct me to the best source for help. I haven’t inquired since 2012 but the registrar’s office wasn’t very helpful.

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hey there,

i’m sorry to hear about your health troubles. i hope you’re doing better now. this is not an easy situation, and i’m not gonna pretend that i have the answers. i’ll do my best to give you my two cents (as per us’), but this is something that has to be sorted out between you and your registrar’s office – yes, even if you feel they weren’t helpful, or they tell you things you don’t agree with or want to hear. they still know best. it’s like your mom; you never want to admit that she may actually know what she’s talking about. darn woman.

technically speaking, you CAN petition to appeal the refusal of further registration. again, this has to be done through the registrar’s office, so if you do decide to do that, you’ll have to speak with your pesky, academic moms about it anyway.

depending on your situation, they may or may not recommend a petition. i have to say that usually, they don’t, the logic being that if you’ve been given so many tries to increase your GPA and haven’t been able to, then maybe this university is not for you. generally speaking, i tend to agree with that reasoning. maybe i’m a mom too?

that being said, every situation is unique. sharing as much of your particular situation as you can with your registrar’s office will enable them to better advise you. if you are uncomfortable with whomever you spoke with last time, maybe try making an appointment with somebody else. perhaps an appeal is advisable in this case, and talking with them will make that clear. however, suspensions and refusals of registration, i think, are also opportunities to do a kind of mental check.

that is, suspensions force you to take a pause in your journey down the winding, twisting path to a university degree and ask yourself, seriously: “what factors have led to this happening to me? do i need to prioritize those factors and making them better over school? what do i want out of life, and can uoft help get me there?”

give these questions some serious thought. talk about them with your friends and family. talk about them with advisors at UTSC. be honest with yourself.

with regards to transferring: no, while, you are on suspension, any courses you take at another academic institution cannot be transferred over to uoft. in addition, most universities that i know of will ask for your transcript if you are applying to transfer, and many will likely require at least a B in order to accept you as a transfer student. you may want to look into college programs that you could potentially transfer into, or consider the possibility of applying for work.

i just want to reiterate that i understand that this is a tough, crappy situation, but it’s important to listen to the people around you and do what will make you happy and successful.

best,

aska


Jun 27

don’t gamble with OSAP, man

Man when is the fee deferral period this year?

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dude,

the last date to defer your minimum payment to register using OSAP or another government loan is August 23rd, 2016 for the upcoming Fall/Winter session. the earliest you can do a deferral should be whenever you’re a) invited on ROSI/ACORN b) your OSAP assessment has come through and c) your account invoice for 2016-2017 is up.

so if you haven’t already finished your OSAP/loan application, do it now so you’ll be all ready to go for August 23rd. the later you wait, the more you’re taking a gamble on whether it will be processed in time for the deferral deadline. and OSAP is pretty much, like, the worst online gambling experience you could have.

seeing as you’re asking this question in June though, you seem pretty on top of it. i respect that.

peace,

aska


Jun 23

the CLN scares you? wait ’til you get on campus

hiya,love this blog i got a couple questionsfyi-> incoming full time- first year- st.george- engineering- unsettled 1) what counts as honors standing in the engineering faculty for undergrads? they said someone is accepted to transfer to any engineering program even engsci after first year if they finish both first year semesters with honors but it doesn’t say  what gpa that would be or what else is considered…2)…should i be studying during summer as in is it expected or recommended by whoevers recommendations i’m supposed to listen to? 3) when i check my osap application status for full time studies it says i still need to provide documents for both the parent declaration and the student declaration. i printed them myself and uploaded them and i thought that was good enough because its says upload them or submit to your financial aid office. in one column beside the name of the documents  it says received on one side yet there’s a big red X on the other side. for the MSFAA that i mailed in its a green check and it says done instead of recieved. i uploaded them june 1st am i risking getting funding in time by not handing my declarations in to financial aid on top of uploading?! 4)what happens if a dont have enough money, i read a post about UTAPS helping but i missed that feb deadline by a mile 5)work-study only lets you work 12 hours, can i have 2 work-study jobs? or should i just get a part time job without restrictions is is even possible for first years to get work-study in labs or libraries, CLN scares me 6) i will be commuting 4 hours total, i wanted to save the rent money (rent debt tbh since osap would bankroll me) is this doable do commuters grades suffer? like is it too much to sleep in a library then boot and rally to shower at a gym and keep things in a rented locker for lectures sometimes

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hey there,

1) i don’t know what you mean by honours standing. as far as i can see, the minimum university GPA to be considered as a transfer applicant to engineering would be a B (which at 5 uoft would be a 3.0). so i guess that’s the answer!

2) i mean, if you feel really insecure about a certain subject or something, it could certainly never hurt to study extra (not to mention how admirable it would be). if you want my personal thoughts, though? i would spend the summer before university travelling if you can, spending time with family, relaxing, and maybe earning a bit of money to help put you through university. you have four years of studying ahead of you. may as well enjoy the time off while you can.

3) that all sounds fine to me? and if you submitted by june 1st you should be assessed in time. however, if anything looks weird or out of place to you, the place to call would be enrolment services. maybe you have to submit the signature forms to enrolment services as well as uploading them, or something. also, some portions of the application are completed by the school, rather than by you, so perhaps those things are showing as unfinished and it’s throwing you off. regardless, enrolment services will be able to walk you through it and sort things out.

4) if you’re an Ontario student getting OSAP, you will be automatically assessed for UTAPS. the February deadline is only for out-of-province students.

5) you can only work one work-study job at a time, and to be honest, that’s probably a good thing. 24 hours a week is bordering on excessive for a full-time student, ESPECIALLY a first-year student. that’s just my two cents, though. if you’re determined to work two jobs or need to for financial reasons, you can. you can get a work-study and a non-work-study job, or even get your second job off-campus.

as for how difficult it is to get a job: i’m not gonna lie, lots of lab/research opportunities go to upper-year students with more specialized knowledge. on the flip-side, there are a TON of work-study jobs that go up for September. whatever it is that scares you about the CLN, you gotta get over it, because it’s a treasure trove of opportunity.* try and think of the job listings as a fun adventure (and i know this is hard when you’re strapped for cash, but it is the only way to get through the horror of a job search in my experience; otherwise, you’ll checkout mentally and not be as alert in the hunt). there are lots of opportunities here, and maybe even a couple that are perfect for you.

6) commuting is rough. i commuted for my second year only, and my total commute was three hours long. it was not fun. i felt exhausted at the end of every day. however, having now finished my degree, i’ve looked back  and realized that my highest annual GPA happened in my second year, the only year i had that brutal commute.

how did this happen? well, it’s certainly not because the people snoring softly in the quiet zone of the GO train inspired me academically. it’s because commuting forces you to be really smart about how you spend your time. a large part of that is time management, i.e. studying in the library between classes, setting up a weekly study schedule that you make sure to stick to, etc., BUT it also forces you not to overburden yourself. when you live close to or on campus, you can sometimes convince yourself that you can do everything, because it’s all so close by!

by contrast, knowing that your commute takes up time/energy forces you to be realistic about how much you can do outside of school. in second year, my participation was meaningful, but modest. i was part of a few clubs, each of which only required a couple hours a week of my time, i had a work-study, and that was it. and i did really well in school! fancy that.

by sharing my experience, i don’t mean to imply that yours will be exactly the same. everyone has a different experience at university, especially one as big as uoft. i just want you to know: it’s possible. if you’re smart and organized about it, you can do it.

finally: you may want to check out these tags if you’re already thinking about sleeping in libraries; there’s a lot of info there about the best places to study, rent lockers, cry without being noticed (hopefully you won’t need that one), nap, etc.

cheers,

aska

*i know that this makes me sound like a greasy capitalist. i’m sorry. i feel slimy.


Jun 23

a particularly early panic

I’m a transfer student, admitted as a second year student. ACORN won’t let me enrol in any first year course (because they are restricted to first year students) and it won’t let me enrol in second year courses (because they have first year courses as prerequisites). Will I be able to enrol in ANY first year course after they lift the priority restriction? I’m worried about availability (in courses such as MAT135H, BIO120H or CHM135H). What can I actually enrol in???? HELP!

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hey there,

the definition of a priority is that it does lift, which is good news for you. beginning on August 5th, all priorities lift, which means that anyone in the faculty of arts & science can get into a course, as long as there’s space and you meet any prerequisites. all three of the courses you listed have priorities (as opposed to any other kind of enrolment control), so August 5th is the golden date for you.

yes, it’s frustrating that you have to wait so long. yes, it’s possible the courses will fill up, and for that reason you should have backups. trust me; i’ve been there. i’ve lived it. however, all of these first-year life science courses are very large, so there will be lots of space, in multiple different lecture sections (and in some instances, in both semesters).

the other thing i would recommend you do if you haven’t already is to take a look at whatever transfer credits you may have received from your previous college or university. depending on your program over there, you may not have gotten too many relevant credits, but you should definitely check; maybe you don’t have to take some of these first-year sciences because you already have credits for them!

cheers,

aska


Jun 23

mom look someone loves me

Hello,

First off I want to start of by thanking you for answering so many queries for us students and really helping us. So I know this is a dumb question because it varies from year to year but I’ll ask it anyways, I want to get in a program (management) in UTM that has a cut off 3.10 after the first half of summer. How much in in your experience does the cut off usually fall by  September?

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hey there,

thanks for thanking me!!! my only real sustenance is anonymous, internet validation, so this means a lot. almost as much as a Twitter follow. every Twitter follow is like a full roast chicken to me.*

i’m not really sure where you’re getting that 3.10 cutoff. i’ve looked around UTM’s site for it, but can’t find them quoting a specific cutoff anywhere. they seem very eager to stay general about the cutoff, but maybe i’m missing something, or maybe they spoke with you on the phone or in person and were able to give you some general information they can’t publish online.

the other thing is, i don’t know what you mean by the cutoff falling, unless you’re implying that the cutoff might drop from the first enrolment period to the second. i have no information about that, not even anecdotal information.

cutoff averages don’t usually change drastically between enrolment periods one and two, though i have heard of instances where people have applied in the first period, not been accepted, and then applied in the second and have been. these people, though, are usually teetering right on the edge of being accepted to begin with. also, my anecdotes don’t come from UTM, and i don’t know anyone in management, so this is hardly useful information to you.

if you do want further information, i’d recommend contacting the management program office directly. they will know the anecdotal information you’re after (though they are, of course, under no obligation to share this info with you, so be nice and don’t push around the lovely staff, or i will be *dad voice* VERY, VERY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU).

cheers,

aska

*@askastudentuoft :)))))


Jun 22

suspension petition

Hey quick question…what is the likely hood of getting a suspension appealed/lifted because of violence at home? Thanks

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hey there,

with petitions, compelling reasons go a long way, and certainly if you are facing a serious issue, the petitions committee will take it seriously. in this case, your divisional/college registrar’s office would be the best place to go not only to begin the process of filing the petition, but also to deal with the situation at hand. i’d highly recommend speaking with them as soon as you can.

all the best,

aska


Jun 22

you’re not the One

Can you change your mind if you suddenly dont like your College one program after the first few classes?

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hey there,

you can! if it turns out that you don’t like your course on Homer’s metric patterns in 1131 BCE (or whatever incredibly specific College One courses you’re taking), you can drop it without academic penalty before November 7th (for Fall courses).

the only thing is that you’ll have to drop it through the appropriate College One office, same as how you applied to it in the first place. ACORN won’t let you drop it yourself; what a stern mistress that student web service is.

cheers,

aska


Jun 22

farm dee

Hi! I’m interested in applying to the PharmD program, but I’m really nervous about my upcoming year. I didn’t do bad in second year (im entering third in the fall) but I did get a really low mark in Orgo I. I am not sure as to how they look at retaken courses and if I applied with a cgpa of 3.5/3.6 with a really good PCAT score, would my chances be hopeful?

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hey there,

i just want to note that i appreciate how soft the wording of this question is. like, “would my chances be hopeful?” is such a less aggressive way of asking “what are my chances???” and i really appreciate it, because it’s actually a question i can answer without having someone coming at me six months later, crumpled rejection letter in fist, shouting “I WILL SUE!”

their website says that “[t]he cumulative university average includes all university courses taken by applicants, including graduate and undergraduate courses, any repeats or failures as well as any courses listed as ‘extra’ on transcripts.” that seems to me to imply that repeated courses are treated equally as any other courses, so if you did really well in your repeated course, that’s probably a good thing, because it’s mitigating the not-so-good mark from the first time you took it.

as for CGPA, they do say that an average of 77% is typically competitive, which is about a 3.3. the median is typically around an 80%, which is around a 3.5. so, if you’re applying with a 3.5 or 3.6 CGPA, you’re definitely within the range of competitive. obviously, there are many, many factors that affect an application; your PCAT, admission interview, and the specific academic requirements you need to fulfil in terms of courses are all considered. the stronger all of these portions are, the better your chances of getting in with that CGPA!

hope this is helpful.

cheers,

aska


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