askastudent

your student life specialists

Feb 07

music is a right

Does uft offer music instrument lessons? If not is there a way to find a student to teach you a particular instrument? (lessons are so expensive!!!!)

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hey,

i love that you asked this question. i answer so many questions about GPA’s and transfers that it leaves my head spinning! finally, a question about music!

on a side note- musician rant: charging people a lot for lessons is totally justified!

i agree with you that lessons ARE expensive, but they are expensive for a good reason. as someone who took music lessons for about 15 years, i was reminded by my mother on a daily basis that lessons cost a ton! if i were to teach now, i’d definitely charge a lot to make up for how much i had to pay when i was a student. getting certified as a teacher under the royal conservatory of music is an expensive and arduous process- it’s hard to put a price on the hours and hours of practicing and studying for theory exams, but if you had to put a price on your musical education, it makes sense that it would be quite hefty.

***most of this rant stems from my frustration at not being paid enough as a hired musician at weddings and other functions. always pay musicians generously to play at functions!***

anyways, my answer for you is: U of T doesn’t offer music lessons for students outside of the faculty of music. (boo.) while there are tons of clubs for people who play instruments such as string ensembles and orchestras, i haven’t been able to find any music lessons that are offered by the school.

i asked my friends in the faculty and even reached out to pedagogy profs about your question but no one gave me any advice as to how to go about looking for cheap music lessons. i was hoping that there would be some kind of online resource where students in the faculty of music can advertise their teaching services, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to exist.

so behold: here are some askastudent ways to solicit music lessons:


1) university settlement music and arts school. this school provides affordable music lessons to people of all ages and incomes. their philosophy is that music is a right, not a privilege,
(which i think is a fantastic philosophy) and that people shouldn’t be limited if they don’t have the means to pay for expensive lessons. how wonderful. be sure to check them out.

2) U of T facebook groups. people who frequent these groups are always happy to show off the fact that they play an instrument and are good at it. make a post in one of the many U of T facebook groups (accepted: class of 2019) and ask if any one of the 10,737 people in the group are willing to teach you an instrument. sit, wait and watch the comments will roll in.

3) find a jam session happening at your college. my college has a club where everyone brings instruments to jam and most of the time, students end up teaching their peers how to play certain instruments. it’s definitely a good place to start.

4) BUNZ. bunz is a free website/ app/ community where you can trade items and services. the good thing about this is that no exchange of money is allowed, which is perfect for people who can’t afford lessons. people on bunz really like food so you could probably trade a couple of jars of pasta sauce for a lesson! the possibilities are endless.

5) kijiji and craigslist. pretty self explanatory, but use these with caution. these can be super sketchy.

6) good ol bulletin boards. bulletin boards on campus often have flyers for music lessons. vocal lessons are probably the ones i’ve seen the most, but i’m sure if you dug deep enough, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. some notable bulletin boards are located at hart house (basement, near sammy’s student exchange cafe), robarts 2nd floor, and the faculty of music building.

WARNING: be smart about meeting up with people from the internet. take all the steps to make sure that they aren’t going to kidnap you. meet in a public place first and have a friend hanging around to make sure you are safe.

i hope this helped at least a little bit. definitely look into the university settlement music program- i’ve heard good things!

if all else fails, i’ll teach you!

peace, love, and happy major chords all around,

aska


Feb 06

top secret internal transfer gpa’s

Dear ask a student,

I am in second year at UTSC and I am looking to transfer downtown for urban
studies. In first year I took computer science and finish the year with a
low GPA. Now in city studies after the first semester my sessional GPA was
2.93 but my cumulative GPA is still below 2.5. Will they look over my first
year since I am now doing better in City Studies and is there a chance I
can still get in with just my recent GPA improvement?

Thanks.

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hello!

soooooo when UTSG is looking at internal transfer students, (students who are transferring from one U of T campus to another U of T campus) they will consider your CGPA and your most recent annual GPA. however, they will also have access to your whole transcript if they notice some inconsistencies in your GPA.

in terms of GPA cut-off, i would check with the urban studies department directly to make sure you’re within the range. for some reason admission GPA’s for internal transfers are kind of top secret. they used to post them online, but i haven’t been able to find it ever since they revamped the future.utoronto.ca website. right now, the admission GPA’s are mostly circulated by word of mouth, but for entry into a specific program like urban studies, it would be in your best interest to just ask them!

hope this helped!

wishing you all the best in your transfer! hope we’ll be seeing you downtown!

peace and love,

aska


Feb 03

second academic offence before graduation

Hi Aska,

I’m a 5th year student at UTM, planning to graduate in June this year. And just before this Fall semester ended one of my professors called me out for plagiarism on a final essay. (Note: The turnitin percentage was 14 percent, there were two short sentences on the paper she said were “too similar” on the essay and I began both with “x-author describes..[etc.]” aka citing the author not only before said sentence but also in the works cited list at the end.) Anyways, the problem is, If this goes through to the Academic Integrity office this would be my second time committing an offence. What can I expect? Will I get suspended just before I am about to graduate? Do you think what I did counts as an offence? The plagiarism guidelines the professor gave us defined plagiarism as “expressing someone else’s ideas as one’s own”, which I did not do. Please let me know what you think of this situation, what I can expect and what I should do. I am very stressed out about this. Much appreciated.

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hey there,

tbh, you’re in a bit of a tricky situation considering the fact that this is your second offence. i’m not sure how they could have accused you of plagiarizing since you cited your sources and used quotations, but there must’ve been something serious that your instructor felt the need to address. i hope for you that it was all a huge misunderstanding!

you may already be familiar with this, but in u of t’s academic integrity codebook, there is a blurb on the topic of plagiarism which states:

“For offences involving plagiarism, depending on the amount of plagiarism contained in the work, whether or not accurate (or any) citations are provided or concocted, and whether or not any acknowledgment of the source material is provided, the Provost recommends a sanction ranging from reduction in the grade on the piece of academic work by one-half, to a final grade of zero or failure for the piece of work or zero for the course.”

however, the recommended sanctions for plagiarism will be different this time around because second time offenders will be punished more severely:

“According to Appendix”C” in The Code, where a student has previously been convicted under The Code and commits another offence, the recommended sanction shall be suspension for 2 years to expulsion from the University.”

in terms of what outcome to expect in your case, i can’t answer that. i can’t predict the outcome of your allegation not only because i don’t have enough information, but because there are too many ways your situation could be handled.

the whole process depends on several varying elements such as: how much the assignment was worth, if you admit to committing the offence, and if you admit guilt. it could go all the way to expulsion, but it could also result in the department chair not finding an offence was committed, resulting in no further action.

do you see what i’m getting at here? there are simply too many variables to consider.

you should know by now that the university takes these issues very seriously, so we can only trust that the admin will carefully review your records, look at your assignment and come to a just decision.

if you are suspended right before graduation, there isn’t much to do except try to appeal the decision or wait out your suspension. sorry to end on this disappointing note, but hey, lets hope that no further action will be taken!

bottom line, keep in contact with your registrar’s office since they will be able to help you with your case!

anyways, i’m rooting for you and hope that this issue will be resolved swiftly and in your favour!

peace and love,

aska

 

 


Jan 31

je m’excuse, je ne parle pas le francais

heya aska. this is a question that is not u of t-specific necessarily, but i can’t seem to find the answer anywhere online, so thought i would ask here first before resorting to talking to whomever in whatever administrative position that would know. i completed the explore program in summer 2015 (at a u of t-approved university) but still haven’t transferred the credit (for ~complicated reasons~); i’m just wondering if anyone knows if it counts for 1.0 FCE or just 0.5. thanks !

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hello,

i contacted the french department’s study elsewhere coordinator (a lovely man named Paul) and he was very helpful in answering your question! i’ve paraphrased his words below:

in short, all explore courses are worth 1.0 FCE, but there are other steps you need to take to ensure you receive the transfer credit.

  1. you need to go to the transfer credit office at sidney smith hall (100 st. george street) and fill out a transfer credit application
  2. then, arrange to have your Explore course transcript sent to the transfer credit office at sid smith
  3. after that, contact french.secretary(at)utoronto.ca to book a french placement test
  4. after the test, forward the results to the transfer credit office

our friend Paul also included the following note: “if you have already taken an FSL course at U of T, the placement test result must show that your level has increased by the one full course in order to be eligible to receive a transfer credit”.

hope this helps!

bonne chance!

paix et amour,

aska

 


Jan 30

sad face emoticon

why doesn’t uoft have any tech-y courses 🙁

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hello,

you and i are in the same boat because we’re both sad face emoticon people.

you’re clearly sad face emoticon about U of T not having “tech-y” courses whereas i am sad face emoticon that some people ask me very vague questions that don’t make much sense.

what do you mean by tech-y? am i missing something here?

all classes TECHnically involve some sort of technology, right???? is computer science not tech-y enough a course? i can’t really think of anything more tech-y than the science of technology itself!

in conclusion, please elaborate ’cause i’m pretty stumped here.

idk man,

aska

 

 


Jan 25

ich liebe Deutsch auch

Dear ASKA!! Can undergrad of UTSC go to school of continuing studies for the sake of a German course!? I really wanted to take GER200Y but sadly it didn’t fit in my timetable, then I found they have it as a 2-month course at downtown tho I wonder how could they compress a year course into a term course rofl Merry Christmas<3

Jan 20

inauguration day/ come back home

Hi!

I completed my first year at UTM in the 2015-16 school year, in good academic standing. I had to move at the end of my first year to the U.S., and so transferred to an American University. Turns out I may be returning around Fall 2017, though! So, my question is, would my one year off just count as a gap year? Would I be able to transfer my American credits back to UTM? I checked transfer explorer, and it doesn’t even recognize my American Uni’s name, lol, so I don’t have much context for my courses.

I hope you can maybe provide some insight here? Has this happened before?

Any light you can shed on the situation would be greatly helpful!

Thanks!!

Sincerely,

An unintentional and unwilling exchange student who regrets moving

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sup,

 

welcome back, maybe!

there isn’t really an official term that designates a ‘gap year’ at UTM, but basically if you’ve been gone for 12 consecutive months, you’ll have to reactivate your student record.

you can do that by going online at this link if you’ve been away for 12 consecutive months. once you reactivate, you need to make sure you pay tuition with 12 months or else your reactivation will expire.

in terms of your transfer credits, i’m not exactly sure why your university doesn’t show up, but you’ll be applying for a slightly different kind of transfer credit: a post-admission transfer credit.

a combination of these two actions should get you back on the right track, however, it would be best to contact your registrar at UTM to make sure you’ve done everything correctly and to confirm that you have indeed reactivated your student record.

hope this works, and hey, you’ve picked a good time to move back to canada!

peace and love and hope for america,

aska


Jan 18

6 responses + a rant

Hey Aska! I’m a Turkish student and I’m in grade 11. I’m filled with
so many questions because I whole-heartedly want to study at UofT. I
researched a lot of things and still have tons of questions. So yeah,
let me begin 😀

My first question is about admissions. With %86-87 average in grade 11
and %93-94 in grade 12, would I be able to get into mechanical
engineering? (Also consider that I have decent SAT scores ad medium-
to-decent extracurriculars.) I really want to know if I even have a
chance.

+What about scholarships?

+Does Innis collage and UC require anything when applying? (I know
that Innis should be ranked 1st if you wanna be accepted there.) Which
has a better community in your opinion? And which should I choose as a
newcomer?

+Is it that hard to get good grades at UofT? I personally love
studying but I don’t know if I’ll be overwhelmed.

+Are international students treated differently really?

+What are the parties like?

+It is a very big school, will I be able to form close relationships?
If so, how?

Thank you soooo much in advance, and sorry for mixed questions. I
sincerely hope that I can be a part of the community. Take care!

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hello!

first of all, you’re adorable and i love your enthusiasm. you’ve asked a lot of good questions and i commend you for taking the initiative to reach out so early! this is probably the longest post i’ve ever written so bear with me.

on getting accepted into mechanical engineering

at this point in time, the website says that you need a mid 80’s average to get into the mechanical engineering program, but it would be best to check the updated average when you actually apply in 2 years. engineering programs are competitive and it is very likely that these averages will change by the time you apply, since they tend to fluctuate from year to year.

with your awesome grades, you definitely have a chance of getting into the mechanical engineering program, but keep in mind that this is just a general cut-off guideline for this year’s applicants. by saying you have a chance of getting in, i’m not saying you will get in.

on scholarships

scholarships are described at length in this link where you will also see a complete listing of all the scholarships available at u of t. keep in mind, since you will be an international student, you will only be eligible for a small number of scholarships. if you scroll to the listings at the bottom of the page, under availability, if there is a blank in the column instead of the words “domestic students”, that means international students are eligible. there are also admission scholarships (which you are eligible for, yay!) which you will automatically be considered for when you are admitted to the school.

on UC and innis

university college is large and old whereas innis is small and new. to get into innis, you are absolutely right, you do need to rank it first (good job!) but UC does not require you to rank them first. innis requires you to rank them first mostly because they are so small in size and very popular.

which one to pick? that’s the ultimate question. there are many factors that you should consider, for example: are you going to be living in residence? what kind of residence style are you looking for? do you want to be part of a big college or a small college?

i’m not exactly allowed to tell you which one i like more (and believe me, there is one) because i’d probably get destroyed, and it’s really up to you to do your own research and decide which one is better for you. i can provide you with the resources, but the rest is entirely up to you.

on getting good marks

is it hard to get good marks at U of T? yes. very hard. i have yet to get good grades at U of T. don’t slack off, study hard, and go to class. i made the mistake of not doing any of those three things in my first three and a half years and have paid dearly (emotionally and monetarily). we have a scary reputation for a reason. if you’re thinking of coming here, be ready to work your ass off.

on the treatment of international students

*disclaimer* aska rant on international student culture and discrimination

i thought a lot about how to answer your question about the treatment of international students. on one hand, i wanted to answer: international students aren’t treated differently! it’s love love love all around! but i would be lying. the aska motto is to deliver the cold, hard truth, so here goes: (it might seem a little controversial and blunt, but that’s askastudent for ya!)

international students are treated in the same way they treat other people. as i’m sure is common at every university, there are groups that i will refer to as ‘cultural cliques’. cultural cliques are groups of students who stick together because they come from the same culture, usually when english is not their first language. i’m not saying this is a bad thing. it’s actually great that these students can find friends who speak a common tongue! how awesome! however, sometimes, students will ignore everyone else outside their clique and as as a result, they get ignored back. this is perfectly fine if neither groups want to mix and mingle, but it does sometimes result in some differential treatment. the most common thing i see is people getting mad about international students speaking their native tongue instead of english.

as someone who was not born in canada and can speak a second language, i can sympathize with both sides of the story. an international student might have a difficult time with english and find it easier to communicate in another language, yet a domestic student, might find it rude that other students are speaking in foreign language. often, this stems from the domestic student’s insecurity that the international student might be crap-talking them in a different language. of course, this isn’t always the case, but it does happen! heck, it’s happened to me before! someone tried bad-mouthing me when they thought i didn’t understand the language. well, joke was on them!

many will also argue: “you’re in canada! speak english!” but this argument isn’t exactly valid. i’m sure lots of people who go to countries like japan don’t spend years learning japanese before they decide to go. canada is known as one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and it’s truly unfortunate that not all cultures are as widely accepted as canadian culture.

bottom line, discrimination can happen, but i guarantee that it won’t happen if you treat people like you want to be treated. my advice to you is to keep an open-mind. be friendly and warm to people if you want them to be friendly and warm to you. if you find people from turkey at U of T that you want to be friends with, that’s awesome. if you want to form a turkish clique, even better! make the most of your university life and spend it with people you care about.

*aska rant over*

on partying

i’m not much of a partier, so i can’t reveal too many juicy details about that. just based on the parties i’ve been to, they can definitely get pretty rowdy at times, but also be super lame. a gathering of people involving beverages and loud music usually constitutes a party at U of T, and i imagine, everywhere else! sometimes there’s dancing and sometimes there are games. sometimes ambulances are called, and sometimes the paramedics get a night off. sometimes people fall asleep and sometimes people stay up all night. hope that answers your question!

on forming close relationships

i have hit the 1300 word count so i think it’s safe to say that we, in some way, shape or form, have formed somewhat of a close relationship. U of T is ginormous. you are again, absolutely right.

you can definitely form close relationships at U of T. in addition to studying your ass off, you should be making time for late night mcdonald’s runs, jam sessions and spontaneous city explorations along with friends. again, treating people like you want to be treated applies here. treat someone like a friend and chance are, they’ll treat you like a friend and then BOOM! you’ll have a friend. that’s how you make friends. how nice. you’ll meet people in your classes, in residences, and at various events on/ off campus! everyone else will be looking to make friends as well, so don’t sweat it. some of my closest friends have been people i met at school, so you’ll be fine. trust me.

did i answer all your questions? if not, comment below and i’ll do my best to get back to you.

good luck, chill out, and may the odds be ever in your favour.

peace and love,

aska


Jan 18

i will find you

Hello! I can’t seem to find the statistics on those that were accepted into the faculty of arts and science. Help would be appreciated!

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yo,

stats are hard to find. don’t feel bad. you have come to the right person.

in addition to being ridiculously charming and hot (like my homeboy liam neeson), i also possess a very particular set of super ninja detective samurai skills. fear not, for i have found what you are looking for.

there’s this super cool thing called Common University Data Ontario (CUDO) which can give you stats on:

  • Number of degrees awarded, student enrolment and entering averages – all by program;
  • Number of students living on campus and activities offered;
  • Student satisfaction;
  • First-year tuition and ancillary fees by program;
  • Number of teaching faculty;
  • Undergraduate class size, by year level;
  • Research awards granted; and
  • Graduation rates and employment rates by program.

click on the year that you want to see and voila! you can even look at stats on UTM and UTSG.

go crazy!

peace and love,

aska


Jan 18

final destination

For undergrad, can someone do two years at York then transfer to UofT for the last two years? Is this difficult to do? Honestly thinking of doing this as I really want to go to UofT but I’m an international student and cannot afford 40k tuition each year for four years.

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hey,

it is definitely possible to transfer to U of T from york but it’s a whole process. not a terrible process, but a process nonetheless.

first, you need to be in pretty good academic standing, and by pretty good, i mean a solid B average. if the program you are trying to enter is more competitive, you might need to contact the department for a more accurate average.

second, you can’t apply if you are more than 2 years into a degree, meaning if you were to transfer into the same program after 3 years of york, you wouldn’t be able to, you’d have to apply for a different program.

third, you have to meet all the high school entry requirements as well as university requirements for your program.

the application process will be through OUAC105 since you won’t be applying as a high school student, and after you are admitted, you will need to have your transfer credits assessed by U of T. the university can grant you a maximum of 5 transfer credits (1 full year).

the whole transfer process is outlined nicely at this link, so take a look!

basically, it’s not that difficult if you meet all the requirements and are in good academic standing. however, all things considered, transferring to another university is a huge change and you might want to think about whether or not you want to leave your already established group of friends and community.

hope you make the right decision!

peace and love,

aska


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