your student life specialists

Apr 26

i just want to know what i’m up against

Hi, I’m a first year student at UTSG and I’m worried that I might fail a course (even though I put it down as credit/no credit) I obviously want the credit cuz it’s a full year course but i worry I might fail. I don’t want to spend this summer in school obviously,  but I’m thinking of making up for it next summer. I was wondering how does summer school work if I take one full year course? Do we meet every day? Are lecturers typically 2hrs? Are there tutorials? How many days a week would we meet?

Also I’m thinking about majoring in sociology, It says u need a combined mark of 65% for SOC102 and 103. I severely underestimated first semester and got a 64 in 102 and I’ll probably finish in 103 with around 75. Do u think I’ll be admitted into the program with a 70% overall? How competitive is sociology? I can’t find this info anywhere!



first of all, i hope you didn’t fail the course! we’ve all been there at some point in our undergrads, so don’t sweat it too much. you’re only in first year and you have plenty of time to catch up if you do end up failing. fingers crossed!

i actually prefer summer school to fall/winter school (?) because i feel that i have more energy to get up and go to class when it’s nice outside as opposed to when its dark and gloomy. it’s not the worst thing! a summer of relaxation can get boring! might as well do something productive!

*my most sincerest apologies if this information is completely irrelevant at this point in time- i’m really bad at getting to time-sensitive questions on time*

every summer Y course is different. i’ll show you different examples of what to expect. since you’re pursuing an arts degree, let’s go with something like anthropology. as you can see below, you’ll have 2 two hour long lectures and one hour long tutorial per week,

but for another Y course in arts, let’s say cinema studies, you’ll have 2 four hour long lectures and no tutorial. (the lectures are usually very long because they sometimes include screenings)

if we look at yet another example coming from east asian studies, you’ll have 1 two hour long lecture and 1 hour long tutorial per week.

so you can see that it really depends on what course you decide to take. some classes come with tutorials and others come with screenings. there’s no set amount of class time that all Y classes have per week.

a question about sociology, yay! you’re talking to someone who just completed their sociology major! (humble brag, but hey, it was a lot of work and i’m glad to be done)

there really isn’t a way to find out how competitive a program is, (trust me, i even asked the registrar) but at least you know you’re above the minimum average needed and that you’ll be considered. it does say on the calendar that getting a combined average of 65% will not guarantee entrance into the program, but really, it varies every year depending on how the averages are skewed each year. maybe you’ll have a lot of overachievers this year which will bring the entrance standard up, who knows?

anyways, i hope this helped a bit. i’m sorry that i wasn’t able to provide you with any concrete answers.

i hope you have a wonderful summer and that all your exams went well!

peace, love and hope,


Apr 21

pros and cons of an extra semester


So I’m in my third year and I am currently behind 1.5 FCE due to dropping out of courses I was doing really poorly in the last couple years. I know that to graduate with distinction you need a cGPA of 3.20. I’m wondering if it is still possible to graduate with distinction [assuming I have a 3.20 GPA still] if I take the summer after my fourth year to complete the remaining credits? Would I still graduate with honours? What is your opinion on the pros and cons of taking that extra summer to finish and graduating in the fall of 2018?

Thank you so much!!



you can graduate with distinction as long as you get a GPA between 3.20 and 3.49. it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to complete your degree!


the pros of taking an extra summer:

-you’ll have more time to pursue a higher GPA if your goal is to graduate with distinction

-you can spread out your course load and have a more chill semester during the year

-courses are more sped up during the summer and will take less time

-if you got a bad haircut at the beginning of the year, it’ll have grown out by convocation

-studying outdoors with squirrels running around is a possibility!


cons of taking an extra summer:

-having to study during patio season

-if things go wrong again (god forbid), you’ll be paying more tuition for the same result

-courses are sped up so you’ll need to work really hard to keep up with the course materials

-convocating in november means it’ll be really cold when you’re trying to take photos outside of conhall/ UC with your family


regarding your question about graduating with honours: if you are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in science or arts at U of T, your degree will be called an Honours Bachelor of Arts or an Honours Bachelor of Science degree.

if you are still not sure about what to do, it’s always a good idea to go see your registrar’s office to look at how you are progressing in your degree. if you are financially capable of paying for an extra semester, it’s definitely a good option to consider!

hope this answers your question!

peace and summer lovin,


Apr 13

gimme the dough

Dear aska,

I am a future U of T student. I am writing you because I am quite confused with student loans. Indeed, I am a Canadian citizen from Ontario (so eligible for OSAP) but haven’t lived in Canada for a long time. As result, I am not eligible for the NSLSC. Needing still to borrow some money, would you happen to recommend me any private student loan or any national loaning system that would apply to me?
Since I am writing you and understood you’re a bit bored of money-related questions: I wanted to know if a boxing club existed on campus, and if yes whether or not as an Innis student I would be able to joint it.

Thanks in advance, keep up the good work,

an ecstatic, penniless and boxing passionate future U of T Student.



so regarding your question, i spoke to a financial counsellor and she said that you should definitely double check with enrolment services to confirm your eligibility for the national loan. technically, if you are a canadian citizen, you’re eligible, but perhaps there is more to your situation that makes you ineligible. regardless, it doesn’t hurt to double check.

that being said, there are definitely options outside of student loans which can help with funding your education! a good place to start doing research is the financial aid page on the utoronto website.

throughout the duration of your undergrad, you’ll come across scholarships from your college and the university that you can to apply for. these scholarships will vary in terms of what they look for, (e.g. academic merit, leadership, area of study, etc.) and there is a helpful tool right here that you can use to look at all the awards that are available to you.

if you are eligible for OSAP, you will be automatically considered for UTAPS (University of Toronto Advance Planning for Students), which is a fund which covers the extra costs of university that OSAP do not cover.

another option is to get a line of credit, which allows you to borrow money from a financial institution with interest payments each month. if you need to talk to someone to discuss your financial situation or financial aid options, you can find the contact info for the financial counsellor at your college right here!

paying tuition is, no doubt, a huge burden, but hopefully these options will help you out a bit.

also, after publishing your question, i realized i forgot to answer your question about boxing at U of T. it doesn’t look like U of T has boxing as part of their sport and recreation programs, but i do know that there is a boxing club at U of T that you can check out. their facebook group will have more information! it doesn’t seem to be college-specific, so i’m sure you’ll be able to join!

peace, love and dolladollabillz,


Apr 12


Hey aska:) When do people usually go on exchange? Is third or fourth year too busy for it? Oh and I have 5.5 transfer credits from Western last year, can I still get more credits from exchange?



you can go on exchange whenever! there isn’t really a time that is better! third or fourth year won’t necessarily be too busy for exchange, it really depends on what works for you.

the only condition about going on exchange in your fourth year is that you won’t be able to convocate in the same semester that you go abroad, you’d have to wait until the next semester because transfer credits will take a while to process and they might not process in time for convocation. it might be a deal breaker for some, but you’ll just need to convocate at a later date.

in terms of credits, i contacted the people at the centre for international experience (a place you should definitely check out) and they said:

“The Faculty has a residency requirement.  10.0 FCEs must be completed in the
Faculty. Hence, a student can receive up to a maximum of 10.0 FCEs.  A
student might have 10.0 FCE at the time of admission, hence, they will not be
eligible to receive any post-admission transfer credits. The maximum
post-admission transfer credits is 5.0 FCE (one year of study).  Without
knowing who the student is, I am assuming based on the correspondence that
the student received 5.5 on-admission from Western.  If this is the case,
then the student can participate in the exchange program.  If they decide to
participate for one term they can receive the full 2.5 FCEs.  No problem.  If
the student decides to participate for two terms the maximum we can award
back is 4.5 FCEs.”

it’s a little confusing, but if you have any more questions, you should email the CIE or the transfer credit contact at the CIE directly!

going to see your registrar is also a good idea because you can talk to them to see if going on exchange is right for you!

hope this helped- have fun and be safe! here’s a cheesy tumblr post for ya

peace and love,





Apr 03

relax young’un

hi aska! i’m a grade 12 student from toronto, and today i was accepted to Victoria college for humanities. however, the OUAC just uploaded my midterm marks today, and my average is lower than my first-semester average that UofT already saw (it’s at an 89% right now). is there a possibility that my offer of admission could be taken back by Vic? thank you so much!



i’m not sure what kind of offer you received, but normally, as long as you remain in good academic standing, you don’t need to worry.

89 is still quite high!

if you don’t believe me, it’s even stated on the website in the FAQ section at the very bottom:

“Unless clearly requested in your offer letter, the University of Toronto expects that your final grades will be consistent with the mid-term/predicted grades submitted. Small changes are nothing to worry about. If you’ve maintained your work effort through the year, you will be absolutely fine.”

see? toldya!

peace and love,


Mar 27

don’t go

Hello! I’ve tried looking for this answer but I can’t seem to find it. Is there a limit to how many years you can do to complete your undergrad? I’m on my 5th contemplating doing a 6th. I’m also hoping to change 1 of my majors as well. My GPA is terrible and am very slowly reaching the minimum requirement to graduate but I’m really starting to wonder if I should take another year instead. I feel like I would really regret leaving the school with the bare minimum GPA required since it’s so final


hello there!

there is no limit! you can take as long as you want to finish your undergrad. if you want to stay behind and boost your GPA, that’s perfectly fine. unless you’re an international student, then you’ll have to make sure you have the right visa allowances.

you can definitely change one of your majors if you meet the requirements, you just have to do in within the appropriate program switching period.

if you leave school with the bare minimum GPA, it might be hard for you to apply to grad schools (if that’s what you’re interested in). if you see more school in your future, it would be a good idea to stay behind to get a better GPA.

it’s very common to take longer than 4 years to do your undergrad, so don’t worry about it!

you got this!

peace and love,


Mar 24

programs ‘n such

Hi Aska, I am a grade 12 student who just applied for INternational
Relations at UTSG, however I was wondering if it is possible to undertake a
double degree in IR and Anthropology at U of T? If so, what would the
course load be like, similar to majoring in both subjects or harder? As
well as, how long would it take for me to complete both degrees, would it
be the standard timeframe of 4 years or longer?




at U of T in the faculty of arts and sciences, we have programs, which are basically your major and minors:

  1. a specialist (one discipline) e.g.  specialist in international relations
  2. a double major (two disciplines) e.g. majoring in international relations and anthropology
  3. one major and two minors (three disciplines) e.g. majoring in international relations, minoring in anthropology and … english?

if you specialize (option 1), you’ll be going more in depth with one subject, but if you pick option 2 or 3), you’ll be able to dabble in more disciplines, but at a more shallow level. does that make sense? it depends on how deep you wanna go into the subjects you are studying.

what you’re referring to is a double major in international relations and anthropology, which is definitely possible.

each option is equal in terms of difficulty and course load, meaning that you can complete any of the three options in the “standard” 4 years. some people finish their degrees under 4 years by taking courses during the summer, and others take longer to complete their degree because they take a smaller, more manageable course load throughout 5+ years. both options are pretty common!

i hope this answered your questions!

peace and love,


Mar 23

if i could help, i would

Hi there. I have applied to engineering at u of toronto. Unfortunately i did not study grade 10 n just gave my Olevel exams privately without a school. They want my grade 10 results now. I emailed them explaining this but no one has replied yet.



not sure what your question is but um… just wait?

i can’t expedite the process of them emailing you back. apologies for the less than satisfactory response, but i really can’t make them respond any faster!

so… yeah.

that’s about it.


thank you for giving me the opportunity to use a phil dunphy gif. i love phil.

cheers and good luck with everything!


Mar 23


What grades do grad schools usually look at? 3rd and 4th year grades? last 10 credits? last 10 credits with focus on senior level courses, etc… Also, is there any websites or resources that can explain the applying to grad school process to me (not just specifically uoft but Canadian grad schools in general)? I’m feeling a little lost as to what grades schools look at, where/when I should apply, what documents do i have to send in, what documents does uoft need to send in etc.



grad schools normally look at your 10 most recent credits. they won’t necessarily focus on “senior level courses”, but they may pay more attention to courses that are more relevant to the program that you are pursuing. then again, i can’t speak for all grad schools because it really depends on each school. i wrote a post recently which answered a question very similar to yours: check it out here! 

in terms of online resources for grad schools, the only one i can really recommend is OUAC, which is useful if you are applying to law school, medicine, rehabilitation sciences, or teaching in ontario. if you are applying to a discipline outside of the aforementioned (or if you are looking for something outside of ontario), you’ll have to look into each individual school to see what the process is, since they all have different deadlines and requirements.

unfortunately, i haven’t come across any websites that i feel comfortable with endorsing on here. the websites i HAVE seen tend to only “feature” some schools while completely ignoring others. super frustrating.

it would be much better/ safer for you to just go directly to the source. trust- that’s the best advice i can offer you!

peace and love bruh,


Mar 22

no secrets


I started at the campus of UTM in 2010 and got to second year by 2014 – I
know, not something I’m extremely proud of. In 2014, I got suspended for
one whole calendar year for failing too many courses. Subsequently, I also
got suspended for a plagiarism allegation for 3 and a half years. Right now
is 2017 and my suspension is up in the summer of 2018.

Would it be wiser for me to just ditch U of T and apply to another
university with my high school grades? Or is that not allowed?

Thank you!



wow, sounds like you’ve had quite a wild ride. school ain’t easy, that’s for sure.

if you choose to ditch U of T, you can’t apply to another university with just your high school grades. if you try applying for another university, you’ll need to show records from every previously attended institution, and if you refrain from disclosing information, there will be pretty severe consequences.

your best bet, if you still want to pursue your degree, would be to wait out your suspension and continue on at U of T. we still want you if you want us too!

hope everything works out for you!




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