your student life specialists

Sep 18

“please let me into this class, i’ll bake you seven cakes”

Hey aska, so I’m trying to get into a third year class, but I’m 18th on the wait list. Is it logical to assume I have a shot at getting in? And if not, do you think I could convince the prof to let me in if someone drops after the deadline?

Hey Aska! I go to UTM and am trying to get into Animal Behaviour – I’m 18th on a waitlist of 32, and the class has 48 people. It dropped by 7 people since the first day of classes, and I’m kind of hoping it drops even further by Friday.. but am I hoping for too much? Someone told me I should try to convince the prof to just take me in after the waitlist end date, but is that even a thing?


hey there,

it depends on how big the class is. if your spot on the waitlist is within 10% of the total class size (so, if the class size was 180, you’d be right at 10%), then you’ve got a pretty good shot at getting in. after that, it’s a lot less certain.

if you’re 18th in a class of 48, the chances are really poor, to be honest.

if you need the class for a subject POSt or graduate school or have some other reason you ABSOLUTELY MUST take this course, you can talk to the department about potentially putting you in.

make sure you talk to the department first, though, not the prof, ’cause they’re the ones who have the power to pluck people out of and stick people into classes.

a quick note: i’m not sure if both these questions are from the same person (i mean, they probably are, but i want to give you the benefit of the doubt). either way, it bears repeating for everyone:

sending your question multiple times WILL NOT make me answer faster. aska answers everything chronologically. if anything, spamming my inboxes will just annoy me. i’m already constantly on the brink of caffeine withdrawal-induced rage, so please don’t do it. thanks for understanding, amigos.

best of luck, hope you get into that class.


Sep 18

i wish we had a parseltongue class

Hey there aska! Could you possibly tell me anything about French languages courses, particularly at UTM? I am taking one as an elective (Y course) and am afraid of signing myself up for something that will take up too much time and become a GPA killer. Are languages courses particularly well known as time suckers? Thanks so much, I-want-to-be-bilingual-without-becoming-insane.


hey there,

language courses aren’t well-known to me as time suckers, but 1) i don’t go to UTM and 2) i haven’t studied any secondary languages at the post-secondary level. i’m not an expert in the topic.

BUUT it seems like indications of ease/proficiency in french are pretty clearly indicated in course descriptions.

this class, for example, is very clearly called ‘advanced beginner,’ specifies a prerequisite, and says that it is not open to native speakers of french.

if you still feel unsure of the difficulty level to expect, you can always chat with someone at the department of language studies about it.

also, we’re into the semester now, so hopefully if you decided to take it, you now have a decent idea of how intensive it’ll be. just keep in mind that september 21st is the last day to add or change F or Y section courses, so you’ve only got a few more days to make up your mind!

cheers, my bilingual bud,


Sep 18

two birds with one stone

I’m doing bad in grade 12 math but I’m applying for humanities and it won’t be in my top 6. Will they still look at it?

Hey aska I’m applying this year (!!!!!) to u of t st mikes at st george for humanities. I have above 95 in english but my grade 12 math is really bad. The math won’t be included in my top 6 but I’m still worried… Will they look at it


hey there,

i got these as two separate questions, but in the interest of avoiding redundancy, i’m going to answer them both together. besides, i’m pretty sure they were asked by the same person.

even if they weren’t, i’m lazy, so this is how we’re gonna do it.

if the math is NOT a required course for the stream you’re applying to (and it’s not, for humanities), and it is NOT in your top 6 4U/M marks, then it will not be a factor in the final admission decision from uoft.

i hope you have a rad year at uoft/st.mike’s (still not sure if you’re the same person),


Sep 16

man, this question is XTRA

If I took an extra course at one point in time and later switched into a program that requires this course for credit, will this course still be considered as an extra course on my transcript or will it be changed?


hey there,

it will still show up as an extra on your transcript, but that doesn’t really matter. extra courses can be used to count towards program prerequisites, so if you need it for a program, it’ll count (they just can’t be used to fulfil degree requirements).




Sep 16

where are you suspended?? athabasca u?

Hey Aska,
I got suspended last year (winter semester) for four months. After trying again this summer by taking 4 courses, I just checked my rosi and it it showed that I just barely passed all four of them to end up with a cumulative GPA of 1.50 flat. I worked so hard from the start of the semester and even got great midterm marks. After midterm, it all just went downhill. And I very well know that I have nobody else to blame but me. I’m suspended again right, for 12 months this time?

So if I am indeed suspended, do you have any tips as to what to do for these 12 months? See, I’ve been pretending to my parents that I have been going to school last winter semester. I did it for four months but 12 months is another story. Should I go to school, attend lectures and pretend I’m just any other student? As much as I wanna tell them that I got suspended, I simply can’t for the sake of my emotionally, physically and psychologically fragile mother. Is there any hope at all? Am I even supposed to be in university?



hey there,

guhhhh. see, this is why i harp on y’all about telling me which campus you’re on. i know you’re not in the faculty of arts & science, because we don’t suspend people for four months. but depending on where you go to school (faculty of applied science & engineering, utsc, etc.), the rules about suspension are different.

check your utoronto e-mail address and your physical mailbox for any communication that may have come through about your suspension. if you didn’t get anything, talk to your registrar’s office and ask them whether you’re now on suspension for one year.

if you have been suspended again, i would take the time you’re on suspension to use some of the resources at your disposal.

if you’re a utsc student, get in touch with an academic and learning strategist and a study skills peer coach. the faculty of applied science & engineering also has a learning skills strategist, academic advising and academic success resources which i would strongly recommend.

all these things are much better and more constructive ways to spend your suspension than by pretending to go to class, which probably wouldn’t be much fun for you anyways.

obviously, you have to decide how to speak/act with your own parents, but i can tell you from experience that if you have unpleasant news to tell a parent, it goes down much better if you can follow it up with a plan on moving forward. get in touch with these academic success resources and make a plan to meet with them regularly through the year. then you can tell your mom, “i’m on suspension, but i’ve done these things to get back on track.”

that’s a lot more comforting than, “i’ve been suspended for a year, i’m panicking, i don’t know what i’m gonna do, may as well sell myself to the circus and see where the wind takes me.” parents don’t like that. though if that is what you decide to do, make sure to write to us about what happens.

finally: are you supposed to be in university? man, i don’t know. that’s something only you can decide. while you’re down at the registrar’s office, they’ll hopefully ask you to reflect a little bit on that question. but i think that if you’re put on suspension for a year, that’s something you’ll have to think about yourself.

just remember that university is one very specific path, but it is by no means a necessary one. you do yourself a disservice by falling for the trap that university is objectively the best way to spend your young adulthood. maybe it is for you, and maybe it’s not – but you’ve gotta figure that out for yourself.

best of luck with it,


Sep 16

give me an extra 5% for being charming

I’m currently a grade 12 student in Vaughan Ontario. I am taking Grade 12 University Advanced Functions. I’m currently at an 87, and am not pleased
with my mark. If I were to retake this course, what would be the consequences?

I am interested in going into computer sciences.


Sorry I to clarify I did the course in grade 11. I fast tracked math. I will be completing my grade 12 year this year.

I also wanted to know if the additional 5% from extra-curricular activity participation counts toward the overall average when it comes to eligibility for scholarships. Furthermore; what are the automatic scholarship amounts for an average of 90% and 95%?


hey there,

(note: this question is a follow-up to the one i answered here. read that if you’d like a little bit of context).

i stand by what i said before – an 87% is a good mark. it would do you more harm to retake it now than to just leave it and focus all your energies on doing well in calc.

as for the additional 5% from extra-curricular participation, i…have no idea what you’re talking about. is that something your high school does? do they add 5% to your average for participating in extra-curriculars? that’s amazing.

anyway, since i’ve never heard of this being a thing, it’s hard for me to answer the question. i’m inclined to say no, just because the overall average is specifically of your top 6 marks including prereqs, and unless this extra-curricular participation counts as a class, it probably won’t be included. however, since this is the first time i’m encountering this, i could very well be wrong. i would contact enrolment services to make sure.

the automatic entrance scholarship for someone with over a 92% is $2000, which can buy you a lot of Mr. Noodles in your first year. there are also faculty/college scholarships galore – with one of those, you could even get a bowl and some utensils and use them to eat your Mr. Noodles!

best of luck with the application process,


Sep 15

fulfilling prereqs, prefilling fulreqs

Hello! I have a question that I cannot seem to find the answer to, hopefully you can help me out! If the prerequisites for a winter semester course are that 4 credits have been completed, can I take it if I have 4 credits completed by the end of the fall semester?


hey there,

yes! two things, though:

1) make sure that you have completed 4.0 credits, as opposed to just 4 courses. there’s a big difference.

2) departments can pull people from courses who haven’t completed the prerequisites at any time. they shouldn’t pull people now from winter term courses, but just in case it does happen by accident, just contact the department that runs the course, explain that the prereq will be done by the time you start the course, and have them put you back in.

and that’s all! i hope you enjoy your class.



Sep 15

i’m on the line and i can’t see any courses?? darn this newflanged internets…

Hello :) Does UofT have online courses? How do they work? Are they likely to be held in the summer session? Thanks


hey there,

uoft doesn’t have a lot of info up about their online courses (what SHAMS, they can’t even promote their ONLINE courses ONLINE). however, it seems like the online courses they do have listed are pretty random.

here is the full selection of courses offered this year. which of those will be offered in the summer, i’m not sure.

what i would do is browse that list, see which courses you’re interested in, and once you’ve picked some, call the departments that administer those courses. ask if they’re typically offered in the summer term, and if there will be an online option.

the more popular a class is, the higher the chances that there will be a summer and/or online option. i hope you have pretty mainstream taste in courses. keep in mind, though, that neither you or the department can be sure which courses will be offered until the summer timetable comes out. however, you can browse this past summer’s timetable to take a look at what was on offer then.

as for how online courses work, they’ve pretty much got the same course material as classes in brick-and-mortar classrooms, just whacked up onto the web.

however, i think that exams/term tests are in-class rather than online, so if you’re halfway across the world, an online course may not be feasible. don’t quote me on that, though – definitely ask the department about it before you sign up, as it may not be the same for all courses.

good luck,


Sep 15

aww, you took all the fun out of it!

Have you heard of anyone being accepted to UTSG social sciences with an 83 average? Or is it always above 85 Please god no sarcastic answer back.


hey there,

well now, i resent you taking away one my greatest pleasures in life – that is, being a sarcastic morale-ruiner to young teens everywhere. what am i even doing here if it doesn’t involve some healthy admissions-related cynicism?

alright, i won’t be sarcastic. but i still can’t really answer your question.

when you say “have you heard of anyone being accepted,” that implies that either 1) i discuss admissions averages with many people, and so can speak anecdotally about a wide range of them, or 2) i am somehow close to or affiliated with admissions, in which case i could overhear a lot of things related to admissions averages that a university layman might not know.

unfortunately, neither of these is true. when you got to uni (or at least, when aska got to uni), high school and everything relating to it was kinda brushed under the rug. people rarely talk about what they had or did to get in.

and as i have said time and again, i am – tragically – in no way affiliated with the lovely folks at admissions. trust me, no amount of begging for answers can change that.

so, i can’t answer your question. i can refer you once more to this page, which clearly states the cutoff for social sciences admissions as low 80s, not mid 80s.

but i can’t tell you how many people get in with an average in the low 80s as compared to people who got in with an 85% or above. you can contact enrolment services for more information, or talk to your high school guidance counsellor, who has probably amassed more anecdotal information than i have.

next answer’s gotta be super sarcastic to make up for this forced genuineness.



Sep 15

high school calculus…it’s all a blur…

Im in the process of transferring from mata30f to mata30y. However i would like to get an opinion of the depth of mata30f. Can someone please advise
me whether 30f is similar to highschool calculus and vectors or if it goes in more depth than that (highschool).

Also is there a way that i could obtain past papers from previous 30f exams to get a knowledge of the difficulty.

Appreciate your advise on this at your earliest please


Hey there,

Well, I think you can get a pretty good sense of how similar it is just from the course description. For example, take a look at this hunk of text: “Elementary functions: rational, trigonometric, root, exponential and logarithmic functions and their graphs. Basic calculus: limits, continuity, derivatives, derivatives of higher order, analysis of graphs, use of derivatives; integrals and their applications.

Does any of that ring a bell somewhere in the dusty corners of your brain? Do you remember doing trig? Exponential functions? Derivatives? (Hopefully you remember derivatives from Grade 12 calculus).

In fact, all of that stuff is on the MCV4U1 curriculum, except integrals. I can’t speak for high schools in other provinces or countries, but if you did high school in Ontario, you should expect a pretty significant portion of the course to be review from high school.

That said, it won’t be the exact same as high school calculus. The material will definitely go into more depth, and concepts will be introduced here and there which you’re not familiar with. Integrals, which likely come at the end of the course, you probably haven’t encountered at all.

But the aim of the course is definitely not to fling you into the deep end.

As for past papers, the prof will usually let you know if they’ll be providing past papers as practice. You can also ask if he/she has them. Since most people don’t get to keep their exam papers, getting them directly from the prof is pretty much the only way to get your mits on them, so I wouldn’t go around any shadowy corners of the internet begging for them off strangers.

If the prof decides not to provide past papers, though, I wouldn’t worry. Study questions, assigned textbook work, and weekly problem sets are all regularly employed (and SUPER FUN!!) ways of providing students with plenty of practise for the exam.



Sep 09

relative to what

are sciences relatively hard to get into? chem in particular


hey there,

i dunno man. i guess that depends on how smart you are, doesn’t it? and how smart everyone else who applies this year is.

unfortunately, i don’t know how smart you or anyone else is. i don’t know a lot of things. i’m not very smart, myself.

the only thing i can do is direct you to this year’s anticipated grade ranges for people admitted to uoft in 2014. i’m tempted not to give this link out for the umpteenth time, but i’ll do it, ’cause i’m kind. you can use those numbers as a rough guide to figure out how you measure up to the pack.

chemistry is not something you can apply to out of high school at uoft. if you wanted to get into chemistry, you could apply to the life science or physical/mathematical sciences streams out of high school.

from there, you could apply to a chemistry specialist/major/minor after first year. if you want to know how difficult it is to get into those programs, you can read about them on the course calendar.

here’s a tip: look up whether the specialist/major/minor is/are type 1, 2 or 3. type 1 is automatic admission, type 2 has certain prerequisites for admission, and type 3 has requirements, plus the program only has a limited number of spots.

here’s hoping uoft has a positive REACTION to your application! get it? get it?



Sep 09

sign me up for the next war!

I missed the club fair this week at UTSG and I was wondering where I can go or what I can do to sign up! :))


hey there,

missing the clubs fair is no big deal. it’s a really helpful and awesome resource for discovering new clubs (while also having a nice lil walk), BUT now that we’re all cyborgs and we’ve sold our souls to the internet, most clubs are active and very easily findable online.

if you know you want to get involved but you’re not sure where to do it, ULife’s list of all campus groups is ground 0. it lists pretty much every organization at uoft alphabetically, and scrolling through just one letter on there is likely to give you a coupla leads.

hart house is another cool hub of extra-curricular activity at the school. they’ve got everything going on, from musical groups to athletic facilities to a class on how not to be self-conscious (seriously). i honestly can’t praise hart house enough. it’s like a rec centre, but more beautiful, cheaper, and with more diverse classes. stay awesome, hart house.

you can also look into getting involved with some student societies on campus, with your own college’s student union, or with the student union associated with a program you may be interested in applying to after first year (assuming you’re a first year student), like the Association of Political Science Students, for example.

finally, searching through askastudent’s extracurricular tag is also a great way to find new opportunities (not our clubs tag; that’s something different).

once you’ve found some things you might be interested in, just track down some contact information for that group and ask how you can sign up. usually, it’s as simple as just coming to the first meeting.

none of the clubs want you to know it, but they actually get really excited when new people join them. don’t tell them i told you that, though – it’ll totally ruin their cool, aloof image.

hoping you find some super stuff to do out there in the big, open ocean of uoft,


P.S. also, i think there are some clubs outside right now (2pm on september 9th) outside sydney smith?? i saw a huge crowd there on the way to Aska HQ ©. just in case you’re in the area right now.

P.P.S. the title of this post is a reference to Disney’s enduring classic, Mulan. askastudent is non-partisan in all issues related to the army, enlisting and our current, global military situation. hashtag stop kony.

Sep 08

retroactive POSt changes, not nearly as fun as retro music

Hey aska, 
I go to the downtown campus and I’m starting my third  year as an English/ anthro double major. One small problem. When I enrolled, ant 372 wasn’t categorized as group a b or c within the anthro department. This year, however, it’s in group c. Nonetheless, degree explorer keeps telling me it’s not a group c credit, and that I’m short a group c credit. 
Log story short, is this happening because I have to stick to how the course was catagorized in my first year calendar?


hey there,

degree explorer should be sticking to what the POSt requirements were in the year you entered the POSt. however, things can get head-achingly confusing when the department shifts courses around too much. so there’re a few things i’d advise you to do:

1) never take what degree explorer says at face value. though it should recognize the year that you entered the POSt (and it should list that year, actually), there is a possibility it hasn’t been updated, or some bit of data was input incorrectly, or a million other things that could’ve messed up the system.

2) ultimately, the people who decide whether or not you’ve completed the requirements for a POSt are the department. so contact anthropology, explain which credit you have and when you entered the POSt, and ask where you stand in terms of POSt requirements. they’ll be able to tell you if you’re still ok, or if there’s another course you need to take.

good luck with it,


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