• admissions,  rotman

    if i pulled a hair out every time someone threw numbers at me i’d be bald

    Hey! I’m currently in grade 12 and I was just wondering how Rotman looks at grade 11 marks. I would say it wasn’t my best year, my average was around 86-87%. But currently my average is around 90-92%. I have done tons of different volunteering, co-op, and been part of numerous clubs. I’m just wondering whether I should worry about my average as of now.


    hey friend,

    i never wanna tell people they should worry about their average. this rotman webpage indicates that if you’re from ontario, you’ll need an average in the mid to high eighties. you can decide for yourself what that means for you. in terms of your extracurriculars, u of t generally doesn’t look at those, but if they’re asked for in your supplemental application (which rotman requires) then maybe they’ll affect your admissions decision?

    what i’ve been told before is that how much weight is placed on your grade 11 marks depends on what your academic progress at that point looks like. i don’t really know how to explain this, but in some situations grade 11 marks are almost entirely irrelevant for your uni applications– say a student took a few classes in summer school, putting them a grade ahead in some of their core courses. by the time they got to the eleventh grade, they ended up taking the courses universities would normally consider for admission (english 12, chemistry 12, whatever). in this case, because the most important courses for their university admissions had final marks by the time they applied for universities midway through their senior year, those grade 12-level courses taken during the eleventh grade would be the most heavily considered. their eleventh grade marks would have almost no bearing on admissions.

    this is because, apparently, eleventh grade marks are used primarily as a predictor of a student’s final grade 12 marks, which aren’t available at the time of university applications. so these 11th grade marks may be looked at if your core 12th grade courses are still in progress, as admissions officers have no concrete final 12th grade marks to go on yet. they may be overlooked if you already have things like english 12 in your pocket. i’ve also heard that large discrepancies between grade 11 and grade 12 marks may be taken into account.

    it would be good to note that this is based on something i was told in conversation with an admissions officer a solid number of years ago, and for a different program. i have no way to verify if it’s actually true. but that’s the beauty of being an aska as opposed to a journalist: i can offer up these lil nuggets of hearsay, with full disclosure that i haven’t checked this over with anyone official, and you get to decide how seriously you take them. for better! more concrete! verified! and straight from the source! info you should contact rotman’s admissions office directly. in fact, please do. in this case, i’m not confident in the information i’ve given you and think you can get better tips from them.

    i hope this made sense. we speakin’ from a caffeine-induced haze out here. i hate to perpetuate the stereotype that u of t is disproportionately difficult when i say that– i think most major universities have these kinds of weeks, and either way it depends on your program and the way you work. but yea. we goin’ thru a thing right now, and it won’t be over for a good couple weeks. sorry it took me a while to get to your question, that would be why.

    be Boundless,


  • admissions


    I’m in grade 12 in Ontario and getting ready to apply to A&S.  I’m still undecided between Life Sciences and Humanities but am heavily l eaning towards Life Sciences.  UTM and SC are not good options for me, so I’m stuck having to choose between LS or Humanities at SG. I will have all the prerequisites for LS, but a likely average around 85. I know that the “official” cut-off is low-mid 80’s, but then I read gazillions of comments online about people getting rejected with averages in the low-mid 90’s. Occasionally there’s someone saying “don’t worry, my buddy got in with an 84.” I’m considering applying to Humanities because my chances are better and I can still take all of the first year Life Sciences courses (I know that LS
    will have priority for picking sections), but deep down I really just want to enter as a LS student; FLCs really appeal to me. What are the facts vs fiction when it comes to admission averages for Life


    hey there,

    maybe i’m just over-caffeinated and heckin’ tired, but that felt like a hectic read. felt like the inside of my head circa twelfth grade. i, too, spent hours combing reddit for admissions averages and i can tell ya i got nearly nothing constructive out of it. big sigh.

    at the time, i felt the same way you did– i wanted answers, and couldn’t figure out why there was so much variation between peoples’ experiences. now that i’ve been at this school for a while (haha cry) and know a lil more about its ins and outs, well… you asked for a facts-vs-fiction kinda thing. i dunno if there are any hard and universal facts here, other than the domestic admissions averages posted here and the international ones posted here. there are so many factors at play in any one admissions case; with just the numbers and results it’s not easy to figure out what’s going on.

    in terms of why it seems like there is no standard admissions average story, and some people with 90s are getting rejected while some with mid-80s are getting in, these are two of the behind-the-scenes reasons i’m aware of:

    • their admissions average might overall have been high, but their english or calculus mark may have been less than ideal, which may have affected their chances of admission
      • this year, as long as you have calc at all, you’re good. unlike previous years, it’s not being weighted as heavily for admission and if it’s relatively low, won’t affect your admissions average
    • admissions are rolling, so someone who applies earlier might be more likely to get in than someone who applies on the very last day

    the main reason i don’t feel like i have any facts to give you, though, is because what kind of averages result in acceptances will vary from year to year. this is because the caliber of students varies per year, and admissions will adjust accordingly. if that makes sense. it sounds like such a cop-out answer, but that’s really what i’ve been told over and over again so it’s all i can relay. and i’m relatively certain that’s how it works, anyway.

    in terms of entering the life sciences as a humanities student, the only thing you should be aware of other than priority enrolment is having the appropriate high school prerequisites for the courses you’ll be taking. i’m assuming that if your intention is to go into lifesci anyways you’ll have those, though. as for deciding whether to apply to lifesci or humanities, i’d suggest you speak with an academic counselor at your school, if you have one available, and see what they think about your situation.

    i am so sorry for the long wait with this answer, and i hope it had some semblance of coherence. ya friend has been drowning in midterms and will not be able to take another breath until… finals season begins.

    i hope this was still helpful though and best of luck with your application!

    be Boundless,



  • drama,  grad school

    excess rhymes with success anyway they’re essentially the same

    Hi. I am interested in joining the UofT’s PhD Program in Drama, Theatre and performance studies. After some reading, I found the information that the thesis supervisor is assigned AFTER the PhD candidate registration. My question: should I write and e-mail to the professor that I dream to work with? Or it would be excessive? Should I point at the Statement of Research intent my interest in working with this specific professor, or maybe it would be better leave it open?


    hey there,

    as is pretty common with the questions i get, never been in this situation before.

    but i spoke to someone with a lil more experience with this and it seems like there’s certainly no harm in doing any of the things you mentioned! there’s a possibility that the program told you the thesis supervisor wouldn’t be assigned yet to alleviate the stress of finding a supervisor before you’re registered. it may not necessarily be because they don’t want you to make those connections.

    i mean, if it’s not an urgent matter for you, the program is running an open house on january 17 where they can answer your question. more info on that here. if it is more urgent and you really want a definitive answer, the page i linked provides an email you can use to set up a meeting outside of that open house and ask your questions.

    hope this helped at least a lil!

    be Boundless,


  • jobs,  work-study,  work-study


    what kinds of jobs on campus are there? does u of t hire students over the summer?


    hello hello,

    jobs! employment! what wild concepts. after i graduate, i fully intend to languish my days away in my parents’ nonexistent basement, eating only doritos and drinking only orange juice from concentrate. that’s it. that’s my vision for the future. obviously i’m in school for the pure joy of learning, not so that i can secure meaningful employment during my studies or later on. because what fun would that be, am i right?

    just kidding. i hate doritos and like my job, and you weren’t even asking about post-graduation employment. but i take every opportunity to tangent away, because god knows i can’t do that in my papers without some kinda consequence. we don’t love consequences here.

    primarily, u of t offers work-study and casual employment positions for students, as far as on-campus employment goes. i’m a work-study student myself, so i’m happy to answer any specific questions and would definitely recommend giving the program a try. i believe it used to only be open to students receiving OSAP, but now it’s open to everyone!

    how it works is that you’re usually given a set number of hours– i know people with everything from 4 to 15– and you’re allowed to work however much (or as little) as you want within those parameters. officially, i think it’s 15 hours max, at $15 an hour. once again, i have heard of some variance– for example, my friend in a slightly more demanding work-study makes a higher wage, and there are opportunities for promotion at her job. not too sure how common these situations are, but they are out there.

    work-studies are primarily advantageous in that they prioritize your learning in two ways:

    first, they offer flexible schedules, allowing you to focus on your classes. with my work-study, i pretty much set my own hours, so if i have a really overwhelming week at school i don’t even have to come in. once again, i’m not exactly sure how common that is across the program.

    second, they’re fundamentally designed for you to further your own learning! as a work-study student, your job is meant to bestow upon you some kinda meaningful experience. in keeping with this, you set learning goals, complete self-assessments, and (at least in my case) get some paid training. you’re also eligible for CCR credit upon completion of your work-study.

    work-study programs run both fall-winter and summer, but to be eligible for work-study during the summer as well, you unfortunately need to be studying. otherwise it’s just work and you might as well… become a line cook at de dutch or something. i dunno.

    you can find more info on work-study positions on the career and co-curricular learning network. in terms of eligibility for the program, these are the hurdles you’ll need to jump:

    • be a u of t degree student that’s not in theology (sorry… theologists)
    • not be in co-op/placement
    • be a domestic student in at least a 40% courseload for fall/winter (total 2.0 credits) or 0.5 credits in either of the summer sessions
    • be an international full-time student for fall/winter and meet federal government requirements, or check in with the cie for summer session requirements

    casual on-campus employment may be available on the clnx portal as well, but i don’t have as much info on that as i do on work-study. sometimes, there are postings on departmental or faculty websites– here are the job postings for kpe, for example. if you were hoping to secure employment for the summer session without being in classes, this would be the way to go.

    hope this helped and that you manage to secure a job! if ever you need advice or help with the job search, feel free to check out the peer career advising program— you should be able to get additional assistance, like resume feedback, there.

    be Boundless,



  • probation,  suspension

    your academic record is not word online, what’s on it will not disappear if you refresh

    I was on academic probation first year due to my failing marks I had a gpa of 0.5 I ended doing better second year but not well enough to get my gpa over 2 and got suspended for third year I was planning to come again and start all over do u think it’s a good idea given the courses I did pass with barely passing makes?

    hey there,

    as far as i’m aware, i don’t think you can… start all over? at least in utsg’s artsci faculty (though i’m nearly certain most other places will be the same) your academic record is your academic record. there is no tabula rasa. you can certainly decide to return to your studies after your year of suspension and give things another go, but whether i’d recommend you actually do that depends on the reasons behind your probation and suspension.

    were there unforeseen circumstances that were out of your control, but that you’ve since had the time, resources and support to cope with? did you have trouble adjusting to the pace of uni life but feel better equipped to do so now?

    is school just not your thing? were you having trouble with the workload, or focusing, or the general structure of things? did you not ever want to be here in the first place?

    i dunno, man, you’ve given me very little to work with (which is often the case with these questions, so that’s okay). it’s hard for me to really say whether i think coming back to school is a good idea just based off of your GPA and suspension record.

    there are so many other factors that play a part in any given person’s ability to do well in school. my instinct is to refer you to your registrar, as they’d be better equipped to help you weigh your options given your academic history and personal aptitudes.

    the only option for you i can think of, if you really want to start over, is to try to transfer to another school. if you manage to do that, any credits carried over from u of t won’t have marks attached to them. this doesn’t mean your u of t record disappears– if you choose to apply to grad school down the road it’ll still be relevant– but yeah, that’s the only “start over” option i’m aware of. it might be difficult to complete a transfer if you’ve been suspended, though.

    i dunno, m’dude. brain is fried from midterms and i feel bleh and unhelpful right now :(( not even caffeine is managing to fuel the snark today. so yeah, hit up your registrar. or speak to someone who’s familiar with your circumstances. or! send more detail in and i can continue trying to help you. all the best as you try to find your path.

    be Boundless,


  • grad school

    is this a… york advisor?

    Hi, so I started my degree in 2016 and I really struggled the first two years and ended up on academic probation, and then an academic suspension. I’m back now, and I’m predicting I’ll finish in 2022 or 2023. So that’s 6-7 years I’m putting down on my resume I’ve been in school and it’s making me beyond depressed and embarrassed.

    I want to purse a career in teaching. Possibly go to York for their consecutive education program, but I don’t know how they’ll look at my last 2 years. Especially if I decide to take an additional year, and take more than 20 credits. I can’t find the info on how York will look at my extra credits or even OISE/ grad schools in general?

    I emailed York but they didn’t say much 🙁

    I just want to know how extra credits and lower course loads (still full time, 3.0, but not 5.0) look to them.


    hey there,

    there’s no shame at all in being in school for that long. i know there’s a certain pressure to get your degree done in the standard four years, but it’s becoming more and more common for students to take their time and stay in school longer. university is tough, man. and everyone’s life has different timing. i actually think your drive to bounce back from those obstacles you hit and return to school is pretty dang admirable, for what it’s worth.

    i can understand, though, your concern over how your academic record will affect your future educational prospects. unfortunately, this is about as substantial as answer as i’m able to give you:

    as in, it would be really really difficult for me to give you reliable info on how york would assess your academic record. only the people at york would know that. you can try the lovely people over at the york u life tumblr, which functions relatively similarly to aska, or you might just need to continue pestering the admissions office. it frustrates me that they didn’t provide you with much, because i refer people to grad schools admissions so often hoping the info those offices have will be better than what i have to offer.

    tl:dr unfortunately, i have to stick to my standard grad school admissions answer and tell you to contact the grad schools themselves. this feels like too risky of a thing for me to guess at. even with OISE running out of u of t, i don’t have much info to work with. i’m really sorry i can’t be more helpful 🙁

    best of luck and be Boundless,


  • admissions,  computer science

    u of t anagrammed is tofu just thought u should know

    Hi aska! I hope you’re doing well. I am currently a grade 12 student hoping to get admission into UoFT for either the engineering or comsci programs. I read online the supplementary application for the engineering program was 2 video’s and one written but it did not specify anything about the comsci supplelementary. I was wondering if you knew what that application process entailed and if there were any ways we could prepare for the supplementary (like some typical questions). Thank you!


    welcome welcome to my small but spicy (lol i wish) internet domain!

    hope you’re doing well too, and that uni application season is being kind to you. or as kind as it really can be.

    unfortunately, nothing’s been officially released yet regarding the compsci supplementary. this website promises more info will be released in winter 2020, which sounds kinda late to me, but hey.

    sorry i can’t be of more help, but until the department itself releases details it’s kinda hard to get wind of those.i’ve heard that this compsci supplementary is a new thing, so info from past years isn’t all that available for me to reach back for and hand to you.

    i have heard some very ambiguous things about it, though. as in, i really know! nothing! but have reason to believe there should be information released soon. so sit tight.

    be Boundless,


  • academic offense,  grad school

    this week on ‘how many unrelated gifs can i throw into a post?’ we have…

    I am applying to graduate school this year, and one of the questions that is asked on ouac is if I have ever had an academic sanction. I had an academic offense in my first year for my class, however, I just got a 0 on the assignment (it was a 1% assignment), and it only stayed on my record for 2 years. It is now no longer on my record, and the grad school I am applying to only requires my final 2 years (which this class is not a part of). Is it fine if I check the box off as no?


    hey there,

    checked this over and it seems like it is fine if you don’t report your sanction!

    if it’s no longer on your record, my understanding is that it was not deemed significant enough that it should affect your educational prospects moving forward.

    you don’t try to show sanctions if you only have tiny sanctions, i guess. we really be out here tryina make absurd political gifs relevant. here are some of my other recent faves, with absolutely no context, because sanctions make me think of politics and politics right now is this:

    and the purest energy of all is this boi:

    best of luck with the graduate school applications– aska is rooting for ya!

    be Boundless,


  • grad school,  law school

    you must not have trouble meeting word counts for your papers

    I started as a student at UTM a long time ago (in 2009 to be exact). I was on suspension a couple of times (2012 and 2014). I was going through a rough time in my life psychologically (mainly because of family and friend deaths that affected me emotionally) when I was younger and was also a somewhat lazy and unmotivated student that skipped a lot of classes. Originally I was in the sciences (Bio and Chem) and I didn’t like these subjects which is why I think it never really took off for me when I started at university. I battled through a lot of depression and worked for some time when I was suspended.

    In 2017 I returned to UTM after my suspension and completed a Philosophy Specialist degree in two years (4 regular semesters and 2 summer semesters). I finished in August and am going to graduate in November. When I returned to school in 2017 I already had 6.5 credits completed (mostly low marks, but a couple of good ones) with some 4 credits failed.

    From September 2017 to the end of August 2019 I completed 13.5 credits. All my philosophy courses were taken in that period (so none of my crappy grades from the past are in philosophy). Overall my GPA in these 13.5 credits was fairly high. Most of my marks were A’s (6.5 credits) with a couple of A+ (1.5 credits). 4 credits were A-‘s, and in 1.5 credits I got a B. I could have probably received even higher grades if my course load wasn’t always so high. In one of the semesters I took 5 philosophy courses and received a 4.0 in that semester with one A+. I also received an award from the philosophy department for outstanding performance in a 3rd year course. In general most of my courses in that period were 3rd year courses. I also did an independent research project with an excellent grade. I did take a lot of summer courses though, because I wanted to finish my degree as quickly as possible. I’m not young anymore so time for me was very crucial.

    My question is basically two part.

    1.  I was wondering if in my case I can have any hope of pursuing a Master’s degree in philosophy. I have been looking at graduate programs for philosophy and most of them look at only your last two years (or I guess the last half of your credits which in U of T’s case is 10 credits). Will my academic history affect my chance of getting in to a Master’s Program at any Ontario University?  Should I maybe include an explanatory letter about my past bad academic history or will they not even care about it? I am pretty certain that I would be able to secure really good recommendation letters and my writing samples should be pretty damn good considering that I have a numerous amount of papers that were A or A+ to choose from and improve on.
    2.  I was hoping to maybe go to Law School in the future, but I just don’t have the courage to apply with my academic history even if I do well on my LSAT. Would doing a Master’s in Philosophy help me in that respect, by prolonging a good track record of academic history (assuming I do well in grad school and focus on philosophy of law)? Should I just try to apply straight to law school if I get good LSAT scores?

    Sorry for the long email, but if you can give any advice on this or perhaps know someone else who can advise let me know.

    Thank you!


    hey friendo,

    long email indeed but it’s aight, still highkey preferable to the large stack of readings i gotta power through this week.

    the best advice i can give you, really, is to connect with the specific grad school/law school programs you’re interested in, and find out what their policies are. it’s really hard to make blanket statements about what all masters of philosophy or law admissions offices will consider, given that different institutions will place varying weight on different parts of an application, or have varying requirements. even knowing your whole academic history (lol) and being sympathetic to your circumstances, i don’t know that i’d be able to accurately gauge your chances, and am by no means an authority on grad school admissions.

    when you apply, you can certainly include a letter explaining your circumstances– i doubt it would detract from your application, but can’t guarantee they’ll take it into consideration. again, that might be a good thing to ask admission offices.

    if you’re available and interested, i can point you in the direction of fall campus day, which is happening this saturday, october 26, on campus. there should be info tables set up in the Fall Campus Day Tent to answer potential grad school applicants’ questions, and i believe they’re running sessions on “Myths & Realities” of law school admissions at Bahen 1130, at 11 and 2 pm,

    you can also consider visiting your registrar, and have them talk you through your options in person.

    best of luck!

    be Boundless,


  • commerce,  rotman

    but your first year just started :(

    I am first year student of commerce. I have question regarding CGPA requirements. I would like to know if I didn’t meet CGPA requirement this year can I improve my marks next year and apply again to the second year?


    hey there,

    since you didn’t specify otherwise, i’m just gonna go right ahead and answer this like you’re a first year in rotman commerce, and you’re worried about the guaranteed admission requirements.

    it might be important to note that it’s not your CGPA you’d be worried about, then– you’d be looking at the grades in your required courses, like RSM101. to make it to second year at rotman, there’s a grade threshold you’ll need to jump, which is what i’m assuming you mean by “CGPA requirement.”

    according to the rotman website, you’re allowed to retake each of the courses you need once, for a higher grade– the catch is, this needs to be done before fall/winter of your second year. as in, during the summer. any of those courses you retake won’t count towards your 20 credits to graduate or your gpa, either. they’ll just be your way back on track, i guess.

    if you did want to retake your requirements during the next fall-winter semester, you’d have to request an extension. apparently these are only granted in special circumstances, like if you dealt with significant and unexpected difficulty during your first year. if that’s the reason you’re asking this question and you think you qualify, you’d have to visit your rotman commerce academic advisor to get the extension process goin’.

    hope this helped!

    be Boundless,



  • graduation

    another one who wants out

    Hi, so I’m graduating this November and all my credits and such are complete. I just had one course that is a 0.5 credit course that’s a requirement for the degree and I’m not sure if I passed the exam so I don’t think I’ll be able to pass the course. Is there anything I can do to still graduate. Thanks!


    hey friend,

    as far as i’m aware, if it’s a course you need for your degree, there’s like… not that much you can do?

    if this was for a summer course and you haven’t heard back yet, i’d suggest you go to your registrar and see what they know about your exam results. we’re now well into the fall sem, so those grades should be out and available. hopefully that’ll give you a better sense of your circumstances.

    you can also ask them if they’re aware of any exceptions that’ll allow you to graduate without the course. unfortunately i don’t know too much about graduating without your requirements, so i wanna make the safe assumption that it’s likely not possible. your registrar might know something i don’t, but at the same time don’t get your hopes up.

    good luck with this– i hope things work out for ya.

    be Boundless,


  • anthropology,  subject POST

    “i just want to graduate” me too, bud

    i would like to apply to the Anthropology Major (Science) program at the end of this school year. I am in my final year and will have completed all the requirements for the program by April 2020, however my CGPA is below a 2.00 at the moment and they require a 2.00 for program enrolment. I am not planning on doing any post-graduate studies, I just want to graduate.

    Would I still have a chance in any way to make it into the Anthropology Major (science) program if I were to apply today? I will obviously work hard to get above a 2 (but just in case). Is there a letter I can’t write? What can I do?



    it’s been a solid two weeks of nothingness in the aska inbox, so this question feels like a curveball. i know nothing about sports and i have no business using sports metaphors. but man. i’m not too sure where you got the 2.00 CGPA requirement information from. sometimes people throw things at me i don’t recognize.

    it does seem that the evolutionary ANT major, the science one, is a type 2, but when i checked out the artsci calendar, a 2.0 CGPA wasn’t listed under the enrolment conditions. i’ve actually not heard of a type 2 program that has a CGPA requirement, although i know there are type 3 programs like PCJ that look at CGPA.

    so as far as i know, all you need to get into ANT is a grade higher than 67% in ANT100Y1, or higher than 70% in ANT203Y1. i dunno if those are thresholds you’ve managed to make, but that’s what the department would be looking for in order to let you in.

    as for applying to the program, i dunno if that’s still something you can do today, per se. you did mention being willing to wait til the end of the school year, which you’re definitely gonna have to do if you do things the normal way– both program request periods are now over and i’m not aware of any exceptions. thing is, even putting yourself through the first of the two request periods will only get you in and enrolled by august. 

    what i’d recommend you do is contact the department. especially if you have all the program requirements down and you’re trying to dip from this school by june, it’s your best option. if anyone’s able to get ya in, it’ll be them.

    as for your question about letters. there are plenty of letters you can’t write. i can think of a few. i can also think of a few you shouldn’t. all that’s relevant for you, though, is that if you don’t meet the requirements i highly doubt a letter is going to do anything for you. but i feel like the requirements aren’t what you thought they were, unless there’s something not listed that i’m just totally not aware of.

    hope this answered your questions and best of luck!

    be Boundless,


  • frosh

    you’ve probably already been froshed i guess

    how do we prepare for frosh? i’m a uc commuter that’s going to be staying in a dorm with someone for part of the week and no one’s told me what it’s going to be like, so i’m freaking out a lil. any advice would be appreciated!

    hey there,

    so sorry i didn’t get this on time– our inbox has been floooooded for a few weeks now. i always do my best to answer questions before those answers are needed, but sometimes those questions fall through the cracks, especially if they’re last-minute. i dunno if this was last-minute. tumblr doesn’t really show me when things are sent in.

    either way, i hope your frosh experience went well, despite not knowing what to expect. sometimes part of the fun comes from the surprises, anyway, am i right?

    for future readers– i’ve never done frosh with uc. have i done frosh at all? maybe. that feels like an essential, rather personal part of my identity that i’d prefer remain shrouded. i do wanna write a guide to surviving frosh at some point, though, which i’ll try to remember to link here when it’s up.

    in the meantime, you can click through the frosh tag on the life @ u of t blog, or check out our askastudent archive on the same topic.

    be Boundless,