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why are there so many hunger games comparisons to u of t

Hey Aska how are you? I’m just not quite understanding the waitlist process. I was put onto a waitlist for my priority group which had a certain number spaces (all of which are full) but it seems that my rank has actually increased rather than go down since yesterday. Do you know why that is? Also when August 4th comes and the merging of the waitlist occur , are 4th years given priority , then 3rd and so on? Thanks a lot!



i’m good, thanks for asking. i feel like no one ever asks aska how they’re doing, so thank you kind asker.

i have no idea why your rank in the wait list went up, not down. i guess the only thing i could tell you is… well, sh*t happens? sorry there isn’t really a better explanation.

i do have an answer for the second part of your question! when august 4th rolls around and the priority drops, all the different wait lists will collapse into one and your position in the new wait list will be determined based on when you got into any wait list for the course. so, for example, if you were the third person to be in a wait list, regardless of your priority group, you will be the third person on the new wait list.

i hope this helps and i hope this makes sense (lol). good luck, course enrolment is hell.

may the odds be ever in your favour.

 katniss everdeen hunger games katniss hunger games s GIF




ol’ reliable 5.0 FCE

I am a new first year student starting this Fall..
I want to ask from experiences.. whether it is too hard for a first year student to take 5.0 credits for the Fall/Winter semesters all at once.. and do not taking any summer course. I am worried since the first year is really important.

Thank you.



let me just take this chance to welcome you to u of t!

 jimmy fallon hello hi fallontonight hey GIF

as for whether or not it’s “too hard” for a first year student to take 5.0 FCE (full course equivalents) or credits, it all really depends on your pace. most people in first year take 5.0 FCE and it’s considered standard to take 5. as long as you are taking more than 3.0 FCE, you’ll be considered a full time student. also keep in mind that if you are taking 3.5 FCE or fewer, you will have to pay a per-course fee, rather than a program fee. 

you should also know that there is absolutely no shame in taking less than 5.0, if that’s what you need. life happens, and sometimes you need to drop a course or two. though 5.0 FCE would allow you to finish in four years, don’t forget that it’s 10000% okay to take more time. honestly, every frosh should get slapped with a giant poster board that says “IT’S FINE TO TAKE MORE THAN FOUR YEARS” carried by a parade of students yelling “TAKE YOUR TIME!!!!”. maybe instead of marching with your college at the utsu parade during frosh week, first year students should stand to the side while upper year students scream affirmations and “IT’S OK!!!” at them. orientation week planners- hit me up.

anyways… 5.0 FCE is completely doable and is standard. but don’t forget that if you need more time, it’s totally fine.

i hope this helps and welcome to u of t!




course selection frenzy

Hello! I got into u of t St George and first I just wanted to say thank you to all the admins of aska! There’s a lot of anxiety surrounding uni when you’re a senior, but this site was a haven for all my questions. So thank you 🙂 And now that I got in I have even more questions haha. Course selection! I don’t know anything about what I’m supposed to do! How many courses do I choose? How many credits do I need to graduate? Can I only choose courses revolvin from major and/or minor? Thanks again!!


hello young one!

thank you! it’s always nice to get fanmail!

as for your questions about course selection, it’s understandable that you have no clue what’s going on! i felt like i was wandering through an impermeable haze of confusion during the summer before my first year so i totally feel you.

for first years, you’ll find out your course enrolment time (when you can log onto ACORN and enrol in courses) on july 21st. actual course enrolment starts july 27th. basically, you log onto ACORN, find the courses that you want to take by typing them into the website’s search bar, add them to your enrolment cart, and then click the enrol button on july 27th. DON’T FORGET TO ACTUALLY ENROL IN YOUR COURSES. i know tons of people who forgot because they thought that adding them to their enrolment cart enrolled them automatically. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. it’s like online shopping, you gotta check out after you put ’em in the cart.

as for how many courses, most people do 5 FCE (full course equivalents) per year in order to graduate in 4 years (you need 20 FCE to graduate, 5 times 4 = 20). of course, that is just a suggestion. some people take less and then take either an extra year or two to graduate or make up for it with summer courses. it’s all up to you! i wouldn’t suggest taking more than 5 in the first year though. while it is possible to take up to 6 FCE per year, it’s nice to be able to just figure out your pacing and see how heavy uni courses are before taking on extra courses.

in your first year (i’m also assuming that you’re in artsci), you can take any classes you want, though you should take the courses that are relevant to your programs of interest. you should also do some research on the programs that you’re interested in and check out their preqs. you can find programs and their requirements in the faculty calendar.

i would also suggest looking at the breadth requirement. though you do have your entire undergrad to fulfill these, a lot of people like to get these out of the way early. there are also a lot of breadth options in first year, such as the first year seminar classes. also, you are only allowed 6.0 100-level courses throughout your degree, so it might be a good idea to plan out how you’re going to use them.

i really hope that this helps! looking forward to seeing you on campus in september!




compsci conundrum

I am planning on attending UTSC (but I think this question should be
applicable to the other campuses) this September, and I am looking for
advice on whether I should aim for a major + 2 minor or (software
engineering) specialist program in Computer Science.

I am leaning towards the major + 2 minor option for the following reasons:

The specialist program requires some additional courses that I think would
make it more difficult than the major. For example, it requires both Linear
Algebra II and Intro to Probability, whereas the major program let’s you
choose one of them. Another math course that is required is Calculus of
Several Variables I, which just sounds terrifying. And I know that math is
important in CS, but, I am only okay in math (ended with 83 in functions
because trig killed me [I probably wouldn’t have done that well on it in
the first place, but I planned poorly for other subjects, and so did not
have time to study for the unit test]; calc seems much more interesting,
though), and so I would like to skip some of these math courses.
Additionally, I am not sure how useful or hard some of the additional CS
courses like Intro to Numerical Algorithms for Computational Mathematics or
Computability and Computational Complexity will be—they all seem very
abstract and not-practical.

Another reason I want the major + 2 minor is that I would get two minors. I
am taking Writer’s Craft this year and have realized that I quite enjoy
creative writing. It just so happens that UTSC offers a minor program under
English called Creative Writing. I think taking this minor alongside the CS
major would be a great way to lessen the workload and pursue something I
enjoy, while also pursing something else I enjoy that can actually earn me
money. Having only math and theory-based CS courses besides a small number
of electives is not too appealing to me. I realize that those courses are
better than practical programming courses in the long-run, but having them
make up the vast majority of my degree seems a bit painful. I don’t have a
solid pick for a second minor yet, but I don’t think it would be hard for
me to choose one (linguistics and food science are top contenders).

Here, then, are reasons I might want to go the specialist route:

I’m special.

I think some of the courses the specialist has you take would be pretty
beneficial. For example, since my goal is to get a job as a programmer, the
courses that seem to teach you how to do stuff in a real-world environment
like Intro to Software Engineering and Engineering Large Software Systems
could really be useful, and I might be missing out if I opt for the major.
There are also a few other courses like Programming on the Web and Intro to
Databases which could add to my skill set and make me more marketable for
co-op and post-post-secondary jobs. I am of course just predicting how
valuable these courses might be form their names and descriptions alone;
that’s why I’m asking you! The major program only allows you to take 1
credit of additional C/D-level (300/400-level) CS courses, which means
missing out on some potentially useful courses. I am guessing that it is
not possible to take more as electives, but is it?

My minors will probably also not help at all with my future career; I would
only be taking them to lessen the amount of math/CS courses and increase
the amount of enjoyable courses. Is that a bad thing to do?

So, to conclude, do you think the benefits for taking the specialist
program (additional useful courses) outweighs the cons (more un-fun
courses; less fun courses)? Both choices aid the mind, but in different
ways (i.e. one probably reduces chances of suicide).

Thank you and sorry for the long message; I wanted to make my points clear



i began penning a response to this question that went a little something like: “just go with your gut! it seems like you’re leaning towards the major and two minors option! why not pursue that?”, but upon further reflection, i’ve decided that we need to rewind a little, if that’s okay with you.

(just so you know, i’m not a computer science student, nor have i taken any computer science classes and i’m just as confused as you are about these programs. i’m speaking only as a seasoned upper year student)

before i start ripping into you, (it’s going to happen, i’m sorry) kudos to you for thinking this hard about what program you want to get into. it’s clear you’ve put a lot of thought into this, which is great. this response isn’t supposed to make you feel bad- i just want to bring you back to earth a little.

so, first- you’ve made some serious assumptions on what these courses are going to be like. i can tell you from experience that i’ve made assumptions based on course names and have been incredibly wrong. classes also vary pretty dramatically depending on the instructor.

*askastorytime* i took a class called urban geography, planning, and political processes. i thought was going to be super difficult and intense, but it ended up being super chill. for our final project, we created a zine and performed a rap for the class. for our group presentation, i contributed a sick drum beat and didn’t even utter a single word. moral of the story: do not judge courses by their names. linear algebra is probs super easy. (i’m kidding. math is never easy. math is very hard. we mustn’t joke about math.)

your assumptions that some classes are “abstract”, “non-practical” or “terrifying” are all based on the course name. the truth is, every program at u of t will require a great deal of hard work. sure, easy courses exist, but transitioning from high school to first year is a huge challenge and you need to take that into account. picking the major and two minors option over a specialist program doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be choosing the ‘easier route’. like i’ve said in previous posts, it really depends on how deep you want to get into a subject. a major and two minors allows you to explore a larger variety of subjects whereas a specialist will let you dig deep into one subject. which option are you more interested in?

while the university does have a breadth requirement which encourages us to take courses outside of our faculty, personally, if i were to choose two minors that were completely unrelated to my major, i feel like i would have lots of difficulty focusing on each one and feel like a scatterbrain. for others who are better at multitasking and switching between subjects easily, a major and two minors is perfect! it really depends on what kind of person you are. can you turn your computer science mind off and jump right into phonetics and phonology if you need to? you’ll have to test that out in your first year! p.s. don’t forget to take a moment to check out the requirements for your potential minors and their different application requirements.

that being said, from what i’ve heard, computer science is extremely math heavy. there is no easy way out. you have been warned.

for now, i think you should try picking courses that are prerequisites for the general computer science programs (if you are sure about pursuing computer science), and see how you feel about them. fear not, the utsc calendar literally says that it’s not meant to be difficult to switch between different streams within computer science.

you have plenty of time to discuss your options with an academic advisor as well! you can also talk to the program supervisor for computer science if you have more specific questions about the available compsci programs.

i’d also encourage you to reach out to current or past computer science alumni to get some different perspectives on how they chose their programs. hearing other people’s thought processes might help you figure out what you’re looking for!

hey, if doing programming for your whole undergrad sounds terrible for you, maybe computer science isn’t the right program for you. your first year is meant for you to explore and discover what courses you like. you don’t even necessarily need to get into your program by second year if you still don’t know what to do after your first year.

so in conclusion, specialist courses won’t necessarily be more useful in the long run, and if the idea of specializing in software engineering doesn’t sound colourful enough for you, maybe the major and two minor option will be better for you! again, you really need to take some university level classes to see what it’s really like here. don’t judge a book by its cover, yo.

good luck with your decision, i hope you choose a program you like!

peace and love,



sad face emoticon

why doesn’t uoft have any tech-y courses 🙁



you and i are in the same boat because we’re both sad face emoticon people.

you’re clearly sad face emoticon about U of T not having “tech-y” courses whereas i am sad face emoticon that some people ask me very vague questions that don’t make much sense.

what do you mean by tech-y? am i missing something here?

all classes TECHnically involve some sort of technology, right???? is computer science not tech-y enough a course? i can’t really think of anything more tech-y than the science of technology itself!

in conclusion, please elaborate ’cause i’m pretty stumped here.

idk man,






incoming first-years: it’s that time again! except for you guys, it’s “that time” for the first time, because you’ve never done it before. and no, i’m not talking about eating spaghetti meatballs with your sweetie. i’m talking about COURSE ENROLMENT.

you may have heard from older friends that course enrolment is this terrible, harrowing process, that uoft is out to get you and doesn’t want you to get into your courses, and that the system is set up for you to fail.

i’m not gonna argue with you if you want to make yourself out as a victim of The Man. but if you don’t get into any of your courses, it’s probably just because you’re a dingus who wasn’t prepared. that’s the hard truth.

FORTUNATELY FOR YOU, aska wants to help you leave the nest and become a fully-fledged, competent uoft student. so today, i am going to be resolving the most commonly asked first-year questions on course enrolment day – which, this year, is on the 28th of July, also known as TOMORROW.

1. i don’t understand what i’m supposed to take in first year – what are my mandatory courses?

there are no mandatory courses. at many other Ontario universities, the university will enrol you into your mandatory courses. you may be hearing about this from your friends at Western and Ryerson and Ottawa and feeling a twinge of panic, because you haven’t heard ANYTHING about mandatory courses, and as far as you know, you have to do all of your course enrolment yourself.

uoft isn’t a hand-holder. it’s more of a cold, distant parent that gives you abandonment issues. however, like the rich, neglected child who gets to have a lot of pool parties because their parents are always away, what may seem like a frustratingly hands-off approach will actually provide you with freedom and flexibility in the end.

unlike your friends at other schools, you have no mandatory courses, strictly speaking. as a first-year student in the Faculty of Arts & Science (excluding Rotman Commerce students), you have to figure out what courses you want to take in order to apply for programs in your second year. after first year, you’ll need to be in 1 specialist OR 2 majors OR 1 major and 2 minors, so you should enrol in the courses you’ll need to be eligible for whatever combination of programs you’re interested in.

some programs, like the international relations major, require that you take certain courses and achieve certain marks in those courses in order to be considered. other programs have no requirements at all, except for the completion of at least 4.0 credits – the mathematics major is an example of this.

so what you have to do is take a look at the calendar, figure out what program(s) you’re interested in, and see if there are courses you’ll need to take in order to be eligible to apply to those programs. once you do that, you will likely have some credits left over to take pretty much anything else you want. you may consider using them to fill breadth requirements, or simply to take courses for general interest.

2. why is my start time different from my friends’? We’re in the same year/program/board games club!

do not assume that you have the same start time as your friends. do the leg work and figure out your start time BEFORE the 28th. log in to ACORN and double-check. if you’ve never logged in to ACORN before, figure it out now. you will not be able to log in to ACORN on the day of, UNTIL your start time hits. that’s why it’s important to check NOW if you have not already.

you can do it. aska believes in you.

3. i can’t enrol myself into a course even though i meet the prerequisites!

if i were in charge of creating a transition pamphlet for first-year students, it would be a blank 8”x11” sheet of paper with two words on it: ENROLMENT CONTROLS.

if you can’t add a course to your cart on ACORN or enrol into it, and you can’t figure out why, it’s almost definitely because you don’t meet the enrolment control – i.e. the restriction or priority that allows only certain students to take the course.

for example: let’s say you’ve been admitted to Year 1 Life Sciences. you want to take MAT133Y1 because it looks more interesting than MAT135/136. but WAIT! ACORN is not letting you add the course to your enrolment cart! desperate and in despair, you go to the timetable and search ‘MAT133’ in the search bar.

you notice that there is a yellow bar that says ‘Enrolment Controls: Priority (P)’ under each lecture section for that course. you open the yellow bar to see that there is a priority for Year 1 Commerce and Year 1 Social Science students – which is not you. you’re Life Science. still following? good.

what does this priority mean? well, you’ll have to wait until August 5th at noon to enrol in a course if you don’t meet the priority. assuming there is still space, you can enrol in the course at that time. if there is an R for restricted (instead of a P for priority) and you’re not in the group of students listed, then you cannot enrol in the course at all. if there is an E, then you cannot enrol in the course directly, but must apply through the department that offers the course.

capice? good. i don’t want to hear about it any more.

4. i don’t meet the prerequisite for a course but i still managed to enrol in it! did i pull a fast one on ACORN?

no. ACORN can’t tell whether or not you have the prerequisites for a course; it’s not that smart. the main way that ACORN manages course enrolment is via enrolment controls (see above). however, that doesn’t mean that prerequisites are irrelevant. after course enrolment, departments will go through their courses and remove students – without warning or notice – from courses if they don’t meet the prerequisite(s).

you can check to see if a course has prerequisites on the course calendar.

5. why can’t i enrol in any more courses?!

you are only able to enrol in up to 5.0 credits (that includes waitlisted courses) until August 5th. on August 5th, the limit goes up to 6.0 credits. if you can’t enrol in a course that still has space, and you meet the enrolment control, it may be because you’ve hit your limit.

best of luck on the day of, kids. and remember: no matter how difficult you find course enrolment to be, it’s only gonna get harder from here on out.




short moving picture thingy

hi aska,

i just really want to know is there nooooooo absolute way for me to get into a R1 restricted course if i am not one of those chosen ones. Any loopholes would be much appreciated.

P.s. i love your gifs or jifs whatever the short moving picture thingy is called.



there is no way for you to get into an R1 restricted course unless you are a chosen one.

*you were not the chosen one

*you were NOT the chosen one

you can try contacting the department to see if they can make an exception, but it’s usually restricted for a reason.

i’m really glad you’re a fan of the short moving picture thingies because i’m just going to use them to apologize for crushing your hopes and dreams


giphy (2)

giphy (3)

and one more just to make you smile, hopefully.

giphy (1)




afraid of breadth categories 4 and 5? say no more!

Hi Aska!

I am trying to pick out my first year courses and am in need of a bit of assistance.

I noticed that the courses you can take have breadth requirements attached to them. Let’s say you are taking a course which covers a Creative and Cultural Representations Breadth Requirement but you are also taking this course as a requirement for your program. Does this course still cover the Breadth Requirement even though it’s going towards your program?

Also, I was accepted to U of T in the Humanities and let’s just say, I’m not that “gifted” in the science and math category. Can you recommend any First Year Seminars or even courses for individuals who aren’t that strong in the sciences and mathematics?

Thanks so much! 🙂


hey there,

oooh, a first year! do you feel excited? do you feel like you have all the potential in the world? does your heart flutter as you page through the course calendar? good. be excited. it’s an exciting time.

chandler no idea excited

a typical first year around course enrolment time

yep, courses can count towards breadth and program requirements simultaneously.

if you’re worried about filling your category 4 and 5 breadth requirements, then i would say: don’t be afraid! there are many, many more courses available at the university than there are at the high school level. you may stumble upon some science/math courses that you’ve never even heard of, but that might just be right up your alley, “gifted” or not.

also keep in mind that you don’t need to fulfil all (or even most) of your breadth requirements in first year. if you’re feeling uncomfortable with taking a category 4 or 5 breadth course going into your first year, that’s a-okay. you have three more years in which to fill them. first year is a transitional period, and it’s not a crime to try and make that transition easier.

since you did ask, however, here is my PERSONAL list of interesting-looking breadth 4/5 courses, divided into 1st year/upper year and by breadth category:


1st Year Courses

Upper Year Courses


1st Year Courses

Upper Year Courses

i hope that’s helpful! best of luck with course enrolment on the 28th. may the odds be ever in your favour.



four hundred levels of CHALLENGING

Hi aska, I’m going into my 4th year and doing 2 majors (English & Sociology), so I’ll have to take 0.5 FCE at 400-level for each POSt. Is it a bad idea to take both 400-level courses in one semester? 400-level courses are, I heard, quite intensive & the two topics I am passionate about are offered only in the fall semester. I’m so torn about this it’s genuinely stressing me out. The topics for 400-level courses in winter, annoyingly for both eng & soc, just don’t interest me as much. Thanks!


hey there,

my friend, i understand that feeling. long gone are the days when you could hide behind the 80+ other people in your class if you forget to do a reading. in 400-level classes, you’re on your own. there’re only about a dozen of you and you WILL get called on and the professor WILL figure it out if none of you have read the material for that day. it’s happened to me. and yes, it was really embarrassing.

also, everyone gets really smart, really fast in fourth year. i’ve looked around 400-level courses and been bewildered by people with whom i took 200-level classes suddenly knowing their stuff, making insightful points, having strong opinions about this or that interpretation of a text, and otherwise making me feel like i’ve got an IQ slightly below that of the average mussel.

that being said, 400-level courses are also fantastic. best case scenario, you actually get to have an interesting conversation with your class. it’s almost like you’re learning from each other. if you can imagine such a thing.

another bonus: assignments are fewer and further between, and you typically have more creative control over them. 400-level courses actually let you come into your own as an academic, research your own interests, and develop projects all on your own.

of course, that’s all really hard. but it can be fulfilling, academically; you know, if you go in for that sort of baloney.

on a personal note: i took 3.0 400-level courses in my fourth year (i had a lot of persnickety requirements to fill) and i did just fine (the other 1.5 credits i took were 300-levels). the 400-level ones were challenging, but in a good way. hopefully doing 1.0 FCEs of them will be just the right amount of challenge for you.

i hope that helps???



from here on out, you’re on your own

what happens when I get accepted into my post…. how do i know what courses to pick


hey there,

nothing happens. as with most other things at uoft, all the work is on you. you need to sort out which courses you should be taking in your (i’m assuming) second year, in order to get on your way to completing your program(s).

fortunately, the university has provided this handy, handy tool called the course calendar, which lists every program and course offered by the faculty of arts & science. what you have to do is find your program(s) in the calendar, and figure out if there are any second-year courses that they recommend you take.

for example, the European Studies major recommends that you take EUR200Y1 in your second year, as well as 1.0 credits from a list of courses that they provide.

other programs, like for example the African Studies major, will only list all the courses you need to take in your higher years, and not differentiate between them by year.

finally, some programs, like the English major, will not differentiate by year at all, but simply list the courses you need to take during the course of your degree. you figure out when and how.

in all three instances, the calendar is only providing recommendations. ACORN will not force you to take any course, ever. still, you should probably do your best to follow the calendar recommendations as closely as you can. if they are listed based on year, it’s probably because the courses you take in second year will be requirements for courses you need to take in third year, and so on. if you don’t get ALL the courses you need, though, it’s not the end of the world; you can always catch up later.

even if you do manage to take all the second year courses for your program(s), you will still probably have space left over for at least one or two more courses in your schedule, if not more. you can fill these any way you want. you can take a course or two (or four) for general interest, or to fulfil a breadth requirement, or for graduate/professional school purposes.

of course, you will also need to make sure all of these classes fit together in a schedule that makes sense for you, with no timetable conflicts. you may have to fit them in around work, extra-curriculars, or other out-of-school commitments. some courses might fill up before you have a chance to sign up for them, due to a pesky little thing called enrolment controls.

all of this, you must factor in and negotiate during course selection. is it overwhelming? yes. but thousands of people still manage to take all the courses they need in order to graduate year after year, so it’s not impossible. here are aska’s top tips to make it as productive and pain-free as possible:

1. choose your courses well in advance.

this is not only a solid piece of advice, but can also be really fun. looking through the timetable and searching for the weirdest, wonkiest courses you can find can sometimes lead to the discovery of a course or even a program that you love. spend a Sunday afternoon with an iced tea and the timetable and course calendar, just browsing your options.

2. have a backup schedule.

after you’ve done all your browsing, you should eventually assemble the courses you’d like to take next year (the new timetable has a timetable planner tool that you can use for this purpose). this is the ideal, fantasy dream of a schedule. your actual schedule will most likely not end up looking exactly like the dream, or at all. that’s why you should have a backup schedule of courses that you can use to modify your ideal schedule should some or all of it not pan out.

3. be ready to go in advance of your start time.

as you may have experienced in first year, ACORN crashes a lot during course selection. even with staggered enrolment, there’re a lot of people trying to sign on on those first days of enrolment. being at your computer 10 minutes beforehand, with your schedule (and backup schedule!) ready to go (ideally on a piece of paper, because paper can’t freeze and crash on you), you maximize your chances of getting out of course enrolment incident-free.

and that’s everything you should keep in mind during course enrolment! go forth and prosper, my friend.




read more, write more, fight jane austen more,

After 2 years in UT my GPA is real bad. First year, I joined as Life science major, and I did horrible to extent where I got academic probation. Second year, 3rd year was OK, but then I was still clueless. I had no clue what I wanted to study on and what to do after graduating. While there are some people who can press forward without having clear goal, i wasn’t like them. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, so I literally ditched studying. My first 2 years are done, and coming into 3rd year. I now have clear goal – to go into law school. Now, this isnt just one of those dreaming goals which I decide hey it looks cool to be attorney so lets try to be one. I want to be lawyer to help those around me because many takes

advantages of my family who doesnt know much about law. Also, I love reading/writing/discussing, and wouldnt mind spending days/night reading different cases and help family/client, so I figured that its the one dream I have to chase on. To be realistic, however, I think it will be too hard. My overall GPA is about 1.7 ish. I have some courses in which I got 75~80%, whereas some of the courses I took i failed. I know some law schools do take note of struggles that student can face when coming into university and therefore take the best 2 years / or last 2 years of the GPA for student. So My goal right now is raising GPA and getting good LSAT mark. To be honest, I am not that worried about LSAT as much because it looks like the test is fairly straightforward (dont take me wrong, I didnt mean it to say LSAT is easy. I meant that LSAT is the test that you can do well if you spend enough time/efforts on it.) What worries me the most is classes that I will be taking on upcoming September. Its not too rare for student to improve significantly coming into 3rd/4th year, but at the same time I know it wont be easy. I am trying to use every single thing I can do to well in upcoming semester. I went to get advices from learning centre / registrar and so on. Still I feel like I need more help if I want to succeed academically. While I do not want to put too much details about my personal information in here, I am History specialist atm (to be more precisely, East Asian studies), and im not really sure what will be the best way to succeed next two years. I have been East Asian specialist for last two years (and some courses I took in EA, I did really well), but I cant figure out how can I do well upcoming semester. If the subject were say, Math or Physics, solving more problems and memorizing equations will help. IF subject is about say, language, memorizing/practicing will help. However, East Asian studies are not quite the case. Most of the courses I took in EA take reference to history, but does not directly ask questions about history. Instead it will ask you to apply the knowledge to write the essay. While sometime writing essay instead of exam is fun, right now I find it much more difficult, because there is no direct guideline given. You wont be tested for some materials you studied, instead you will be expected to use knowledges about all the papers you read through classes and make your own view to persuade professor/TA. So right now I am on the point where I know I need to improve and prepared, but I just dont know how. Can anyone help me with this? 1. EA Major, what is best way to improve your mark for classes that focus on alot of reading/writing? 2. What are the courses that I should take to improve my mark? (I mean there are no ‘bird’ course, but I am just asking your general opinion, some classes you found it pretty easy to go through – doesnt mean I will find it easy, but I want to just take note-)

3. What are the best ways to improve your GPA? – What helped you the most? 4. What are the some of minor that you found entertaining/easy to take (i mean easy as not the materials, but doesnt require much prerequisite courses) I finally made mind up and I feel pumped up real hard. However, I know that I need actual plan than just go like ‘hey I am gonna work hard and do well.’ So I need every help I can get, even small advice would be real nice. Thanks people!


hey there,

i think you hit the nail on the head when you said you need an actual plan rather than just a blind commitment to working really really hard – whatever that means. obviously, whatever ‘working hard’ boils down entirely to how you work. i don’t know that the suggestions i give will be revolutionary. they may even be things you’ve heard before or thought yourself. but i never said i was a genie* – this is the best I can do.

1. the only way to improve your reading and writing is by reading and writing –  big surprise. if you’re not taking courses in the summer, take advantage of that by reading as much as you can. read things you like. read things that challenge you (DON’T read any jane austen, for the love of god. that won’t help. and yes, austen fans, this is a public invitation to fight me).

if you want to practice your writing, there are lots of ways to do so. sometimes freeform writing is great to keep your writing muscles warm. something that I used growing up was ‘Wordly Wise’; see if you can get your hands on a couple of books and start practising. they may even be available at your local public library.

2. honestly – and this isn’t just me holding to a party line or whatever – i don’t think there are any courses at this university that i’ve found significantly easier than others, and i’ve taken everything from BIO260 to JPD439. i find that courses are constantly surprising me by how easy or difficult they are. my marks in courses surprise me. i’ve often done well in courses where i thought I’d do very badly, and vice versa. that being said, knowing what kind of courses you thrive in (for example, you mentioned that you do well in East Asian studies courses, which tend to be essay-based, so perhaps more East Asian/History courses would be up your alley) can help guide you towards similar courses, where you’re likely to be successful.

otherwise, you can see course reviews on Portal (un-aska-sanctioned, university unofficial website alternatives are also available – often featuring more colourful language).

3. i feel like I can’t answer the first question, but i can give some anecdotes about the second. everything i know about doing well in school comes down to two things: first, do something you love. if you’re doing something you don’t love, figure out a way to stop doing it. second, treat your degree like it’s a full-time job.

i don’t want to push any unhealthy ideas on you: family and health are important and you shouldn’t sacrifice those things for school. i also understand that students often have to work at jobs to survive, and have to juggle those things with school. barring that, however, try to prioritize school as much as you can. i spent an average of 40 hours a week on school (that’s classes + studying/work outside of class). that’s as much as a full-time job. try to take the initiative to ask for help and suggestions. collaborate with classmates. be fully engaged in what you’re doing. that should help.

4. again, I’m not going to grade POSts based on level of difficulty (see this tag for for meandering musings as to why i think assessing difficulty is useless), but i will tell you that you can find type 1 minors here. type 1 POSts are POSts that you can enter automatically after completing 4.0 credits. they have no prerequisites other than that. you may want to browse that list and see if any of the type 1’s interest you.

i wish you all the best with all of this. keep working hard. you can get through this, my friend.



* just an alien.


just go with it


i applied and somehow got into materials engineering for 2016, i was just wondering if its possible to take courses that are focused on other core 8 majors outside materals eng, kinda like a personalized general first year experience that focused on the materials eng (the program i’m in) or electrical eng (the program i’m sorta in to but not really sure about) without having to take a course more geared toward something like industrial that i’m not terribly interested in, uoft’s website doesn’t say much about priority or open slots or taking courses that are only for kids in core 8 programs you aren’t in or transfers other than…have good marks. the courses in first year are pretty similar across the board to deal with people like me but i want to take all the specialty courses you get to take when your in a core 8 programs for 2 possible majors, not the general ones that are less particular. is it even possible to just take any engineering first year course anywhere regardless of your designated program to explore another program more in way kids  actually majoring in that program get to?

thank you,



hello T-T

i have to admit, T-T was the face that i made when trying read and answer this question. the working title of this post was “k wut” for a while.

the calendar has a list of all the specific courses you have to take for materials eng and it looks like you have to stick with them. your only other options are the approved course substitutions listed under each course list. they have every course for every year written out for you and you’re kinda supposed to just go with it.

you're jenn aniston and u of t engineering is adam sandler.

we recommend that you take these courses for now and if you aren’t happy with them, you can consult your engineering registrar’s office or the undergrad student counsellor. honestly, the registrar’s office is super helpful with any kind of academic concern you have. i feel like every time i visit them, i feel a lot better about moving forward in my program. if you’re really confused or not happy with what you’re studying, you should definitely make an appointment to sit down with your registrar. good luck!




you’ll really know your tree-hugging the second time around

I’m enrolled in architecture and I’m taking the Env222 course. Due to difficulties with that course, I used the CR/NCR option for it. However, I just realized that a minor that I want to pursue in environment and energy has env222 as a requirement.
So, what should I do to satisfy this program requirement? Am I allowed to repeat env222 next year to enroll in this program again?

On a side note, can I still enroll in a program next year? Also, can I enroll in three majors if I’m able to manage all the required courses within 20 FCE? Lastly, can EXTRA courses satisfy a program requirement?

Thank you!


hey there,

if that’s the only course that can be used to fulfill your program requirement, then you would just have to go to your registrar’s office and ask them to re-enrol you in it as an extra. and yes, extra courses can be used (and indeed, are almost exclusively used) to satisfy program requirements.

you can enrol in programs pretty much whenever you want (between April and September), excepting after you put through a graduation request – changes have to be made at your registrar’s office after that. just keep in mind that making changes to POSts later may mean that it’ll take you longer to complete your degree; that may or may not be something you’re willing to undertake.

you cannot enrol in three majors. the maximum number of specialists and majors you are allowed to enrol in is two.



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