your student life specialists

Archive for the ‘english’



hi! regarding the political science question, is there a specific grade needed in ENG 4U that is needed? i read that for st george, you needed low 80s in ENG 4U. I meet the general admissions marks but my English grade is quite a bit lower than my other 5 subjects.


hey there,

like i said in the previous post you’re referring to, at st. george, polisci falls under the social science category, so according to the requirements for ontario high school students, you’ll need an overall average (taken from ENG 4U and your next 5 best U/M courses) that’s in the low to mid 80’s. however, it does also state that you should have at least mid to low 70’s as your ENG 4U grade.

in terms of a specific grade needed, the best we can do is provide you with this “mid to low 70’s range”. my understanding is that it would be hard for the university to provide specific grades since not all students are admitted solely based on their academic performance.

hope this answers your question!

peace and love,




not another college question

I’m a student who’s applying internationally for the faculty of arts and
sciences. And I really don’t understand the college system.
I mean I do, but like, are there subjects that are not available in all
colleges? Are there any colleges that are  academically lower than others?
I’m planning to either major in film or english, is that going to matter?
Also, how do I do my research about the colleges? I’m really lost about
this whole situation.

Thank you so much, your blog really helped clear up a lot of thing.



i was going to preface this post by saying ‘ugh, not another college question’, but you’ve asked some questions that i think are important to address, so i have no sass for you today.

let me try addressing your questions one by one.

1. are there any subjects that are not available in all colleges?

do you mean to ask if there are any subjects that are exclusive to certain colleges? the answer to that is no. you have access to all courses in the faculty of arts and science regardless of your college affiliation.

2. are there colleges that are academically lower than other colleges?

no, not that i know of. there are students who perform well and students who perform poorly at every college. even if there were, we most likely would not be able to disclose that information on aska because that would be hella shady.

3. i’m planning on majoring in film and english, does that matter?

not really. innis college IS known for their cinema studies program and there isn’t really ONE college affiliated with english. innis also has a writing and rhetoric program, while vic has literature and critical theory. the only thing that might matter is, for example: you might hear more about cinema studies events if you’re an innis college student. regardless, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem as long as you are subscribed to the right listservs (email subscriptrions). to see a list of every college’s specialty, click here!

4. how do i conduct research on the colleges?

you can go on this website and find the tag ‘colleges‘. we’ve answered tons of questions similar to yours and you’re bound to find out a lot about each of them. even browsing reddit or college websites can tell you a lot about them. maybe you’ll find that one particular college gives off a good vibe. like i’ve said in the past, what college you’re part of doesn’t REALLY matter unless you’re thinking of living in residence. there’s also college culture to consider, but you’ll have to find out about those yourself by talking to people from the respective colleges.  if you want more info on the residences offered, check out our ‘residence‘ tag!

keep in mind that when you’re ranking colleges, some colleges (innis, vic, trin) require you to rank them first.

choose wisely, my friend.




peace and love,



it wasn’t me (clean version)

You said the UofT English courses are very traditional, but I was wondering what exactly that entailed. I know there are probably a few hundred pretentious schmucks out there that’ll swear by their life that there’s nothing they’d enjoy more than rereading A Midsummer’s Night Dream, but that’s just not me. I have a friend in the states that’s doing a BA in English and they had courses like Zombie Literature and etc. Is there anything as fun and interesting as that at UofT?



uhhhhh not sure who said that, but it wasn’t me! i am (believe it or not) the 15th aska running the site and i’ve actually never taken an english course at U of T. thank you, IB credit!

thank you for offending all the pretentious schmucks reading this- i’m sure they’re angrily shaking their berets at you. *lowkey high five*

k, but seriously, shakespeare can be good sometimes. (i’m saying this as someone who doesn’t read for pleasure) i’ve definitely watched some very interesting sparknotes vids on shakespearean plays… “to be, or not to be”… that’s a thing, right? i only pretend to know shakespeare because of michael fassbender and oscar isaac’s portrayals of shakespearean characters.


U of T is just as hip as any school in the states, okay? we’re such a huge university, it would be a shame to not have some good classes.

in our english department, you can take classes on graphic novels, children’s literature, detective novels, science fiction, and fantasy and horror. if you want to check out the full list of courses that are offered, you can find them in the calendar.

if you can’t find ‘fun and interesting’ courses in english, there’s always mus321perhaps you’ll find some more down-to-earth mustachio’d fellas. (p.s. it’s MOVEMBER now, i’m so happy)

hope these courses are fun and interesting enough for you!




shakespeare ex machina

Greetings, I’m in a predicament and I need some enlightenment. I applied to the Eng program for 2016 but didn’t get accepted so I decided to try applying again. Do you think its worth applying for a second time? Signed Confused Me



first of all, a little more info would’ve been helpful! i appreciate your efforts in trying to be concise, but do you mean eng as in english or engineering? help me out here!


if you didn’t get accepted it may be because your high school marks weren’t high enough, but again, i have no idea, mostly because i don’t know what program you applied for, nor do i know you personally.

if you want more information on this matter, it may be worth it to contact your department (whichever it may be) to see how you can boost your application. not sure if this a thing they do, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask!

i obviously can’t speak on behalf of enrolment services, but chances are, if your marks are still the same as they were the when you first applied, it’s likely you’ll get the same answer. it also depends on the applicant pool that you were in- maybe the averages were particularly high that year and you didn’t meet the cut-off. these are just examples, of course, and i hope you know that i am in no way assuming that your grades were too low. there are plenty of reasons why someone might not get in and low grades is just one of them!

i know this probably wasn’t the most encouraging response, but hopefully you now have some more things to think about. i wish there was more i could do!

but hey, be careful what you wish for. school may not be for you! my sage advice would be to make sure it’s 100% what you want.

best of luck!


an even more confused aska


lost in admission wonderland

Greetings, I have question that may be a little confusing. I’m a homeschooler that applied earlier this year in hopes that could get into the English program. Unfortunately I got rejected :/ I took ENG4U earlier last month because English is required in my program but I’m wondering, is it worth trying to apply again? ;;



as someone who was not homeschooled, i’m not sure how the whole process works but i’ll try my best to answer your question regardless.

if i’m not mistaken, your question is basically asking my opinion on whether or not you should apply.

my answer is: why not?

if you want to come to U of T badly enough, the best plan of action would definitely be to apply! i don’t think i need to go into detail about what makes U of T the best school in canada. if you can handle harsh winters, competitive classmates, and an overall feeling of desperation, you should definitely come to U of T. you’ll receive an amazing education and although school will be hard, you’ll come out bulletproof.

i definitely think it’s worth a shot if you really want to come here, but you should also apply to other schools as fallback options.

if your question is whether or not you will get in, i cannot say for sure because it’s up to admissions!

you can contact them here, depending on which campus you’re applying to.

in general, even if you meet all the requirements for admission, we still can’t say whether or not you’ll get in, mostly because there are so many things that admissions will consider on your application. your best bet is to contact them directly.

good luck with your application (if you apply)!

see you around! maybe. hopefully.





to math or not to math

Hi aska! This problem has been bugging my for a while now. The English Major Program requires completion of 0.5 FCE in BR5. I have a transfer credit from IB HL Physics. Does that count towards the POSt? Degree planner says it does but I’m not sure cause the department website states CR/NCR doesn’t count towards the program. Does the transfer credit fall under that cause technically it doesn’t contribute towards my GPA? All these requirements are hella confusing. Thanks in advance!


hey there,

unlike CR/NCR courses, transfer credits (and that includes transfer IB credits) can count towards breadth requirements. if degree explorer is saying your IB physics credit counts towards the BR5 requirement for an English major, then you don’t have anything to worry about.

another way of checking would be to take a look at your academic history on ACORN; if the credit counts as a BR5 credit, then it will say so underneath the transfer credit. and if it’s a BR5, then it should meet that English major requirement!

as a matter of fact, i had a weirdly similar situation to you. i did an english specialist and had first-year transfer credits from another university, and my physics transfer credit (or maybe it was chem?…it’s all a blur now) was used to fill that same requirement for my English specialist!

maybe you’re like my doopleganger or something. whoa.




do you love literature or do you want a job

I wish to pursue an English degree (Bachelor of the Arts) at U of T. Any advice regarding my specific field of study? Also, I am debating U of T with Carleton, amongst others. Any suggestions?


hey there,

i can’t really compare uoft with carleton, because i’ve never even been there, let alone taken any classes there, so it would be unfair of me to try and compare it to uoft, which i know so well.

what i can do is tell you about uoft and its english program. then, hopefully, you can find some pretentious, narcissistic shmuck at carleton who’s the equivalent of me and can tell you about their school for probably longer than anybody cares to read.

the english department at uoft is world-class. there’s no question about that. if you want to one day become a professor of english, you can’t do better in canada than an undergrad at uoft. we have world-class academics as professors, and a wide variety of interesting, relevant courses.

however, our english program is very traditional. you’re not going to get a digital/communications angle, a journalism angle, an editing/publishing angle, or a business angle to your english degree here. it is very specifically a degree in english literature: shakespeare. pope. faulkner. chaucer. other white guys who’d probably insult you at a dinner table.

that being said, uoft is very flexible in terms of programs of study. you can pair your english major with a book & media studies major, with a writing and rhetoric minor, with semiotics and communication studies, and so, so much more. or you can just stick on the straight english route and get a very thorough – if traditional – education.

everything you’ve heard about uoft being a big university in an even bigger city is true. yes, it’s possible to get kind of swallowed up by this place. however, it’s not inevitable. if you put in even the minimum amount of effort into connecting with your college or faculty community, you will be richly rewarded.

i don’t think uoft – and especially uoft english – is for everyone. however, i think that if you come here knowing what you’ve signed up for, you will absolutely love it.

also, toronto has so many literary-themed cafes, and it’s super cute to read your s’phisticated school novels in them and imagine someone will sit down across from you and begin a whirlwind romance by asking you about it.

come on. i know you think about that too.




just give me a stRAIGHT ANSWER, MAN

Hello!! I’m somewhat seeking advice on what I should take this upcoming first year at UTSG with many worries… First question: Is MAT133 extremely difficult? I’m having a hard time choosing a second major (Stuck between English or Economics) and it seems that MAT133 is a requirement for an eco major. Second question: which one seems to be a better major, Economics or English? I did very well in HS english and have req for any math programs but im afraid i wont do too well? pls halp pls


hey there,

i always tell people not to ask me how difficult stuff is, but then i answer the question anyway, so maybe i’m bringing these questions upon myself.

listen, there’s not much i can tell you that can be truly helpful. trust me: i GET that you’re afraid, and you just want someone to tell you how it is so you don’t have to go in blind. unfortunately, i really don’t think i can do that.

i could tell you that i found first-year calc pretty difficult. i could tell you that i finished with a 96% in grade 12 calculus and got a 77% average in MAT135+136. however, those things reflect one person’s experience. i couldn’t tell you if it’s a typical or atypical one, and there’s no guarantee that you will have the same experience. you may be smarter than i am (probably), or less smart (less likely).

besides, there were all sorts of factors that affected that mark – by December, i realized i didn’t want to continue in a life science program, so i did worse in 136 than i had done in 135 because i wasn’t invested anymore. also, the class was really early in the morning, which is never easy for me, meaning i missed more than a few classes.

also, MAT135/6 is not exactly the same course as MAT133, so it’s not a perfect comparison.

what might be more helpful is to look over some materials from the actual course and decide for yourself how hard it looks. fortunately, MAT133Y1 is well-documented online. here’s some great information including average text marks in 2014-15. here is the syllabus.

look those over. reflect on how difficult you found calculus in grade 12, and on how well you did. finally, think about whether you enjoyed it.

at the end of the day, if you really enjoy the material, you WILL be motivated to succeed. it’s that simple. so if you don’t really like math but you feel like you have to do it, don’t. if you sign up for MAT133 and sit through the first couple of classes and find you’re not liking it, just drop it (the last day you can drop Y courses from your academic record in the Fall/Winter is February 12th).

loving it won’t make it easy, but it will make it doable.

and from one esoteric question to another: what qualifies as a “better” major in your eyes? easier? more enjoyable? more interesting? more employable? because that all depends on you, and your interests, and how well you do, and luck, to a large extent.

not to beat a dead horse, but if you like something, you will do well in it. and if you do well in it, opportunities will come your way.

ALSO, if you REALLY can’t decide, you can always do a double major. actually, you’re not allowed to do just one major. you could do an english specialist or an econ specialist, but one major isn’t enough to get you a degree. so if you can’t decide between the two, that may be the way to go.

oh, and by the way – you have all of first year to make these decisions. so if you just wanna take some first-year econ and english courses just to see which you prefer, that’s okay. you have until next summer to figure it all out. you can do it.



i just want money for my academic achievements is that too much to ask

Hi! I received 95 and above in grade 12 english this summer is there any scholarships available at u of t for english? Also I’ve been told they don’t count it when its done in the summer…


hey there,

you can take a look at all the awards offered by the department of english here, though i don’t think the fact that you got a 95% in english will be relevant for any of them (kudos, though). looks like they’re all based on achievements in english courses at uoft.

if you’d like to apply for any scholarships based on your high school achievements, you may want to look into entrance scholarships offered by the university. or you can go searching out in the wild west of external scholarships. prepare yourself, though. they can get pretty wacky.

finally, if you take high school courses in summer school, they will be counted towards admission.




so you think you’re all that and a bag of chips huh

Hello! Are 300-level English courses considerably more difficult than 200-level English courses? I just finished my first year and I’d really like to take ENG353Y if some of the 200-level courses I’m interested are full. Thanks!


hey there,

the thing about first and second year is that the classes usually have tutorials where the lecture material is broken down in small groups. with tutorials, you get two passes at every lesson – one with the prof, one with the TA.

ENG353Y1, as you can see, doesn’t have any tutorials. in a class like that, you’ll be expected to be much more independent than in a 100- or 200-level course. your essays will be longer and more intensive, and there’ll be a higher level of quality expected as well.

that said, if you meet the prerequisites and you feel like you did really well in the first-year English courses you took, then who am i to say that you can’t do it? if you’re just thinking about taking one 300-level class, and you did very well in first year, it could be manageable.

contact the english department if you’d like to discuss this further with an expert, but that’s aska’s humble opinion. ((if you fail the class you can’t sue me.))

best of luck with your ambitions,



okay but like i can’t pick your courses for you, guys

Hello The Epitome of Awesomeness, I’m planning out my schedule and I have a conflict between two courses I really want to take: ENG200H and ENG240Y. The professors for both courses seem great, so instead of closing my eyes and choosing one at random, I’m hoping you could give me some advice. Have you ever taken either? What are your opinions on both? Thanks!


hey there,

i haven’t taken either course, but like i said, you’ll probably find that circumstance will make the choice for you. either you won’t be able to get into one of them on ROSI, or one will conflict with another course you want to take, or you won’t like the prof, blah blah blah…

if by some miracle there’s space in both courses when your start time rolls around, here are a few things to help you decide:

1. do either of them meet program requirements?

2. are either of them prerequisites for upper-year courses you might be interested in taking?

3. are either of them beneficial for an application to any graduate/professional programs you may be interested in?

4. when the lists go up for both courses, you may want to compare the reading list for both courses on the uoft bookstore website. if you don’t wanna read the stuff, you shouldn’t take the course.

5. one of them is a half-level course and one is a full-year, so if you pick the H course, i hope you have some equally as awesome S-course in mind to fill the gap. or, on the flip side, if you take the Y course, make sure it doesn’t go over the course limit (either set by the university, or by your own academic limitations).

hope that’s helpful, my friend.



i’ve taken at least 2.5 courses i should know

I’m going to be a first year Humanities student at U of T starting in the Fall. I’m thinking about double majoring in English and Book & Media Studies once second year comes around. The problem is that I have no idea what courses I should take because there are really any specific course requirements for either program. I got accepted to Innis One, so I know I’ll be taking two half credit courses. I have no idea what to do though. Any suggestions for courses? Thanks!


hey there,

well congrats on having your interests so coherent and figured out already. aska also happens to be in an english POSt, and that’s about all the assurance you need that a subject POSt is going to absolutely blow your mind.*

as for courses, you’ve got quite a bit of flexibility, especially in your first year. however, to make sure that the POSts are right for you, it’s a good idea to take one or more of the first year courses offered by the department.

ENG140Y1 and ENG150Y1 are the first-year courses offered by the English department. aside from being really great classes, a lot of people who will end up in an English POSt take them, and it’s nice to be have the same knowledge foundation as everyone else in your major.

there are no first-year Book & Media Studies courses. i’d recommend that you take SMC188Y1, which can go towards fulfilling admission requirements for the POSt, but it looks like you can’t take the course if you’re in innis one. you might consider taking Book & Media’s introductory course, which is SMC219Y1. think about it carefully, though, because it is a second-year course, which some first-years can find a bit overwhelming. but you know – you could be a child prodigy. who knows. anyway, it’s your call.

generally speaking, there are a myriad different courses that can nicely complement English and Book & Media Studies. i found that taking a couple of Classics courses is nice for an English major, because a lot of the old-as-sand literature you’ll be reading will reference ancient Greek and Roman myths and stuff. Latin, Celtic Studies and French are pretty good supplements to an English POSt as well. finally, a couple History courses could nicely contextualize what you learn about in your Book & Media courses.

also, it’s a good idea to take a couple breadth requirement courses while you’re in first year, if you can. the quicker they’re out of the way, the easier it is for you, though they only need to be done by the time you graduate.



*no, i don’t think my rampant narcissism is a problem. why?


wherein i solve all of youth’s problems.

Hello there,
I’m currently in Grade 12, and am thinking of applying to U of T’s Architecture Studies program, and also to the English program (for teachers’ college) in U of T Mississauga. I understand that they’re discontinuing (or working out the kinks at least) the Concurrent Teacher’s Education Program for the 2014-2015 school year. OK. Hereee goess…1. Realistically, what is the likelihood of me getting into the Architecture program with [information redacted] and probably a low to mid 80 average overall? 2. I do a lot of leadership stuff in my extracurricular activities in and outside of school. I am currently in 5-8 clubs and is a leader in at least half of them. Is there any way I can show them the blood, sweat, and tears I’ve put into managing all this in my student life? Does it even matter? 3. What would I need (grade wise) in order to get into the English program at UTM? 4. From my understanding, you can apply to the CTEP in your second year. Is that true? If so, is there a glimmer of hope that I may be able to be in the CTEP in my second year? 5. Realistically, if I get accepted into both programs, would I be able to attend to both UTM and U of T? I have transportation to both.
Thanks so much


hey there,

you people who number your questions are my favourite people. i bet you’re also the people who colour-code your notes and have daily to-do lists, aren’t you? it’s ok, don’t worry. this is an accepting environment. you can be honest with me.

anyway, i’m just gonna go ahead and follow your numbering system along, since you’ve gone to the trouble of making it:

1. yo, guys. i’m not an admissions committee. i don’t KNOW if your precise averages will be enough to get you in. and neither does the school – it all depends on the competition of everyone else applying with you. what you can do to ease your mind is take a look at last year’s incoming averages for a rough idea. that table says that incoming students had an average mark in the mid-80s for architecture, so make of that what you will.

2. now, this is the one that stings. they tell you for four years that extra-curriculars are really helpful for getting into university – they drill it into you. well, guess what? they LIED. the university only looks at marks, and that’s just the unfortunate truth of the matter. HOWEVER some colleges (*cough* vic *cough*) do require a supplemental form in which you can brag about all your extracurricular achievements, and obviously scholarships and grants (which I would highly recommend applying to) are heavily based on extracurricular achievement, so hopefully it didn’t ALL go to waste.

3. if we once more look at this glorious page and scroll down to utm – humanities, we’ll see that previous incoming averages came out to the mid-70s.

4. you absolutely can apply to CTEP in second year! not only can you do it, but it seems like that’s when the majority of people apply, so i think that if you meet their admission requirements, you should be fine. they’re very reasonable requirements too – gpa of at least 2.5, full course-load, enrolled at utm, and complete certain first-year courses. if you stay focused and complete those, i’d say you have a good chance of getting in.

5. utm and uoft are separate universities. it is possible to take some classes downtown if you’re from utm, but you can’t be enrolled in both institutions, even if you can drive back and forth between them five times in a day. soz.

hoping you have a smashin’ first year,


  • Caution! student content ahead

    This site contains candid exchanges between students. Prepare yourself for vivid language and opinions.
  • Categories

  • Archives