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Archive for the ‘GPA’


international education is a nightmare

Hi aska, I’m not sure who to ask this so I’ll ask you: do American grad schools weigh uoft undergrad GPAs differently because the grading scale is different in Canada vs. the U.S.? Because my GPA would be significantly lower at a U.S. uni where an 80 is a B-, not an A-, for instance. If you don’t know, who do you recommend I ask? Registrars haven’t been able to tell me (shocking) but a number of my professors did undergrad at uoft and went to American grad schools so I’m thinking of asking them.


hey there,

well, have you been asking the registrar’s office at uoft, or at the schools you’re interested in? because ~ shocker ~ uoft is only going to be an expert about the rules at uoft.

at the end of the day, it’s going to depend on the school you’re interested in. not all american schools are the same. to be honest, the situation with higher education is a bit of a nightmare in North America in terms of consistency. then you go over the pond and it’s like a foreign freaking language. like, what the heck is a first? what’s 2:1?? don’t even get me started.

ANYWAY. if you do a bit of calling around to?the schools you’re thinking about, you may be able to track down someone (probably in admissions) who?may have a more concrete answer.

or you may have to do a bit of the grunt work yourself. you’ll have to figure out what kind of GPA scale the schools you’re interested in use, and then translate your GPA on a 4.0 scale (which is what we have) to that scale.

for example, if they are on a 4.33 scale, you can use this handy chart to figure out where your percent grades would put you on that scale. here are some other ones. there are many more like it on the internet. have a look around.




200-level courses are tuff


I’m a first year student in the faculty of arts science, i’ve received credits for most of the courses required to get in to my program of choice ( immunology and molecular genetics microbiology ) so i’ve taken mostly second year courses, being-MAT137Y, PHL100Y, BIO230H, BIO220, BCH210, CIN211H, MGY200H and IMM250. How difficult will these courses be and would it be difficult to get a 3.5+ GPA ?



hey there,

instead of just repeating my ramble about the ambiguity of the term “difficult,” i’ll just direct you to the “hard” tag. you can read my thoughts on your question about how difficult it is to get a 3.5+ GPA there.

oh, but i will say this: only about 15% of students get on the dean’s list, which is a list of students whose CGPA is at 3.50 or higher. that number isn’t ultimately helpful or instructive, because how can you know where you’ll fall within the spectrum of students before you’re in it? but it is something to chew in, if you’re the kind of person who likes HARD DATA and FACTS.

as for taking 200-level courses: if you have transfer credits for BIO120 and 130, CHM138 and 139, then, theoretically, you should be prepared for those 200-level courses.

however, academic levels don’t take into account a lot of the things that could affect your academic performance in first year. making new friends, navigating a new campus, adjusting to a weekly schedule that is vastly different from that of most high schools, and getting used to the pace of university courses all takes energy. usually, it takes more energy than most first-year students anticipate – energy that, in other years, would be going towards your classes.

so even if you are technically “prepared,” academically speaking, the 200-level courses may be more difficult than you expect. while some 200-level courses may build on knowledge that you already have, or even be introductory courses, they assume that students are already used to the pace of a university course, and that’s the trickiest part.

university courses move a lot faster than high school level courses – even AP and IB courses. something that you spent a week on in a grade 12 calculus could be condensed to an hour-long lecture in a university class, for example.

all that being said, i’m not saying you shouldn’t enrol in them. you can always enrol in the courses and give them a shot. if you find that they’re too difficult, you can always drop them before the deadline to drop courses.

you may want to consider taking fewer 2nd-year courses than you are right now. you may, for example, want to start off with two or three half-credit 200-level courses. if you find you’re doing well with those, you can add a few more in your second semester. i find that it’s always easier to chew off a little and add more gradually, than to chew off too much and try to scale back later.

so…do what you want, basically. but do it cautiously. and always feel free to have a chat with your college registrar’s office if you need more advice or want to mull it over with someone in person.

good luck with it!



*obsessively recalculates GPA the whole summer long*

I finished first year and ended up with a 3.45 gpa- I know that’s not “bad” but I’m wondering how UofT calculates cgpa.. Do they just average all your annual gpas? More speciffically- (and hypothetically), if I get 4.0 in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year, is the highest cpga I can achieve a 3.86?


hey there,

technically, it’s “an average of all the courses you have taken,” but practically speaking, yes, that’s how it works out.

HOWEVER, try not to stress too much about how you did in first year. nearly no graduate or professional schools take your first year into account for admissions decisions, so if that’s your worry, you can rest easy. everyone knows that first year is all about screwing up and falling on your face.

just try to use what you learned in first year to make your second year even better than the first one. (not that you asked for my advice. or that your first year was at all bad. but, as my high school Latin teacher used to say, we must always be moving “onwards and upwards.”)





Hi! I have 3 questions.

If you change your subject post, does your GPA get recalculated? For example, let’s say I am doing a double major in C.S. and Math., and change it to a double major in C.S. and Media. Will my GPA get recalculated since some of the grades in courses taken no longer apply to the new subject post?

If you take a course that is not part of your subject post, will it count for anything or is it just an extra course/exclusion? Like back to the first example, if I am currently double majoring in C.S. and Math., and decide to take a media course (not breadth nor elective; just for fun) . If I do good in this course, does it do anything to my GPA? And if I switch my subject post like before to C.S. and Media, will this course now count towards my GPA?

Lastly, what happens if somehow you have CR/NCR on a course you need for a subject post?

Thank you!!!


hey there,

well, we all know the BEST THINGS IN LIFE come in threes. so let’s get started!

1) GPA doesn’t work based on programs. your CGPA is your cumulative GPA from all courses you’ve taken at uoft. your AGPA is your annual GPA, which is the average GPA of all the courses you took that year. neither will change if you change your program.

2) if you take a course, it will affect your GPA, regardless of whether it counts as a program requirement, breadth requirement, or neither of those.

3) this one’s a bit tricky: normally, you should not credit/non-credit any course that is a program requirement. if you somehow managed to do that, you should head over to your registrar’s office right away to get that sorted out.

HOWEVER, just this semester, the faculty of arts & science has made a few changes due to the strike. for Y and S courses THIS YEAR ONLY, you’re able to credit/non-credit courses ANY course, even a course that’s a program requirement. and you can do it right here.

pretty exciting, right? just don’t abuse this power.

all the best,



the status of failed courses

Hey I’m a first year engineering student that really messed up, I was wondering if first year marks count towards cGPA, I know they don’t use first year when considering you for honours standing, but does the same apply for cGPA? Also when calculating averages for awards that require you to take a ‘full course load’, are failed courses still counted as part of a full course load?



hey there,

the ‘c’ of CGPA stands for cumulative, so yes, it includes every year you’re at school, including first year.

‘full course load’ implies that you took a full course load, not that you passed your full course load. so whatever marks you got in your failed courses will be counted as part of your average, and you will be considered as having taken a full course load.

try not to be too bummed about it. first-year engineering is almost mythical in terms of how hard it is. you have three more years to slowly build that CGPA back up to something you can be happy with, so don’t stress. if we all just focus on getting through the rest of the year alive, then there’s always next year to do better.

good luck!



that’s not something they tell students


I was just wondering if the average graduation GPA distribution was available for us students to look at. If so where could I find it.

I’m looking for something like

95% percentile = X.XX GPA

90% percentile = X.XX GPA

and so on, Or something of similar format.

(If divided by major it would be great)



hey there,

at the very least, if something like this exists, it’s not available for students to look at.

more than that though, i doubt if uoft even collects this information privately within departments.* the university doesn’t sort students based on how they rank relative to other students (the closest thing we have to that is the dean’s list), and it’s not used as a tool to measure students in any substantial way i can think of. there’s just not a culture here for it.

for someone trying to figure out where on the grade scale they’ll likely fall in a certain program, i see how that might be annoying. but look at it on the flip side: once you’re in the program, you’ll never be reduced to just a percentile.



* i mean, obviously i can’t know this for certain. there could be whole CONSPIRACIES going on within academic departments at uoft that we have NO IDEA about. but i wouldn’t give that idea too much thought – this website is written in like verdana or something, after all.


does anyone NOT stress about marks?


I know you got tons of messages out there asking about more important problems but I just kind of freak out with my GPA right now. I registered for Management program in UTM and (I think) the program’s requirement is high. I don’t know? I just push myself over the edge a bit and now I am in a constant-panic state. Is 3.15 a bad GPA? So bad that I will be kicked out of school and never get the chance to be anywhere anymore and that means I simply have to dig my own grave (literally) and die there? I’m sorry, I just kind of? anyways, thank you for reading my question.

Kind Regards.


hey there,

oh, man. never make assumptions about the kinds of questions i get, because you’ll almost definitely be wrong. about a third of the questions i get are about GPA, so don’t worry – i take them all very seriously. and hey, i’m a student too. i understand that GPA is like a legitimate concern and takes up a lot of any student’s headspace. my head is probably 40% worrying about marks, 20% thinking about Game of Thrones, 10% worrying about not tripping over anything, and 30% worrying about my eye liner.*

anyway, on to your question. whether or not 3.15 is a bad GPA is almost entirely subjective based on your goals for yourself. is it bad enough to be put on probation? no. if your CGPA is above a 1.50, you will be in good standing.

is it good enough to get into management? (by which i assume you mean the management specialist, though i could be very wrong, because there are multiple “management” programs at UTM). i don’t know, and UTM doesn’t provide a specific cut-off GPA, so i’m not going to speculate. however, you’ve done the best you could, and now you just wait and see. if you get in, great. if not, that’s your opportunity to find something else that gets you excited and makes you happy and that you can be awesome at.

capice? no digging of graves. that is just silliness. school programs are just not important enough to feel that distressed about. you are great and you are doing fine, and you’re going to pull through one way or another. and if you are feeling/continue feeling disproportionately down or anxious about school, then i’d suggest thinking about visiting the UTM Health & Counselling Centre, who may be helpful to you.

i hope that helps.



* though i really shouldn’t worry about it – my eye liner game is always strong. ALWAYS.

**i say “put on probation” because they don’t kick people?out of school right off the bat for bad marks, at either UTM, UTSG, or UTSC.


aska tells you how to live a bomb-diggity life

Hi Aska!
So the start of the new school year is upon us and Universities have started coming to my high school convincing us their school is right for us. I am really interested in UofT Life Science program and want to become a doctor when I’m older. However I’ve been hearing horror stories from friends and off the internet about UofT and its Life Science program. I’m an 80% – 85% type of student. I’m confused whether to come hear. I just want to know if it is possible to get good grades in this school and if there are actually easy courses here that can boost my GPA. And What are these “easy” 1st year seminars i’m hearing about.



hey there,

Oh, man. I remember what it’s like to be in your shoes, my friend, and I’m glad you’ve come here for advice. See, the universities are all going to be telling you a variation of the same thing, because they want your sharp little brain at their school – but I don’t care one way or another (no offence xoxo) so I’m going to be straight with you.

The UofT Life Science program is great, and if you’re getting between an 80%-85%, the rule of thumb is that your average will drop 10-15% in first year (mine dropped from a 92% to an 82% between grade 12 and first year in a Biomedical Science program). That puts you between a 70% and a 75% – and that’s great! If you get out of first year with a mark like that, you should pat yourself on the back. As for keeping up your GPA, there are no secrets: just find out how you best study, and stick to it. It’s not impossible, trust me.

Next, and I can’t stress this enough: DO NOT pick a course because it “sounds easy” or because random people online (not counting me obviously) say it’s a bird course. That includes first-year seminars. First-year seminars are super cool because they are much smaller than your typical first-year class, which means you’ll get to engage more with the prof and your peers. You’ll all be best buds and sing kumbaya together. It’ll be beautiful.

However, if you just pick a random seminar you have zero interest in, the wonderful opportunities of first-year seminar will be a waste. If you find it boring, you won’t do the work, and you’ll zone out in class, and paying attention is a necessary component to doing well in any course, no matter how “easy.”

Finally, my last nugget of wisdom: high school and university courses are a good way, but not a great way, to determine if you want to be a doctor. You know how you figure that out for sure? By actually being one. There are lots of ways to do this: volunteer at a hospital, join the UofT Pre-Medical Society, and read up! If you’re finding that you’re not excited by doing any of this, then don’t do it. Just quit. There is absolutely no shame in that. Besides, no one likes a grumpy doctor.

I hope that helped, and just remember: don’t stress, and don’t feel pressured to make certain decisions because other people are telling you to. Do your own thing, and I think you’ll find that you’ll be awesome at it because it belongs to you.

Best o’ luck,



making your way into a master’s

Hey aska,

I’m going into my fourth year and HOPING to apply to masters programs in either Canada or Europe. Anyways, my CGPA is horrific. Messed up first year, GPA never could recover after blah blah blah, you know the drill. I’ve been told, though, by many people that a good strategy for getting into grad school is taking courses as a non degree student and applying after a few good grades.

It sounds like a good idea to me, but does it really work? And if it does, how exactly would I proceed assuming I will have an Hon. Bsc and want to get an MSc?

For helping me solve my completely ridiculous issues since first year,

Thank you (:


Hey hey

To be fair, the whole “taking more courses as a non-degree student to raise your cGPA” is more so something you settle for than a “strategy.” Lezbehonest, calling it a strategy is being kind to the people that slacked off in undergrad.

Anyhow, this so-called strategy is actually quite simple! It’s basically the same as enrolling for courses at any other point.

1. Enrol in the classes.

2. Go to the classes.

3. Rock the classes.

Now does it really work?

Well, I guess it does. I mean, in the long run it DOES raise your cGPA… But personally, if you get yourself to the point that you’re scrambling to take courses as a non-degree students for the sake of a master’s, I don’t think a master’s is for you.

But for your situation, I suppose the best thing to do would be take some science courses that you know will interest you and thus allow you to excel, which, in turn, will bump up that cGPA.




gotta keep your head up…

Hi Aska!

I just discovered your site and I have serious issues. I am currently going into fourth year with a 1.85 cGPA. (I know I’m such a failure at life). Do I have any options for having a stable career at this point? I’ve calculated it and it would take me 4+ years to achieve the B average every educational institution is looking for. What should I do? Should I finish my poorly sought degree in the fourth year because I can? Should I strive to raise my GPA before I graduate? Is it too late to transfer and more importantly will anyone take me with my GPA? Any advice will help.

Dazed and confused


Dazed and confused,

For starters, maintain that cGPA. Don’t forget that you need a minimum of 1.85 to be able to graduate. If that doesn’t happen though, if you’re lucky, you’ll be allowed to graduate — but with a regular B.A. or B.Sc., as in without Honours.

Now do you have options for a stable career?

Well duh!

Fine. You spent the past four years partying it up and forgetting that your primary goal was to be a student and now your cGPA is shot to hell. You can still work with that!

So you can’t get into grad school / law school /teacher’s college / whatever. Even people who DO meet that sought after B average don’t get in to said schools. At least you uh… know where you stand.

You just need to work with what you have.

Not ALL potential employers want to take a look at your transcript. I highly doubt a lot of them do. Just get your degree from the best university in the country and then apply for entry-level jobs in whatever places and work up from there. Take a look at the Job Search function the Career Centre offers — there are tons of really amazing opportunities to be found there.

Right now, personally, I think you should finish your degree because well… you’re RIGHT THERE. You’re at the end. But really, that’s up to you.

Now you should always try to raise your cGPA (or at least maintain it), but there’s hardly any point in lingering for another four years just to bump it up. Likewise, transferring to another university isn’t likely to get good results.

Just… finish up.

Your registration was yesterday if you’re going into fourth year, so I assume you enrolled. If you can afford it, just do it, and then since the concern here seems to be finding a job, keep in mind that not all jobs require you to have done some sort of post-grad degree/certificate/whatever.

But that’s just MY opinion, okay? Think about your situation and make good choices. 🙂




just give me my gpa already

Hey aska,

So I have all my final marks, but my cGPA isn’t on ROSI yet. I know I am going to be suspended next year due to poor grades but I’m already past that and am planning for the future. I need to be officially suspended (have my cGPA calculated and so on) so that my one year suspension can start. I was planning to be able to register for courses next summer but my GPA isn’t out yet and courses for this summer already started so most likely I won’t be able to register for the first semester next summer. Long back story, sorry, but I just really need to know approximately when my cGPA is going to be calculated.



Hey hey!

Some fun facts about the University of Toronto: St. George has about 56,000 students. UTSC has about 11,300 students. UTM has about 12,500 students. Pardon my awful rounding, but this fantastic university has about 80,000 students if you combine the undergraduates and graduates.

Meaning ROSI has a grand total of 80,000 students. And, not to evoke the whole but-am-I-just-number-at-UofT fear felt by the majority of UofT students, you really are just 1 in like 80,000.

ROSI tends to screw everyone over here and there, but seriously, give it a break!

It takes tiiiiiiime for your grades and GPAs to finally come up.

But anyway, I don’t know if you’ve checked your ROSI since you last, but you should be able to see your CGPA now. Likewise, if you’re suspended and enrolled in summer courses, you may find that you’ve been removed from them because of the suspension.

Which doesn’t have to be bad I suppose. I mean it’s summer. It’s absolutely beautiful outside right now despite the forecast of thunderstorm after thunderstorm. So go check your ROSI, confirm your suspension, and let your new plans begin. 🙂




generation y would die without calculators

My GPA is 3.2 right now and I have 2 years left, can I still graduate with a 3.8 GPA if i take 5 FCEs each year for the next two years and get As?



Oh god. A number question.

So using this lovely calculator so graciously offered by UTSC to students from all three campuses — I’m looking at you, UTM — I’ve entered your current CGPA with 10.0 FCE’s worth of courses all with full 4.0s.

Annnnnnd even if you rock the next two years, you’ll only be at a 3.6.

Which, to be clear, is still a pretty awesome grade! I’d be happy with a 3.6, so don’t sweat that missing 0.2! 🙂




can there BE any more types of gpas?

Hi aska!

I just read the calendar on probation and It’s a little unclear to me. It says,

A student who, at the end of the Fall/Winter or Summer Session during which he or she is on probation
a) has a cumulative GPA of 1.50 or more shall be in good standing
b) has a cumulative GPA of less than 1.50 but an annual GPA of 1.70 or more (Fall/Winter Session)/sessional GPA of 1.70 or more (Summer Session) shall continue on probation. ”
How exactly is annual gpa and cgpa different from each other? From what I’ve read they seem the same…Also, for courses not to be marked ‘extra’, you’ll need to not take more than 6 100 level FCE’S. Do similar rules apply to 200+ level courses as well? or is there only a limit for 100 level courses? When exactly are we informed on rosi if we’re on probation or not?

Thank you!


Hey hey,

I suppose all the different types of GPAs can be confusing, so I present you with some definitions, provided by my handy dandy now only offered online Calendar!

  • CGPA = Cumulative GPA. This one incorporates every single course you’ve taken in your undergraduate career, hence the “cumulative.” Although it excludes any extra courses, to be clear.
  • Annual GPA = the GPA based on the whole of the Fall-Winter session. So basically everything you took in your second year, for example.
  • Sessional GPA = the GPA of a single session. So there’s a Fall Session. A Winter Session. A Summer session.

Now the only time a course will be marked extra is when you end up doing some sort of surplus. So yeah, you’ve got the no more than 6.0 FCE 100-levels taken care of. Another time something is deemed extra is when you retake a course you’ve already passed. In this situation, your first grade is the one that counts toward your CGPA, but the second one is only really taken so that you can meet a program requirement. And another time something might be considered extra is when you take an exclusion of something you’ve already gotten the credit for.

But there’s no limit for 200/300/400 level courses the way there is for 100s, but keep in mind you need a certain number of 300 and 400 ones to graduate.

And lastly, you’ll learn whether or not you’re in probation in a few weeks when GPAs are released. They’re being calculated at the moment, but a little birdie told me that they’ll be around for the May two-four weekend to make it or break it for you.



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