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Archive for the ‘colleges’

Mar08

the unofficial aska tour of utsg

Hi,

I have graduated from U of T a few years ago and some oversea visitors would like me to take them to see the campus. I recall there are many interesting stories about ie. Victoria college and also interesting stories about architecture designs, and wonder if there is some material you can share with me so I do not have to reinvent the wheel doing the research to provide an insightful tour that lives up to our school’s reputation?

I will be taking them around on March 9th and if you could please share something with me before then that would be highly appreciated.
Thanks!

——————————————
hey there,

man this is such a fun one i don’t know where to start. i also don’t know if my system of organization is the best one out there, but it’s…there. i take feedback. shoot me your complaints.
as you’ll see, i didn’t end up with a lot about architectural details, but i hope the stuff i dug up is of some interest to you. brace yourself for a long and occasionally haunted post.

colleges

university college (uc)

ah, uc. home to the fireball, the junior common room, and really old, creaky, poorly-lit hallways. it’s u of t’s poster child, a national historic site, and is mostly made of yellow brick grimy enough to look like stone. the east staircase of uc’s main building is guarded by a carved griffin; a long time ago, students used to rub it for luck before taking an exam, but the tradition has since died out. which like, i’m not complaining about. would hate to have to trek there, then all the way to the godforsaken exam centre.

in 1868, a bunch of undergrads baited a cow all the way up the stairs, til it made it to the top of the dining hall’s bell tower. this cow belonged to the uc steward. what’s a steward? why did he have a cow? i dunno, but they had the brilliant idea to tie the cow’s tail to the rope that rang the bell. as anyone with good sense knows, it’s not a good idea to have a cow climb down stairs. once she was discovered, they ended up putting her on a board and sliding her all the way back down in order to rescue her. it’s true. i was there. i was the board.

looking for a saucy ghost story to impart? uc is the setting of what’s arguably the university’s most popular ghost story, starring diabolos and reznikoff. since you graduated from the school, you’re likely to know that each of them now has a namesake cafe on campus, diabolos in uc and reznikoff on st. george.

anyway, sometime in the 1850s, diabolos and reznikoff were uc stonemasons madly in love with the same woman. reznikoff went after diabolos with an axe, presumably to assert his dominancce, but surprise surprise, diabolos got the upper hand and murdered his rival with a much smaller knife. the lesson here is to fight smart and not strong, friends. according to the legend, he went on to stash reznikoff’s body somewhere in the building; during a fire some years later, skeletal remains were found. if you look carefully, you’re purportedly able to find the axe marks still embedded in the door where the murder occurred. apparently, reznikoff’s ghost haunts the property to this day.

<

uc also happens to be a movie star! it’s visible in a scene from the vow, and i bet a bunch of other lesser-known films.

trinity college

episkopon! trin’s cult is the first thing i heard about the college, even before i showed up on campus. they’re infamous for their exclusivity, deep-rooted traditions (the group dates back to 1858), and hazing rituals. especially the hazing rituals. episkopon is no longer officially connected to trin, but is still very much alive and conducting meetings. this year, i heard their initiation involved getting students drunk, blindfolding them, and having them jaywalk across bloor. could be pure rumor, though, keep in mind.

trin is also known for its oxbridge-inherited traditions, one of which are their high table dinners. once a week, students will don harry potter-esque robes to dine in strachan hall, the college’s dining hall. at one point in history, students who showed up but couldn’t afford the robe would be forcibly removed from the hall in a “pooring-out.” the tradition has since involved to “pouring-outs,” in which a student is removed for “doing something infamous.”

at the end of strachan is a massive tapestry, dating back to about the 17th century. mostly made of silk, it hails from the netherlands and shows the scene from the bible in which king solomon meets the queen of sheba.

innis college 

i mean, i don’t have any interesting stories about innis. but i gotta plug it for having the best cafe on campus. as far as i know, it’s family-owned and the staff are real sweethearts, honestly. if you want to try campus food (but why), innis cafe is where it’s at. plug plug plug.

most friday evenings, you can catch free films screening in the innis town hall as well.

victoria college

wow, another hollywood star! vic was cast as queen’s college in cbc’s anne, the tv remake of lucy maud montgomery’s classic novel anne of green gables. we get it, u of t, you’re photogenic.

there’s also a story that there were once two vic professors who taught in the same second-floor classroom; one was irrationally attached to his heavy oak lectern and the other preferred space to move as he taught. weeks passed, and the lectern was moved in and out of the room until the latter prof decided the solution was to toss it out the window. i wonder what sound it made when it hit the ground. maybe i should reenact it and find out.

i’ve never confirmed this for myself, but inside burwash dining hall, queen victoria’s burial flag is supposed to be up on display– after her death, it was gifted to the college. pop your head in and give it a look, if you like.

vic’s known to have a bunch of pretty awesome alumni, including lester b. pearson, prime minister of canada and winner of the nobel peace prize for his work resolving the suez crisis. lester b! the first canadian to win the prize, apparently. margaret atwood also belongs to the ranks of vic alumni. cue handmaids.

there’s a pervasive urban legend that northrop frye hall has a mcdonald’s somewhere in it. you can comb the building if you want and see what you find, but… like… you won’t find a fry in frye, unless you’ve brought it there yourself. sorry ’bout it.

…other buildings 

convocation hall 

con hall seats a freaking lot of people. wikipedia says it’s 1,730, which honestly sounds about right. it was never meant to be a classroom, but today many first-year general lectures with hundreds of students are taught under its very large dome. if those students make it to the end of their degree, con hall is also where they’ll walk across the stage and receive their diploma. so much money and so many tears just for a fancy piece of paper? sign me up!

a scene from mean girls was actually filmed here– themathletes competition, near the end of the film, shows both the exterior and interior of con hall. if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve probably seen this gif:

yup, that’s in con hall.

hart house

a bunch of people take wedding photos on campus, but you can actually get married at hart house. it’s also got an art museum, a reading room, and a theatre that donald sutherland used to perform at. apparently you can also get haircuts there? wow, what a well-rounded student center.

the only reason hart house has a gym today is because of stubborn students. u of t laid the original foundation for the gym behind uc, where a vast playing field was located; students loved the field so much they offered to pay for the removal of the foundation if u of t would just move the freaking gym. they were even willing to carry out most of the work to remove it. am i impressed by that dedication? hell yea.

anyway, the university seemed content to relocate the gym to hart house, and the back campus playing field is still very much in operation today. i mean, i saw girls doing field hockey practice in what i’m pretty sure was negative degree weather. student athletes. they’re stronger than me.

it turns out, though, women were once barred from hart house; in fact, when kennedy spoke there in 1957, he did so for a male-only audience, and was later recorded as saying, “it’s a pleasure to be in a country where women cannot mix in everywhere.” apparently, a huge factor in keeping hart house male-only was so the men could continue swimming nude in the pool, a beloved tradition of theirs. when women found out, they offered to join in, but unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) were not permitted. it wasn’t until 1972 that women would be allowed to use the hart house facilities.

robarts

all the students have been mad about the way u of t’s been conducting closures this winter. a l l. but according to the university, at least robarts will always be open 24 hours! i’ll catch you the night before the next snowstorm, sleeping over somewhere in the reading room.

despite the amount of contention among students at the school, robarts is in fact shaped like a peacock, not a turkey (or a goose, or babar the elephant).  this is most obvious if you look at the building from the st. george/hoskin intersection.

what most people don’t know (or at least i didn’t) is that the tower forming the peacock’s head doesn’t serve any function. it’s puuuuure aesthetic– which means it was on the chopping block when the university tried to cut building costs. the only reason robarts has a head today is because the chairman of the committee in charge was informed it would cost ten grand. ten grand! what a bargain! wish i could relate. but that’s why our main library isn’t a headless bird.

there’s an episode of friends with robarts in it, too! season 10, episode 13 at 5 minutes 25 seconds in. thanks, reddit. 

fisher rare books library, which is housed in the same building as robarts, contains the only copy of shakespeare’s first folio in canada. or marlowe’s, if you prefer. it’s one of only 228 surviving copies in the world, and dates back to 1623– or in other words, the heyday of black teeth, emptying chamber pots into the streets, and people who wore neck ruffs so large a gust of wind could knock them over. fun times, fun times. why do i feel like i’m… not missing out?

36 of his most famous plays are included in the book, which is valued at about $6mil. unfortunately, it’s so valuable the public can’t walk in and see it– special arrangements have to be made. but if you’d like, the library has plenty of other super rare books on display that you can walk in and see!

mclennan 

don’t think i’ve ever personally been inside this building. but should you wish to showcase it on your tour, it was a filming location for good will hunting as a stand-in for MIT and harvard. the movie later went on to win an oscar. which basically means… we won an oscar, guys.

at one point, u of t was a nuclear power– that is, before the accelerator was decommissioned. the shell still sits somewhere in mclennan, but is obviously no longer hurling particles around at stupid speeds. mmm, unfortunate.

varsity stadium

the ice rink didn’t seem that impressive to me when i was in there as a froshie, but apparently it’s got killer acoustics. many many years ago– think the 30s and 40s– a bunch of symphony concerts were held inside the arena.

not into symphonies? john lennon performed here once, with his plastic ono band in 1969. it was right before the beatles split up, but by the time he played the varsity concert he already knew it was going to happen.

gerstein

gerstein is apparently the university’s oldest building built specifically to be a library. it was remodelled about 100 years ago to add a two-level safe for rare books and valuables, that extends down into the basement. i don’t know how interesting that’s gonna be to you, since you can’t access it from anywhere other than the chief librarian’s office. but anyway, this giant walk-in safe now holds office supplies, because errything important got snatched up by the rare book library.

regis college

there’s this old story floating around about this place that’s a little bloody. yay, murder!! this is how it goes:

there was a man named robert christie, whose father– the christie of mr. christie’s cookies– passed away. naturally, rob christie and his wife then moved into the vacant house. that’s it. that’s the story. horrifying, huh?

just kidding. see, christie had a sidepiece hidden away in one of the manor’s many rooms, literally locked away so no one would find out he was having an affair. eventually, he got bored with her, and the poor girl ended up hanging herself from her bedframe. a ghost haunts that same room to this day, occasionally swinging the door shut to lock people in. no one’s sure if it’s the mistress, or if it’s christie himself, attempting to trap more women from beyond the grave. exercise caution, etc. etc. or don’t, it’s up to you.

i had to do a little digging to figure out where this urban legend actually happened, because there’s no quick google maps result for “christie manor.” turns out the place has been renamed to regis, and i’ve been walking past it since my first day on campus. huh.

OISE

i feel a little weird sharing this because it’s a place i like best when there’s no one there / it’s quiet. but if you promise to be nice about it, i’ll give it to you as well. the nexus lounge on the 12th floor of oise has the best publicly accessible skyline views on campus. it’s only open on weekdays, according to a security guard i spoke to in the building once– so you might not be able to throw it in on your tour. i guess this one’s for future references, then.

if you show up on a weekend, like i did the first time i sought it out, you can still kinda see a view but the glass doors will be locked. don’t be like my friend and try to reach through the gap to unbolt them. your fingers will not fit, and it’s also a sketchy sketchy thing to try. just…come back on a weekday. please.

fun facts!

– most of the architecture on campus is modelled after oxford and cambridge.

– we’ve got north america’s third best university library system, beat only by harvard and yale.

– u of t’s student newspaper, the varsity, is one of canada’s oldest. you can pick up a copy at most campus buildings. it also puts out a feature magazine twice a year. some pretty successful people have come out of it, including william lyon mackenzie king, of prime minister fame.

– utsg is infamous for not closing, especially for bad weather. i’ve heard a joke that it’s only closed three times, and two of those were for world war i and world war ii. but as it turns out, u of t didn’t even want to close for the first world war. it only ended up shutting down because ~total war~ meant war industries ate up all the fuel, so u of t ran short of coal and didn’t have much of a choice. classic.

– penicillin was invented at u of t! the discovery is credited to frederick banting, a u of t grad. we’re doing important work here, yall.

– each year beginning in 1955, the university used to hold an annual winter carnival and, during the festivities, would select a snow queen. the criteria for the crown? her enthusiasm, appearance, ability to snowshoe, cook pancakes over an open flame, and wood-sawing skills. what a gal. i don’t even think elsa would qualify.

anyway, this concludes your askastudent tour of st. george. man. you’ve made me want to be a tour guide, and not gonna lie i feel a little bit qualified now that i’ve made it through this post. wishing you good weather for your tour! lowkey not just for you, for me. winter’s making me mad. when will the snow be gone?

anyway, ending this post with a meme. original content, brought to you by yours truly. except i don’t own any of the photos. tag yourself, i’m robarts.

over n out,

aska

Jan22

colleges, crim, enrolment, oh my!

Hello,

I am admitted in the University of Toronto St. Michael College for studies in Humanities. I have 2 questions for you.

1) What is the difference between all the Arts & Science colleges?

2) Is it possible for me to select Criminology & Socio-legal studies as a major after my first year even though i have been admitted in the faculty of Humanities?

Thank you.

——————————————

hi!

since your question is in two parts, i’ll be answering in two parts.

1) colleges are kinda like a student’s “home base” during their time in the faculty of arts and sciences. every student in artsci belongs to a college. this is mostly for administrative reasons, as u of t and the faculty of arts and sciences are huge. so, if you needed to access any admin (ie. registrar’s office, dean’s office, etc), you would want to get in contact at the college level first. there are also a lot of different resources that are available to students at a college such as writing centres. you will also be participating in orientation week with your college and if you’re living on residence, your college is where you would live.

there isn’t really any difference between the colleges, they all serve the same basic purpose. there are some people who say that each college has their own “personality”, but you will be able to find people that you click with no matter which college you’re at. basic people will tell you all about the stereotypes associated with the different colleges, but that’s all they are– stereotypes.

2) yes, it’s possible for you to for you to enroll in criminology and socio-legal studies as a major even though you were admitted into humanities. as long as you have the appropriate prerequisites fulfilled, there’s nothing stopping you!

you just need to take 2.0 FCE (full course equivalents) in either: HIS (history), ECO (economics), PHL (philosophy), POL (polisci), PSY (psychology), or SOC (sociology). then, between first and second year (or whenever you complete 4.0 FCE), you have to apply for the major on ACORN. check out this link for a detailed explanation of the program enrollment process. criminology and socio-legal studies is a type 3 program.

you could also make an academic advising session with your registrar’s office, who would be able to give you even more information.

i hope this helps! see you on campus in september!

millie bobby brown blow kiss GIF by SAG Awards

xoxo,

aska

May30

every penny counts

I’ve noticed that some colleges have cheaper tuition prices then others, it seems that Woodsworth College has the cheapest tuition is this correct?

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hi!

included in your tuition are compulsory non-academic incidental fees. a lot of these fees are the same for all u of t students (we’re all charged the same hart house membership fee, for example) but some of them are college specific. though they’re not technically “tuition”, they’re included in your overall fees and you pay them at the same time you pay your academic fees.

the compulsory non-academic incidental fees include your college’s student society fees, any levies they require that you contribute to, or any service fees. they differ from college to college, as each college has a different student society that collects fees to contribute to clubs/ levies/ events.

you can check out the these charts to compare the different colleges’ incidental fees. i ain’t gonna do the math and figure out the cheapest one for you. you know i hate math.

xoxo,

aska

 

Mar15

program fees vs. course fees

Dear aska,

I’m a fourth year student and I want to take an extra semester of courses to improve my gpa for Masters applications. I’m an Education and Society minor and I need to finish 0.5 credit internship before I can graduate. I’m planning on doing it in fall 2017, not taking winter courses and graduating in June 2018. You answered a question (entitled: i have LOTS of problems) that basically encapsulates my situation as well. But what I’d like to know is that if I am a full-time student in the fall (probably taking 3-4 courses) and I don’t take any courses in the winter term, would I still be a full-time student. And do I still have to pay full year’s tuition?

Regards,

Struggling Student

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glad to know someone’s reading our wee li’l blog!

arts and sciences will assess your status by looking at the full session (both fall and winter), meaning that if you are only enrolled in 3-4 courses in one semester, you’re still considered a part time student.

let’s assume that by taking 3-4 courses, you mean 1.5-2.0 FCE’s. according to the faculty of arts and sciences, you’re still considered part time and you’ll be able to pay per course fees. the link above explains everything in excruciating detail ^

you will also be paying reduced incidentals, which are specific to your college: <— select which college you are part of and you’ll be able to see what fees you’ll be paying.

basically, as long as your course load is 3.5 credits or lower, you’ll pay course fees.

hope this helped!

peace and love,

aska

 

 

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!

———————————————

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

Nov20

not another college question

Hi!
I’m a student who’s applying internationally for the faculty of arts and
sciences. And I really don’t understand the college system.
I mean I do, but like, are there subjects that are not available in all
colleges? Are there any colleges that are  academically lower than others?
I’m planning to either major in film or english, is that going to matter?
Also, how do I do my research about the colleges? I’m really lost about
this whole situation.

Thank you so much, your blog really helped clear up a lot of thing.

———————————————

hello,

i was going to preface this post by saying ‘ugh, not another college question’, but you’ve asked some questions that i think are important to address, so i have no sass for you today.

let me try addressing your questions one by one.

1. are there any subjects that are not available in all colleges?

do you mean to ask if there are any subjects that are exclusive to certain colleges? the answer to that is no. you have access to all courses in the faculty of arts and science regardless of your college affiliation.

2. are there colleges that are academically lower than other colleges?

no, not that i know of. there are students who perform well and students who perform poorly at every college. even if there were, we most likely would not be able to disclose that information on aska because that would be hella shady.

3. i’m planning on majoring in film and english, does that matter?

not really. innis college IS known for their cinema studies program and there isn’t really ONE college affiliated with english. innis also has a writing and rhetoric program, while vic has literature and critical theory. the only thing that might matter is, for example: you might hear more about cinema studies events if you’re an innis college student. regardless, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem as long as you are subscribed to the right listservs (email subscriptrions). to see a list of every college’s specialty, click here!

4. how do i conduct research on the colleges?

you can go on this website and find the tag ‘colleges‘. we’ve answered tons of questions similar to yours and you’re bound to find out a lot about each of them. even browsing reddit or college websites can tell you a lot about them. maybe you’ll find that one particular college gives off a good vibe. like i’ve said in the past, what college you’re part of doesn’t REALLY matter unless you’re thinking of living in residence. there’s also college culture to consider, but you’ll have to find out about those yourself by talking to people from the respective colleges.  if you want more info on the residences offered, check out our ‘residence‘ tag!

keep in mind that when you’re ranking colleges, some colleges (innis, vic, trin) require you to rank them first.

choose wisely, my friend.

 

giphy-2

 

peace and love,

aska

Aug31

srsly?

Hi aska, just wondering about the college thing. like how does it work and could you describe the different colleges and what they’re like (if you know) in your own gr8 words

———————————————

hey there,

no. why.*

*but seriously, check out our other posts about this topic. there are only so many ways to say that “every college has it’s own special qualities.” good luck!

cheers,

aska

Jul20

Yet Another Anxious High School Kid TM

Hey Aska,

Firstly, thank you so much for this site! I’ve been checking it every few days since i found out about it, and thanks to you I’m slightly less likely to have a full on panic attack when i apply to uni.

I’m starting grade 12 in an Ontario high school in the fall, and i want to apply for social sciences at uoft, probably for either International Relations or Peace, Conflict and Justice. My grades aren’t /amazing/, but I’ll probably have an average in the mid to high eighties when I have to send them in, so…ok?

I do a lot of extracurricular stuff- I’m the president of a social-justice-y club, the editor of the school newspaper and I will have
been a “senior mentor” for two years, and I know I can get recommendation letters from each of these. (sorry if this sounds like the pretentious part of a resume, I can’t help it) Even if these positions would be irrelevant with regards to admissions, would they (or recommendation letters) help me with anything else, like getting into the college of my choice, school clubs or scholarships?

Also, do you think International Relations or Peace, Conflict and Justice would be more relevant to a career in human rights?

Thank you so much!

———————————————

hey there,

i’m glad my sass and bad humour calm you down, kid. i mean, it’s kinda weird, but i’ll roll with it. what’s your deal? are you a sucker for pain? if so, uoft will be the perfect choice for you. it’s a match made in a 9am calculus class!

while i appreciate the vagueness of your question about admissions and the probably unintentional john green reference, i still can’t give you a straight answer. i’m not about to risk going against a decision made by admissions. all i can do is point you to this chart right here; feel free to compare and contrast, and draw your own conclusions.

as for your extracurricular experience, you’re exactly right. it will all mean diddly-squat in terms of admission to the university, but it will come in handy for scholarship applications, the experience may be valuable when it comes to joining clubs in university, and it can – potentially – be useful for college applications.

not all colleges in the faculty of arts & science require supplemental applications. in fact, most don’t. the only colleges that actually require an application are victoria college and trinity college, because they’re kooky like that. if you’re interested in either of those colleges however, their student profile application forms will be your chance to shine.

finally, your program question: IR and PCJ are two peas in a pod. you can’t go wrong with either of them. i wouldn’t worry so much about which one will be more relevant (especially since ‘human rights’ isn’t that specific a goal in itself). a better way to narrow them down is to look at the practical implications of each choice.

for example, you’ll need to determine is whether you’re after the specialists or majors in IR/PCJ. the difference between a specialist and a major is that a specialist asks that you complete more credits (13.0 for IR and 12.0 for PCJ), and therefore, one specialist is enough for you to obtain your degree. majors require fewer credits (both IR and PCJ require 7.5 FCEs for their majors), and therefore if you’re in an IR or PCJ major, you’ll have to supplement it with either one other major, or two other minors.

content-wise, all four options (the IR specialist, PCJ specialist, IR major, and PCJ major) are pretty similar, but there are subtle differences in terms of which courses you would need to take for each. study each program on the course calendar to get a feel for which would be the best fit for you.

if you really can’t decide, consider a double major in PCJ and IR. they complement each other wonderfully.

my final piece of advice is this: keep your options open. all of these programs are type 3 programs, which means that even if you meet all the prerequisites in first year, you still may not get into the program, since there are limited spots for enrolment. what i’m saying is: backups are non-optional, and be ready for plan B to become plan A.

but don’t worry about ANY OF THAT right now, because you still have a year left of high school and subject POSt enrolment is at least two years away. a lot can happen in two years, so take it easy. enjoy your summer break. play pokemon go. try to be a kid again.

you can start by closing this tab and looking at prom outfits in the next one.

cheers,

aska

P.S. thanks for providing the perfect title for this post in your e-mail subject line. i love the self-deprecation. keep it up and you might even be as great as aska, one day.

Mar18

i need scholarships now

Hi,
I was wondering if its possible to change colleges (after acceptance from U of T but before accepting their offer) to a college that offers better scholarships. I had a 91% at time of application, and U of T was the only school that did not offer me a scholarship. I don’t mean to sound desperate but I really need any financial assistance I can get. Will I still be eligible for an entrance scholarship from a college if I switch now?
If you publish this question PLEASE keep all of my personal information private.
Thank you!

———————————————

hey there,

where do y’all see me publishing your personal information? when, in 16 years of operation, has aska published so much as a name? ok, maybe we have like, once or twice, but that was back in the stone ages where no one really understood the internet. point is, i will never post your name or any other personal information on this website – other than your deepest darkest stories/questions, of course.

it will depend on the college, but i have a feeling that if you request a switch at this point, it will not come with a scholarship from that college. the logic will likely be that you received an offer from one college, and now you are transferring to another one – transferring, not entering. ergo, no entrance scholarships. also, there is not a massive difference between the scholarships offered between different colleges.

as always, there is nothing stopping you from calling the registrar’s office of your preferred college and inquiring, but i would say that receiving another scholarship offer is probably doubtful. still, nothing’s stopping you from calling and asking.

cheers,

aska

Jun17

i hear they stuff frosh kits with rhodes scholarships at trin

hello! I finished my first year (I’ll be a third year in the fall due to transfer credits, though) as a Woodsworth student but want to switch colleges (ie Trin or Vic). I fared okay academically (3.8 cgpa) and hold some leadership positions in some extracurrics. Is it too late to try to switch colleges? would it just be an unnecessary administrative hassle? do grad schools even care about what college I’m in? I want in on a more academically reputed college now that I know the differences D:

———————————————

hey there,

i’m a little baffled as to how you made it through a year here and you’re still clinging to this whole college elitism business. surely you know by now that colleges mean diddly squat when it comes to your academics?

well anyway, it’s never too late to learn.

graduate schools absolutely DO NOT care what college you’re coming from. most universities in Canada (and the States, for that matter) don’t even have colleges, so whether you’re coming from woodsworth or trin won’t mean anything to them, as long as you’re uoft.

also, a 3.8 is more than okay, keenerino. sheesh.

BUUUT if you still want to transfer to another college and you have a valid reason, like: you spend so much time there anyway because of your classes/program/extra-curriculars, you’re interested in their scholarships or residence or some other service they provide, or you just really want to be a part of High Table, then go for it, dude. just e-mail your registrar’s office to get the ball rolling.

tl;dr: transferring colleges is not that much of an administrative hassle at all, but it’s not worth it if it’s just because of the “prestige” or whatever.

cheers,

aska

May25

5 ways to get involved with ‘small community’ at uoft

“small community” is a term you hear a lot when talking about uoft. an institution that has hoarded so many resources has a lot to be proud of, but there is one thing it cannot get away from. with all its additions, faculties, departments, and colleges, uoft has gotten big. very big.

no matter how much uoft trumpets its award-winning programs, brags about alumni, and pumps money into research, there is one thing it can’t get away from, and it’s the one thing prospective students have been asking for years now.

“how can i be part of a small community on campus? how can i avoid being just a number in this massive institution?”

fair question. uoft is notorious for lacking community. turnout at varsity games is a frequent target for people who’d like to kick the stuffing out of uoft. the sheer size of campus and the student body is more than enough to discourage folks. and it’s not something that’s escaped uoft’s notice.

because it might be our biggest weakness, connecting with students has become something of an obsession at uoft, and the constant attention paid to this issue has actually resulted in a lot of small communities. more, paradoxically, than you might find at a lot of smaller universities.

so here are just five ways to get involved with small community on campus:

1. First Nations House

i could spend all day talking about how great First Nations House is. located at 563 Spadina Ave. on the 3rd Floor, FNH provides “a positive environment for all students to engage with UofT’s vibrant and diverse Aboriginal community.

FNH connects aboriginal and Metis students with bursaries and scholarships, academic counselling and tutoring, and a fabulous resource centre with printed and audio materials specific to aboriginal culture. Elder in Residence Andrew Wesley and Traditional Teacher in Residence Lee Maracle are also available to provide students with guidance and support.

in addition, FNH has its own orientation for new students, and there are multiple aboriginal student groups on campus.

2. Chestnut Residence

Chestnut Residence is the only UTSG residence not affiliated with any FAS college. if you’re not a part of the faculty of arts & science or you’re not interested in living in a college-specific residence, consider chestnut!

as a converted hotel with 24 floors and a dining hall that looks like (and probably used to be) a ballroom, it’s a truly unique place to live. with three graduate floors, two single-sex floors and residents in all uoft faculties, it’s a diverse and robust community. check it out here.

3. Hart House

i sometimes wish Hart House was a college – except that would be totally unfair, since it has its own pool. however, the community atmosphere around Hart House is a very collegial one. with its own student spaces, creative and fitness classes, and student organizations, it has all the cogs of a collegial clock. and it’s the students who really make Hart House tick.

Hart House hosts student musical groups, social justice/civic engagement groups and artistic/creative clubs and committees. they also have a gym, creative and fitness classes, and a library. they it’s a really, really cool place to be involved with.

4. Multifaith Centre

the multifaith centre is located at 569 spadina ave., and it’s a great resource for people of all faiths (the name kinda gave that away, huh?). the centre’s Campus Chaplains Organization has chaplains from a dizzying number of faiths, all available to help you.

they also provide student spaces and grief support.

5. Sexual & Gender Diversity Office

located in Room 415 of 21 Sussex Ave. – also known as the Clubhouse – is uoft’s Sexual & Gender Diversity Office. i only have one complaint with the SGDO, and that is with the naming. to call it an ‘office’ is to limit it immensely; it’s so much more than that. the SGDO is a community hub, a hangout space, and a network of kind and supportive people.

the office “work[s] towards equity and challenging discrimination.” they do this by providing a student study space, hosting a film series, and providing lots of opportunities for community-building between LGBTQ students and allies.

Apr16

“what does it mean to be in a college” “a lot of high school-esque drama”

Hi! I was filling out the vic residence application and came across as question asking if I was a victoria university student. What does this mean?

———————————————

hey there,

if you’re a faculty of arts & science student who’s been accepted to the university of toronto, you will also be accepted into one of seven colleges. victoria is one of those colleges – so that’s what the question is referring to. (if you’re still confused – which i would understand – you can read more about the college system here).

if you’ve been admitted to a faculty OTHER than the faculty of arts & science (kinesiology, music, applied science & engineering), you won’t have been admitted to a college, so your answer would be no, you’re not a victoria student.

hope you get into vic res! save me a sandwich from upper burwash dining hall.

all the best,

aska

Oct23

college knowledge

Helloooo so I was just wondering what the differences between all of the colleges are, and if some are easier to get into than others?

———————————————

hey there,

well, i’m not gonna give you the differences between all of the colleges. see, i totally appreciate that this may be the FIRST TIME EVER you have heard of the college system. however, i have been living and breathing uoft’s colleges for so long that i simply refuse to add one more ‘overview of uoft’s colleges’ to the slew of them that already exist online.

what slew, you ask? well, here are just a few: bam, bloop, blarp. also, there is aska’s extensive colleges tag, and a tag for every college at uoft (innis, new, st. mike’s, trin, UC, vic and woodsworth).

also check out aska’s ‘prospective students’ tab, available on aska’s tumblr.

there are lots more ‘overviews’ out there that are not affiliated with uoft, but i would read those with extreme caution, since some of them have the unfortunate habit of tacking on random words as descriptors for each college?(this is the “asian college,” the “evil college,” the “science college” or the “ugly college” – what’s next? the spaghetti college?? the small potted plants college???). they can also be biased, because they tend to be written by students who are very invested in their own college.

here at aska, we prefer to be snobby about other things, like our stellar and up-to-date web design, so our stance about the colleges is pretty even.

i’d say that reading up on practical things related to colleges, like their size, residence types (if you’ll be staying in residence) or proximity to subway stations (if you’ll be commuting), the affiliated extra-curriculars, the scholarships, and any other unique programs that they may offer will help you make the sanest and most informed decision.

another tip: read your college of interest’s newspaper. every college has one, and that can give you an idea of some of the more nebulous parts of a college, like general political slant, how the community sees/defines itself, etc.

onto the next part of your question: are some easier to get into than others?

sort of. some colleges require a supplemental application, and that’s obviously more work. students applying to victoria college must complete a student profile form. trinity college also requires a student admission profile.

additionally, innis, victoria and trinity college all require that you rank them first on your OUAC application to be considered for admission there, and woodsworth requires you to rank them first to be considered if you’re a rotman commerce student.

for that reason, it’s probably not a good idea to rank innis, vic and trin as numbers 1, 2 and 3, for example, because if you don’t get into choice #1, you’ll be down to whatever you ranked as #4.

however, try not to worry about this. you will be placed in SOME COLLEGE. you will not be left a wayward, college-less vagabond.

may i please have some more

 

A poor, college-less student begs for free frosh handouts and students newspapers.

so don’t stress too much about it. just figure out which ones appeal to you most (oh, yes: visiting the colleges is a good idea), and you’ll find your party palace.

best,

aska

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