askastudent

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Archive for the ‘keeners’

Nov08

we got ourselves a catherine keener

Hi, i graduated high school in June 2016 and I decided to take a gap year before I attend university. Hence,I will be applying to utsc for entry into September 2017. If I do get admitted into my program will I be able to at least take my electives during summer 2017? I’d really like to get a head start since i did take time off from school due to unforeseen circumstances.
Thank you for your times and hope to hear from you soon!

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hey,

first of all, i totally understand your desire to get a head start. the sooner you’re done with school, the better. (at least that’s how i’ve always felt)

unfortunately, first year intake at U of T is always in september. to my understanding, starting first year during the summer has only been granted in very unique circumstances, but is highly discouraged and “rarely entertained”.

one of the main reasons for this is that transitioning from high school to first year is a big jump and getting settled into university is such an important aspect of the whole university experience. the university will have orientation events (not just frosh week) in september to help you adjust along with your peers. you’ll definitely understand what i mean once you start in september.

furthermore, i imagine the whole process of petitioning for early intake would be extremely arduous and just not worth it. summer courses also generally move at a faster pace and it would be an even bigger jump to go from high school straight into university summer courses. since i’m saying all of this, it might seem like summer intake is actually an option, but it really isn’t.

trust me on this one, september intake is the way to go. you’ll find a lot more support from both campus resources as well as friends you meet during frosh.

just make sure you apply by january 13th and if all goes well, you’ll be set to start in september!

^this is an amazing song, by the way.

i hope this cleared up some of your questions! best of luck with your application!

cheers,

aska

Oct29

vague and subjective question

Hello Aska!! I know you hate vague and subjective questions, so I’ll apologize in advice for what I’m about to ask. Sorry! I’m the definition of indecisive, so I have come to you. I’m a senior in high school and there are only two goals I have: 1. Go to UofT 2. Get a high paying job. Now this may be a fool’s dream, but what can I say? Anyway, I have only taken data as my one uni math course, but my English marks are always spectacular. What should I do in UofT?-

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hello there,

just to clarify, i only despise questions that demand answers to things that i couldn’t possibly know, like “am i going to get in if i have this grade in this class?” or “i submitted this thing a while ago, why haven’t i heard back? this is my student number. pls help.”

if you just want a second opinion (or the opinion of a relatively jaded undergrad student) i’m your person!

see, you say you’re indecisive, but you clearly know what you want. you know that you want to go to U of T and that you want dem dolla dolla billz. ’tis not a fool’s dream. ’tis everyone’s dream.

i’m not going to outright tell you what you should study. (astrophysics. that is what you should do. it’s super easy.) i know nothing about you, but i can tell by your question that you think you’ll get paid more if you study a program that requires math. it’s great that your english marks are spectacular, but what do you really want to do? you may be good at english, but do you enjoy it? do you have a passion for literature?

on the other hand, are you going to be happy in a program that requires math? do you even like math? (ew who likes math)

once you get your undergrad degree, are you thinking of pursuing grad school?

you might feel like i’m not helping since i’m throwing more questions at you, but these are questions that you should really consider.

you’re a young’un. at this point in your life, as a senior in high school, the possibilities are truly endless. there are so many different paths you could take. don’t be afraid to choose a path different than the one you imagined yourself taking. heck, for the longest time, i hadn’t even considered coming to U of T for university.

*aska storytime*

when i started 12th grade, i actually had my heart set on a university in my hometown. i went on a campus tour, located the nearest mcdonalds, and found pretty much every starbucks on campus. i was so ready.

everything changed when all my friends were applying to schools in the east. i felt some hardcore fomo and decided to apply to U of T, just for the heck of it. i didn’t think i would get in, but i did!

the moral of this story is, i didn’t end up walking down the path that i thought i would, and things still worked out amazingly well in the end.

*end of aska storytime*

dolla dolla billz are definitely important to take into account, but you need to remember that lots of employment opportunities come from knowing the right people. the most valuable piece of advice i could give you right now is to get as much work/ volunteer experience as you can. maintain professionalism and consistency in everything you do. as a result, you’ll have great references and people will be more likely to recommend you for other jobs.

in conclusion: don’t think about your program of study with your potential future income in mind! there are so many things that can happen along the way which can shape what your future turns out to be. your eventual failure or success won’t have had anything to do with this one choice you made in university. but if you don’t like what you’re studying, you’ll dread every class you sit through, and you won’t want to go to class. trust me, i know what it’s like.

anyways, i’ll end my rant here, but i just want you to know:

i hope you choose something you love. best of luck to you!

cheers,

aska

Jun06

keen keen keen

Hi there,

I’m a second year student who’s eager to find some useful campus work that can lead to some great recommendation letters for law school. I’m particularly interested in working at the dean’s office or the office of my college’s principal. Is there an opportunity for students to find job placements in the above mentioned places? If so, where would I be able to find more information about this? I’ve done some research but haven’t found anything helpful regarding this inquiry.

Also, how long should you know a professor before asking them for a really good recommendation letter? A year? 2 years? I know it depends on the student-teacher relationship, which can be built strongly even within the first month of classes, but would a letter be more credible for an ivy league law school if it read that my prof knows me for X many years, as opposed to one semester or only one year (depending on the course)? I’ve heard of some students taking courses with the same professors over the years only to get a great letter from them at the end, but I can’t do the same because all of my required and elective classes so far and in the future are taught by different professors. If I only enrol in the courses with my well-liked professors, I’ll be taking courses that I’ll get random credit for, but not towards any of my designated programs. Is there a specific way to go about finding the right prof now to build a relationship with, or should I just stick to my 4th year profs?

Thank you so much for your help!!

———————————————

hey there,

i want to commend your eagerness. i can dimly remember being that excited and ambitious about things, though it’s a memory that’s fading fast. hopefully that doesn’t happen to you, too. (i mean, it likely will, but that’s not a very nice thing for me to say to a stranger, is it?)

i don’t know that i’ll be much help with the job-finding, other than pointing you in the right general direction, like a crotchety old woman who lives at the fork in the road and directs people down the path through the forest, not down by the sea, but doesn’t bother to tell you about the GIANT WOLVES you’ll have to fight to get through that forest (in this case the wolves are asking past employers for references, or something equally as unpleasant).

every college has such a radically different way of organizing itself – with different responsibilities attached to each office, different relationships between different offices, etc. – that the answer will change depending on the college. for example, when you say ‘dean,’ do you mean dean of residence? dean of students? at some colleges, both those roles are handled by the same person. at others, they’re split up. the principal’s office also handles a smorgasbord of different responsibilities, and what they are varies at different colleges.

feel your college out. go to events. get involved and meet people who know how the different offices work. i find that observation can go a long way, and sooner or later, you may hear about a job opening up that you can apply to.

generally speaking, i find these administrative university offices tend to hire either full-time staff or work-study students, but again, that’s about as specific as my knowledge gets. one really easy way to figure out who’s hiring is by scrolling through work-study postings on the CLN.

as for your references question: this may be annoying to you, but i feel like the answer is, don’t think about it too much? if you encounter a professor you really like, and you can find a way to take multiple courses with them by fulfilling degree credits, then do that. if not, don’t. I’ve never taken two courses with the same professor (the stars i.e. my schedule/course space/program req’s never aligned that way) and i’ve still asked for multiple professors for reference letters that they’ve happily given.

keep in mind that professors – especially third and fourth year professors – expect to receive reference letter requests. a lot of those courses tend to be smaller, so it’ll be a lot easier to get to know them than it is in a huge first- or even second-year class. if you are concerned about really getting to know a prof, a good idea may be to take an upper year research course. as well as being a wonderful learning experience, these courses facilitate one-on-one time with your supervisor. research supervisors are great people to ask for references, because they have a much more sophisticated knowledge of your work ethic, skills, personality, etc.

good luck with all of this! one final tip: start saving up for Harvard or whatever it is now. future you will thank you.

cheers,

aska

Jul30

200-level courses are tuff

Hi

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 ?

Thanks.

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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!

aska

Sep22

undergrad can’t contain this level of keen

Hey aska, I’m wondering if you know anything about taking graduate courses as an undergrad student? I can’t seem to find anything 300 or 400 level to take and I’m wondering if I should expand into the grad courses. Thank you!!

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hey there,

wow, what a keener. good for you, my friend. personally, i wish i could take a couple kindergarten courses as an undergrad. that’d really boost my GPA.

you definitely need to find some 300- and 400-level courses that pique your interest, ’cause you probably can’t entirely replace your 3rd and 4th years with grad school courses.

however, it may be possible for you to take one or two grad school courses, if you can get permission from the department. depending on your GPA, and whether you can get permission from the instructor of the course(s) you’re after, you could be allowed to take a couple.

just submit this form from the FAS to the department(s) that sponsors the course(s), and cross your fingers! for my part, i hope your wish to take grad courses is granted, and that i can find my way back to Mrs. Smith’s Junior Kindergarten room, where i truly belong.

aska

Aug11

a tangled, tangled web of degree requirements

Hey,
how long do you think it would take to complete a Philosophy/History double major at UTSC if you took courses every summer? Just wondering 🙂
Thanks!

———————————————

hey there,

i know y’all think this is like a super easy question to answer, but there are so many variables involved that it’s actually almost impossible. so, let’s unpack this and find out, together, just how complicated this is.

1. both the history and philosophy majors require 7.0 FCEs – 14.0 FCEs total; simple enough, right?

WRONG. history and philosophy are close/flexible enough disciplines that you can probably have a bit of overlap between courses (i.e. take credits that fulfil requirements for both POSts). however, you have to keep in mind the 12.0 distinct credits rule when entertaining the possibility of overlap – only 2.0 FCEs out of a double major worth 14.0 credits can overlap.

so your two majors could take anywhere between 12.0 – 14.0 FCEs to complete. already, we’ve got some uncertainty. but it gets worse.

2. in a degree at UTSC, you’ll need to fulfil the breadth requirements. that’ll take 2.5 credits altogether, however, some of the credits that fulfil the breadth requirements will likely fulfil your major requirements, as well.

meaning you’ll have take anywhere between 0.0-2.5 FCEs on TOP of your major requirements to meet the breadth req’s.

so already – assuming you don’t have to late withdraw from a course, and that you pass every course you take – we’re looking at anywhere between 12.0-16.5 FCEs.

of course, you need at least 20.0 FCEs to graduate, but depending on how many credits it takes you to complete those requirements (i haven’t even factored in the requirement that both history and philosophy have that you take a certain number of upper-year FCEs – that could up your credit count, too), you may have to take more than 20.0 FCEs.

as you can see, this is getting nightmarishly complicated. let’s just assume nothing goes wrong, your plans won’t change, and it’ll take you 20.0 FCEs on the dot to complete your degree.

how long would it take if you took courses every summer? well, that depends. how many courses are you planning on taking  here we have another ambiguity. let’s just assume you were to take the expected full-time course load – 2.5 FCEs – every term.

20.0 FCEs/2.5 FCEs per term = 8 terms.

8 terms/3 terms per year = 2.66 years. you would finish in june of your third year. which – i believe – means you would be able to request a june graduation.

so there’s your short answer, but as you can see, things are never as simple as they first appear. uoft is good at teaching that lesson.

cheers,

aska

Aug06

grade 11 is just a void in everyone’s mind

Does u of t st george look at gr 11 marks for conditional acceptance ?

———————————————

hey there,

you’re about four months early for this. people were throwing this question at me left, right and centre in october of last year. but hey, i’m never one to criticize an early bird. i am one to complain about them, though. complaining’s my speciality, doncha know.

but okay: you’re nervous, you want to know what you’re getting yourself into before you get into it. fair enough. the most succinct answer to this question is: sometimes (or, in uoft’s phraseology: “[s]econdary school applicants with strong midyear results may be admitted on condition that they complete their academic year successfully,” ‘may’ being the tricky/operative word here).

they look at what they can get, and if you’re applying quite early on in the year (you haven’t even finished the first semester of grade 12, say) then they may consider your grade 11 marks for early admission. later on, they may also consider them in conjunction with your grade 12 marks.

HOWEVER i can’t say how important grade 11 marks are in your overall application, how they will stack up compared to everyone else applying, how important they are versus your grade 12 marks, etc. etc. so DON’T ASK. please.

point is this: if you’re not finished grade 11 yet, do your best, because it does matter. but if you’ve already finished and are heading into grade 12, don’t worry, because your grade 12 marks also matter and can help boost your chances. ultimately, the final admission decision is based on your top six 4U/M marks, so if your grade 11 marks were less than awesome, make sure you do everything you can to get those ones up to scratch.

best of luck with your last stretch of high school,

aska

Jul29

first years getting ahead of themselves

Hey aska! I am going into first year in September and am planning to do a criminology major in second year. They require 2 FCE’s in ECO/POL/HIS/PHL/SOC/PSY so I plan to take SOC100Y and PSY101H and PSY220H in first year. I was wondering: it is advisable to take a second year course in first year? Will it be too much of a reach in terms of difficulty? As well, what are the chances I even get into that course since I’m not in its enrollment category? Should I have a backup plan (I hate backup plans)?

Thanks so much for answering my question! Have a great day. 🙂

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hey there,

learn to love backup plans, my friend. uoft course enrolment is a messy affair, and even if you’re in the enrolment category, it’s possible – maybe even likely – that you won’t end up in all the courses you want.

you have a chance getting into a course if you’re not in the enrolment category, but i don’t know how good that chance is. it all depends on the popularity of the course and the number of total spaces in the course (which you can see on ROSI). psych courses tend to be pretty popular generally speaking, but there are two lecture sections for PSY220H1, so i wouldn’t give up yet.

regardless, i would come up with a Plan B just in case. better to have one and not use it than the other way around – i know that from personal experience.*

as to whether you should even take the class: the difference between 100-level and 200-level classes is not huge. if you take PSY100H1 in first semester and do well, then you’re okay to take PSY220H1 in second semester. since one is a prereq of the other, it only makes sense to take them consecutively.

cheers,

aska

* *war flashbacks*

Jul28

skipping ahead

Hello! I am a second year student, currently signed up for three third year classes! I was wondering if the difference between second and third year classes is super killer, and if it’s a bad idea to jump ahead like that. Thanks!

———————————————

hey there,

it depends on the classes. also, do you mean three third year classes as in 1.5 FCEs, or 3.0? either way, that’s…pretty ambitious.

the major difference between second and third year is that there are (usually) no tutorials. no tutorials, but the same amount of class time. that means the pace is twice as fast, and you have no opportunity to hash things out in a tutorial environment the way you might be used to.

if you’re a science student, it might be a bit easier. if you’ve already completed the prerequisites and done well in them, then presumably you have the knowledge base necessary to go ahead in those classes. however, it will still move more quickly, and the tests and examinations tend to be less multiple choice and more involved and analytical. if you haven’t been transitioned into that, it could be a harsh shock.

ultimately, some people can handle it, and some can’t. you kind of have to be honest with yourself about how well you did in first year and how much work you’re comfortable with. if you do that, i think you’re going to make the right decision for you.

best,

aska

Jul24

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

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

———————————————

hey there,

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

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

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

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

best of luck with your ambitions,

aska

Oct07

the internet can help you buy books wow amazing.

Hi aska~

I was just thinking about application to different universities and I was looking at the text books needed for each course. Would you know the titles of textbooks needed for first-year business/commerce (I can’t tell them apart) course?

Thanks! It would be a big help…

———————————————

hey there,

Basically, it’s a lot more complicated and time-consuming than you could ever imagine. But at the end of the day, it works, and it’s actually not that hard to do all on your own when you’ve figured out the system. So don’t fret, little pet.

I don’t know what the deal is at other universities, but here at UofT, the bookstore, starting sometime in late August, can tell you exactly what books you need for all your courses by taking your course list from ROSI, which contains your student account. All you do is click on the ‘Find your textbooks’ button on the right side of the homepage, enter your UTORID and password, and it takes you to a list of all your textbooks. Internet magic!

However, this all becomes possible only a couple of weeks before school actually starts, once you’re actually a student here. If you’re applying for September 2014, you can go to the UofT bookstore yourself and see what books are being used this year (they’re organized by course), but it’s not guaranteed that those same books will be used next year.

Honestly, I’d say it’s too early for you to be worrying about textbooks (just enjoy the freedom of not having to drop half a grand on them yet, seriously), but if you really want to get a feel for what they’ll be using next year, just have a browse in the UofT bookstore.

Good luck, amigo, and I hope you find some meaningful use for the ridiculous amount of money you will soon be spending.

aska

Aug17

two in one

Hello,

As an upcoming student to UofT, I was wondering if taking 200 courses as a first year would be too difficult. In the orientation they had mentioned that yes, since there were no pre-requites for some of the 200 courses, it was obviously possible, but not recommended (and of course the usual “But if you really want it, then by all means…) However, I would like to hear such information/reflections/opinions from the mouth of a student instead of an instructor.

Thanks!

MD

p.s. I’m planning to take some 200 courses in English and Political Science.

&

~

as course selection dawns, i was wondering if taking a second year course in first year would prove to difficult. I want to take geography, but of the two half courses i want, one (GGR124H1) interferes with another mandatory course. I thought I could take GGR216H1 (Global Cities) instead (no prerequistits). Do you think this would be manageable? Or is this just my eager, first year brain trying too hard?
yours faithfully

———————————————

 

Dear MD and faithful, if unnamed, asker,

Well, course selection has past dawned. in fact, since August 9th has passed and program-based priority has been removed for course enrolment, I’d say we’re at high noon. But since more than one of you asked about whether doing a few second year courses in first year is too difficult, let’s take a stab at it!

While you may have felt discouraged from trying your hand at upper level courses, the truth is it’s totally normal to take second and even third year courses in your first year, as long as you’re following all of the rules around pre-requisites or language requirements. There are a few reasons it’s actually a pretty swell idea, especially for humanities and social sciences students, whose program tracks might not be quite as strict as science and professional subjects.

Firstly, first year courses can be dishearteningly huge in any discipline. we’re talking hundreds of students in some lectures. Unless you were lucky enough to have gotten your foot into a one of those quaint first year seminars, which are under 25 students, taking upper year courses is a good way to remind yourself that in the years to come, courses will be smaller and, if you’re extra good, professors might even learn your name.

Similarly, first year courses sometimes can be a bit broad, repetitive, and, dare I say it, too easy. For go-getters like yourselves, you’ll look forward to having a more focused and more challenging class in the middle of what can be a slow schedule. Second year courses are also much more likely to be half-year courses, meaning you can get away with taking a wider variety of courses in your first year. This might be preferable to getting tired of your full-year courses by December with no end in sight.

Lastly, unless you’ve planned out courses for your whole degree already, taking a few 200- or 300-level courses your first year is good insurance against using up your 100 level credits. Students at U of T are only able to put a maximum of 6.00 100-level credits towards your degree. If you use 5.0 of those your first year, and then realize that you need to take 2.0 more 100-level courses to get where you need to be for your major or minor Subject POSt requirements, you’ll have to give up some of those other 100-levels. And nobody likes to give up hard work! Worse, it doesn’t occur to some international students (read: me) that a lot of those high school AP credits that transfer into your degree transfer as 100-level credits already.

cheers,

aska

Apr14

do the right thing, brainiac

Hey aska,

So I’m in my 4th year, going on 5th (because the Major-Changing-Gods smiled upon me greatly at UofT) BUT:
I am wondering what you have to do to get an honors thesis if you are only in the Psych Major and not the Specialist?

I know they say you have to get into a thesis class but I don’t think that’s on the regular calendar. Also why are they excluding us poor majors from all the cool Specialist stuff? Lastly, do you still graduate the major with honors if you do not do an honors thesis?

Thanks a lot,
Major(ly) Psych(ed)

———————————————

Dear Major(ly) Psych(ed)

Cute name! Askastudent loves it when people give themselves nicknames. It’s the little things that count.

According the 2011/2012 calendar (ooh it’s so fresh and shiny), the Psychology Major requires the following:

First Year: PSY100H1
After PSY100:

  1. Statistics: PSY201H1/ECO220Y1/ECO227Y1/GGR270H1/HMB325H1/SOC202H1/STA220H1/STA250H1
  2. Two of PSY210H1, PSY220H1, PSY230H1, PSY240H1 (Cluster A) and two of PSY260H1, PSY270H1, PSY280H1, PSY290H1 (Cluster B)
  3. Four half-courses (2 FCEs) at the 300+-level from Group 1 below, with at least one half-course from each of Clusters A and B
  4. one 400-level half-course (.5 FCE) from Group 1 below, Cluster A or B
  5. 1.5 FCEs from Groups 1 and/or 2 below

I don’t see anything about an honors thesis, which seems more streamlined for the Psychology Research Specialist, which you can get into by applying into a PSY lab course in third year.

My advice is that you be proactive about this. If you want to do an honors thesis, contact the professor you like the best in the Psychology Program and see if you can do one. Contact the Psychology Students Association and ask for their advice. There’s no reason that your major in Psych should stop you from seeking the opportunities for research that you so crave. (And that will certainly improve your application for graduate school, if you are so inclinded.)

I also see that the “research” tab of the Psych website lists a bunch of profs studying highly specific facets of interest. Maybe you could find a match by perusing those categories?

My point is that if you want an opportunity to happen, sometimes you have to go about making it happen yourself. Sans honors thesis, you will still graduate with honors (because everyone in Arts and Science graduates with honors – hooray!), but do the honourable thing, and go after what you want while you can.

Hope that helps!

xoxo, Askastudent

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