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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

+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

+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!



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,





Do you think it is easier to form a community and actually have a group of freinds much easier at Mississuaga than t St. George?

While transferring from St George to Mississauga, if I have five credits, will all my five credits be transferred?

Thank you very much.



wow, another subjective question! i wish i could just say something along the lines of “put on a canada goose jacket, walk 20 steps northwest of convocation hall, do your best goose call and wait for your new friends to flock over” but unfortunately life does not work in such wonderful ways.

regarding friends and communities: i can’t speak for utm since i’ve spent my whole undergrad at utsg, but it really doesn’t matter which campus you’re a part of, it’s all about you. i know that seems really deep but it’s actually quite simple.

friends are easy to make if you make yourself available and keep an open mind. if you’re rude and distant to people, chances are, you won’t make very many friends. when we were younger, we were taught not to talk to strangers. i’d say now that we’re in university, talking to strangers is the only way to go about making friends. you won’t be the only one at either utm or utsg looking to make a friend. during a break in class, maybe strike up a conversation with someone who looks approachable. small talk does suck, but at least after that, you’ll know one person in your class! the easiest way to start a conversation, i find, is giving someone a compliment. i’m not saying that you should say “omg you’re so hot” to that guy who should be pursuing a modelling career instead of being in your class, but something simple like: “nice pencil case!” can be good. if they seem reluctant to continue the conversation, just move on to another person! easy as that!

profs will sometimes even force you to talk to the person seated beside you in class. this is usually just so you can have a buddy in class to catch you up if you miss a class, but that’s also a way to meet people!

aska story time: i once made a friend in class because she said “i like your superman shirt!” and then “i like your hair!” and then “i like you!” to me. it was a bit much, but we’re friends now and that’s all that matters.

if all else fails, please try the goose call method and let me know what happens.

in terms of being part of a community, we all have different definitions of communities. communities can close-knit and not so close-knit (? can’t think of a better word). joining a club or being part of a residence can automatically make you belong to a community, but it all depends on you and your willingness to participate and be involved. find a club from the ulife list of something you’re interested in. attend a meeting or an event. if you like it, continue showing up and see what happens! the more involved you are, the more close you’ll be with others in a community!

if you’re transferring from UTSG’s faculty of arts and science to UTM, according to this link all your credits will be retained unless you’re other undergraduate divisions like applied science and engineering, music, physical education and health, or architecture. if your program is outside of the faculty of arts and sciences, you will have to apply for a transfer credit assessment.

hope this helped! like i’ve said in the past, if you don’t make any friends, a crisp $20 bill will buy you 1 hour of friendship with askastudent.

honk honk,




I Like To Party, Party … at Innis

Hi! I’m a first-year student enrolled in Innis this year.
I came to Toronto just this week from another province, so I wasn’t able to attend frosh week or any of the introductory meetings. I looked through the online information and videos, but I’m still not sure how I can involve myself in the Innis student life. Are there groups specific to Innis College that can help me with a smooth transition to university?

Thanks so much.


Welcome Toronto Foreigner/ Wonderful Innis First Year

All you missed in Frosh was alot of clapping and chanting (… almost like a cult) … well that might not be true, I didn’t attendfrosh either. And I turned out alright … RIGHT?

Get pumped! I’m about to give you endless possibilities … well not exactly endless because I’m sure we have a word count limit.

Innis Student Life is here to the rescue … dun dah duuun. There sole purpose it to make sure that you have a wicked time at Innis and university.

Check out their Get Involved section.

Add them on Facebook?(no longer available) and they can update you on all kinds of fun things

Next and dare I say … better is Innis College Student Society or ICSS as the cool kids like to call it. Add them … yah yah I know I said to add the student life but add these guys instead. If you don’t have facebook, get it … and add these guys. They will tell you about all the sweet events going on for Innis students. Just on the first page, SEX SEMINAR (you’re in university now, this might be handy to go to), pub nights and homecoming parties.

Sex info, beer and school spirit … they know where it’s at.

And how to balance out all that drinking and sex … information. Sports! Innis has intramural sports to offer up. Again another facebook add … Zuckermann might have it all figured out because the world now revolves around facebook. Innis College Athletics

Go forth young one.

love always,


any club that would have me for a member

Hi Aska!

I am a student at UTM and wanted to find out if it is possible
for me to join and participate in UofT groups or organizations that are
a part of the other UofT campuses. I’ve received vague answers
everywhere I have searched and I am hoping for a more solid
answer. Of course the only place that I knew that would be anywhere close was you! Since you seem to have a bottomless jar of knowledge right at hand.
Thanks in advance for reading my e-mail! I really do appreciate that you would take the time out of your day to share some of your wisdom.
As a dedicated fan I have to also throw in that I absolutely envy your awesomeness. =]

“I absolutely envy your awesomeness.” Congrats, dear stranger, you have just made Aska’s day. (Which before, was made by eating gratis carrot cake.)

Aside from the commute, there shouldn’t be anything barring you from getting involved with a club or organization on the St. George or UTSC campuses. Why, there’s even that zippy yellow school bus to take you to St. George at previously agreed upon times! The best thing to do, would be to sift through this giant list of clubs and organizations, and see which ones tickle your fancy. Don’t contact them now, as no one will even be in the office until the first week of classes.

Personally, I think that any club would be lucky to have a person like you for a member. Plus you can offer that valuable UTM perspective thus missing from downtown organizations. (Is it true that every UTM student has webbed feet?)

xoxo, Askastudent

P.S. A good place to hit up is The Varsity Newspaper, if you’re at all interested in student journalism. The “UTM perspective” is always appreciated and you can be a star cub reporter! Contact them here.



I would like to be a part of Aska – is there any way I can help? I am
going into third year so I know bits about everything UofT related
(all most).


Yo, Jamila! I like you already. If you are interested in contributing to the askastudent universe, you have to be a student at Innis College and eligible for work study (meaning, able to get OSAP). For more information, email me at

If you want to give me back rubs and compliment my hair, that however, is available anytime.

xoxo, Askastudent


Won’t find this in the Calendar or Timetable.

Hey Aska!
Its my first year at U of T and I’ll be commuting.. Just wondering if you have some advice for meeting people and getting involved.. I just feel like it will be hard meeting people not living in res, can you really make friends in big lecture halls?
Thanks :)c

Tis true. Residence is a pretty easy way to make friends, and NO you really can’t make friends in big lecture halls. BUT residence is also an easy way to make enemies, and there are tonnes of opportunities to make friends on your way to and from big lecture halls.

Let me just say that I had a positive experience in residence, but an easy criticism is that it’s like a continuation of high school (with the same level of gossip, but in a more sophisticated vocabulary). You would make friends in res, but primarily through proximity, not necessarily mutual interest/compatibility.

You have already touched upon possibly the best way to make friends at U of T: getting involved.

Whether you are joining a student society, a club, or an intramural sports team – participating in extracurricular activities gives you a strong chance of meeting people… that you like.

Each College and Department typically has an undergrad student union. I know a bunch of Cinema kids involved that way, and they love it. There are clubs aligned with spirituality, hobbies, political parties… and there are tonnes of student newspapers you can contribute to. I’ll stop listing examples of groups to join, because there are hundreds at the university. The Clubs Fair, happening on Friday, September 4th, is a good way to see what your options are.

But let’s be serious for a moment. Not EVERYONE wants to play a sport. And not EVERYONE is a “clubs” type, which tends to be a specific breed of student (characterized by an ultra-peppy and cliquey ability to over-achieve).

Speaking of student societies, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Attend Frosh Week and have fun. I mean that in the active sense. Try to get the most out of the experience. There’s nothing I hate more than too-cool-for-school-kids who hide their insecurities by sulking about how “lame” Frosh activities are. Your college’s Student Society will provide other structured opportunities for you to meet people throughout the school year (ski trips, pub nights, formals).

Clubs, sports, social events… what else? Class.

I met some of my favourite people in class. Small classes. Seminars. Tutorials; the type of classroom setting where you have to say your name before you speak. Not only are you forced to talk to your classmates, but sharing a class with someone suggests that you also have some common interests. Where else can one enjoy a marathon conversation with someone about reconstructing morpho-syntactic structure and inflectional paradigms in proto-Semitic?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

I am happy to hear that you’re keen to engage in a social network downtown. It seems that the tendency for uninvolved commuters is to leave the city immediately after class, and return to their circle of high school friends – only to return en masse to Richmond St. later that evening in a their parents’ minivans, sporting bejewelled halter tops, excessive eye-liner and 7-UP bottles half-filled with vodka.

That was an unfair characterization. Crystal light is clearly the new 7-UP.

Maybe I’m just bitter because I grew up in rural Eastern Ontario and had dropped all of my high school friends before I even got here. Call me an a-hole, but a boy can only listen to small town folk inappropriately pluralizing words for so long (“yous guys,” “eatin’ at Subways,” etc.). As you can see my campaign to make university friends was born out of necessity.

Generally speaking, I do think that it is really important to expand your social scene at University. This is especially true in a city like Toronto, where you have an opportunity to meet a diverse range of people. Alas, I am preaching to the choir, for you are the one who is asking about making friends.

So, I will conclude with my best advice, which is to be OPEN to meeting new people. Sometimes the best way to make friends is a less desperate/aggressive approach. Sit directly beside someone in lecture, arrive five minutes early to tutorial to engage in small talk, take off your oversized sunglasses and undersized earphones as soon as you enter a building, don’t wear Axe.

If all else fails, substitute human friends with small dogs… or iPhones.


eager beaver

Hi, i?m in grade 9, and want to do something in medicine. I want to become a doctor or such. I just want to know what are the cutoff marks (or what should my average be aroud) and how much do they look at grade 9 and 10 marks, if at all? Just a few questions, my avg. in gr. 9 is 97. What should be around in the senior grades. Also, how big a role does community service play. Is it as much of a deal as it is served up to be? Could u e-mail me the answers pls.? Also, if there is additional information you could give me I?d be very grateful. I was also thinking about a uniiversity such as U of T, McMaster, Western, etc.
Thanks.? (more…)


does one clique count as cliquey?

Hey there, I’ve been reading this site for a while and it’s been helpful, sooo
here is a question.
I’m going to be a first year Innis student in the fall, and I’m wondering if
there are particular things I should steer clear from while I’m there. In some
of the older entries, you mentioned that Innis is pretty cliquey and overall
not that great, so do you have any specific suggestions for getting around the
stuffy atmosphere? Maybe any awesome clubs or student groups I should look up?
Or some non-UofT related activities? Thoughts? (more…)


the more successful people you know, the more lawyers you can blackmail 10 years from now

Hi! I’m newly admitted student and received an invitation for the conference My Definition, do you think it’s worth visiting? Thanks (more…)


music makes the bourgeoise and the rebel (never gonna stop)

Hey I’m kinda in a mess right now. Is there an extracurricular activity for
beginners or a beginner’s ensemble course for a student who excelled in music
theory (on steel pan, but pursuing clarinet), but lacks experience playing with
a clarinet and in an ensemble, hungry to play in an ensemble???
thanks x_X (more…)


i would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member

what if i wanted to be a part of askastudent and help out with answering
questions? i dont belong to Innis though… (more…)


tutors and tutees

What’s kicking, Aska?

I’m going into third year in September and I’d like to be like a mentor or a tutor or something for some 1st or 2nd year students. I’m not looking to get paid for this, and I’m also not looking to associate with anyone other than U of T students (IE that high school thing they’re always advertising at Sid Smith is out). Any suggestions aska? I’m a philosophy major and my GPA kicks ass… if either of those things matter…

Thanks! (more…)


innis is a hippie college…if you get in a time machine

Is Innis a hippie college? If not, where is the best counterculture hangout in U of T St. George for a chemical engineering chick who can’t let go of the 60s?


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