your student life specialists

Archive for the ‘choosing’


sad, but true

I currently have an unconditional offer from University of Toronto, but I’ve also gotten an offer from another university which I’d prefer to go to. I can’t seem to find a way to contact University of Toronto that I won’t be going to their university this year as I do not currently reside in Canada, and they seem to be very slow at responding to my emails.
I still haven’t paid any fees to University of Toronto. If I don’t contact University of Toronto about my withdrawal, would there be additional fees I need to pay?
In a nutshell, Do I need to contact the university about my withdrawal? if so then how?
Thanks for your time



if you haven’t accepted the offer or paid any fees, you will not be registered. there are no additional fees that you will have to pay if you have not triggered registration. in not paying your fees, you’ll be sending a pretty obvious message to the school that you won’t be attending.

however, there should be an option on the OUAC portal for you to decline your offer to uoft. if you can’t find that, it may be that your acceptance of another’s university’s offer automatically declined your offer to every other university. don’t make any assumptions though. you should definitely contact enrolment services to get some help in formally declining your offer.

we’re sorry you’ve chosen another school, but we wish you the best of luck in your endeavours!

*but seriously, i bet your new school doesn’t have an aska, which automatically makes it worse than U of T. sad, but true.




innis vs. trinity vs. vic


I am a prospective student, currently trying to figure out which college I want to be in. I plan to study English and Political Science, moving in the direction of International Affairs. I have highish marks, and I am mainly considering Innis, Trinity, and Victoria. I’ve done a fair amount of research, and have taken the college tours, but any more insight is definitely appreciated.

Basic opinion of colleges…
Innis seems like a really cool place, and I like that the residence is newer. The smaller community and character is something that attracts me a lot, although I think I might get tired of Innis people after a while – in my experience, they’re all really upbeat and artsy and like overly “we’re so fun in a nerdy way.” I like that kind of atmosphere, but I think it might get annoying after a while.

Trinity is kind of the opposite, as they seem to have a reputation for being more reserved and snobby. This sense of prestige is kind of what I like thought about the college – I think that compared to Innis, there’s a lot more history, elegance, luxury, and whatever. A little bit of elitism doesn’t bother me for such a rich experience – I like that Trinity looks like a prep school. Another note – I’m a little bit of a clean freak, and the Trinity bathroom situation in residence disturbs me. What I saw was pretty gross. Is this something I should expect and just stop being a wimp about throughout all colleges?

Victoria seemed nice to me, as it sort of combines different aspects about Trinity and Innis. But I felt when touring it as if it was too big, and it didn’t really have a lot of personality to it.

So yeah, any insight about those three colleges, and their reputations. Anything helps. I’m talking observations about everything. Dorm sizes… amount of partying… academics focuses… reputation… bathroom cleanliness and privacy.. attractiveness of students…. parties.. resources… everything!


Hey there!

Alas, we find ourselves at the classic question of the colleges  granted, I’m quite happy that you’ve narrowed yourself down to three colleges. That makes things a lot easier for me.

Since you’re asking about dorm sizes and bathroom cleanliness and privacy, I’m going to assume that you intend to live at U of T for at least your first year, so I recommend strongly considering the kind of residence you’d like to live in. Trinity and Victoria both offer classic dorm-style residences, whereas Innis is favored for its apartment-style residences, but these colleges will only consider you if you rank them as number one.

While you may dread the small sizes of colleges like Innis and Trinity and worse, the possibility of seeing the same people over and over again, you fail to see the utter vastness that is the University of Toronto. U of T is huge and has so many people that if you think some guy at Sid Smith is particularly cute, you better get his number then and there because you may very well never see him again. You might go to the same college as someone, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always see each other. You’re more likely to see the people from your classes over and over again than the ones from your college (unless, of course, they’re in your class). If you’re from Trinity, you are more than welcome to study at E.J. Pratt and then get a deliciously large bagel from Wymilwood Caf at Vic. Your college doesn’t bind you to any particular building or group of friends, so don’t feel like you’re selling your soul here.

But here’s a little rundown:

Innis College: They have the greatest kabobs in the entire universe at the Innis Caf, they’re very community-focused, and there are these super quiet carrels on the third floor. But the residence has no meal-plan, and in the college, the electronically-locked bathroom doors make you fear being walked in on.

Trinity College: The Buttery with its super soft couches and lovely looking fireplace is a cozy place to have lunch and study a bit. Plus, the castle-like building makes you look fancy while the name of the college makes you sound fancy. But then you have the creepy basement bathrooms, the creepy main floor bathrooms, and the creepy upstairs bathrooms so.

Victoria College: Also quite fancy-looking but it has the Wymidwood Caf, another great place to study and with some of my favorite food on campus. However, it has possibly one of the most rickety-sounding elevators on campus (but not THE most).

They’re all alike in that their student societies aim to include everyone, their registrars are super helpful, and the writing centers are just as effective. But if you’re still concerned about the pros and cons of each college, take a look at this lovely post. There are parties all over the place and the hotties are distributed throughout, so don’t feel like you need to hold these factors in such high precedence while deciding.




several questions from a new student

Hey there,

So I’m having a really tough time choosing between McGill (Arts & Sci, Business) and U of T (Arts & Sci). I’m actually leaning towards U of T right now, but I’m so frightened of the grading system! Is it really as bad as every says? And other questions:

-What percentage of St George students maintain an A average in arts?
-Do people who did IB/AP/had 90% averages blah blah blah have an easier time getting good marks once they come to Toronto for uni?
-How are the parties at Trinity? (That’s my college! :D)
-What percentage of U of T is asian? lulz

Thanks a lot! Have a good one 🙂


Hi there. Congrats on getting into two of the bestest schools in Canada. It’s hard to argue with four years in Montreal (bagels, smoked meat, bicycling) over U of T (uh…pad thai?), but I’ll try to make a case for it. Here goes:

a) I have no idea what the percentages are for St. George students in Arts. But really, grading and marks are not as bad as people might be telling you as long as you GO TO CLASS AND DO THE WORK. I guarantee, especially in the Arts, as an uber slacker, that I did not always pull my weight, and I still got 70s. If you go to class, hand in your assignments and do your readings, you will be an academic success, I swear to god. Bell curving is mostly a factor in the Life Sciences and Economics. There is no need for a bell curve in English and Philosophy classes. Just GO TO CLASS AND DO THE WORK.

b) Some of the IB/90% kids had an easier go of it. Some got back one essay marked “68%”, had a panic attack, started binge drinking and never graduated. University is an adjustment period so there are lot more factors at play than just academics. If you can stay on top of your schoolwork while still making time to make new friends, attend events and get to know your city (also: take care of yourself), then you will probably find it easy to get A’s. There are a TON of resources at U of T to help you academically, like the Writing Centre, your college registrar and smaller tutorial groups. Use ’em all.

c) I’ve never been to a Trinity party but I”m sure they’re epic? $$$ plus history plus mandatory robes makes for a particularly dope party atmosphere I”m sure. Are you living on campus for your first year? That will make a big difference campus party-wise.

d) I don’t like answering questions about race so I would prefer not to answer this one. U of T is a very diverse, multi cultural campus with lots of ethnic groups represented and it is wonderful that way.

xoxo, Askastudent


a would-be potter debates U of T and UBC


I was just wondering if there was a pottery club or a pottery studio on campus such as one in UBC? Also, for the radio station at UBC, they have a self published magazine, so I was just wondering if there were any magazines for U of T that mainly focus on students artists and bands? Thanks!


It sounds like you should really be going to UBC, what with their pottery clubs and studios and artistic radio stations. I searched high and low for a pottery club here on campus (which we should have, since this school has friggin’ everything), and nothing came up! I know that there’s an installation for Visual Arts Students, which must mean there’s a studio somewhere – but nowhere, even Hart House, seems to list anything accesible to the whole campus. Luckily the Gardiner Museum is right next to Victoria College which does offer a bevy of sculpture/pottery classes open to the public if that’s your thing.

I know for a fact that The Varsity produces an annual arts magazine that is pretty damn incredible, which focuses on Toronto arts and culture (including bands and artists). You can read a past issue here. That issue is usually produced in January and would be a great thing to get involved with. Otherwise, there’s a ton of campus media and a tremendous radio station at U of T as well as a million other student groups and organizations. I recommend going through this exhaustive list to get started, though you can’t beat BC for rainforests, foilage and other special…er, greenery.

xoxo, Askastudent


a course with no name

Hi Hi,

I’m guessing the over excitement of going university got to me and now I’m in a dilemma. I prepared my schedule weeks before and I wanted my schedule to be perfect despite a not so great starting time. D:

I’m going to be going to UTSc for Bioloigcal Sciences and I wish to go into pharmacy in the future. I had just found the course requirements on UTSc admissions site rather then UT’s Pharmacy site which only listed UTSG course requirements. This was frustrating as I only found out recently that the MATA35H3 S course I applied for was not accepted. Since course selection has passed a while ago, all the spots may have begen filled up for the MATA36H3 S course I’m really unsure of what to do. Please help me out. T~T


Hello there. I am confused about your question! What course are you applying to? Your course code is scrambled gibberish and is hurting my soul.

I can’t help you until I know what the hell you are applying to, and since all the enrollment controls have been lifted, you could easily try applying now! If the course is full, you will have to get on the waitlist to pick up your additional course. If you are going into your first year, your situation has no “pull.” Try getting in, or applying for the course at a later date?

Best of luck to you.

xoxo, Askastudent


course conflicts are the worst conflicts


Just wondering, if I happen to enroll in two courses which conflict with one another, will anything happen (for example, will I have to officially drop one of the two classes)?

As of right now, my understanding is that the only “consequence” of having conflicting classes is that I will have to miss one lecture in order to attend the other however, because I always have the option of going to another lecture section for the same course, I’m not worried about my marks suffering or anything like that. Also, I know that attending lectures for some classes is mandatory and that in some courses you’re graded
on attendance, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case in my situation. Obviously, this type of thing is probably not advised, but it works out for me.

So, is there any official penalty for having conflicting classes or is it just “not advised?”



Hello my ambitious friend. You can totally register in two classes that conflict – the worst thing that will happen is that when you view your timetable on ROSI – a little glaring red “these courses conflict” colour will pop on your schedule to remind you that technically, you shouldn’t schedule two classes at the same time.

If you can however swing registering in two classes at the same damn time and attend all the mandatory lectures, tutorials, practicals, Robarts cram sessions (are you sure you can do all this?), by all means don’t let an anonymous blogger stop you. The world is your oyster! Just clear it with your TA and prof first in case of spontaneous tests, class info and registration issues.

xoxo, Askastudent


you’re out of luck, picasso

Okay, so first thank you for being so awesome. Second, I have a (slight) problem. I’m going into first year. I want to double major in fine art and a science (biology?), but my admission category is Life Sciences. They told me to apply to life sciences (when I applied in november) to show that I have the pre-reqs. BUT the problem is that now I will potentially get wait-listed for my art courses and not be able to get in. This will not fly as I really only want to major in art. Is there any way I can plead my case and get into the art courses (VIS120 and VIS130) or will I be out of luck? Thanks, Melissa. (I hope this email makes sense.)


Hey there, Melissa. Did you already speak to a first year counselor at the Innis Registrar’s Office? I’m afraid I will have to tell you the same sad news. 🙁

Basically because you don’t have priority for the VIS classes (which fill up like crazy), you will have to register for your life science classes first, and you will be waitlisted. The only way around this (other than applying for the courses in your second year, which is probably the most likely reality) is to contact the Visual Arts Department with a portfolio, and maybe, just maybe, they will see your Jackson Pollock-like brilliance and let you in. This is a major long shot.

Their contact info as is such:


Undergraduate Program Director
416 946-8153

What I’d seriously recommend is waiting it out and taking the courses in your second year. Good luck!

xoxo, Askastudent


interesting ways to fill the breadth requirements

I was wondering what some interesting breadth 2 courses are? I am picking my
courses and I wanted to take something fun.



Look no further than the list of First Year Seminars offered this year, guaranteed to fit your breadth requirements, with topics ranging from vampires to Chinese gastronomy. (Though truthfully, those classes probably have more in common than you think.)

These courses go towards your degree, but not a subject PoST, and are labelled in accordance with filling those damned breadth requirements. However, you can only be in your first year of study to take them.

For first years, revel in the awesomeness of courses like…

Raiders, Traders, and Invaders: the Vikings and Their Descendents

Using Computers to Fight Climate Change

How We Use Time in Everyday Life


If you are not in first year, you’ll have to slog through other courses like everybody else. Look at the smaller programs in the colleges, New College, Trinity, Innis, Victoria and Innis (for instance), all of interesting and intriguing ways to fulfill your breadth requirements. But remember, only first and second year courses right now go towards your breadth requirements – you’ll have to contact the program office or registrar to see if higher level courses could work.

xoxo, Askastudent


you are making me stressed out just from reading this

Hey Aska,

Sorry if I missed the answer to this, but I was wondering – do you think it
makes a difference if you double major or take a major and two minors? In
any way at all? The only thing I could think of is having a double major may
offer a bit of a leg up in job searching because you’ll have a major in two
topics. I’m not sure how much employers really care about that though.


Are you interested in pursuing academia, or just the general job market? Because in academia, depending on the field, your marks and the program you’re applying to, two majors could make you a more viable candidate than two minors. If it’s just a general job search, just having a degree might be good enough. What are you looking to do, man? As always, you should contact the head of your department if you are looking to pursue further graduate study in that field.

xoxo, Askastudent


need help double major in soc and psych

i recently have been accepted to UofT st.George and i am preeety confused with the course selections could you please help me and tell me what courses are mandatory for me to take for this to happen


According to the 2010 Calendar (my super BFF), to enroll in the Psychology major, students must have a senior year high school Calc course or equivalent, 4 university classes in whatever, and received at least 70% in PSY 100H1. (Plus a GPA of 2.5 or higher.)

To enroll in the Sociology major, there are two sexy options which I shall detail.

Option 1! (the one that applies to you!)

1. Minimum grade of 65% in SOC 101y, or average of 65% in SOC102/103H1.

2. 3 full course in whatever (not only SOC.)

Option 2! (ignore this option as it doesn’t apply to you)

1. Mark of 72% in two 300 level SOC classes.

2. GPA of 3.0 (73-76%)

3. 3 additional credits in whatever.

Therefore young first year, you should take PSY 100H1 and either SOC101Y or SOC 102/103H in your first year of study. If you’re going full time, you have one to three classes more of your choice.

Additional helpful sites:

Psychology For First Years

Sociology For First Years

Justin Bieber’s Twitter Account

Hope that helps.

xoxo, askastudent


what should i major in/do with my life?

I have a question regarding choosing what to specialize/major/minor in. I have completed first year and I feel lost. I’ve decided that I definitely want to specialize or major in Criminology it’s something that interests me and I do have my sights set on becoming a criminal lawyer. With that being said, I was not particularly enthused about other courses most law school hopefuls take History and Politics. I f I have to spend the next three years studying either of those, I will definitely make it through with good marks, but I may just develop severe depression. Or turn grey.
A course I immensely enjoyed was Psychology 101 but I didn’t take calculus or advanced functions in high school, so that road is definitely closed for me. (I know there is the option of taking high school courses online, but there is a reason I stayed FAR away from math in grade 12.)
I’m left with Sociology and English. As much as I enjoy reading, I feel like it should remain a hobby – I like having the power to occasionally read something by Stephen King or perhaps a Harlequin Romance without realizing the full extent of the mindlessness of it.
I slightly enjoyed Sociology 101, but I’m not jumping with enthusiasm at the thought of delving deeper into it. I hate this apathetic feeling I don’t want my undergraduate experience to be something I just want to get through.
Society, Ethics, and Law is another minor I have briefly considered.
What would you recommend?
Thank you very much for the help!


Bro, neither I, nor your mother, nor your career counselor, nor anyone else can tell you what you want to major in. Some people never know! Some people don’t care. It all depends on what post-secondary or career options you envision for yourself upon graduation. Here’s a shocking secret: it mostly doesn’t matter.

You say that you like the criminology classes being offered by Woodsworth, but you’re not too jazzed about taking History or Poli Sci classes. But did you know that Trinity offers an Ethics, Society and Law program? And that New College offers this neat pseudo-Jungian Paradigms and Archetypes class, that offers all of Psychology’s teachings, with none of the calculus?

You’re just going to have to take some classes by trial and by fire, and go with your gut. U of T has a ton of classes and a huge variety of programs, so it’s simply a matter of fishing through the calendar and timetable, and making a course schedule that works for you. It seems like you’re interested in the humanities, but don’t rule out the small language based programs where you can do a class in Italian Cinema, or “The Sensuality of The French.” Study the calendar and see what interests you. Then build a program from there.

Also as a rule, classes don’t really get interesting until third year when they get smaller and more seminar-based. You might feel burned out because of taking giant Con Hall classes and the frustrating anonymity that comes with that. The smaller classes in the smaller programs (also awesome: African Studies) won’t make you feel like a rat in a cage and might improve your marks. Think about it.

xoxo, Askastudent

P.S. Somewhere in some midwestern university, a grad student is writing a thesis on Harlequin Novels in conjunction with Steven King’s “Carrie.” Academia is crazy like that.


the cliques, the rich kids, the crappy lecturers… UofT has it all

Hi, I’m really nervous about university, like anyone else I know. I just wanted to know is it as bad any some of the reviews I have been reading online say? People say it is hard to make friends, its very competitive, there are cliques based on race and money, the teachers are super slack and only care about money for researching. Also that there is no school spirit. So I was wondering if you could tell me based on the social environment and academic life, how do you feel? Do you regret going to U of T, if you had the chance would you go somewhere else? Much thanks


Your questions are difficult ones to answer, but I know how you feel. I remember being in high school and thinking the exact same things.

Still, I advise you to stop reading reviews about UofT onlin. I’m sure that 90% of the people who are trashing UofT online have never been even been here. I remember going online and reading forum posts about what people thought about UofT too, back in my high school days. Honestly, though? It just made me more insecure about my University choice. Looking back now, I wish I just shut out what other people said, because it doesn’t matter what they say. In the end, it’s about you and what you get out of your own University experience.

I’ll go over your points one by one. 😀

1) It’s hard to make friends. I think it’s generally harder to make friends in University than in high school. I mean, you’re probably not going to have classes with the same bunch of people over and over again you won’t even know all of the names of the people in your class. Perhaps it is true that it is even more difficult to make friends at UofT, though, because the campus is so huge. Maaaaaaaaaaaaybe. But I do know that I enjoy University a lot more than high school: the people here are more open and accepting, and I don’t feel pressured to always hang out with a specific group of people anymore. I have the freedom to hang out with the people who I admire and who share the same values as me, so even though I might have fewer friends than I did in high school, I feel that the friends I’ve made here are more sincere and more relevant to my life than ever.

Besides, I think that there are definitely things you can do to reach out to other people at UofT if you are having trouble meeting friends in class. For example, you could take up a work-study job. Or you could join some extra-curricular activities?maybe you’ll find people that share the same interests and passions as you there.

2) It’s very competitive, there are cliques based on race and money. I’m not sure how true these statements are. I think it depends on your program. In my own program (physics), there haven’t been too many cliques or competitive people in my classes. There are some annoying people here and there, but you just have to ignore them and not let them get to you. That said, there are competitive people and cliques everywhere and you will probably find them in any University you go to.

3) The teachers are super slack and only care about money for researching. I don’t really think this is totally true either. After all, most (if not all) the professors here were undergraduate students once, so at least some of them would be sympathetic about the needs of undergraduate students, right? Even though their funds might be somewhat tight, I’ve had some really good profs that make it a daily goal to enhance student experience and infuse students with enthusiasm and curiosity. Then again, I’ve had some pretty terrible lecturers too, but you can probably avoid them through smart scheduling and good use of the anti-calendar and let me stress that you will find bad profs at any University you go to.

4) There is no school spirit. Well, you may be right about this one. There isn’t a huge sense of unity on campus, because there’s just so many people here. However, there are literally hundreds of active clubs on campus (from college councils to social groups to chess clubs), and I’m sure you can find a spirited group that fits you. Have you taken a tour of the campus, by the way? That might help you decide whether or not UofT has the kind of environment that you wanted. (Duh.)

I definitely do not regret going to UofT. I’ve found a lot of great opportunities here for one, I got to be askastudent. Plus, no other University in Canada has such a diverse range of programs and courses. I do feel disconnected from the other people on campus sometimes, but at the same time I’ve made one or two lifelong friends here too. I can honestly tell you right now that I cannot see myself having gone anywhere else for my undergraduate degree.

Of course, I’m not you. What I feel may not be how you’ll feel. But remember that no program or school is guaranteed to make you successful and nothing external can make you happy. Happiness lies in your perspective, hard work, and ability to deal with life. So while it’s good that you’re asking these questions, you can’t truly know how it feels like to be a UofT student until you’re actually here. But just remember that you’re not locked in to UofT: you can always transfer to another University (I actually transferred to UofT’s Faculty of Arts and Science after a not-so-great year at Engineering).

Jeez. I sound like I’m writing for some crappy-ass self-help book. I should really stop being so nice to incoming students. But I’m just sooooo kind and pure-hearted. 🙂


if not aska, then who?

Dear Aska,

Love the blog and the concept. Where do you find the time and mental energy?

Currently a grade 11 student completing the french bac next year. Marks are v good and I understand I will be able to get 3 transfer credits in Mat, Sciences, Languages or similar. I have three subjects of interest in Arts and Sciences: Economics, Asia-Pacific Studies and Writing and Rhetoric. Also looking to apply for Vic one. I have a couple of questions.

Can I use the exemptions I will be granted to cover off some of the breadth requirements – for instance the science requirement?

If I use the exemptions to fill some first year requirements – like Math for Economics – will the university let me do a double major (Asia-Pac and Economics) and a minor Writing and Rhetoric. (By my math I can fit in the 18 courses to attain these).? Can I do a major and two minors instead?

Finally, I am dreaming and will the work load be too much?

Thanks for your advice. Best Regards.


Where do I find the time and mental energy? That’s an easy one to answer. There are students that need their (silly) questions answered, students that need their (totally unfounded) worries calmed, and students that desperately need someone to slap their sorry senses back into them. How can I stay in my own little bubble when there are so many students out there that are in need of my greatness? *aska sits on his throne and leisurely sips his tea*

Now, any transfer credits you gain upon admission will count towards degree requirements, but watch out: the Calendar has changed now. The new breadth requirements will be replacing the old distribution requirements, which required students to take 1 science, 1 humanities, and 1 social science credit each. Students coming to UofT in 2010 or later will instead need to take one credit from at least 4 out of 5 of the following categories (copied straight out of the new Arts and Science calendar):

1. Creative and Cultural Representations

2. Thought, Belief, and Behaviour

3. Society and Its Institutions

4. Living Things and Their Environment (don’t click this link if you don’t like creepy crawlies. I warned you.)

5. The Physical and Mathematical Universes

Students must take at least 4 full-course equivalents (FCEs) that have been designated as satisfying the Breadth Requirement. These 4 credits must be either (a) at least 1 FCE in each of any 4 of the 5 categories above, or (b) at least 1 FCE in each of any 3 of the 5 categories, and at least 0.5 FCE in each of the other 2 categories.

To graduate from UofT, you need to complete: 1) a specialist program, OR 2) two majors, OR, 3) a major and two minors. So yes, you can do a double major in Economics and Asia-Pac studies and a minor in W&R. Or, you could do a major in Asia-Pac and have minors in Economics and W&R and still be able to graduate. However, as you said, a double major and minor would require around 18 credits, so you may have to take some summer courses or a 6th credit during the school year. Keep in mind that most people’s interests do change when they go to University, and you never know you may end up doing a major program in something entirely different! So allow yourself some room to experiment around, in case you need to make changes.

As for whether or not the course load will be too much for you to handle, I think the answer to that question is different for everyone. One thing I am learning as I go through UofT is that everybody has different limits, and it is up to you to know your own. For instance, some people may feel extremely stressed taking 4 credits during the year, while others take 6 courses, hold a job, and join tons of extra-curricular activities and still feel relatively unfazed. I think that as you go through UofT, you will begin to get a feel for your own limits. But just take it easy for now you’ll find out when you get here, and if you feel too stressed or not challenged enough, you can always take less/more courses.

  • Caution! student content ahead

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

  • Archives