askastudent

your student life specialists

Archive for the ‘hard’

Jan18

6 responses + a rant

Hey Aska! I’m a Turkish student and I’m in grade 11. I’m filled with
so many questions because I whole-heartedly want to study at UofT. I
researched a lot of things and still have tons of questions. So yeah,
let me begin 😀

My first question is about admissions. With %86-87 average in grade 11
and %93-94 in grade 12, would I be able to get into mechanical
engineering? (Also consider that I have decent SAT scores ad medium-
to-decent extracurriculars.) I really want to know if I even have a
chance.

+What about scholarships?

+Does Innis collage and UC require anything when applying? (I know
that Innis should be ranked 1st if you wanna be accepted there.) Which
has a better community in your opinion? And which should I choose as a
newcomer?

+Is it that hard to get good grades at UofT? I personally love
studying but I don’t know if I’ll be overwhelmed.

+Are international students treated differently really?

+What are the parties like?

+It is a very big school, will I be able to form close relationships?
If so, how?

Thank you soooo much in advance, and sorry for mixed questions. I
sincerely hope that I can be a part of the community. Take care!

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hello!

first of all, you’re adorable and i love your enthusiasm. you’ve asked a lot of good questions and i commend you for taking the initiative to reach out so early! this is probably the longest post i’ve ever written so bear with me.

on getting accepted into mechanical engineering

at this point in time, the website says that you need a mid 80’s average to get into the mechanical engineering program, but it would be best to check the updated average when you actually apply in 2 years. engineering programs are competitive and it is very likely that these averages will change by the time you apply, since they tend to fluctuate from year to year.

with your awesome grades, you definitely have a chance of getting into the mechanical engineering program, but keep in mind that this is just a general cut-off guideline for this year’s applicants. by saying you have a chance of getting in, i’m not saying you will get in.

on scholarships

scholarships are described at length in this link where you will also see a complete listing of all the scholarships available at u of t. keep in mind, since you will be an international student, you will only be eligible for a small number of scholarships. if you scroll to the listings at the bottom of the page, under availability, if there is a blank in the column instead of the words “domestic students”, that means international students are eligible. there are also admission scholarships (which you are eligible for, yay!) which you will automatically be considered for when you are admitted to the school.

on UC and innis

university college is large and old whereas innis is small and new. to get into innis, you are absolutely right, you do need to rank it first (good job!) but UC does not require you to rank them first. innis requires you to rank them first mostly because they are so small in size and very popular.

which one to pick? that’s the ultimate question. there are many factors that you should consider, for example: are you going to be living in residence? what kind of residence style are you looking for? do you want to be part of a big college or a small college?

i’m not exactly allowed to tell you which one i like more (and believe me, there is one) because i’d probably get destroyed, and it’s really up to you to do your own research and decide which one is better for you. i can provide you with the resources, but the rest is entirely up to you.

on getting good marks

is it hard to get good marks at U of T? yes. very hard. i have yet to get good grades at U of T. don’t slack off, study hard, and go to class. i made the mistake of not doing any of those three things in my first three and a half years and have paid dearly (emotionally and monetarily). we have a scary reputation for a reason. if you’re thinking of coming here, be ready to work your ass off.

on the treatment of international students

*disclaimer* aska rant on international student culture and discrimination

i thought a lot about how to answer your question about the treatment of international students. on one hand, i wanted to answer: international students aren’t treated differently! it’s love love love all around! but i would be lying. the aska motto is to deliver the cold, hard truth, so here goes: (it might seem a little controversial and blunt, but that’s askastudent for ya!)

international students are treated in the same way they treat other people. as i’m sure is common at every university, there are groups that i will refer to as ‘cultural cliques’. cultural cliques are groups of students who stick together because they come from the same culture, usually when english is not their first language. i’m not saying this is a bad thing. it’s actually great that these students can find friends who speak a common tongue! how awesome! however, sometimes, students will ignore everyone else outside their clique and as as a result, they get ignored back. this is perfectly fine if neither groups want to mix and mingle, but it does sometimes result in some differential treatment. the most common thing i see is people getting mad about international students speaking their native tongue instead of english.

as someone who was not born in canada and can speak a second language, i can sympathize with both sides of the story. an international student might have a difficult time with english and find it easier to communicate in another language, yet a domestic student, might find it rude that other students are speaking in foreign language. often, this stems from the domestic student’s insecurity that the international student might be crap-talking them in a different language. of course, this isn’t always the case, but it does happen! heck, it’s happened to me before! someone tried bad-mouthing me when they thought i didn’t understand the language. well, joke was on them!

many will also argue: “you’re in canada! speak english!” but this argument isn’t exactly valid. i’m sure lots of people who go to countries like japan don’t spend years learning japanese before they decide to go. canada is known as one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and it’s truly unfortunate that not all cultures are as widely accepted as canadian culture.

bottom line, discrimination can happen, but i guarantee that it won’t happen if you treat people like you want to be treated. my advice to you is to keep an open-mind. be friendly and warm to people if you want them to be friendly and warm to you. if you find people from turkey at U of T that you want to be friends with, that’s awesome. if you want to form a turkish clique, even better! make the most of your university life and spend it with people you care about.

*aska rant over*

on partying

i’m not much of a partier, so i can’t reveal too many juicy details about that. just based on the parties i’ve been to, they can definitely get pretty rowdy at times, but also be super lame. a gathering of people involving beverages and loud music usually constitutes a party at U of T, and i imagine, everywhere else! sometimes there’s dancing and sometimes there are games. sometimes ambulances are called, and sometimes the paramedics get a night off. sometimes people fall asleep and sometimes people stay up all night. hope that answers your question!

on forming close relationships

i have hit the 1300 word count so i think it’s safe to say that we, in some way, shape or form, have formed somewhat of a close relationship. U of T is ginormous. you are again, absolutely right.

you can definitely form close relationships at U of T. in addition to studying your ass off, you should be making time for late night mcdonald’s runs, jam sessions and spontaneous city explorations along with friends. again, treating people like you want to be treated applies here. treat someone like a friend and chance are, they’ll treat you like a friend and then BOOM! you’ll have a friend. that’s how you make friends. how nice. you’ll meet people in your classes, in residences, and at various events on/ off campus! everyone else will be looking to make friends as well, so don’t sweat it. some of my closest friends have been people i met at school, so you’ll be fine. trust me.

did i answer all your questions? if not, comment below and i’ll do my best to get back to you.

good luck, chill out, and may the odds be ever in your favour.

peace and love,

aska

Aug08

how many politicians per campus have we produced

is it easier to get good marks for political science at uoft mississauga or uoft scarborough compared to uoft st geroge? thanks!

———————————————

hey there,

i have a documented dislike of these kinds of questions, because i feel like there’s no sufficient way to answer them. who’s to say what would be easier or harder for you? i don’t know you. i don’t know YOUR STORY. and there’s no acknowledged hierarchy that i can refer to in order to, like, rank them.

i won’t play dumb. i know that the downtown campus has a reputation as a more academically rigorous campus than the other two. i don’t know if it’s the professors or the workload or just the fact that st. george is so much bigger – and therefore seems more intimidating – than the other campuses, but it does have that reputation.

that being said, i don’t have any actual numbers or facts to back up this bad (or good? depending on how you look at it) rap that st. george has as a ‘hard’ school. i have no way of comparing grades across the three campuses, or anything like that. in addition, i’ve only ever been a student downtown. my own experience was that i never found it that difficult. challenging, for sure, but survivable. one of my POSts was poli sci at the downtown campus, and i didn’t ONCE cry over my notes in a library. yeah, that’s what you call a winner.

that being said: no two people have the same university experience, and you shouldn’t base a decision like this on what some anonymous blog is telling you.

if i were trying to decide between the three campuses, i wouldn’t make the decision based on something as ephemeral and quantitatively groundless as “easiness.” instead, i would consider things like: what courses you need to take for each campus’ program, which campus is closer to where you’ll be living, which campus you like best, and whether any of the campuses offer special programs.

for example, UTM offers combined specialists in economics and political science and history and political science, and UTSC offers a co-op program in public policy that may interest you. meanwhile, UTSG has a stellar faculty. UTM and UTSG both require 10.0 FCEs for their specialist, while UTSC requires 12.0 FCEs. small differences like this can be what you base your decision on.

i know i didn’t actually answer your question, but unfortunately, there was no way to do that without a lot of wild guesses, and askastudent is about the HARD FACTS, son.

have a groovy Monday ~

aska

Aug10

hard as the day is long

Ok so here’s the deal.. I have very good study habits (I never procrastinate etc) I had a 95% average in the 12th grade… I am taking a 5 course load first year for humanities… Everyone is saying I will fail with that many courses and that much reading. Is humanities really that killer ?

———————————————

hey there,

again, refer to aska’s “hard” tag for generally unhelpful rants and musings about the nature of difficulty and how arbitrary that term is.

here’s the abridged version, in case you can’t be bothered: university affects people in different ways. high school will never be a perfect indicator of potential for success in university.

there are so many non-academic things that can affect your first year (e.g. homesickness, loneliness, getting over-involved, being under-involved and isolated, not liking your program, dealing with friendship/relationship troubles, adjusting to a new city/the big city/a new country, just genuinely not enjoying the whole university experience etc.) that it’s really impossible to perfectly predict how well you’re going to do.

THAT BEING SAID, a 95% is a very good average. good on you. if you continue to use the same study habits in first year that you had in grade 12, and if you feel a genuine interest and motivation to do well in your first year courses, you will very likely have a successful first year.

sidenote: taking 5.0 credits is the standard (see “Number of Courses Taken (‘Course Load’)“). 6.0 would be a stretch, but 5.0 is normal. if you feel you’re pushing yourself too hard, you can always drop down to 4.0 or even 3.0, but most people have a 5.0 course load, so don’t feel like you’re attempting anything superhuman.

assuming you take 5.0 credits, a humanities course load in first year is generally about 15 hours of class per week. if you dedicate 2 hours of outside study to every hour of lecture, that comes out to about 20 hours. altogether, you should be spending about 35 hours per week on school. if you can commit to that, you should be okay.

i’m no oracle, but i’m not too worried for you. if you’re excited for your studies, if you work hard, and if you engage deeply with the campus (by making friends, getting involved, seeking help when you need it, exploring the city, committing to your academics), you’ll be alright.

all the best,

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.

———————————————

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

Jul17

just give me a stRAIGHT ANSWER, MAN

Hello!! I’m somewhat seeking advice on what I should take this upcoming first year at UTSG with many worries… First question: Is MAT133 extremely difficult? I’m having a hard time choosing a second major (Stuck between English or Economics) and it seems that MAT133 is a requirement for an eco major. Second question: which one seems to be a better major, Economics or English? I did very well in HS english and have req for any math programs but im afraid i wont do too well? pls halp pls

———————————————

hey there,

i always tell people not to ask me how difficult stuff is, but then i answer the question anyway, so maybe i’m bringing these questions upon myself.

listen, there’s not much i can tell you that can be truly helpful. trust me: i GET that you’re afraid, and you just want someone to tell you how it is so you don’t have to go in blind. unfortunately, i really don’t think i can do that.

i could tell you that i found first-year calc pretty difficult. i could tell you that i finished with a 96% in grade 12 calculus and got a 77% average in MAT135+136. however, those things reflect one person’s experience. i couldn’t tell you if it’s a typical or atypical one, and there’s no guarantee that you will have the same experience. you may be smarter than i am (probably), or less smart (less likely).

besides, there were all sorts of factors that affected that mark – by December, i realized i didn’t want to continue in a life science program, so i did worse in 136 than i had done in 135 because i wasn’t invested anymore. also, the class was really early in the morning, which is never easy for me, meaning i missed more than a few classes.

also, MAT135/6 is not exactly the same course as MAT133, so it’s not a perfect comparison.

what might be more helpful is to look over some materials from the actual course and decide for yourself how hard it looks. fortunately, MAT133Y1 is well-documented online. here’s some great information including average text marks in 2014-15. here is the syllabus.

look those over. reflect on how difficult you found calculus in grade 12, and on how well you did. finally, think about whether you enjoyed it.

at the end of the day, if you really enjoy the material, you WILL be motivated to succeed. it’s that simple. so if you don’t really like math but you feel like you have to do it, don’t. if you sign up for MAT133 and sit through the first couple of classes and find you’re not liking it, just drop it (the last day you can drop Y courses from your academic record in the Fall/Winter is February 12th).

loving it won’t make it easy, but it will make it doable.

and from one esoteric question to another: what qualifies as a “better” major in your eyes? easier? more enjoyable? more interesting? more employable? because that all depends on you, and your interests, and how well you do, and luck, to a large extent.

not to beat a dead horse, but if you like something, you will do well in it. and if you do well in it, opportunities will come your way.

ALSO, if you REALLY can’t decide, you can always do a double major. actually, you’re not allowed to do just one major. you could do an english specialist or an econ specialist, but one major isn’t enough to get you a degree. so if you can’t decide between the two, that may be the way to go.

oh, and by the way – you have all of first year to make these decisions. so if you just wanna take some first-year econ and english courses just to see which you prefer, that’s okay. you have until next summer to figure it all out. you can do it.

aska

May05

hard as nails

Is it really hard to get a 3.7 gpa at UOFT…

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hey there,

honestly, i should start a tag for all the posts where i lament how complicated the words hard and difficult? are. who determines difficulty? who can say what’s hard or not? are we supposed to SIT HERE and be QUIET while bureaucratic overlords determine HOW MUCH OUR BEING, OUR THOUGHTS, ARE WORTH??EVERYONE LEARNS AT DIFFERENT SPEEDS AND THIS STANDARDIZATION OF LEARNING WILL BE THE DOWNFALL OF OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM.

anyway.

unfortunately, the university doesn’t publish any kind of GPA distribution stats, so i don’t know, like, what percentage of people graduate with a certain GPA, or what programs tend to have higher GPAs than others. i could GUESS, but they don’t pay me to guess, and i need to keep that dough coming in.

HOWEVER, across the board, an A (that is, a grade above a 3.7) does indicate that you’ve gone above and beyond in a course. you really have exceeded expectations, rather than just met them.

in general – and i don’t have any numbers on this, so keep in mind that your experience might be different – i have found that A students tend to put at least 20 hours per week into their schoolwork outside of class.

for science/math students, that might involve completing assignments, doing practise questions, and clarifying questions from lecture with TAs or profs. for humanities students, that might involve writing essays, completing readings, and making notes on readings outside of lecture.

A students take the initiative to seek out answers to their questions, ask whether they’re understanding things correctly, and see if there’s any way to improve what they’ve been working on.

A students might do extra-curricular activities on the side, but they always make sure to schedule enough time into their week to keep up with their school work.

A students are NOT geniuses. (not most of them, anyway.) they just keep up with their work and consistently put in their best effort, from september to april. A students exist AND SO CAN YOU!

cheers,

aska

Jul25

breaking bad first years

Hi, I’m going to? U of T in the coming fall and I am having some difficulties during course selection.

I’m considering enrolling in either a Chemistry specialist program or Financial Economics specialist program in the future. Therefore, I am intending to choose CHY151Y1(Y), MAT135H1(F), MAT136H1(S), PHY131H1(F), PHY132H1(S), ECO100Y1(Y). However, when I emailed my College Registrar’s Office about it, she said it would be ‘an extremely heavy course load’ for me. Do you think it is too heavy as well? Do normal people only do the prerequisites for one program only?

I also wonder if it is possible to do the Physics courses in the 2nd year instead of the 1st year, but still have the prerequisites for a Chemistry program.

Besides, I’m on the wait list for the residence. Is it likely for me to get a residence offer? If not, where do you recommend me to live in while I’m at U Of T?

Sometimes I might worry too much but I do worry about the job opportunities of a Chemistry graduate!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

———————————————

Hey hey

Honestly, I do think that’s a rather heavy course load.

If there’s anything there that you don’t actually need to take… just don’t take it. Spare yourself the trauma and stress. Normally, people take the fer sure prereqs for their would be programs, and maybe an elective here and there. And since I’m getting the vibe that you’re more into chem than eco, maybe don’t take eco? I’ve heard it’s a bit of a monster.

But yes, you can just save the physics courses for second year if you don’t need them immediately.

To get into chem, you only need CHM138H/139H. HOWEVER, note that if you go through with the specialist (as opposed to the major), you will eventually need physics down the line.

As for residence…. er well it depends on the res and where you are on the waitlist. To be completely, honest, I have no idea if you’ll get in, but my gut is leaning towards a you shall not enter.

Do you ABSOLUTELY need to live on campus?

If you do, the university offers a roommate finder/house finder search function thingie. It may be a bit limited, but that’s something. Past that, there’s sifting through the usual sketchiness that is Craigslist, viewit.ca, and just… you know, Google.

But if you can commute, do that.

And job opportunities for a chemistry graduate?

Well, you can always pull a Walter White… 😉

Cheers!

aska

Jul24

eco105y: principles of economics for dummies

Hi I am about to pick courses for first year life science. I will be taking bio120 , chm 138, mat135 a first year seminar, and I would like to take eco105. How difficult is Eco105? What are the chances it will affect my gpa?

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Yo.

Sadly, I am but a student and have not sampled every possible course that exists.

How difficult is ECO105Y?

Waaaah I hate those kinds of questions. “Difficulty” is just so subjective. I’m going to go with “damn difficult” because it’s economics so yes. But check out the anti-calendar to see what past students thought of their past lectures. Apparently in 2011-2012, the difficulty was more or less average, but the retake rate is a lovely 47%.

As for your GPA… well, every course affects your GPA. Duuuuh.

xoxo,
aska

Jul15

i’ve got 99 problems and university is all of them

Hello again,

I was talking to a girl on the weekend who just graduated from UofT, but she kind of scared me, basically saying that all the rumors I’ve heard are true, and Life Sciences at UofT is brutal. She told me that Life Sciences is not a good path for me to take at a school that is so big and then she just wished me luck.

She that the readings they assign are really long and the work is really difficult and she had a hard time keeping up.

She said that it was so competitive that people would purposely mess up labs just so that you wouldn’t do well. Or they wouldn’t help you out if you needed notes or needed help understanding something.

Is UofT so competitive and huge that I will not be able to do well? I did pretty good in high school, but everyone going to UofT did – that’s why they’re there.

Also, I know being in university will not be a walk in the park, but is it really as difficult as they say?

And on another kind of related topic, if I schedule lectures back to back, I’ll be able to get from one to the other, right? Even if one is Central and the other is West? I’m just worried that there will be so many people in my first year classes that I won’t be able to get through the crowds to get to my next class in 10 minutes.

Thanks in advance for your answer, your website is perfect for a person like me who’s always worrying.

Madeline

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Madeline,

For your sanity’s sake, I’m going to be very blunt with you.

Stop talking to upper years.

We enjoy making newbies squirm.

Just sit back, have a margarita and some nachos, and enjoy the rest of your summer. Stop thinking so much about university because I swear you’re on the verge of an ulcer right now and you’re not even enrolled in courses yet!

Yes, university is competitive — but that shouldn’t be something you just allow to affect how “well” you do.

And, naturally, its “difficulty” is all up to you.

If you decide that hanging out with your friends the night before a midterm is a good idea, well of course it’s going to be pretty difficult. But even if you don’t spend your entire life in the library, as long as you at least do the readings and pace through things, you should be able to get by.

But for now, you need to stop dwelling on a level of difficulty you won’t even be able to test for another three months because you’re probably just going to make yourself sick.

As for crossing from west to central…

Eh, well, as much as possible, try not to make things back to back. It’s kind of a huge pain the ass, even if you have two courses that are considered “west,” the whole north and south parts of it aren’t considered.

Again, Madeline, calm down and enjoy your summer.

Cheers!

aska

Jul20

jonesing for jane austen

hey aska,

I just finished my first year as a lifesci kid and I’m going into my second
as an english/global health maj.

here’s my question:

is it safe to jump into a 300 level course (ENG307 to be exact) without
having taken a proper ENG course before?

This course doesn’t have any pre-reqs, and the anti-calendar gives it a
pretty awesome review (91% retake) But I’m a little hesitant because the
only ‘English’ course i took last year was hum199 (first year seminar on
poetry). I did really well, and English has always been my best subject, but
I don’t want to get ahead of myself and assume I’ll be alright for a 300
level.

any advice? know anyone else i should talk to?

thanks in advance

———————————————

So you’re into “Victorian Women Writers”, eh? I’m into Soviet Realists, myself.

Judging by the course description (and that promising anti calendar review!), this course seems like a good one to take for an English newbie such as yourself. Here’s why:

We will situate these texts in a range of contexts such as debates about nationality, class, race, and gender; generic conventions; and the material contexts of patronage and publishing. This section of ENG307H will also introduce you to basic reference and research sources for the study of eighteenth-century English literature and English literature generally. An online exercise on Blackboard will give you practice using these before you hand in your major research paper.

Just because it’s a 300 level course, doesn’t always make it difficult. It seems like this is more of a easy breezy survey course vibe, and not a difficult intensive seminar.

Just to be sure though, I’d contact the English Department and even possibly the English Students Union in the fall about additional help or prep work required for the course (they have probably also have students who’ve taken the course before and can offer some tips). Remember that the Writing Centre is always a totally helpful resource when it comes to writing papers.

Best of luck to you in your quest to learn more about these strange creatures called “women writers.”

xoxo, Askastudent

Jul19

i want my syllabus!

Hey,

I’m trying to plan out my timetable and select courses for the upcoming school year. I’ve already referred to the anti-calendar and
ratemyprofessor.ca to make sure I select the right profs so that’s not the issue for me.

The issue rears its ugly head when I attempt to find the course syllabus for each course. The reason I’m looking for course syllabi is because I’m trying to get some insight on what the workload will be like for each course (how many tests and/or assignments there will be and what they will be weighted, if I will be graded on tutorial attendance, etc).

When referring to the anti-calender, it seems like the workload is always rated ‘average’ by students, so that does not really help me. I’ve also referred to the exams and course collections database, but that yielded no results either (many courses are password protected, only have one outdated syllabus from the 1800’s, or are not even listed at all). I’ve even tried going on portal and clicking on “browse course catalogues” … but most, if not all, of the courses are restricted and don’t let me view the course pages.

It seems I’ve exhausted all my options at this point. All I want to do is skim over the course syllabus for each course and such a seemingly simple task appears impossible to accomplish.

Do you have any suggestions or am I just going to have to wait and receive the syllabus on the first day of classes?

Thanks.

Amanda

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Hello Amanda, the keener.

It seems like you’ve really done your homework – and the class hasn’t even begun! Sometimes, old syllabi pop up on former course or program websites, but sometimes they’re under lock and key. Though most profs tend to go AWOL during the summer, you might get lucky if you email the professor who’s listed in the timetable for the syllabus (perhaps they also taught the course last year?), or a quick and friendly email asking about courseload. Depending on the course, Aska might know some people who might be able to give you a bit of detailed advice about the work schedule.

In the meantime though, don’t sweat it. I understand your angst, given that the class might have too much workload and by the time you know it you might want to drop it and then there might be no other spaces in the other classes you might want. (LARGE DEEP BREATH.) But in the first week of classes, many students go shopping – not just for fancy U of T hoodies – but by examining the syllabi of their new classes and decided whether or not they’ll drop them.

The first day of your class is usually when you’ll get the syllabi, featuring all the assignments, readings and due dates.

So for now, hold tight, lemme know what courses you’re looking for in particular, and I’ll see what I drudge up.

xoxo, Askastudent

Mar19

if not aska, then who?

Dear Aska,

Love the blog and the concept. Where do you find the time and mental energy?

Currently a grade 11 student completing the french bac next year. Marks are v good and I understand I will be able to get 3 transfer credits in Mat, Sciences, Languages or similar. I have three subjects of interest in Arts and Sciences: Economics, Asia-Pacific Studies and Writing and Rhetoric. Also looking to apply for Vic one. I have a couple of questions.

Can I use the exemptions I will be granted to cover off some of the breadth requirements – for instance the science requirement?

If I use the exemptions to fill some first year requirements – like Math for Economics – will the university let me do a double major (Asia-Pac and Economics) and a minor Writing and Rhetoric. (By my math I can fit in the 18 courses to attain these).? Can I do a major and two minors instead?

Finally, I am dreaming and will the work load be too much?

Thanks for your advice. Best Regards.

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Where do I find the time and mental energy? That’s an easy one to answer. There are students that need their (silly) questions answered, students that need their (totally unfounded) worries calmed, and students that desperately need someone to slap their sorry senses back into them. How can I stay in my own little bubble when there are so many students out there that are in need of my greatness? *aska sits on his throne and leisurely sips his tea*

Now, any transfer credits you gain upon admission will count towards degree requirements, but watch out: the Calendar has changed now. The new breadth requirements will be replacing the old distribution requirements, which required students to take 1 science, 1 humanities, and 1 social science credit each. Students coming to UofT in 2010 or later will instead need to take one credit from at least 4 out of 5 of the following categories (copied straight out of the new Arts and Science calendar):

1. Creative and Cultural Representations

2. Thought, Belief, and Behaviour

3. Society and Its Institutions

4. Living Things and Their Environment (don’t click this link if you don’t like creepy crawlies. I warned you.)

5. The Physical and Mathematical Universes

Students must take at least 4 full-course equivalents (FCEs) that have been designated as satisfying the Breadth Requirement. These 4 credits must be either (a) at least 1 FCE in each of any 4 of the 5 categories above, or (b) at least 1 FCE in each of any 3 of the 5 categories, and at least 0.5 FCE in each of the other 2 categories.

To graduate from UofT, you need to complete: 1) a specialist program, OR 2) two majors, OR, 3) a major and two minors. So yes, you can do a double major in Economics and Asia-Pac studies and a minor in W&R. Or, you could do a major in Asia-Pac and have minors in Economics and W&R and still be able to graduate. However, as you said, a double major and minor would require around 18 credits, so you may have to take some summer courses or a 6th credit during the school year. Keep in mind that most people’s interests do change when they go to University, and you never know you may end up doing a major program in something entirely different! So allow yourself some room to experiment around, in case you need to make changes.

As for whether or not the course load will be too much for you to handle, I think the answer to that question is different for everyone. One thing I am learning as I go through UofT is that everybody has different limits, and it is up to you to know your own. For instance, some people may feel extremely stressed taking 4 credits during the year, while others take 6 courses, hold a job, and join tons of extra-curricular activities and still feel relatively unfazed. I think that as you go through UofT, you will begin to get a feel for your own limits. But just take it easy for now you’ll find out when you get here, and if you feel too stressed or not challenged enough, you can always take less/more courses.

Nov09

A bit of a history lesson

Hey !So there’s a rumour going around and I was just wondering if it’s true. Apparently UofT accepts everyone for their first year and they make the first year courses really hard so the students will either fail or drop out.
Is the drop out rate high for first years? Also, are the first year courses really that hard or is it just these slackers who don’t have good work ethics?
Thanks!

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UofT was first founded in 1827 with the intention of robbing students of their money. Since then, it has historically taken the money of thousands of students per year. In fact, the influence of UofT is so great, that we’ve robbed Margaret Atwood, Paul Martin, and John Macleod, for their money. Anyway, UofT then blackmails each of its students into encouraging their friends and family to come to UofT, so that the cycle continues. You better be careful who you?re talking to. You never know if the people you?re sitting next to are UofT grads who are just waiting to get you when your turn comes.

In all seriousness. UofT is a university that is world-renowned in many categories, so obviously University is not going to be a cruise. You do not come here if you just want to laze around the next four years off your life. There are many other places where you can do that.

First year courses come as a shock to many, but a lot of it is also because University is very different than high school in almost every way?the way you’re taught is different, the environment is different, the people around you are different, yada yada. You?ll probably need a bit (or a lot) of time to make the transition. Of course, whether or not the courses are difficult, to you, also depends your abilities, interests, previous knowledge, and work ethic. Aska has actually heard that UofT actually has the highest retention rate (percentage of people who stay at the University after first year), though I’m not sure how much truth there is to that statement. Anyway, even if you fail a few courses, you can still continue in the University, so no, UofT certainly doesn’t fail people out.

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