your student life specialists

Jul 25

the friendship, loyalty and compadres program


I’m an international student and it’s oh so hard for me to get out and make friends. The FLC program sounds helpful enough (socially and academically), but after a summer of putting together a schedule I like, I don’t want the standard timetable to mess with my first year seminar or my Calc professor preference. Can I edit my schedule for one or two classes and still be part
of a FLC?

I’ll be in Life Sciences.

And if I can’t edit my schedule, is a FLC really worth it?

– 🙁



now, i could explain all the benefits of FLC to you and try to convince you that it’s a great idea, but i have never been a part of an FLC. however, here at askastudent, we strive to deliver the truth.

here are the truths:

“FLC is fun times.”- a trusty source

“first year life-sci is very hard.”- multiple trusty sources

while a “flick” is definitely a good place to make friends, please know that there are plenty of other opportunities at U of T for you to make friends. classes are a great place to start! clubs are also plentiful – check out the handy uoft clubs database here.

if you want to partake in FLC for the academic opportunities, by all means, do! however, if it doesn’t work with your schedule, don’t worry about it! i would recommend prioritising your ideal schedule for first year because it’s more important to get into classes that actually count for credits.

if you don’t end up doing an FLC, remember that the first year seminar that you’re interested in will also be great for you academically.

turn that frown upside down, you have nothing to worry about! and hey, if you like our posts on facebook and leave us flattering comments, maybe we can be friends! (k tbh that was mostly a shameless plug, we actually have enough friends)

kidding. we only exist because of you guys. keep writing us please!



Jul 25

midterm madness

Hey there,

I wanted to know what can be done to view a midterm past the midterm review date. I didn’t get a chance to view it and really need to check it since there’s a possibility a mistake was made. If it helps its for a bio exam at utsc. the life science department is so stingy when it comes to exam viewings so i’m worried there is nothing i can do to view it now. Its just so odd to me the uni has issues with students wanting to view their own exams. There worth so much of our mark so i should be allowed to at least
check if a mistake was made.


hey there,

was it an in-class midterm or a final exam? if it was for a midterm, then you should be able to talk with your instructor about it. most profs are pretty willing to let you review a midterm, especially if you are concerned that there may have been a mistake.

if it was a final exam, that’s a whole ‘nother thing. there seems to be no flexibility in terms of viewing final exams, since they actually physically destroy them after the deadline.

i mean i feel your pain, but if you didn’t think to check about this mistake until 90 days after the fact, i feel like it wasn’t that important to you? i dunno. feel free to double-check with the utsc registrar’s office to see if they can provide any additional information.



Jul 25

killed, or worse, NOT ACCEPTED TO UOFT


Sorry to bother you, but I have few questions about the IB Diploma. I was accepted into University of Toronto Mississauga on December 11, 2015. I completed my IB tests around May and got the results earlier this month in July.
I was very sad to see that I had not been awarded the IB Diploma. I was only one point off.
I am in somewhat of a panic mode and very stressed about what will happen. The letter said that they reserved the right to pull my acceptance.
Does that mean they will definitely pull my acceptance? Or is there a little hope for me?
Is there anything I can do to decrease the chance of my acceptance being pulled at this point?

Thank You!


hey there,

it is possible that your offer could still be revoked if you didn’t meet the conditions of your acceptance. before you get into a full-on TIZZY however, please note that it is very rare for this to happen. a couple of percentage points is not the kind of thing uoft will send you packing for. if there was a severe drop in your marks between December and now, then that may be something to worry about, but usually the kind of kids uoft attract tend to…how shall i put this delicately…blow things out of proportion a little bit.

even after years of answering first year questions, i still don’t entirely understand how IB works, so i don’t really know what “not being awarded the IB Diploma” means. i would say that if that was a condition of your acceptance and you didn’t meet it, you should definitely speak with enrolment services about your concerns. if you were only one point off, however, that’s not usually something to get hugely worried about.

i know that was a lot of waffle with not a lot of certainty, but i wanted to give you a balanced answer. the best thing to do is really to talk to enrolment services, because they can look at the details of your record and give you a much more precise answer than i can.



Jul 22

i’m not sure what happened here

Hi i’m an international student hoping to come to uoft after graduating in december this year! i was wondering when uoft intakes are? is there only a fall intake?


hey there,

unfortunately, if you’re applying for admission to uoft as an international student, you can only apply for the Fall session, i.e. the session beginning in September 2017. the application process starts in late September/early October 2016 though, so make sure to read up on how to apply so that you don’t miss any deadlines!

assuming you get in, you’ll have like nine empty months between graduation and coming to uoft, and unless you’re diligent at keeping yourself busy, you run the risk of becoming very, very bored. in the interest of combating that, i have compiled a list of potential activities for you:

1. make a humongous house of cards. as you build, think about how it symbolizes he precariousness of your life at this moment in time, floating between two schools, two realities, two versions of yourself. the card house crashes down. you become someone else.

2. go on a trip. if you can’t afford to go on a trip because you’re saving all your money for university, fantasize about going on a trip.

3. make candles with a bro – even though it’s a cliche.

4. commune with the spirit of aska’s lost motivation. i’ll pay you $10 if you can convince it to come back to me.

5. transcend time and space. dance with Jupiter, which is only the size of a thimble in your massive, loving, purple palm. stare at yourself in a mirror. you can see yourself at every age, simultaneously. you understand that you are infinite. time is not frozen but you exist outside of it, and you watch it melting slowly like an ice cream sundae. you open your mouth to laugh, and a flock of swallows come out of your throat. they freeze on impact with space, hanging amongst the stars like a cosmic mobile.

6. kick back with a couple of beers. no wait. you’re probably like 17, aren’t you? apple juices.



Jul 22

i read something somewhere about it


I finished my first year at UTSG and I’m thinking of taking a gap year. During the gap year, I’m thinking of attending a language school to improve my French skills. But I think I read somewhere that attending an institution while taking a year off is prohibited. I’m not sure if this policy only applies to post-secondary institutions or any institution at all. I would really appreciate some information on this.

Thanks 🙂


hey there,

i’m not sure what the rule is when it comes to “post-secondary institutions.” i only have incredibly specific and non-transferable knowledge about uoft that is probably taking up too much space in my head. lucky me.

anyway, the only time this would be true is if you are away from school because of a suspension. students are not allowed to receive transfer credits from another college or university while on suspension. obviously, uoft bodyguards aren’t going to burst in on your first day of class at ryerson or centennial and strong-arm you out of the lecture hall. you can still take courses elsewhere, if you want to. they even kind of encourage it, since it may “help improve your academic skill level before you return to university studies in the Faculty of Arts & Science.” it’s just that you can’t use those credits towards your uoft degree.

if you’re actually just taking a gap year and you’re still in good standing, however, you can totally take courses elsewhere, AND you could potentially (emphasis on the “potentially” – take a look at transfer explorer to see how the courses at the other institution might transfer over to uoft) even get transfer credits for your degree, if that was something you wanted to do.

so go ahead! allons-y, as they say, nous allons avoir un aventure.



Jul 21

the Beats, Aristotle, and some pontificating on BBAs


I am a 2nd year student at UTM. I was accepted into “intro to social sciences” when i got admitted into UTM. I applied and got into management specialist  (bba) post this year.

1. My acorn still says intro into social science but my subject post is management specialist.

Even on the degree explorer it says degree is social science and subject post is management specialist.

Does it matter what my degree post says?

Will i still be getting a bba degree?

2. I also applied to a minor in environment management and a minor in earth science (planning to drop one soon).

I saw the requirements for earth science minor and its a piece of cake, but i feel its useless to compliment a management specialist with a earth science minor.

Same goes for environmental management minor, a bit more work but does it go with a BBA degree?

How will the minor show up on my transcript?

Will adding the minor still get me a BBA degree?


hey there,

i like the spacing of the sentences in these e-mail. it reads kind of like an anxious poem. maybe you’re the next ginsberg. the next Big Beat Auteur.*

1. yeah, that’s nothing to worry about. at some point in the summer, your POSt code (that’s fancy ROSI talk, feel free to ignore it completely) will change from Year 1 to Year 2. that’ll just be a superficial change, however; as long as you’ve completed at least 4.0 credits and you’re enrolled in your specialist, you are a second year student.

a good way to tell if the SWS is recognizing your year of study properly is by your start time. if you had a second year start time, then you have nothing to worry about. and yes, you will get your BBA and become a wonderful businessperson with several snazzy suits, i’m sure. not to fear.

2. i feel like you’re going at your degree from a different perspective than i did, so i don’t know if i’ll be able to answer this question to your satisfaction.

my philosophy is: if you want to do it, then do it. anything can go with anything. are you doing them both? are you the same person? if yes, then congrats! you made the things go together.

don’t be so worried about what will make you look appealing in the vacuum-packed version of yourself that you present to employers. packaging can come after; your passion comes first. did you know that aristotle wrote on everything from physics to biology to ethics to metaphysics? a lot of the stuff he said was wrong, but he did it because he had an interest and that made an impact.

technically, if you’re already doing a specialist, you don’t NEED another minor. but if you have a real interest in one of them and you’re willing to put in the extra work, then go with the one you’re more excited about! you’re saying earth science is “a piece of cake.” is that the only reason you’re considering it? do you prefer it over environmental management? if so, then you should do it.

alright, i’m off my soapbox now. next question.

the minors will show up on your transcript exactly as they do now – listed along with your specialist and any other programs you may add, near the top of your transcript.

finally: yes, as long as you are in a management specialist, you will be graduating with a BBA.



* get it? because it’s B.B.A.? which is your degree? anyways…

Jul 20

Yet Another Anxious High School Kid TM

Hey Aska,

Firstly, thank you so much for this site! I’ve been checking it every few days since i found out about it, and thanks to you I’m slightly less likely to have a full on panic attack when i apply to uni.

I’m starting grade 12 in an Ontario high school in the fall, and i want to apply for social sciences at uoft, probably for either International Relations or Peace, Conflict and Justice. My grades aren’t /amazing/, but I’ll probably have an average in the mid to high eighties when I have to send them in, so…ok?

I do a lot of extracurricular stuff- I’m the president of a social-justice-y club, the editor of the school newspaper and I will have
been a “senior mentor” for two years, and I know I can get recommendation letters from each of these. (sorry if this sounds like the pretentious part of a resume, I can’t help it) Even if these positions would be irrelevant with regards to admissions, would they (or recommendation letters) help me with anything else, like getting into the college of my choice, school clubs or scholarships?

Also, do you think International Relations or Peace, Conflict and Justice would be more relevant to a career in human rights?

Thank you so much!


hey there,

i’m glad my sass and bad humour calm you down, kid. i mean, it’s kinda weird, but i’ll roll with it. what’s your deal? are you a sucker for pain? if so, uoft will be the perfect choice for you. it’s a match made in a 9am calculus class!

while i appreciate the vagueness of your question about admissions and the probably unintentional john green reference, i still can’t give you a straight answer. i’m not about to risk going against a decision made by admissions. all i can do is point you to this chart right here; feel free to compare and contrast, and draw your own conclusions.

as for your extracurricular experience, you’re exactly right. it will all mean diddly-squat in terms of admission to the university, but it will come in handy for scholarship applications, the experience may be valuable when it comes to joining clubs in university, and it can – potentially – be useful for college applications.

not all colleges in the faculty of arts & science require supplemental applications. in fact, most don’t. the only colleges that actually require an application are victoria college and trinity college, because they’re kooky like that. if you’re interested in either of those colleges however, their student profile application forms will be your chance to shine.

finally, your program question: IR and PCJ are two peas in a pod. you can’t go wrong with either of them. i wouldn’t worry so much about which one will be more relevant (especially since ‘human rights’ isn’t that specific a goal in itself). a better way to narrow them down is to look at the practical implications of each choice.

for example, you’ll need to determine is whether you’re after the specialists or majors in IR/PCJ. the difference between a specialist and a major is that a specialist asks that you complete more credits (13.0 for IR and 12.0 for PCJ), and therefore, one specialist is enough for you to obtain your degree. majors require fewer credits (both IR and PCJ require 7.5 FCEs for their majors), and therefore if you’re in an IR or PCJ major, you’ll have to supplement it with either one other major, or two other minors.

content-wise, all four options (the IR specialist, PCJ specialist, IR major, and PCJ major) are pretty similar, but there are subtle differences in terms of which courses you would need to take for each. study each program on the course calendar to get a feel for which would be the best fit for you.

if you really can’t decide, consider a double major in PCJ and IR. they complement each other wonderfully.

my final piece of advice is this: keep your options open. all of these programs are type 3 programs, which means that even if you meet all the prerequisites in first year, you still may not get into the program, since there are limited spots for enrolment. what i’m saying is: backups are non-optional, and be ready for plan B to become plan A.

but don’t worry about ANY OF THAT right now, because you still have a year left of high school and subject POSt enrolment is at least two years away. a lot can happen in two years, so take it easy. enjoy your summer break. play pokemon go. try to be a kid again.

you can start by closing this tab and looking at prom outfits in the next one.



P.S. thanks for providing the perfect title for this post in your e-mail subject line. i love the self-deprecation. keep it up and you might even be as great as aska, one day.

Jul 19

school pride costs

Do you get a free UofT t-shirt or hoodie once you arrive at UofT? Do you need to live in rez to get a free UofT tee?


hey there,

nah. nothing at uoft is for free, and even the things that seem to be free (access to gyms, libraries, orientation week) are things that you’ve already paid for. in some ways, it’s a good thing, because it prepares you for “real” (note the heavy scare quotes) life.

unfortunately however, t-shirts and hoodies aren’t included in your incidental fees. i don’t know where you heard that you get a free uoft tee (haha, tee-tee) in res. that’s not a thing that happens, and i know people in pretty much every res on the downtown campus.

the only free piece of clothing you’ll get will be an orientation t-shirt, assuming you choose to participate in orientation, and that’s going to be more about college/faculty pride than uoft pride. if you want uoft merch specifically, you’ll need to spend $40 on a hoodie from the bookstore like the rest of us plebs. i will say that they are really soft, though.



Jul 18

OSAP, we need some time apart

I’ve done very poorly this school year and I’m a first year student. My academic standing was not accessed because I attempted less than 4.0 credits. I received a letter from the national student loans service center telling me I have to repay my loans already, thing is I know I’ve done really bad. I want to resume school and avoid probation/suspension; but I have to pay my loans first before enrolling. Can I take time off of school and repay my loans first, and then return to school where they access my academic standing. Or is it not possible to take time off, or else it affects my GPA further?


hey there,

so, what i’m guessing happened is that you weren’t able to complete any credits this year. the NSLSC treated that as if you had been away from school for a year, and is now saying that you need to repay the loans, because according to them, you’ve been “out of school.”

if that is the case, i would speak with a financial advisor at utm to see what you can do about the situation. it may be possible to communicate to the NSLSC that you want to continue in school next year, and explain what your plans are to improve your academic standing. in that case, you could come back to school on OSAP, and not be required to start paying it back immediately. but speak with the advisor to be sure, because they are experts in this stuff, where aska is what you might call an amateur advisor.

what i’m saying is coming back to school on OSAP may not be possible in your case, so speak with the experts to find out the best next steps.

if you do indeed need to take time off to repay your loan before continuing at school, that’s a-okay. you are free to take as much time off school as you need to; all you have to do is not sign up for courses! it won’t affect your GPA. your academic record will stay the same until you return. GPA’s don’t have a half-life; they don’t deteriorate while you’re away from school.

whatever happens with your OSAP repayment, taking time off may even be a good choice, academically. time off from school gives you – well, time – to reflect on whether uoft is the best path for you, what your goals are, and, if you’d like to return, what changes you can make to ensure that you’re successful. sometimes time is the best decision-maker. if the time comes when you feel ready to come back, re-registration is a very simple process.

good luck!


Jul 14

all we do is drive

Hi! I’m going to start my first year at uoft in the fall and I will have to unfortunately commute to uoft everyday [?]  I’m about to move to erin mills, mississauga with my parents (they just can’t let me go ugh) and I was wondering if you have any commuting tips? I was thinking that I could drive to union station and then take the ttc to uoft but parking is hella expensive and I’m hella broke. Then again I could just take the bus/train/ttc but that’s like a 1 hour and 40 mins commute which I would looove to avoid if possible. I was hoping you knew of a few places near union station or uoft where parking is free and if not do you have any other advice?

And one more thing…. I don’t know if I want to attend my faculty’s orientation (Daniels) or my college’s orientation (UC). Do you know if one is more fun the the other or where I’ll have a better chance of making friends?

Thanks for your help!!

hey there,

generally speaking, the city of Toronto is waaaay too greedy to offer free parking. we’re probably only a couple of years away from being charged to walk in front of a business’ storefront or something…or maybe that’s just my inner grump coming out.

this website seems to indicate that there are quite a few free parking options in the downtown core (though none right at Union Station). i’m thinking there’s gonna be a catch – i doubt any of them are free all day, and i wonder how quickly they fill up. however, it’s worth looking into.

this is ultimately gonna be your decision, but i’d like to put in a humble plug for commuting via the train or bus. for one thing, with a train at least, you avoid the horrendous traffic issue. for another, you can read or do work on the train, which becomes harder to do in the car (unless you’re an audio learner, in which case listening to notes on a car radio might be really helpful).

to be honest, most people don’t commute using their cars. the city isn’t very car-friendly. that said, with a rocking car playlist and a mildly masochistic attitude, it can be done.

give it a trial run, if you can. you’ll be able to see how the commute feels, and how parking your car plays out in reality, because those parking websites can say all they want, but the TTC website says lots of things too, and i can count the number of times they’ve been true on one hand.

as for the frosh question, it’s really up to you. it’s hard to make this decision before you get here, because you don’t know for sure how involved you’re going to be with your college community before you’re actually here. i would say that if there are things at UC that you’re very interested in getting involved in, do UC’s orientation. if you think you’re more likely to be involved in the Daniels community, or see things in the Daniels orientation schedule that really pique your interest, then you should go for that one.

either way, you’ll have a great time shouting obscenities at other colleges/faculties, signing people’s T-shirts, and generally being as obnoxious as legally allowable in a public space, for your first week here.



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