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Archive for the ‘graduation’


you just gotta drop the ‘H’

hi aska,
I am hoping to graduate this year, but my cgpa is below 1.85. i am wondering if its possible to graduate with gpa lower than 1.85? or do i need to take more classes just to pull up my cgpa? thank you.


hi there,

yes, it is possible! you will just be graduating with either a B.A. or a B.Sc., instead of an H.B.A. or H.B.Sc. make you sure you go to your college registrar’s office to fill out a form requesting that you graduate without the honours, and then you’re done.

if you do want that ‘honours’ designation, you can definitely stay an extra semester or two, and take more classes to try and get over that 1.85 benchmark. it’s up to you.




i just want to keep bees with other alumni

last year, i tried to give uoft’s graduating class of 2014 the most solid advice that i could, before they were dropped kicked out of con hall and into the so-called “real world.”

i still stand by that advice (especially the one about dr. phil). this year, though, instead of dwelling on all the horrible and scary-sounding stuff that awaits us all beyond graduation – poverty, under- or unemployment, unstable/temporary jobs, etc. – i want to remind graduates of some of the NICE THINGS about being a graduate of uoft.

(all of the things i’m about to mention are provided by the Office of Alumni and Advancement. take a poke around their website if you’d like to learn more.)

1. career help

so, you’ve graduated – you’re alone, you’re afraid, and you’re without a job. the familiar doom and gloom of the job market in the post-2008 recession that we’ve all heard before.

FORTUNATELY FOR YOU, little grad, the office of a&a offers a number of career services for young professionals. for up to 2 years after graduation, alumni have full access to their faculty/campus career centre for free. which is nice, because as a jobless person, you probably don’t have a lot of money that you can spend on services to help you find a job.

but if you DO happen to have a little money kicking around, you also have access to a large number of career coaching services at a discounted price.

if you’d like to do a bit of shmoozing – i mean, networking – why not attend one of Alumni’s Shaker events? they’re free, and they take place at “hip urban hotspots.” no more stuffy rooms in UC for you. now you’re FANCY.

2. the library

you don’t want to be one of those plebs who can’t get to the stacks at robarts, do you? after all, you’re really going to need easy access to that Welsh literary anthology from 1834 when you’re working 40 hours a week.

for just $22.60, you can buy an alumni ID card, which grants you access to the stacks until THE END OF TIME. alternatively, you can pay $70/week for an alumni reader card and you’ll be able to loan stuff from the library, too.

3. Continuing Studies

working can be a bit mind-numbing, especially if you’re used to the pace and rhythm of a university course. yes, i know that sounds ridiculous now, as you cheer and celebrate (read: drink copiously) the end of your time at school.

however, formal education can be a tough habit to break. besides, learning is a lot more fun when you don’t have a $30k degree hanging on the line.

to ease that transition from school to work, why not sign up for some courses at continuing education students graduating this year get a $750 credit to spend on one continuing education course. take a course in anything from business & professional studies to creative writing.

4. faculty club

ever wanted to feel like an overprivileged white man living in victorian england? well NOW YOU CAN, with your very own membership to the faculty club.

the faculty club is a great place to meet people who were successful in a previous era, sit down in fancy chairs in fancy rooms, attend events with other fancy people, learn valuable skills through varied etiquette seminars, and – this part is my personal favourite – be part of a beekeeping club!

if you’re a recent grad, your first six months of membership are free, and the next 2.5 years of membership are half-price. which is actually a pretty great deal.

congratulations, grads, and good luck out there!



my degree will say ‘could have tried more and drank coffee less’

If I put complete my degree in 2016, but put my convocation off until 2017, what will my degree say? Does it state the year of convocation or the year I completed my credits?


hey there,

well, ‘degree’ is a nebulous and unspecific term.

what does it all mean sticky

Researchers continue the heated debate about what having a degree actually means – if anything

it’s simultaneously a physical diploma, a ROSI record accessible by you, your college and your faculty, and a collection of experiences spanning at least four years. it’s your first house party and your first all-nighter. it’s algorithms and allegories and Aristotle and Aeropostale and having enough change for the food truck.

it’s also probably a number of developing wrinkle/stress lines from years of stressing constantly about school work. thanks for that one, uoft.

if you’re talking about the actual parchment on which your diploma is printed, that will list the date of your convocation ceremony. however, if you need something saying that you’ve completed all your program requirements and you’re eligible to graduate before you show up on that King’s College green, you can always get a Letter Confirming Graduation from the Faculty of Arts & Science Registrar’s Office.

and your ROSI account will always be available for you to reference and order a transcript from, should you need something listing specific courses you took, your GPA, etc.

congrats on finishing all your program requirements, ya lucky rutabaga,



graduate: v. afraid, qualified

Hey aska,

I’m about to graduate, and I have my last year of my undergraduate coming up in September. What can I do with a HBSc? What should I do in my final year of undergrad? I feel like I barely know anyone and I’m not sure how to establish a good connection with professors to ask for letters of recommendation.

Please help, I’m really stressed out and I’m not sure what to do in my last year to improve my outlook on life after graduating.
I’m enrolled in two majors, one’s the general human biology and the other is more specialized.


hey there,

seems like all of undergrad is just about being afraid. in first year you’re afraid because everything is new, in second and third year you’re afraid because you don’t think you’ll be able to keep up your CGPA, and in fourth year you’re afraid because you realize your CGPA doesn’t matter nearly as much as you thought it would. i sure do love university.

here’s my opinion*: the market is so inflated with bachelor’s degrees that graduating with an undergrad in a certain area doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to go on to have a career in that area.

which, on the one hand, is super frustrating and unfair, but on the other, is incredibly liberating. you can start over now. and lots of jobs won’t care a hoot about what you did in your undergrad, so if you messed up a little, it won’t destroy your job prospects.

if you’re graduating with a B.Sc., obviously you have all the usual suspects available to you in terms of careers: medical school, nursing, pharmacy, graduate school, teachers’ college. if you’re not interested in continuing university, there are also college programs that you can take if you’re interested in becoming a scientific or medical technician/technologist.

whatever you decide, it’ll take some time to assemble application packages etc., so the best thing to do in your fourth year would be to figure out what you need to apply and start prepping (this applies even if you decide not to do another university degree: if you want to go straight into the workforce, it’s best to start looking and applying for jobs early).

as to reference letters, there is nothing to be nervous about. just remember: profs who teach third- and fourth-year courses expect to be references for students applying to graduate/professional schools. it’s part of their job. if they can see that you did your due diligence in sending them a proper request, they won’t hate you for it.

and you DON’T have to be BFFLs with a prof or have worked with them in their lab to ask them for a reference letter. if you did well in one of their courses and you remind them of that, odds are they’ll be willing to help you out.

of course, you can also just go out there into the job arena and see what you can find outside of science. there’s a whole world of random jobs out there – in sales, office work, shift work, you name it. there’re all sorts of wacky things to do – you just have to start looking.

best of luck in the real world. you can do it.


* ‘opinion,’ as i’m sure you know, is internet shorthand for, ‘i’m just going to say this but i’m not going to provide any stats to back it up…so there.’


you have to ASK POLITELY


Do I have to apply to graduate or is it an automatic thing?? If I do have to apply then when is the deadline for a summer 2015 graduation? Thank you.

Waiting grad.


hey there WAITING GRAD,

yes, you do have to request graduation. on the downtown campus, that deadline was december 2nd*. make sure you go to your registrar’s office asap to put through a request.

(and remember to keep an eye on deadlines, eh? they’re important. even i know that, and i’m just someone in a chicken suit sitting at a computer).


*i’m assuming that by ‘summer 2015’ you mean june 2015. the next graduation time is november 2015, and that deadline is later.


uoft doesn’t make sense but that’s why we love it


What is the difference between graduating with honors and without?

What is the minimum GPA required for graduating with honours and what exactly is a second class standing?

Thank you!


hey there,

i know this terminology is confusing, but unfortunately, having an outdated and nonsensical vernacular is one of the charms that come with going to an old, prestigious institution. don’t worry -aska will make it all better.

an ‘honours’ degree is an undergraduate degree that takes four years to complete. “but aska, don’t ALL undergraduate degree in the faculty of arts & science take four years to complete???” yes, but they didn’t USED to.

back in Ye Olden Days (i.e. before 1992), an undergrad degree at uoft took only three years to complete. if you were FANCY and really had a knack for what you were studying, you would take an extra year and graduate with honours.

nowadays, honours is the only option (unless you started your degree before 1992, and then you come back and want to finish your three-year degree. or unless you’re a rotman student, in which case you’ll graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce, rather than an Honours Bachelor of Commerce. it still takes four years, though. sorry rotman).

tl;dr: GPA has nothing at all to do with the term ‘honours.’

also, we don’t use first- and second-class standing. we have high distinction (which is graduating with a CGPA of 3.50+) and distinction (graduating with a CGPA from 3.20 to 3.49).

hope that helps to dispel the confusion!



how minor is not doing a minor?

Hi Aska,

If I’ve fulfilled all the requirements for my specialist, are there any negative consequences to not finishing all the requirements for a minor I enrolled in (sort of on a whim)? I’m graduating in June and I haven’t removed the POSt from ROSI just in case I decide to take that extra 0.5 FCE that would get me the minor next semester, but I also don’t want it to show up on my transcript or somewhere else as incomplete if I ultimately don’t take the last 0.5 FCE.

Thanks a lot!


hey there,

nah. since having one specialist is an acceptable combination of subject POSts to graduate, there aren’t any real, practical impediments to not completing the minor.

however, you do need to “ensure that your subject POSts (specialists, majors and/or minors) are correct and up to date on the SWS,” as artsci puts it (saying “the SWS” instead of ROSI kinda reminds me of how older people say “the Internet” instead of “online”).

since we have just passed the deadline to delete subject POSts yourself, you’ll have to go to your college registrar’s office to get that minor deleted (if you decide that’s what you want to do), so that everything on ROSI accurately reflects your current academic status.

congrats on your graduation, and best of luck in the real world!



pls let me leave, uoft


I am in last year with the intention of graduating in June and, after checking Degree Explorer, I saw that I was missing a credit from BR=5 :Physical and Mathematical Universes. I just completed AST201 this summer and I passed (I took it as CR/NCR because I am terrible at astronomy!). Anyhow, I am just a little worried; I was so sure that AST201 covered that requirement. Or do I have to take ENG287? (I wanted to take that initially, but AST201 worked better for my schedule).

If you could help me clarify this, I would be immensely grateful!


hey there,

AST201 definitely fulfils the 5th breadth req. category, so you don’t have to worry about that. second, credit/no credit can be used to fulfil breadth requirements, so that’s also fine.

my bet is that degree explorer has just been slow in updating the breadth requirement category from this summer.

we are still only in september, and this is a busy time for people who work with Portal. i’d give them a bit more time to update everything before you start to worry.

if you do want to make certain that you’ve done everything you need to graduate, what you can do is make a grad check appointment at your registrar’s office. then you can get confirmation from a real, live human whether everything is hunky-dory and you’re on track to graduate this june.




your degree UPGRADED!

Hi Aska,

OK I am graduating this November. I did a polisci major and a hist and anthro minor. But as I was looking through all my course to insure that I
didn’t miss a breath requirement etc I came to a realization that made me realize what a space-case I am. I only need a 0.5 400 -level history course to do a double major and a minor. Is there any way I can take one course in fall and still graduate by November? Or will UOFT let me take the course after I graduate and let me upgrade to a double major? Thanks.

Space Case.


hey there space case,

well, be grateful that you didn’t have a more serious realization than that. people discover some nasty things on degree explorer (“wait, what are breadth requirements?…OH NO.”)

there’s no way to take a course now (like, for the Fall 2014 session) and graduate by november. however, you can graduate in november and take the course as a non-degree student. the course and mark will appear on your uoft transcript once you complete it.

you can talk to your college registrar about the possibility of updating your transcript to include that extra major after you complete the history course, but the subject POSts you graduate with will be the ones on your degree.




fast & furious


I’d really like to do the Arts Management Program at UTSC with a double major in Theatre and Performance studies. I’m just wondering: is it at all possible to fast track? I know U of T has discontinued the three year degree 🙁 I’m just wondering, if I took courses every summer, could I somehow graduate under 4 years? …. It’s just, I am late coming to university (20) and I feel like I’m quite behind, if that makes sense. So..graduating early even possible? Thanks.


hey there,

i guess you could. if you did a full course load every year and every summer, you could finish in the summer after your third year. however, as far as i can tell, there is only a specialist offered in the arts management program. just to complete the requirements for that specialist and a theatre and performance studies major would require 21.5 credits – assuming you never took any electives. that means you’d have to take a full course load every Fall/Winter and Summer, and one of those years, you’d have to take 5.5 FCEs instead of 5.0.

i’m not gonna lie to you; that’s really rough. i know you feel as if you’re behind, but this would be really tricky to pull off. despite being an incredibly intense course load, this is all assuming you get into every course that is required, and never have to take a course that isn’t a program requirement – which is almost impossible when you take into account breadth requirements and any general interest course you might want to take.

i think that finishing a semester early would be a more reasonable goal, but if you did that you’d graduate in june anyway, so…maybe just settling in for four years would be the sanest way to go. you won’t look super old, i promise.





Hey aska,

I’m in the last round of my fifth year (double major English/Anthro) and am?completing my last 1.0 credit this summer. When I used the degree?navigator, my anthropology major is incomplete by 3 credits!? Many?300-level courses that I wanted to take I was locked out of for some?strange reason. If one of my majors is technically incomplete, will I still?be able to graduate? 🙁


hey there,

in order to graduate, you need to complete degree AND program requirements, i.e. your major requirements. however, don’t automatically trust?whatever degree explorer is saying – it has been known not to update information right away.

if you think you’ve done everything you need to for?the anthro major, check your academic history on ROSI against the program reqs on the course calendar.

if it turns out you haven’t completed the reqs, then unfortunately you’re stuck here in this windy, frozen, sprawling city of a university* until you’re done your programs. sorry.

best of luck,


*which i love. but it’s a complicated love, you know? like rachel and ross.


grumble grumble graduates

hello! my question is fairly simple but I cannot find an answer. If i were to finish everything required for my degree after the first semester of fourth year, do I still have to take classes in second semester? or could I just go home and hang around until june graduation? thank you for your help!!


hey there,

as long as you complete your degree requirements, program requirements, and request graduation on ROSI by the deadline, you’re under no obligation to take courses in the second semester.

just keep in mind that if you do that, you may end up being a part-time student, which would affect your OSAP/provincial funding for the year.

otherwise, yeah, go home, catch up on your TV, sleep in ’til noon…damn, i hate?graduating students.




how to graduate without wetting yourself – a guide

despite the ongoing?catfight?between mid-lifers about who or what millenials are up to, you’re the only person who has full control over what your life will look like after graduation.?if you believe the media, our generation is supposed to be full of spoiled brats who don’t know a good thing when it whacks them upside the face.

well,?i might be?lazily whiling away all that?free?time us darned university students have, but now that gravy boat has sailed for all you new grads. so here are some ways to deal with that perilous Real?World adults are always warning us about:

1. use the career centre!?if you’re a recent grad, you can still use uoft’s job board?to search for jobs. you can also attend the career centre’s incredibly helpful events. just log into your CLN account?for a list of upcoming ones.?for example, tomorrow, UTM is holding an event called ‘Now That I’m Graduating What’s Next?’ why not register and mosey on over there if you’re at UTM?

2. if you don’t have a job lined up right away, that’s fine. there’s no shame in taking refuge in your parents’ attic for a couple of months while you try to figure out what on earth you’re going to do with yourself. after all, harry potter lived in a cupboard for a decade plus and he turned out okay.

3. DON’T watch doctor phil thinking he’s gonna help you get your life together. you’ll just spend the entire day watching daytime TV and?you’ll find yourself going on tangents about pancakes at any interviews you get.

4. if you’re gonna try to get a job, do it right.?make sure you’re giving good interviews,?learn about how to create an awesome application, and buy some ace interview outfits.

5. if you’re not sure where you want your career to go, broaden your horizons. consider a college diploma. talk to your parents’ friends who have exotic jobs you’ve never heard of. search that soul up a bit; it’s gotten a tad dusty.

6. also check out these 100% SRS USEFUL TIPS from internet sensation and fully employed person lex croucher:

i hope you have a fabulous time out there in the big wide sand pit of life. go on and make a sand castle.



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