askastudent

your student life specialists

Aug 14

butter up your profs

Hey aska,

I am currently a 2nd year student at Uoft and I know that I want to pursue graduate studies in the future hence, I want to start building relationships with profs. But the problem is that I am a terribly shy person and I never speak up in class. I am also really afraid to go to office hours as I don’t really know what to speak to professors about (i usually don’t have much questions to ask them). Do you have any tips on how to overcome my shyness around profs? And how much do you think profs will need to know u in order to write a good letter of recommendation?

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hi!

as someone who self identifies as a “talkative keener” i have a lot of experience talking to (and buttering up) profs. let me pass down my wisdom to you.

participating in class and going to office hours is the best way for profs to know/ remember you, but i totally understand how difficult and intimidating that can be. i personally find that it’s a lot easier to speak up and make a personal connection with a prof if the class is a lot smaller. smaller classes are usually a lot more discussion heavy, which (personally!) pushes me to participate more and talk to the prof directly. plus, it’s not a faux pas to participate in a smaller class, it’s actually an expectation! while it is a lot easier in some programs to find and take seminar classes (for example, i’m in the humanities and i’ve been in small classes since first year), i think that seeking out small classes about things that you’re interested in and profs that you like can be a good way to get profs to know you.

going to office hours can be absolutely terrifying, i always feel like i’m in trouble and i’m to going to the principal’s office or something, but it’s a great way to develop a relationship with a prof. even if you’re not having issues with the class or there isn’t much of a reason to go, attending office hours just to talk about something that you found interesting about the course material or to chat up the prof about their research will really help them to remember who you are. also, it really butters ’em up.

corny tamela mann GIF by TV One

another way to get over shyness around profs is to work with them directly. seeking out research opportunities is a good way to get to really know a prof/ have a prof really know you. plus, research experience looks great on a CV, especially if you have grad school aspirations.

these are my suggestions, based on my own personal experiences. you aren’t me (unless there’s a serious glitch in the simulation) so these things may not work for you. stepping outside of your comfort zone can be scary and it’s easy for me from my anonymous student blogger pedestal to tell you what to do. hopefully these tips help you out and you get a great reference out of one of your profs.

design love GIF by lironrash

good luck!

xoxo,

aska


Aug 13

learning about learning

if I failed courses (first year) would you recommend not retaking them this year? or should I retake them? gpa is kinda awful right now.

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hi!

good news: if you want to take a course that you’ve already taken and failed, there shouldn’t be any issues for you enrolling in it on ACORN. keep in mind that you wouldn’t be able to enroll in a course that you’ve passed but wanna retake (let’s say, to get into a POSt) on ACORN by yourself. that’s something you’d have to see your registrar’s office about. those courses (courses you’ve passed but want to retake) will be marked as EXT (“extra”) which means it won’t count towards your GPA or your 20 credits needed to graduate.

i don’t know if i can explicitly recommend retaking or not retaking a course. that’s ultimately up to you; only you know why you’d wanna retake a course and only you can gauge whether or not you can boost your GPA by retaking the course.

i suggest that you should make an appointment with an academic adviser at your registrar’s office to discuss this. they can go through your academic record with you and help you come up with a plan of action– whether that be retaking courses you’ve failed or looking for new courses to take. they can also point you in the direction of some really cool academic resources. a resource that they may show you is the academic success centre. they’re awesome. you can attend workshops, make one-on-one appointments with learning strategists, and meet peer mentors. i highly suggest checking them out.  learning about learning and how you can learn better is a great first step in improving your marks. at least, that’s what i’ve always found.

i learned from that justin bieber GIF

i hope this helps!

xoxo,

aska


Aug 09

we got ourselves a transfer!

Hi there! This September I will be entering my first year at York University (Biomed Student). However, UofT has always been my dream school and unfortunately, I didn’t make the cut for Life Sciences in Grade 12. I’ve been thinking of transferring to UofT SG in my 2nd year. I did my research online and it said I had to apply through OUAC 105D and pay a fee of $30. My problem is that I used Transferex and some of the courses I’m taking at York apply as half credit, no credit or aren’t courses at UofT SG at all. This concerns me because some people are telling me I might have to spend an extra year at university to complete these courses (a total of 5 years).

Just wondering what I should do, thanks a bunch!!

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hi!

good job for doing your research! you have no idea how many vague and uninformed questions i get (hint: a lot).

it’s possible that you will have to take more time to finish your degree if you transfer. though that is a bit of a bummer (especially if you were planning on finishing in four years), just remember that it’s totally fine (and normal!) to take more time! go at your own pace! if finishing in four years is super important to you, then that’s possible too. you may need to take summer courses and/or more than 5.0 credits one year (5 is the standard amount of credits that u of t students take, though it’s a lot!) to finish in four years. it’s doable, but may be a little difficult. but if it’s what you want, then i’d say go for it!

have you looked at the programs available at u of t? i suggest that you take a look at the programs at u of t, find a few that interest you, and see what their entry requirements are. that way, you can see what if your york credits would transfer and fulfill the requirements of the program(s) you want to enter when you’re at u of t.

i highly suggest that you go see some sorta academic adviser at york. they should be able to give you more information about transferring and help you with next steps. i can’t really point you in the right direction since i don’t know what resources are at york (this is askastudent u of t, not askastudent york!!!) but hopefully you figure it out.

unsure kristen wiig GIF

hope this helps!

xoxo,

aska


Aug 08

where do i stand, y’know, academically?

Hi, I’ve recently been put on academic probation at the end of my fall/winter session, and I took summer school but then dropped it. That means I can go to school in the fall right?, to try and increase my GPA or does that mean I am now on suspension?

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hi!

academic standing is assessed twice a year: once at the end of the summer session and once at the end of the fall/winter session. so, if at the end of the summer session your cgpa is less than 1.50 and your sgpa is less than 1.70, then you’d be suspended. however, because you dropped your summer courses, that means that you wouldn’t have received a mark in those classes. because you did not achieve any mark or standing in those courses, your gpa wouldn’t have changed. this means that your academic standing would stay the same, so you’re still on probation. you can check out this flow chart for a more visual representation of how academic standing is calculated.

if you ever have any questions about your academic standing, you should hit up your registrar’s office. they can explain what your academic standing means for you and give you advice on how to navigate it. they’re awesome. 10/10. do it.

i hope this helps!

cat hello GIF

xoxo,

aska

PS- this cat is standing. because academic standing. haha, get it? haha.


Aug 03

more everything

Hey aska,

I just finished first year in life sciences with exactly 3.5 credits, so I’m gonna be in first year again I guess.

Earlier in the summer i asked my registrar if this means I’lll have to do 5 years instead of 4 if i didnt take summer school and she insured me that i wont have to. But the issue is that I want to major in human biology. its a type1 program and i have all i need except for chm136, but i need chm136 for the second year courses. BIO230, HMB204, BCM210 & HMB265. Im worried that these courses may not be available in the summer and I really don’t have a plan for what i could possibly do, anything is helpful.

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hi!

this is a tricky situation. i just wanna preface this response by saying that i’m but a humble student blogger. yes, i am privvy and somewhat all seeing, but people at your registrars office actually know everything. in fact, it’s their job to know everything (or refer you to someone else who knows more everything than their everything). i know that you said that you’ve already talked to them, but i think it may be a good idea to go back for a follow-up appointment to discuss your options.

that being said, i’ll answer your question to the best of my ability.

so, you’re right, you will still be considered a first year student this year (second year students are students with at least 4.0FCE). if you do still want to graduate in four years, it’s still possible! though you may need to take more than 5.0 FCE at some point or summer courses in order to graduate in four years, it’s doable. but, you should keep in mind that it’s totally okay (and normal!) to take more than four years. lots of students even take LESS than 5.0FCE every year and more than 4 years to finish their degrees. work at your own pace. if finishing in four years is super important to you, that’s also valid! just remember that you will probably need to take more than 5.0FCE and summer courses at some point to do that.

how i met your mother thumbs up GIF

as for the courses you want to take, i suggest that you take a look at the faculty of arts and sciences’ timetable to see when those courses are offered. then, you can check to see if you could take those second year courses in the winter semester if you take chm136 in fall semester. according to the timetable, chm136 is offered in the fall, which means that you can take some of the courses that you need chm136 for in the winter semester, if they’re offered.

you can also check out the department’s previous summer offerings to get an idea of what courses will be offered next summer. there’s no guarantee that courses that were offered previously will be offered in the future, but it’s a good way to get a gist of what courses are offered in the summer sessions.

again, i think that going to see someone at your registrar’s office to discuss options and academic planning would be a good idea, but i hope this helps a little.

good luck, i’m rooting for you!

lindsay lohan good luck GIF

xoxo,

aska


Jul 30

zooming through your degree

Good Afternoon,

I have a double major degree in English and French Literatures, and I will be finish all of tem fully by 2021. However, my parents decided that that is taking too long and want me to graduate with my English B.A in 2019 and then moving on with my French as a part-time student. Can that possibly be happening? They want to do that just so that I can get a full time work as soon as possible, or worse disowned and all of that situation.

Thank You very much.

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hi!

yikes, this is a very tricky situation you’ve found yourself in. hopefully my answer helps out a little.

because of the degree requirements, you need to complete at least a specialist, two majors, or a major and two minors in order to graduate. so if you wanted to drop french, you’ll have to switch your english major to a specialist in order to meet the degree requirements.

something to keep in mind before you make the switch, however, is the fact that the english department changed their curriculum. these changes will be going into effect starting the 2018-19 fall/winter session. this means that the program requirements have changed and if you switch from a major to a specialist, you would be subject to the new program requirements rather than the old ones (if you don’t switch, you would continue to follow the program requirements that you’re already following). you should look into what the new program requirements are and see how many you will have completed with the old major program. hopefully, most of the credits that you took for the major are still applicable for the new specialist. the main difference i see between the old and new programs is that the english department seems to no longer accept cross-listed (ie. non- ENG) courses, but there could be more intricacies that i don’t know about. i suggest getting in touch with the english department for more information.

then, if you wanted to do french after finishing your english specialist, you could come back as a non-degree student. non-degree students are students who have earned their bachelors degrees and are coming back to take courses without working towards a degree. you could be taking courses for a variety of reasons: self interest, complete a prereq for grad school, whatever. that could be a good option if you still wanna do french but you also want to finish your english BA ASAP.

another thing: i don’t know how many credits you have left before you graduate, but you do still need to complete 20.0 FCE to graduate. depending on how many credits you have now, you may have to do more than 5.0FCE per year AND summer courses in order to graduate in time for 2019. i wish i could do the math for you, but i don’t know how many credits you have completed. also i’m notoriously bad at math, so maybe don’t trust me with that.

math studying GIF

while it is totally possible to be in more than 5.0FCE in the fall/winter and do summer courses, it is a very heavy course load and not recommended. in fact, many students take LESS than 5.0 FCE per year. while it is up to you what you do with your degree–and if you really wanna zoom through it, that’s possible– it might be a good idea to think about WHY you’d be zooming through your degree. it’s your education and you should decide the pace that you wanna go at, not your parents. and switching from a 2021 to a 2019 graduation date is a pretty drastic change. obviously, i don’t know you so i don’t want to tell you what to do. but i suggest that you think deeply about what you want out of your time at u of t.

finally, i suggest that you make an appointment with an academic adviser your registrar’s office to discuss all your options. whether it’s sticking with a 2021 graduation date or trying to figure out how to zoom through your degree. they’ll be able to give you a ton of info that i’m not privy to.

i hope this helps!

bill murray help GIF

good luck!

xoxo,

aska


Jul 27

don’t forget the magic POSt combo

Hi! So, I currently exceeded the 6.0 100-level limit, and they won’t count my last course I took for a breath requirement to go to my GPA, I got an 84. I was previously suspended for a year, and came back, and my GPA has gone up to 2.13 from being 1.14. It seems to be a bit unrealistic, but my goal is to graduate with a high distinction and study masters at Scotland or England. ????With my latest 100-level course, my GPA would have been 2.23. I’m in no rush to graduate early, only have 7 courses left, the highest GPA I would get is 2.8. I’m majoring in history of art, and double-minoring in history and music culture. Would it be possible to add an additional minor using the course they counted as “extra” to bring it up, I’m just scared if I go above degree requirements, they wouldn’t count those too.???? What should I do or aim for from now on?

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hi!

though courses that count as “extra” don’t go towards your GPA or the 20.0 FCE needed to graduate, you can put them towards a program. so, hypothetically, you could use the “extra” course to add an additional minor.

i say “hypothetically,” however, because you won’t be able to add a third minor to your degree. you’re allowed to be in a total of three programs of study, so adding a third minor would put you up to four POSts. sadly, if you deleted your major to add your third minor and still only be at three POSts, that wouldn’t work either. you need to be in at least one “big” program (so like a specialist or major) and a maximum of two “small” programs (a minor). there is, sadly, a magic POSt combo that you gotta fulfill to graduate.

shia labeouf magic GIF

you can check out this link for more information on degree requirements.

i suggest making an appointment with an academic adviser at your college registrar’s office. they can talk to you about grad school and boosting your GPA. they can give you advice and help you plan for grad school.

i hope this helps!

xoxo,

aska


Jul 26

it’s good forever

do we need to get a new id card (tcard) every year? how?

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hi!

nope, you don’t need to get a new tcard every year– it’s valid for the duration of your time here at u of t.

the best thumbs up GIF by Landon Moss

but since you asked…………..

if you needed to get a new tcard (say you lost it or it got stolen or damaged or you wanna freshen up the picture or whatever), you would need to go to the tcard office with your utorid and student number, valid government-issued photo id, and $20 in credit or debit.

hope this helps!

xoxo,

aska


Jul 26

is it philosophical to be ambivalent

Hi, I’m going into Life Sci this fall and I was wondering if Philosophy will be a heavy elective to take in my first year?

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hi!

oh god, i hope i’m not too late with this one, since first year course selection is TODAY!!!

scared wreck-it ralph GIF by Walt Disney Studios

i’m really bad at answering these kinds of questions, ‘cuz i think that how “heavy” a course is is totally subjective. like, i’m reeeeeeealllllllly bad at math, so even a “bird” math course would feel like a huge feat to me.

in my very humble opinion, the most important part of deciding whether or not a course is a good elective is whether or not you’re interested. personal anecdote: when i was a wee first year, i took a science course as an elective that i wasn’t all that interested in (i just wanted to fill up my timetable and i thought fulfilling my breadth requirements would be a good idea). unfortunately, because i had no interest whatsoever in the subject material, i ended up doing really badly in the course. womp womp.

so, i can’t really say whether or not philosophy would be too “heavy,” that is really a judgement call that only you can make. think hard, potential future philosopher.

interesting batman GIF

good luck!

xoxo,

aska


Jul 25

0 to 100 real quick

last year, as a first year, I took three courses a semester. I failed all of them. current gpa is 0.00 and cpga each sem is obviously 0.00. I’m now on academic probation. My question is do i just redo first year then? take all those courses again? or am I screwed beyond help?

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hi!

from what i understand, you currently have less than 4.0 FCE completed, meaning that you are still considered a first year student. in that case, you’ll need to take the first year courses that’re required for your intended POSts. so, you are sorta kinda “redoing” first year.

being on academic probation, you do have to get your cgpa up to 1.50 and sgpa up to 1.70 by the end of the year in order to be back in good standing. hopefully someone will have already explained to you what being on academic probation entails, but in case they didn’t (and also just as a brief refresher!) being on probation basically means that you are restricted to 5.0 FCE in the fall/winter term and 2.0 FCE in the summer term. it also means that if you don’t get your sgpa up to 1.70 at the end of the next school year, you will be suspended.

i highly suggest going to see an academic adviser at your registrar’s office if you haven’t done so already. they’ll be able to tell you more about being on probation, give you some great advice to help you do better in the future, and direct you to other on campus resources that’ll help you out. i also suggest making an appointment with a learning strategist at the academic success centre who can help you learn better, which should (hopefully) help you do better in school. you can also attend workshops and access peer support through the academic success centre. all really good stuff.

i hope this helps. school is really hard, and paired with the other stuff that happens in life (family, friends, jobs, mental health, etc etc etc) it can feel impossible at times. but with a little bit of support, i’m sure you’ll be ok. as the patron god of toronto would say, go from 0 to 100 real quick. i’m rooting for you!

started from the bottom drake GIF

xoxo,

aska


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