askastudent

your student life specialists

Archive for the ‘grades’

May04

solidarity sister

Hi Aska,

I’ve come to you in the past to ask an important question that you answered spectacularly, and I’m returning to ask yet another question in hopes your answer for this will exceed how great the previous one was. Whereas my last question sent nearly a year ago was excitement and anxiety meshed into one about trying to figure out my second year courses, this one is about giving up those second year courses. Or just giving up period. Idk, basically, I’m in a deep and dark hole that I can’t seem to climb out of.

I’m a second year student at UTSG, I am in “good academic standing”–not necessarily meaning I’m doing “good,” but the school hasn’t sent me a threatening email about putting me on academic probation, so in that case I’m golden. I have dropped 2.0 FCEs, and am currently about to fail another full year course which I sadly no longer can drop on ACORN according to the 2017 Calendar. (idk i read about talking to my registrar’s office about dropping it, idek pls confirm).

I’m just in such a rut. I had my life planned out since my first day of senior year in high school, and now I’m barely getting by because I am so unhappy that I’ve been seriously considering professional help to get me through (although I probably won’t because of embarrassment issues). I have no motivation–the path I had planned for myself was a plan I loved, but now I’m so unsure. (I’m an English and History Major btw; was planning on getting my Masters of Teaching from OISE after completing my undergrad and then becoming a teacher. But my marks are too low, let’s face it, so I was planning on getting my Consecutive BEd from YorkU after.)

What I’m saying is, I need advice. I need a break from life. Because I swear, just a few more weeks or days or hours on campus and I will crack.

If I end off this year, I’ll only have 2.0 FCE’s fulfilled for my second year. Almost like it didn’t even happen and I just wasted 7K+ on my tuition. Sigh. Can I take a year off? What will happen when I ask to come back after? Can I even ask to come back after? What should I do, Aska? I’m hopeless.

Sincerely,

A distressed and mentally drained soul that feels like giving up on everything in the world.

(aka probably a lot of students that go to UofT)

Thanks.

———————————————

hello friend,

thank you so much for reaching out. i wish i could’ve gotten back to you sooner! it has also taken me several hours to craft a response to this so i apologize!

since the topic of mental health is super super important to discuss, i’m going to try my best not to sound cliche and just be honest about my own experiences and try to give you advice based on what worked for me. (cliche’s are cliche’s for a reason though, so apologies if many are used)

to preface all of this: i’ve been through exactly what you’re going through, and dude, i feel you. the past four years have not been smooth and i continue to deal with depression and anxiety everyday. it was really awesome of you to reach out about this topic this because it encourages people to talk about it. keeping things bottled up is never a healthy option. i am a firm believer in letting it out. anyways, please know that you’re talking to a kindred spirit and that even though i might not know you personally, i’ve been there.

transitioning from university is a huge jump and you’re definitely going to be under a lot of pressure. deadlines, commitments, terrible profs, and newfound independence are pretty much a recipe for disaster if coupled with sleep deprivation and lack of general nutrition.

let’s try to tackle this step by step.

  1. your academic standing and dropping courses: regarding your academic standing, as long as you are still “in good standing”, you are, in your own words, golden. failing a Y course isn’t the end of the world. just make it up in a different semester! in the future, (again, i wish i had gotten back to you sooner) i would recommend that you consider this wonderful thing called LWD (otherwise known as a late withdrawal). i’ve taken advantage of this many a time when i’ve hit rock bottom, and it’s super helpful for times when you know you’re going to fail but you’ve missed the drop deadline. read more about LWD here.
  2. getting help: admitting that you need help is pretty hard to do but it’s the first step to feeling better. i can tell you from personal experience that reaching out to a professional is definitely hard but once you do, you’ll feel so much better and you’ll feel super accomplished. you don’t need to be embarrassed about your mental health. there are more people out there than you think that are going through the same thing. how i got help: i reached out first to my friends who urged me to see a doctor on campus. i made an appointment (really the hardest part) to discuss my mental health with a physician at health and wellness and she referred me to a psychologist. with my doctor and psychologist, we developed a treatment plan to help me gradually feel better. at around the same time, i was missing deadlines, skipping classes, and staying in bed all day. it was really hard for me to come to terms with getting zeroes on assignments so i went to my registrar’s office to ask for help. i will never stop singing praises for my registrar’s office because they’ve helped me in so many ways. my registrar wrote letters to professors for me when i needed to ask for extensions but was too embarrassed to ask. they are also knowledgeable about the various campus resources that are available for students, whether it’s accessibility services or health and wellness. making my profs aware of my condition also yielded some very comforting responses. i had profs who said to me: “please let me know if you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to come talk to me if you ever need someone to talk to”. i even had profs who went above and beyond their role as a professor to make sure i was still caught up with my work by emailing me what i had missed. profs are humans too and chances are, they’ve probably gone through some dark times themselves, but you’ll never know until you reach out to them. if you only get one thing out of this post, i hope i’ve encouraged you to get help. you are not alone in this battle and there are tons of people and resources out there that can help you lessen the weight on your shoulders. trying to crawl out of the dark whole is hard but it’s easier when you have the support of other people.
  3. a change of plans: your life is constantly shifting. every factor in your life is fluid and sometimes it’s really difficult to have a set plan for the future. just look back on your life 2 years ago: how much has changed? did you think you’d be where you are today? you learn new things, try new things, and meet new people everyday, all of which could drastically change your whole life course. while sure, it’s good to set goals for yourself to work towards, don’t sweat it too hard if your goals may need to change. there really isn’t one way to do anything. going on a completely different path doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t end up at the same destination. you could switch your majors, take a gap year, decide you don’t want to go back to school, get certified for teaching languages abroad and end up teaching english in japan! same end goal, different path. it’s not the end of the world if things don’t work out right now because the possibilities are endless. *askastudentstorytime* things have an odd way of working out. i actually wanted to go into the same teaching program at OISE but found out that my grades were too low. i went to the registrar’s office one day to talk about how my grades sucked and i ended up getting a job there a couple of months later. since i started working here, planning for my career has completely changed. i may not ever become a teacher, but i’ve found something else that i also like doing, and you will too!
  4. gap year: if you feel like you’d feel better taking a year off, by all means, do it! your health is your number one priority because a degree is pretty much worthless to you if you end up destroying your soul to procure it. if you do want to take a gap year, don’t enrol in any courses in the semesters that you want off, and the school will get the hint and financially cancel you. if you are an international student, contact the CIE to double check the consequences of going on a gap year with a study permit. don’t worry, nothing bad will happen while you’re gone and you are always welcome to come back and finish your degree at any time. all you’d have to do is to re-register and pay the $25 re-registration fee at your college. see? not so scary!

you wanted some advice for what to do so here is the tldr version of it all.

dropping/ failing courses won’t sabotage your whole university career. it happens all the time. next time if you know you’re going to fail but you’ve missed the drop deadline, consider using one of your LWD’s.

talk to someone/ anyone about your struggles. someone out there will be able to help you or at least relate to your struggles! take advantage of the registrar’s office and the resources available to you on campus.

goals may change and that’s okay.

take a gap year if you think your health would benefit from it. a break from school and some time to recuperate might be exactly what you need right now!

i’m really sorry that you’re going through this and i hope that the summer is a lot less stressful and more enjoyable. bask in the warm sunlight and drink it all in before things get dark and gloomy again. feel free to write again! while i can’t guarantee that i will get back to you in timely fashion, i guarantee that aska will always respond eventually to any emails we receive. thanks for taking the first step to email us. be proud of your efforts.

i know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel at this point in your life but i can assure you that it’s there! it’s always easier to walk through a dark tunnel with the help of people who’ve seen the light. idk, i’m trying to come up with a good metaphor but i’m not sure if it’s working.

…k what i’m trying to say is that you’re not just walking towards nothingness.

you’re gonna be okay. hang in there.

peace and lots and lots of love,

aska

Apr03

relax young’un

hi aska! i’m a grade 12 student from toronto, and today i was accepted to Victoria college for humanities. however, the OUAC just uploaded my midterm marks today, and my average is lower than my first-semester average that UofT already saw (it’s at an 89% right now). is there a possibility that my offer of admission could be taken back by Vic? thank you so much!

———————————————

hello!

i’m not sure what kind of offer you received, but normally, as long as you remain in good academic standing, you don’t need to worry.

89 is still quite high!

if you don’t believe me, it’s even stated on the website in the FAQ section at the very bottom:

“Unless clearly requested in your offer letter, the University of Toronto expects that your final grades will be consistent with the mid-term/predicted grades submitted. Small changes are nothing to worry about. If you’ve maintained your work effort through the year, you will be absolutely fine.”

see? toldya!

peace and love,

aska

Mar27

don’t go

Hello! I’ve tried looking for this answer but I can’t seem to find it. Is there a limit to how many years you can do to complete your undergrad? I’m on my 5th contemplating doing a 6th. I’m also hoping to change 1 of my majors as well. My GPA is terrible and am very slowly reaching the minimum requirement to graduate but I’m really starting to wonder if I should take another year instead. I feel like I would really regret leaving the school with the bare minimum GPA required since it’s so final

———————————————

hello there!

there is no limit! you can take as long as you want to finish your undergrad. if you want to stay behind and boost your GPA, that’s perfectly fine. unless you’re an international student, then you’ll have to make sure you have the right visa allowances.

you can definitely change one of your majors if you meet the requirements, you just have to do in within the appropriate program switching period.

if you leave school with the bare minimum GPA, it might be hard for you to apply to grad schools (if that’s what you’re interested in). if you see more school in your future, it would be a good idea to stay behind to get a better GPA.

it’s very common to take longer than 4 years to do your undergrad, so don’t worry about it!

you got this!

peace and love,

aska

Jan18

final destination

For undergrad, can someone do two years at York then transfer to UofT for the last two years? Is this difficult to do? Honestly thinking of doing this as I really want to go to UofT but I’m an international student and cannot afford 40k tuition each year for four years.

———————————————

hey,

it is definitely possible to transfer to U of T from york but it’s a whole process. not a terrible process, but a process nonetheless.

first, you need to be in pretty good academic standing, and by pretty good, i mean a solid B average. if the program you are trying to enter is more competitive, you might need to contact the department for a more accurate average.

second, you can’t apply if you are more than 2 years into a degree, meaning if you were to transfer into the same program after 3 years of york, you wouldn’t be able to, you’d have to apply for a different program.

third, you have to meet all the high school entry requirements as well as university requirements for your program.

the application process will be through OUAC105 since you won’t be applying as a high school student, and after you are admitted, you will need to have your transfer credits assessed by U of T. the university can grant you a maximum of 5 transfer credits (1 full year).

the whole transfer process is outlined nicely at this link, so take a look!

basically, it’s not that difficult if you meet all the requirements and are in good academic standing. however, all things considered, transferring to another university is a huge change and you might want to think about whether or not you want to leave your already established group of friends and community.

hope you make the right decision!

peace and love,

aska

Jan16

don’t forget to drop your courses when you move

Hey I failed grade 12 calculus, chemistry, physics, and biology. All uni level. This was because I only attended the first week and then moved kinda far away, but I FORGOT to drop the courses! I retook them all achieving high marks:

SBI4U – 84% (failed first time)

MHF4U – 85% (passed first time)

SPH4U – 99% (failed first time)

SCH4U – 98% (failed first time)

MCV4U – 99% (failed first time)

ENG4U – 73% (this one sucks, passed first time)

GPA: 89.6%

My question is, do the courses that I failed, due to the reason stated above (moved away), count towards my GPA? Or do the higher, newer marks count towards my GPA? I was wondering because uoft doesn’t use repeated marks, so do my new ones count as repeated, or not? What is the procedure if you failed a course and then retook it? Which number do they use for GPA admission?

And will my average be high enough to have a good chance at being accepted for mechanical engineering, physics, computer science, and engineering science? I haven’t decided which one yet lol.

Thanks so much!!

———————————————

sup,

this is quite the predicament that you’re in! can’t say i’ve ever heard of anyone else doing this.

arts and science has a blurb in their policy which states the following:

“The Faculty of Arts & Science does not recommend that students repeat courses and reserves the right to give preference for admission and scholarship consideration to students whose marks are the result of a single attempt at each course. Students with extenuating circumstances requiring them to repeat such courses should send an explanation to Enrolment Services at the time of application, i.e. prior to the admission decision.”

long story short, you might be able to attach some sort of an explanation to your transcript. it does say in the FAQ for engineering admissions at UTSG that it is their policy to only count the first attempt, but it also says that you can provide documentation to explain any extenuating circumstances.

perhaps something along the lines of:

“i moved and foolishly forgot to drop my courses lul so i failed but it’s k cuz i did them for real and i got good grades, see?”

since you haven’t indicated which campus you’re planning on attending, i’m going to assume you’re referring to UTSG, since UTSC and UTM don’t offer engineering courses. here are the averages that you would need to get into engineering (below), and physics, and computer science at UTSG.

Low 90’s Engineering Science
High 80’s Chemical, Computer, Electrical, and General First Year
Mid 80’s Civil, Industrial,  Materials, Mechanical and Mineral

 

 

hope this helped,

good luck with your application!

peace and love,

aska

Jan16

with a grain of salt

hi.

i am a sixth-year student, hoping to finally begin grad school next year
(fall 2017). i have heard that grad schools assign more weight to
undergraduates’ later academic performance than their earlier; however, i
was wondering if this is supposed to indicate that higher-level courses are
more heavily weighted, or if it is rather simply because they are looking
for how well the student is doing closer to the time of the application.
so, for example, say you left a bunch of required courses to the end of
your degree, and they are 100- and 200-level courses, and you do
significantly worse in them than you did in 300- and 400-level courses that
you took much earlier –– would the lower-level required courses be
overlooked in favour of high marks in the upper-year programs? or is it
really that it is about whatever courses were most recently taken, and so
the lower-level courses would be given greater weight.

thanks,
‘non

———————————————

hey,

this is a really good question. each school is different in their process of assessing your transcript. to get more program-specific information, i would highly recommend that you contact the school yourself and take what i am saying with a grain of salt.

sorry. i had to.

however, typically, they DO look at your last two years to get an accurate idea of your most recent academic standing. with this in mind, they will still have access to your whole transcript, meaning that if there are certain courses that you took earlier on that were more relevant to the program you are pursuing, they won’t necessarily be ignored.

so, no. higher level courses (300-level or 400-level) courses aren’t weighted differently.

capisce?

peace and love,

aska

 

Jan11

don’t lose hope, youngling

Hello,

I am a life science student in the second year. After completing the fall term studying, I feel that it is very difficult to get a high GPA. I wonder if I get 3.0 cumulative GPA after graduation, what can I do? what school accept me? what work opportunities do I have? Thanks.

Best,

———————————————

hello,

*as askastudentuoft, i hope you understand that i am knowledgeable about all things U of T, and that’s about it, so this post will be very U of T centric*

while a 3.0 GPA is great, many of the life science graduate programs available at U of T require averages which range from B+ to A- (with the exception of the occupational science and occupational therapy program which looks for mid B’s). but, keep in mind, these are just life science programs available at U of T. there are plenty of other schools which offer similar programs which may require different averages.

you’re only in second year, which means you don’t ACTUALLY know if you’re going to end up with a 3.0 average. you seem to have already lost hope in yourself. don’t stress out right now about what your work opportunities will be and just try your best to get the best grades you can. i can’t really tell you what kind of work opportunities will be available when you graduate because we don’t even know what program you’ll be pursuing for grad school!

a good place to start is the career learning network. it’s a great tool for current students and recent graduates. you can use it to find research positions (i hear the life science people like those) and postings by companies looking for recent U of T graduates. logging onto the career learning network website is definitely the first step you should take when looking for work opportunities for students like you!

for now, focus on school and building up your resume with work and volunteer experiences. they can be relevant or irrelevant to your field, but having experience is definitely an asset when applying for any kind of job. volunteer at a hospital from time to time or make some money tutoring kids grade 10 science! whatever it is, just make sure you work hard and build up a good collection of references in case you need them for grad school.

in all seriousness, i’m graduating later this year and i don’t even know what work opportunities will be available to me! i can’t even see into my own future, let alone yours!

anyways, hope this was somewhat helpful!

good luck, work hard, and try your best at everything you do.

peace and love,

aska

Nov18

proud of you

I have 21 credits and a cGPA of 3.21; do I graduate with distinction? I’m pretty certain if I had 20 credits my cGPA would not meet the distinction threshold.
———————————————
hey there,
the only reason why you wouldn’t graduate with distinction is if any of these 21 credits were considered extra. an extra credit would fall under:
-any 100-level courses taken after you’ve reached your limit of 6.0 100-level FCE’s
-any course that you have already passed and are repeating
-an exclusion for a course you’ve already taken
if none of your courses fall under this category, yes, you will graduate with distinction! your credits will all be considered in your cGPA! congrats for making it!
giphy-1
cheers,
aska
Nov15

c- in grade 9 sewing

Hi, when I apply to UofT, do I only need to submit my grade 12 grades? or do I need to submit my grades from grade 9, 10, 11 too? Thank you.

———————————————

hi,

your full transcript will be sent to U of T (including earlier years), meaning they will be able to see your grades all the way back from either grade 8 or 9 (depending on where you’re from). however, admissions will mostly look at your grade 12 marks to see if you have the classes that are required for your program. this is not to say that they won’t take your grade 11 marks into consideration. for ontario high school students, it does say on the website that the university will send out conditional offers based on your grade 11 marks as well as your grade 12 interim and final marks.

i hope you’ll be as relieved to hear this as i was. if they had considered my grade 9 marks in sewing (or any other subject for that matter), i probably would not have gotten in to U of T.

giphy

 

work hard and show’em all you have to offer!

cheers,

aska

Oct17

legally blonde is a prereq for law school

If i want to go to law school after ungrad, preferably osgoode or uoft; is it better off to go to york and not uoft for undergrad? because apparently uoft marks a lot harder which makes it harder to get into law school

———————————————

hey,

first, please keep in mind that i am currently doing my undergrad at U of T, not york, so my perspective may be slightly skewed. since you came to aska, i feel that you probably wanted an opinion from a U of T student anyways.

yes, U of T does mark very hard and you may not end up with the golden 4.0 GPA you had envisioned yourself getting, but then again, you may also find york challenging. who knows?

i’m sure you’ve browsed the rankings for both undergrad and law school for both schools so i won’t get into that, but it really depends on what kind of education you want for yourself. both schools have very different reputations. you may feel that U of T marks harder, but maybe that’s a good thing! if you are challenged at school, maybe you’ll be more ready for law school. at a different school, you might get higher grades, but will you be ready for law school?

going to another school may seem like the “easier” choice, but if you work hard now, it’ll pay off. if you don’t work hard now, you’ll have to work hard later on.

another thing to consider is, lets say you do an undergrad at york. do you think it would be more convenient/ familiar if you went to osgoode for law school? maybe you’ll be more used to being at the same campus.

it’s great that you’re thinking ahead, but i feel like this question is a little premature. your first year may change your perspective on all of this. perhaps you’ll decide that you don’t want to go to law school, and that you’ll want to become a teacher!

anyways, definitely think long and hard about this.*

 

*but come to U of T

also, if you want to go to law school and haven’t seen legally blonde, you really should. it’s practically a pre-requisite.

cheers,

aska

Jun06

everything in the last week of classes

Heyyy there 🙂
I’m currently a student at UTM and I have a question about my academic rights as a student. I was making a calendar for the month of March and I noticed that for one of my sociology courses I have a test worth 25% of my grade, AND and assignment worth 15% of my grade for the same class due on the same day, which is March 31st. However, when I was looking at the syllabus for one of my other classes (a history course) it states at the very end that as a UTM student I have an academic right to NOT have a term test worth 25% or more in the last two weeks…. Is this correct?? Or do my academic rights as a student change from course to course? I already emailed my prof to make sure whether it is, or isn’t a typo, but he hasn’t responded so I thought I’d check with you 🙂
THANKS!!

———————————————

hey there,

to quote the UTM academic handbook: “No term test or combination of term tests having a value greater than 25% of the final mark may be held in the last two weeks of classes at the end of ANY session – Fall, Winter, or Summer” (page 16).  that seems pretty clear to me. I hope you were able to sort it out with your professor.

best of luck!

Mar23

GPA slave

Hi Aka,
Long words in short, I’ve been here in Toronto for so long and never feel too sure academically of myself.Now I’m in my last term of 2nd year, bearing a repeat probation and the feeling of falling down the cliff is comingback again. For this time my midterms are done so poorly that I’m now writing to my registrar’s to see if switchingto part time is a wise option. But I feel like I’ve been delaying so long that I nearly lost all my acquaintances and evenmy roommate is going away to do a super fancy internship in California. My discipline is also a limited one, I also haven’tseen the possibility of switching to another major, feeling my graduation is just further that way. Is there really a way torisk and get a good-looking final mark even though my midterms are really fucked up?
Slave of GPA

———————————————

hey there,

we’re in crunch time now. exams are about to smack everyone in the face, much sooner than anyone expects, i’m sure. if i were you, my immediate strategy would be to focus on passing my classes and getting above that 1.50 CGPA that you need to get off probation.

cancrushed

crunch time at uoft.

that means you need to: put everything else aside (except food and sleep) and focus on studying. go to review sessions if they’re available. read the textbook(s). do practice questions. whatever you need to do. if you need to LWD a course/courses, start planning for that now – touch base with your registrar’s office, maybe set up an appointment with them, etc.

after that’s out of the way and you have a little bit of time to breathe, then you can start thinking about your long-term plans. maybe you need to re-evaluate whether university is really for you. maybe part-time courses are, in fact, the best option for you; talking to your registrar’s office about that is a wonderful step in the right direction. if you’re feeling that you don’t like your current program and you don’t really like any of the other programs uoft has to offer, though, then maybe uoft isn’t for you.

maybe that’s a signal to start looking into other universities, colleges, or jobs. what career paths are you excited about? or, if you find you can’t bring yourself to feel excited about anything in particular, is there some path that is presenting itself to you right now, that you could be qualified for?

or, if you’re really set on staying at school, then it’s a good idea to come up with some concrete steps to improve your performance in class. commit to seeking extra help, either from a private tutor, TA/prof office hours, the academic success centre, the writing centre at your college…there are lots and lots of options, depending on what you need. your registrar’s office is a great place to discuss those options and see where you can get the help you need to succeed.

finally, just a note: you say you feel like you’re delaying and therefore losing friends, opportunities, etc. i don’t mean to say that the situation you’re in isn’t an unpleasant one, or that you don’t need to figure out your academic situation. however, i do just want to give you a gentle reminder that just because you’re going through a tough time, doesn’t mean you’re falling behind. as long as you end up where you want to be, then it doesn’t matter how long you take to get there. focus on you. you’ll get there.

cheers,

aska

Feb05

automatically rejected?

Hey,

So im a 3rd year physics specialist, and i took a course That was not required for my degree( Just for the fun of it) and i got the mark back and its 50. This Is the first time i have gotten a mark like This. I am usually a high 70-low 80 Student. I had prospects for physics graduate school at uoft and some other school in Ontario. M’y question Is: How Bad Is going to look on applications or am i automatically rejected? Also, Is it possible to ask my college to base This course on a cr/ncr basis? I only took the course for fun. It has nothing to do with my study. The test of my marks for This semester have been 3.7-4.0, So Can i make a case That This Is not a representation of my academic ability? I am worried because Most Schools look at last two years and This Is going to be a cold sore of sorts in my transcript. Thanks

———————————————

hey there,

you can always ask, but it’s unlikely that your college will make the course credit/non-credit after the course is over. like, very unlikely.

however, the fact that your mark is so unusual, and that it has nothing to do with physics, can only help your application to graduate school. that means that when a graduate admissions committee looks at your transcript, they are more likely to see this particular mark as a fluke. yes, it might cause your GPA to dip a little, but it’s not going to ruin your chances.

the M.Sc. requires at least a B+ average or better, so if you’ve been sitting at a 3.7+ GPA, this mark probably will not be the tipping point from accepted to not. in other words, your GPA leaves wiggle room for a mark like this.

now i want to be clear that i’m not guaranteeing your admission to any program: competition varies widely from year to year and i can’t make very accurate predictions because i haven’t seen your transcript. all i’m saying is that all hope is not lost.

something that might help your application, if you feel comfortable doing so, is sending an explanatory letter along with your application. most admissions committees will allow you to send along a letter explaining any unique circumstances or unusual results. you can use this opportunity to explain the outlying mark – just make sure to ask whether they’ll accept such a letter first.

cheers,

aska

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