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Archive for the ‘english’


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,



corn pops and comp lit: being american at u of t

Dear askastudent,

So I just recently developed an interest in UofT for grad school. Canada seems pretty great, and I want to explore some other places in the world. I would go to school for Literature, which falls in the Arts and Sciences program if my research is correct. Anyway, I was just wondering if you could give some advice about what would be expected from life in Canada that differs from the states. Is there any way to go about making the tuition cheaper? What is the english/comp lit department like?

Any words of wisdom will suffice, like I said: simply curious! Thanks


Hi there oh curious American,

You asked the right guy! The handsome and mysterious genius behind askastudent may just be an American student, and may also just be doing the undergraduate program in Comparative Literature.

The Centre for Comparative Literature is a fantastic and well respected program. Literary theorist Northrop Frye is just one of the great academics who made their careers at the University’s Victoria College, and your colleagues and professors in the program are of the highest caliber. What that also means is that it’s pretty tough to get in! For starters, the masters program requires you to be highly proficient in at least one language other than English, and for the doctorate, at least two (some students have an arsenal of a half dozen).

Something else to consider: Despite the program’s high profile and prestige, humanities programs in Canada and at U of T are constantly under attack as academia angles towards more profitable ventures like science and business research. Just recently, the Centre for Comparative Literature was on the chopping block, and only thanks to spirited organizing and activism on the part of the students is it still intact.

There is also a larger Department of English, which I know less about except that my English TAs have always been big sweethearts! Poke around the sites and maybe you can see which program suits you.

As for being American in Canada, I can sincerely say it totally rules. The differences are minor, and can therefore sometimes be all the more surreal. Let me prepare you for a few:
– It’s more than likely that you will develop the subtle Canadian pronunciation of ‘out’ and ‘about.’ You might even pick up the dreaded ‘eh’ You won’t notice it until your American friends from home tease you for it, so it can be an ugly surprise, but you’ll learn to embrace it.
– About half of the words with spelling differences in British English maintain them here. ‘Colour,’ ‘favourite,’ ‘centre’ and ‘theatre’ are the first ones to learn, but you’ll be stretching it a bit if you use ‘globalization.’ Either way, I’ve never had a professor get on my case about it, despite my best efforts at losing sleep over it in my first year.
– Money is cute and bright here, and there’s lots more change.
– Hockey is the name of the game here.
– The corn pops are different– and much, much worse.
Regarding the tuition, there’s not much to be done- you’ll be paying international fees for at least a few years of your degree. Even if you get engaged your first week on campus, the process towards Canadian residence or citizenship is longer than a Master’s degree.

Here’s a helpful article about the experience of immigrating to Canada as an American: Immigrant with an Asterisk ()
Stay sweet, and kiss the land of the free for me!



one is the loneliness class capacity

Hi there,By any chance do you know of any place students have written about their experiences with ENG390Y1/392H1/393H1? I’m interested in taking an Individual Studies course next year and am curious about what students who have taken it have to say.Thanks!



Strangely enough, there are no forums dedicated to English Individual Studies courses. I actually haven’t heard of any students who have taken those courses. I bet they’re awesome though.

No, I’m not being sarcastic. A course where you propose the material is bound to be a pretty awarding experience. That close-knit experience with a professor will be super beneficial too; both for a reference and to develop your skills one-on-one.

Sometimes silence is a good thing. Hearing nothing about these courses probably means there are no huge complaints about them,




programs for bookworms

Hi aska,

I’m a second-year undergrad at UTSG, and I’ll get straight to the point: what’s the difference between the MAJ English and the MAJ Literary Studies (Comparative Literature)? The thing is, I want to be either a translator or work for a publishing house but I’m not sure which would be more beneficial to my (vague) goals.

Also, up until recently (literally, 10 minutes ago) I was registered with two subject PoSTs in French (the literature stream) and English, then I decided to change my English major to VicU’s literary studies program. Now, I just dropped two English courses and am 2nd on the waiting list for VIC201Y; I’m /still/ on the waiting list for an FSL course so I can’t even try to join the waiting list for VIC210Y… Both have a meeting section of 60 people and I’d be first on the waiting list for 210. Did I just shoot myself in the foot? Repeatedly? With a 10-gauge shotgun?

A second year who just can’t make up her mind.


Hey there. In fitting form, I will answer your two-part question in um, two parts.

1. While every program is different, doing Graduate Studies in English or Comparative Literature is a very different process. Take a look at the courses available in U of T’s Master’s English Program – the Canterbury Tales, Olde English. You’re doing the basic framework of British (and some American) literature. U of T’s Comperative Literature program on the other hand, offers interdisciplinary programs with the Women & Gender Studies program, for instance, or a class in psychoanalysis.

Basically you’re looking at the difference between Harold Bloom or Jacques Lacan.

If you’re intersted in doing more interdisciplinary stuff with your literature, or like reading work in translation, Comp Lit is probably the way to go. (Especially if you like reading work in translation!) If you want to go into publishing, it might make a hell of a lot more sense to look into Ryerson’s Publishing post-doc, where you will get actual applicable experience in publishing that will get you a job – and not just a thesis completed on Middle English phonetics, or whatever.

Can you tell I dislike academia? I will probably end up being a tool & die maker after all.

2. Obviously things have changed in the second week of classes – so maybe you have gotten into your classes after all? If not, you will have to retry taking those courses next year. The good news is that if you’re interested in Comp Lit. and English – Literary Studies is the best program at U of T to be in. There are small classes, great professors and really intriguing subject matter – and you probably won’t have to read any Chaucer! Take Julian Patrick’s Postmodern Film & Literature class when you get the chance and watch this Zizek movie.

Good luck!

xoxo, Askastudent


jonesing for jane austen

hey aska,

I just finished my first year as a lifesci kid and I’m going into my second
as an english/global health maj.

here’s my question:

is it safe to jump into a 300 level course (ENG307 to be exact) without
having taken a proper ENG course before?

This course doesn’t have any pre-reqs, and the anti-calendar gives it a
pretty awesome review (91% retake) But I’m a little hesitant because the
only ‘English’ course i took last year was hum199 (first year seminar on
poetry). I did really well, and English has always been my best subject, but
I don’t want to get ahead of myself and assume I’ll be alright for a 300

any advice? know anyone else i should talk to?

thanks in advance


So you’re into “Victorian Women Writers”, eh? I’m into Soviet Realists, myself.

Judging by the course description (and that promising anti calendar review!), this course seems like a good one to take for an English newbie such as yourself. Here’s why:

We will situate these texts in a range of contexts such as debates about nationality, class, race, and gender; generic conventions; and the material contexts of patronage and publishing. This section of ENG307H will also introduce you to basic reference and research sources for the study of eighteenth-century English literature and English literature generally. An online exercise on Blackboard will give you practice using these before you hand in your major research paper.

Just because it’s a 300 level course, doesn’t always make it difficult. It seems like this is more of a easy breezy survey course vibe, and not a difficult intensive seminar.

Just to be sure though, I’d contact the English Department and even possibly the English Students Union in the fall about additional help or prep work required for the course (they have probably also have students who’ve taken the course before and can offer some tips). Remember that the Writing Centre is always a totally helpful resource when it comes to writing papers.

Best of luck to you in your quest to learn more about these strange creatures called “women writers.”

xoxo, Askastudent


can’t read good, is hard english?

how would you rate the difficulty in english at u of t? as well, do you think you can give some advice to me since i’m planning to major in english? thank you :D!


English related quandery: do you think the late David Foster Wallace would have eventually added emoticons to his writing style? Hmm…

Okay, so being the intrepid Aska that I am, I investigated the question by asking English-alum, current Walrus intern and all-around babe Naomi Skwarna for her advice. Here’s what Naomi says about English at U of T:

It varies from prof-to-prof, subject-to-subject.

A Few Thingies I Know to be True:

There will always be a lot of reading

You will always do better if you take at least one critical theory class

Pick professors who you like, not subjects

It’s not hard like science-hard, but it is time-consuming and potentially

Compared to other University English programs, the material seems more
conservative, and grading is considerably harder. This is what I hear from
people at other schools

Hope that helps!
Thanks Naomi! If you’re interested in English and want to read works that are in translation, be sure to peruse the offerings at the Literary Studies program at Victoria College, particularly David Gilmour’s “Love and Sex In The Short Story” class. Sizzling.

xoxo, Askastudent


stand by me

In the calendar it says that the 200 courses are open to students who have obtained standing in 1.0 ENG FCE or in any 4.0 FCE. What exactly does it mean by obtained standing? Does it mean enrolled in?


Hey there, I checked out the English specifications in the calendar for what you had mentioned, but couldn’t find the exact sentence. Irregardless,? “Obtained Standing” means “passed the course.”? So if you’ve already passed one ENG credit previously, or four additional credits, you can take 200 level classes.

U of T English ain’t no Brock guide to Jane Austen. They’ve got like, way high standards.

xoxo, Askastudent


i think i might be too perfect

Hi. I was just wondering if a 94% average appears to be good enough for U of T SG for the humanities.? My English mark is an 80 and it says in the viewbook that particular attention is paid to English. Do you know what the approx. cut off for the english mark required is? Thanks.



like, how particular is particular?

So, I stumbled across this website while Googling (Google is your best friend…sometimes) and found the answers to my questions. Well, most of them anyway. There is just one thing I want to clarify. I applied to the Humanities Program at UofT. The Viewbook says that the university pays particular attention to my English marks. Now, I ended up with an 82 in the course (bear with me, I know you don’t like to hear about marks), and with my teacher that is about the best mark ever (according to my guidence councilor). With a different teacher, I could have ended up with a 90. So, what are my chances? Is 82 considered scratch-my-eyes-out horrible or passable? I know that it isn’t spectacular, so I’m not even going to go there. I have exhausted all possible resources available to me. So, please help me out. Before I hemorrhage out of sheer anxiety.

Thanks much.




How many Cardassians does it take to change a light bulb?

Due to the lack of elaborate information elsewhere, I have resorted to you. How exactly is ENG237? What books do you read and what kind of people are in the class? (the latter was a non-serious question, but feel free to answer it as seriously as you like)



How ?bout teaching art history? in English?

I am about to go into first year and at first was excited about going to UofT, but now…I’m not so sure. I’m going into English and Art History, but more and more I keep on thinking that I’m going to just end up waisting four years on something that will in the end be entirely useless! I’m not a brain, I can’t do math or science for shit. What the hell can I do with a BA in Art History and English?
Please, don’t suggest teaching, I hate children.




quit your whining and pick up a book

Uh, sorry to bug you like 10 minutes after I just submitted my first question(LOL) … but I just thought of another question. Needs answering, okay?!?!Alright so is Humanities really a useless stream to pursue? =[ In particular,English? Apparently the only thing to be is a teacher/professor … and thatdoesn’t sound appealing AT ALL.Noone has told me anything that I could be if I major in English.. thatprobably means I’m screwed. Fabulous … it’s a shame because I love creativewriting but come on, writing for the rest of my life? Uhh…

? (more…)


mesa needsa tudor

Hello! I’m in grade 11, and i want to go to univercity of toronto for Life
science. My average now is 86. all my marks are above 85 except English and
Physics. I know that U of T particularly look at the mark for English and Math.
I have 97 in math… and i suck at English… does it really matter in Gr 12
that my english mark needs to be over 85? I just dont think i can do it…all
my other subjects can be above 87 for sure…so does anyone have any great
ideas about how to get into u of t with a low english mark? Thanks a lot


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