askastudent

your student life specialists

Feb 05

automatically rejected?

Hey,

So im a 3rd year physics specialist, and i took a course That was not required for my degree( Just for the fun of it) and i got the mark back and its 50. This Is the first time i have gotten a mark like This. I am usually a high 70-low 80 Student. I had prospects for physics graduate school at uoft and some other school in Ontario. M’y question Is: How Bad Is going to look on applications or am i automatically rejected? Also, Is it possible to ask my college to base This course on a cr/ncr basis? I only took the course for fun. It has nothing to do with my study. The test of my marks for This semester have been 3.7-4.0, So Can i make a case That This Is not a représentation of my academic ability? I am worried because Most Schools look at last two years and This Is going to be a cold sore of sorts in my transcript.  Thanks

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hey there,

you can always ask, but it’s unlikely that your college will make the course credit/non-credit after the course is over. like, very unlikely.

however, the fact that your mark is so unusual, and that it has nothing to do with physics, can only help your application to graduate school. that means that when a graduate admissions committee looks at your transcript, they are more likely to see this particular mark as a fluke. yes, it might cause your GPA to dip a little, but it’s not going to ruin your chances.

the M.Sc. requires at least a B+ average or better, so if you’ve been sitting at a 3.7+ GPA, this mark probably will not be the tipping point from accepted to not. in other words, your GPA leaves wiggle room for a mark like this.

now i want to be clear that i’m not guaranteeing your admission to any program: competition varies widely from year to year and i can’t make very accurate predictions because i haven’t seen your transcript. all i’m saying is that all hope is not lost.

something that might help your application, if you feel comfortable doing so, is sending an explanatory letter along with your application. most admissions committees will allow you to send along a letter explaining any unique circumstances or unusual results. you can use this opportunity to explain the outlying mark – just make sure to ask whether they’ll accept such a letter first.

cheers,

aska


Feb 03

(Ph)enomenal (D)ollars

Hello ! I’m an International student that wants to go to UofT for gradschool (phD). I’m academically okay for the program (I have an overall A and all that jazz) but…. Where can I start looking for scholarships to live and study at UofT during those years? I’m a bit lost since I don’t know a thing about scholarships for international students that wants to go to Canada – Thank you !!

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hey there,

the major scholarships that fund postgraduate study in Ontario are the NSERC and OGS scholarships. unfortunately, those are only available to domestic students. what i’d recommend is taking a look at your home country’s opportunities, if any, that are available for students travelling abroad. most countries have some form of financial aid for postgrads.

we do have some scholarships available for international students, and i’d strongly encourage you to apply to as many as you’re eligible for, but they do not provide nearly as much funding as is probably ideal.

the good news is, as a PhD student, the university is committed to funding you. all the information about how financial support works for a physics PhD is available on page 29 of this document provided by the department of physics. it shows that if you don’t have access to any scholarships, the university will still be able to support you through RA and TA-ships, and internal scholarships.

here is a breakdown about how much physics PhDs were funded depending on their year, and where the money came from. the aid hovers around $40k per student, depending on the year of your PhD. which is totally liveable.

if you have further questions about how this all works, i’d recommend contacting the financial counsellor at the School of Graduate Studies.

best of luck,

aska


Feb 02

the bar just gets HIGHER and HIGHER

hey aska quick question about uoft’s psych program. I was wondering just how hard it was to be admitted to the type 2L major program. I noticed on their website it’s an 80-84% average and it is limited enrolment so i was just wondering if it’s common for people to be declined?
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hey there,
i’m not gonna lie to you – psych is a very popular program. this means that it is also a very competitive program. they didn’t used to list the average grade cut-off on the website, but i think so many people were confused as to why they’d not been accepted that they decided to make that information public. which, to be honest, has been a wise move. it’s made my job a little bit easier.
so yeah, it’s difficult to get in. HOWEVER, if you are ABOVE that 80-84% range, your chances are not terrible. i think the major reason so many people get turned away is because people will apply who are just on the cut-off of a 75% in PSY100H1 (or an 80% for the specialist). the higher you are above the cut-off, the higher your chances.
unfortunately, i don’t have a handy statistic about how many people get in versus how many people apply, but who knows – maybe more complaining from students will cause that to show up on the course calendar, too. think positive.
cheers,
aska

Feb 02

anxious tutorials

Hi aska! I’m a first-year student and I dread how most of my tutorials take up a huge percentage of my marks. Now, I understand that participating in class discussions is the best way to learn about the lessons and to help us grow and interact with others but I just… can’t. I have social anxiety, and I’m scared to talk to my TA about this because she might think that I’m just making up excuses so I don’t have to talk. Is there anyone else I could consult with about this? :(

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hey there,

i’d suggest you talk with your professor, but i have a feeling that in a (likely massive) first-year class, your prof is going to be even more intimidating to you than your professor.

i really think the best person to talk to about this is your TA. and by the way, anxiety is a totally legitimate reason not to speak up in class. it’s not an excuse, but it is a reason to start a conversation about possible accommodations. and it is highly unlikely that your TA will think you’re making excuses – more likely, she’ll be impressed that you took the initiative to start thinking about a creative solution to your dilemma.

what i would recommend is talking to her (after class, in office hours, by e-mail; whatever makes you most comfortable) about your concerns, and then asking if there is any alternative way for you to gain participation marks. feel free to propose your own ideas. if you’re a bit stuck, here are some of my own suggestions (all of which i have seen put into practice in actual tutorials/seminars):

  • visit your TA every week in office hours to have a discussion with them, one-on-one, about the readings. this narrows the crowd of people you have to talk at from ~20 to 1
  • submit a weekly written reflection about the readings/lecture to your TA, perhaps at the start of tutorial, or via e-mail
  • this one may not work for you, depending on the extent to which public speaking makes you anxious, but: try sitting physically next to the TA. that way, when you speak, you’ll feel as if you’re speaking directly to them, as opposed to across a room full of people
  • is your class on Blackboard? ask whether you can submit your thoughts about the tutorial or readings or lecture on the discussion board; that way, people can write back if they so chose, and you can have discussions online rather than in person

again, i understand that this is not an easy or comfortable thing for you to do, but TAs only want the best for you. they’re usually able to be a lot more invested in their students than profs, and i’ve never encountered a TA who’s not willing to make changes to suit a class’ needs.

you’ve got this!

cheers,

aska


Feb 02

exam black market

Hi i just wanted to find out, it is illegal (against uoft rules) to purchase past test from other students. I am feeling quite inclined to purchase past test from the first time from someone for one of my courses since there is Absolute no past exam/test on the uoft repository.

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hey there,

not as far as i can tell. at least, i can’t find any explicit rule prohibiting it. it seems that viewing of the exam is pretty carefully monitored, though, so i would be – if not suspicious, just careful – of what you’re buying, and from whom.

also, i don’t presume to know your situation or how your program runs or anything, but here’s a friendly tip from aska: try to exhaust the study options presented to you by your professor before seeking alternative materials.

if you got practice exams, textbook questions, passages/articles you need to focus on, lecture slides, etc. then become expert in those BEFORE seeking more help. because (and i’m just gonna put this bluntly here) sometimes these people are just out to make money. that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have something to sell you, but it also doesn’t mean you don’t have to be unwary.

cheers,

aska


Jan 27

can you refund knowledge?

what’s the final date i can drop a course at utsc with a full refund? i’ve been trying to find it but university websites are so confusing. related question, why is it that universities have the hardest websites to navigate? thanks

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hey there,

depending on your program, the dates might be different, but for most utsc students, the 100% refund date has passed – now you have until february 7th to get a 50% refund on a course, so try not to miss that one. i know it sucks, but sometimes refunds just don’t go how you’d like them to.

double-check all the tables on this PDF though, to make sure that you don’t fall into another refund schedule with different dates.

to answer your related question: there’s no good reason, other than that there’s like a BILLION web designers in different colleges, faculties, divisions, etc. who all work on their own department’s web site, which functions in its own unique way and is completely separate from all the other unique web pages at uoft.

we’re like an incredibly large, confusing, annoying patchwork quilt. isn’t that quaint. come to aska for all your quality grandma content.

cheers,

aska


Jan 27

IRe over IR requirements

Hello!
I’m in grade 12 now and really hoping to get into International Relations at U of T! I read online that math was recommended….but unfortunately I didn’t take it this year. It’s not my best subject, but I could probably switch into if I had too. I’m just wondering if I won’t get in unless I have that credit…like will I not be accepted? It would probably bring down my average a ton (93%), but getting in is super important to me. I’m not really worried about doing economics in first year without it, as I would take the lower level course. Please advise!! Thank you:)

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hey there,

before we get started, a quick primer on how programs work at uoft: to get a degree from the faculty of arts & science, you need to be in one specialist, two majors, or one major and two minors. none of these combinations are better or more prestigious than any others – it’s all about how you want to organize your degree.

so, depending on whether you want to stick strictly (there’s a tongue twister) to IR, or add some other disciplines to your studies, you might be more interested in either the IR specialist or the major, respectively.

if you want to do the specialist, they do recommend that you take ECO100Y1 instead of 105Y1 (which is the less intense version of 100), so you would need to take advanced functions and calculus for that course.

since you don’t apply directly to programs in your first year, you definitely wouldn’t get rejected from uoft based on not having the math (i’m assuming you applied to the humanities or social science stream, which doesn’t require math) – however, once you get here, you wouldn’t be able to take ECO100, and therefore be eligible to apply for the IR specialist, UNLESS you had taken advanced functions and calculus in high school.

if you’re concerned about your average, one thing i might suggest is taking those two maths in summer school. keep in mind that you’ll still likely have to send those transcripts in to the university, so you’ll need to maintain a certain average, but hopefully there won’t be as much pressure as during the school year, and you can really focus on doing well.

if you want to do the major, things are a little different. the IR major will accept both ECO100Y1 and ECO105Y1, and doesn’t indicate any preference for one or the other. ECO105Y1 does NOT require or recommend that you take calculus beforehand.

this is a lot to think about, but don’t worry: you have time to think about it. take it slow, reflect on your options, and if you have any questions, aska’s here.

cheers,

aska


Jan 27

counselling on campus

How would one make an appointment to see a counsellor at utsg for depression/anxiety? also are there fees?

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hey there,

if you’re a student at utsg, no, there are no fees. there are two places you can go to make an appointment:

1) health and wellness at uoft is the campus’ primary counselling resource. you may have heard of CAPS (counselling and psychological services) at the downtown campus. that office has now been absorbed into health and wellness, which includes all health services that the campus has to offer.

to make an appointment, you can either go in person to their office on the second floor of the Koeffler Centre (214 College St., on the corner of St. George and College) or book an appointment online, or by phone.

2) your second option, which i have nothing to say about but good things, is counseline. counseline is a counselling service for faculty of arts & science students, offered by the factor-inwentash faculty of social work, that provides in-person counselling out of its Bloor St. building. all you have to do is give them a call and leave a voicemail, and then they’ll contact you to set up an appointment.

you can learn more about counseline here.

best of luck,

aska


Jan 26

you’re all set to LEAVE THIS PLACE

Hi Aska,

Happy New Year!

I have a question regarding switching programs. Let’s say I am majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Computer Science and Media Studies (weird I know). And decide to do a 180 and forget about minoring and just do a major in Computer Science — so basically a double major. Will the credits that I have received from Media Studies still be counted in my degree
requirements? For example, I have to take 5.0 credits of C-level courses and 1.0 credits of D-level courses
<http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~registrar/calendars/calendar/Degrees.html>. Will my C-level Media courses still be included? I am aware of the retroactive fees, but I’ll only be missing two more courses to finish a Computer Science major and I don’t really care much anymore about Media Studies.

Another unrelated question, how accurate is the Degree Explorer?

Take these two requirements:

– At least 0.5 Credits from *MATC01H3* or MATC15H3
– At least 1.0 Credit from MATC01H3 or MATC09H3 or MATC15H3 or *MATC32H3*
or MATC44H3 or MATC63H3 or MATD01H3 or MATD02H3

I took MATC01 and MATC32 already. They are bolded as I have taken them. How come in the second requirement, MATC01 is not being considered?

Thanks.

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hey there,

the answer to your first question is: yes. those courses will count towards your degree requirements just like elective courses would (excluding extras, or any funky course designations like that). as long as you’ve also completed the requirements for all your subject POSts (so that’ll be the comp. sci. and math majors once you drop media), you’re fine.

as for the degree explorer thing: a cursory glance at the UTSC math major listing indicates that, if you did take MATC01H3, it should have fulfilled that requirement. depending on when you took it, degree explorer could just be a little slow in updating. another potential complication that people sometimes run into with degree explorer is that if the program has changed since they’ve entered it, degree explorer sometimes gets confused.

i’m not sure if the math program has changed, but if you find that that degree explorer continues to avoid MATC01 despite your having taken it, just pop into your registrar’s office and ask them what’s up. it could be that something i haven’t considered is causing the problem, and they can help you sort it out.

cheers,

aska


Jan 26

i can’t even conceptualize summer right now

Hi! When does the 2016 summer timetable come out, and when can we begin enrolling in summer courses for that session? Thank you :)

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hey there,

the preliminary timetable will probably be available sometime in mid-to-late February, and the final timetable in mid-March. enrolment for summer courses will be happening in late April/early May.

so it all doesn’t get going for a while yet, but good for you for being on top of things. i could take a leaf from your book; i’m not on top of things right now, lemme tell you. i’m not even level with things. i’m like, below them, being squished by them. gee, i sure love the Winter term.

cheers,

aska


Jan 26

when you try your best and you don’t succeed – Fix You (Coldplay)

Hello,

So my first semester of university has gone by and it is was no easy task for me. I have failed my Intro to Computer Science course CSCA08H3, as a student in the UTSC computer science program. knowing this for my upcoming semester, how will I be able to take CSCA48H3 Intro to Computer Science 2 since it needs the prerequisite? Also, where can I deal with making up for the failed course, I’m thinking summer school or another semester. However the course i’ve failed is only available in winter semesters. I can’t quite find the info to deal with the situation I’m in right now, so any guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks, UTSC student

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hey there,

if you failed CSCA08H3, you wouldn’t be able to take CSCA48H3. you would have to retake CSCA08H3 before retaking CSCA48H3.

like you mentioned, CSCA08H3 is only offered in the Fall term, otherwise i would advise you to retake it in the Winter term and then take CSCA48H3 in the summer. however, as it stands, you would probably have to take CSCA08H3 in the summer or fall and then CSCA48H3 in Winter 2017.

and while that seems frustrating and like you’re setting yourself far behind, this is something you can bounce back from. you can catch up and keep going – it’s not the end of the world.

the most important thing you can do now is not let this knock you down. everyone encounters rough patches at school. the thing that sets people apart is that some people continue to fail, and others adapt.

so, how can you adapt to this situation? firstly, i would take some time to reflect seriously on why you’re studying computer science. is it because you enjoy the material? do you want a job in computer science? if so, why do you want that job in computer science? what will this degree give you – and is it possible to get that thing elsewhere?

if you determine that you absolutely do want to stay in computer science, then you need to do whatever you can to focus on your studies this term. if that means de-prioritizing certain things to focus on school, seeking out the help of academic strategists, or simply changing some of your study habits, then you need to do those things.

if you determine that you don’t want to do computer science, then start thinking about which programs will better suit you and your needs. trust me, you don’t want to spend four years doing something that will be ultimately useless for you. and remember, your registrar’s office is always there to help you figure out what you might want to pursue next.

also, i just want to note that i’m not asking you to do this reflection because you failed a course. ideally, every student should be reflecting on this after every term, every class, every day of their lives: how can i accomplish the things i really want to do?

hopefully, then, the $30k+ will be worth it.

cheers,

aska


Jan 20

supposed scarborough suspension

Hi there
I’m a second year student and flunked my first year courses. I ended up with a horrible gpa way below 1.6 and was put on probation. I’ve completed the fall session and ended up with a sessional gpa below 1.6 again. I haven’t received any messages or emails stating I’m suspended as of now so I’m confused since thought a student on probation who doesn’t reach the 1.6 sgpa is automatically suspended. Also my cgpa won’t be able to reach the 1.5 requirement by the end of this year so will that lead to suspension/explosion? I’ve read the utsc rules for probation but couldn’t find how long it can last or what is its maximum.
I know if your put on probation twice it’s a problem so as of now am I since my gpa was below 1.6 this semester?

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hey there,

this e-mail was sent in december, so hopefully someone has gotten in touch with you by now, but if not: you need to talk to your registrar’s office about this. if you failed to get a sessional GPA of 1.60 while on probation, you will be suspended according to utsc’s rules.

if no one has gotten in touch with you, you need to contact your registrar’s office and ask. they can let you know if/when you’ll be suspended, and what the next steps are.

cheers,

aska


Jan 20

oh, to not live under crushing and unsustainable debt

I’m a BC highschool student, soon to be UoT student. My cost estimate is about 20k first year, and 35k for the next 4 years, 150k upon completion. My family has made it clear that they can’t afford to pay, which i respect and won’t be asking them for a contribution. I was late to the scholarship search, as I wasn’t planning to enroll in UoT till very recently. I am strong academically, and fairly week in the EC’s.

How can I fund my education?
Is there a limit to how much I can loan out?
How do I loan out this large amount of money?
How much help should I expect from UoT?
Is it a better idea to apply for the whole sum upfront, or over the years?
And any tips with this situation, or anything?

Cheers,

———————————————

hey there,

i’m almost certain that BC’s financial aid system is your best bet for funding almost all, if not all, of your education. i’m not an expert by any means, but BC’s setup seems to be similar to OSAP‘s (that’s the Ontario Student Assistance Program), so i think it’s safe to say that you will be assessed and allotted an amount every year based on your perceived need. read through their website and speak with your high school guidance counsellor(s) for more information about how to apply.

if you receive the maximum amount of aid from BC and you still need more, you can apply to UTAPS (UofT Advance Planning for Students), which will fill in the gap between how much assistance you’re getting, and how much you need.

apart from UTAPS, you get automatically considered for a $2000 entrance scholarship from the university if you have at least a 92% average in your final year. depending on your college, you can also receive up to $3000 in entrance scholarship money from your home college – again, you’re automatically assessed for this.

provincial financial aid and UTAPS function on a yearly basis. every year, you’ll have to reapply and be reassessed to receive your next set of instalments.

also consider the possibility of working, both before and during school. a part-time or summer job can save you a few thousand dollars coming in, and every $1k counts. and while i’d advise not working in your first year if you can at all help it, taking on a part-time job in university is great for your pocket AND your resume.

the only other tip i have is: research, research, research. find out where your money will be coming from, how to apply for it, and then take note of deadlines. and then keep doing that while you’re here. the search for scholarships does not end after you get into university.

there are many scholarships available from uoft for students at various stages of their studies, not to mention all the external scholarships that are available (tip: when i was in the twelfth grade, i would spend hours just googling major corporations with the word ‘scholarship’ attached. you can bet that most large companies that need to keep up a certain image will have a scholarship for high schoolers).

best of luck with all this, and i hope to see you at the university of toronto soon!

aska


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