• 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,


  • email


    hello my dumb ass just realized I messed up when creating my email address. The ic info site says changing it is essentially replacing it so will I have to tell my registrar or will they get some notification? What about my professors?


    hey there,

    never run into this one before– and the people i’ve talked to say an email address change isn’t even possible. i did dig up the same webpage i’m guessing you looked at, though– this one? 

    if ya check out the ‘important note’ on that page, it lets you know that you’re the one who’s gotta step up and let people know about your email replacement. the people who email you may know something’s up because anything they send to your old email will probably bounce, but they won’t know where to reach you moving forward.

    short answer: you’ll have to tell your registrar, your profs, and anyone else important about your email address change. no one’s gonna do it for you, man. hopefully it’s not too tedious of a process.

    “wow, thank you aska! you’re a lifesaver. i’ve never encountered anyone quite this lifechanging. if i could venmo you some of my GPA to show my gratitude, i would.”

    in all seriousness, hope this was helpful.

    be Boundless,


  • residence

    don’t mention the word ‘winter’ to me yet, it’s too early

    i’m a first year student, yet I’m going to have to miss the Fall session. Can I still apply for residency as I’m going to start in January 2020 (Winter Session) and need to stay on campus? Btw I’m an international student.


    hey there,

    i have heard cases of people moving in just for winter sem, yes. usually this is conditional on someone else moving out– otherwise, there may not be space. but it does happen, yknow, people vacate their rooms mid-semester or don’t even show up in the fall. there are usually a few spots. it’s just a matter of how many, and whether anyone’s vying for them. you might have competition.

    uncalled-for levels of aggression! probably just cross your fingers and hope you get a spot.

    what i’d recommend is that you contact your preferred (or your college’s) residence, and ask them about their specific policies on winter move-in. i’m not aware of any centralized information on this, so it’s probably best to just talk to those offices directly. geez. listen to me. i’m picking up the language of the bureaucracy, and i haven’t even been here that many years. this is how the end begins. someone get me outta here.

    usually i’d link you to the contact info, but it be busy times, so you can find all that stuff here.

    be Boundless,


  • repeating course

    third time’s the charm… unless there is no third time i guess

    I have taken mgm101 2 times already in the year of 2015-2016 first time I passed but with not a high enough mark and second time I left the school without dropping the course which obviously resulted in a fail. Recently Im trying again is there a way to take mgm101 again? I need it for the program I want to do


    hi there,

    i looked into this for you, and unfortunately, it does seem like you won’t be allowed to repeat the course. according to the rules and regulations, it seems like you can only repeat a course you already passed once.

    not sure what you can necessarily do in this situation, though you’re not alone in it– i have seen it before. i just dunno what the fix is– you may need to consider another program, or consider transferring to a different school to take a similar program. i would recommend that you talk your options over with your registrar, just cos they’ll have fuller access to your academic record and maybe be able to make more specific recommendations.

    sorry i can’t be more helpful, dude. best of luck.

    be Boundless,



  • wait list

    tHe NeeD to TaKe 5 CoUrSeS iS a SoCiaL cOnStruCt

    hi! In what situations would a department let you into a class after the waitlist drops? I’ve 3 courses waitlisted and I probably won’t get into 2 of them. These are possible courses I can take to fulfill a requirement. I am in/will be taking another course that will fulfill this requirement. Would they let me in these courses if I don’t get in after waitlist drops? Also, kinda freaking out cause I want/need to take 5 courses this fall


    hey there,

    i’m not aware of any situations in which you’d be ‘let in,’ per se, after the waitlist drops. however, i have heard of a kind of loophole, which is this: there’s a gap in time between the day the waitlist closes and the last day to add a course. this year, the fall waitlist closes september the 13th, but the last day to add is the 18th. in between these days, there’s a sort of free-for-all: if someone decides they’d like to drop a course, a spot will open up on ACORN for anyone to snatch up. so you can give that a try. it’s not a reliable solution by any means, but it is a chance.

    i’m not sure how else i can help you, given that i don’t know anything about the nature of the requirements. do you mean prerequisites? graduation requirements? program requirements? usually, if it’s the type of program requirement that gives you flexibility (eg. pick two courses from list a and one from list b) you almost definitely will not be snuck off the waitlist for your preferred class in that group. they’ll just tell you to take another class, even if it’s one you don’t really wanna take.

    if they’re super pressing requirements, you can always try begging the department to let you in, i guess. if that one course would keep you from graduating on time or something, maybe they’d make an exception.

    in terms of your chances of getting off the waitlist the normal way, what i usually tell people is this general rule: if you’re in the top 10 percent, chances are the waitlist will move. people will drop out, move out of the country, bleach their hair off and decide they can’t show their faces at school for a sem… you name it. or just decide they wanna dip. hey, whatever the reason is, it might give you what you want.

    in the future, i’d suggest that you don’t put yourself on quite so many waitlists. stressy situations like these are best avoided, especially if you’re not optimistic you can get off those waitlists. i dunno. 3 seems like a pretty big risk to me. best of luck with it all. feel free to drop by your registrar for more specific advice, if ya want, but hopefully this helped.

    be Boundless,


  • deferral,  fees,  OSAP

    second strike

    So this is my second strike with osap and they’ve decided not to give my money for this year’s tuition. Is it possible to get a deferral so I have time to gather the funds? I don’t have any scholarships. It’s crazy that I don’t seem to have the option to defer unless I’m with osap when it seems like students like me need that grace period the most..


    hey there,

    unfortunately, as far as i know, you’re only able to defer your fees for two reasons: if you have incoming scholarships, and if you’re waiting on OSAP. i’m not aware of any exceptions to this.

    that is a tough situation– it kind of makes sense that the university’s policies would be this way, because they need a guarantee that they can get your tuition money. with OSAP and scholarships, they kind of have that. with miscellaneous please-give-me-time situations, not so much.

    i’m sorry i can’t be more helpful– i do want to send you to your registrar, just in case i’m wrong and there is something you can do. it’s possible that they may be able to talk to you about grants or something– emergency funds for students in your situation.

    best of luck with it all, man.

    be Boundless,


  • fees

    *head bangs*

    hi, i am considering enrolling in 3 credits for the fall semester and then dropping one half course, but i can’t find the deadline for dropping a course without having to pay anything so i’m scared to enrol now:( should dropping in september be enough to not pay any withdrawal fee? please help!

    hey there,

    don’t blame you at all for not being able to find this– i had a lil trouble myself. it’s not a short answer, either, as this deadline can vary by your faculty, division, and even year. you can check out a master list of the refund schedules here— just click the link that applies to you.

    sorry i can’t be more specific, but unless i know exactly where you fall in the great bureaucracy that is u of t, this question’s a bit of a hard one to answer. too many possibilities. hope i managed to at least direct you to something that’ll be helpful, though!
    be Boundless,


  • fees

    incidental feeeeees

    what are incidental fees? do i need to be doing something with them? thanks aska!!!!


    hello there,

    incidental fees are pretty much the fees you pay to be a student at u of t, but separate from what you pay to study at u of t. if that makes any sense. when you pay for them, you get access to all sorts of services and programs that add to your university experience, whether that includes getting access to athletic centres, clubs, healthcare, or campus media.

    if you’re asking if you ‘need to be doing something with them’ because you’ve seen something pop up on your ACORN, then yes, i guess you kinda do have to do something. this year, you’re able to opt out of any non-mandatory incidental fees, which should be shown to you in some kinda checklist when you log into ACORN.

    this is because of the government of ontario’s student choice initiative, which you can read more about here. in short, the government has deemed an array of fees non-essential, jeopardizing the operations of these programs in the coming year. thing is, these programs– your student societies, campus newspapers, and clubs– contribute so much to the vibrancy of life at u of t, and are such valuable opportunities for students to learn soft skills outside of the classroom. these are skills that can make you more employable when you graduate, which i’d say is easily worth the money you’d be spending now.

    so if you have the financial means to do so, i would strongly encourage you to stay opted in.

    be Boundless,


  • tutorials


    lmao hello when do tutorials start? do we have to go to them starting thursday or only after we’ve been to the first respective lecture? thank u!


    hi, I was wondering if first years need to attend tutorials that precede their lectures for the first week of school? Is it best to email the prof?


    lmao hello to the both of you,

    sorry for the wait with this answer but no, you don’t have to go to them starting thursday. the general rule for tutorials is that if they do precede your lecture, you should not show up. no one else will show up. the TA will not show up. you’ll be greeted with an empty, dark lecture room, populated only by one or two equally lost and confused souls. if at all. but hey, maybe that’s your cup of tea.


    so i guess you could go if you want. but yeah, usually tutorials won’t run before the first lecture– you’ll get more info about them during that class.

    hope this helped, and best of luck with the start of classes! hope your profs are quality, your textbooks are available used, and you don’t need to jaywalk to get to class on time. that would be nice.

    be Boundless,


  • reading week

    no breaks! none

    do ppl generally go home over reading weeks? Or are there just like no breaks other than December lol


    hey there,

    dunno who gave you the idea that this school gives breaks. that’s pretty funny. a good joke if i ever heard one. reading weeks are like unicorns. or utsg snow days. or the mcdonald’s in northrop frye.

    yeah, come on man, not cool.

    in all seriousness, i feel like this one kinda depends. like yeah, there are breaks other than december– we’re lucky enough to have both a fall and winter reading week, and if you’d like to head home during those you can. this year, those reading breaks are gonna fall on the weeks of nov 4-8 and feb 17-21.

    as far as what i’ve seen, international students (especially ones from overseas) don’t tend to go home for reading week. maybe plane tickets are too expensive, or they want to get the value out of their rent, or a long-haul flight would eat up too much of their time and not ultimately be worth it.

    in terms of people who do tend to go home, it seems to mostly be eastern seaboard kiddos and domestic students, flying out to vancouver or winnipeg or edmonton for a week. i feel like people from ontario generally tend to stay in toronto, since they don’t feel as far from home. but that’s just been my experience.

    or hey, i guess, you could do the unthinkable and… read during your reading week. no judgement here. but i can’t promise i’ll be joining you.

    be Boundless,


  • first year

    it hasn’t even started but please make it stop

    when is the first day of school? I’m an undergrad in artsci at st george



    hey friend, 

    welcome in advance to u of t! according to the updated calendar for this year, the first day of classes for you should be sept 5. that’s a thursday. just about a week away. yikes. 

    it probably says something about how unprepared i am that i actually had to google this. i used to be a keener, i swear. first year changed me.

    be Boundless,


  • seminars

    not even a CHANCE

    hello! I am currently enrolled in one FYF seminar and waitlisted for two other FYF seminars (ranked number 4 for one and 18 for the other). I came across this post on uoft’s subreddit that mentioned there is a limit to a maximum of two seminars/1.0 credit. Now, what exactly does this mean? If I get into the classes I am waitlisted for, I would not get the credits for them? Should I drop one of the seminars I am waitlisted in… I probably don’t even have a chance of getting in, right? Thank you!


    hey there,

    would you look at that– reddit being reliable for once. whaddaya know. miracles do happen. this is a real warning, yall– some stuff on the u of t subreddit is the blind leading the blind. it can be useful for giving you an idea of things, but for any serious decisions please consult your registrar!

    the above gif is meant in a friendly way, just to be clear heheh.

    this limit to a maximum of two seminars basically means you can’t register for more than two, not that you can take them but just forfeit the credits. if that makes sense. so you’ll max out if you get off one of those waitlists, and likely won’t be able to get into the other regardless of your place on that list.

    as for your question about the likelihood of getting in, the general rule of waitlists is that if you’re in the top 10%, chances are good the list will move for you. that means, given what i know about seminars, that you’re not top 10% for either of these classes.

    however, first year seminars are pretty worth, from my experience. personally, i’d advise you to drop the course for which you’re waitlisted 18th, and stay on the 4th place one. you can try to audit the course before you get in– show up for class and get the syllabus and readings, so you don’t fall behind. this is probably only worth doing if you’re actually interested in the course material, though.

    i have heard that sometimes, in smaller classes, the prof might be able to do something about getting you in as well. i have no clue how accurate this is, but hey.

    your call! hope this was helpful.

    be Boundless,


  • first year,  no one asked

    having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card


    to build upon a previous aska’s post, the process of getting your hands on them might be a lot more complicated than you’d think. this is what i’ve learned so far in my time at u of t– hopefully it keeps you from making the same mistakes i did. that’s the idea, anyways, isn’t it? 

    first question: what books do i need?

    hit up this bookstore page and sign in with your utorid. once you’re enrolled in courses, you should get a list of the books you’ll need for each class you’re taking. sometimes it’ll take profs a while to upload those to the system, so there might be blank spaces– other times, those blank spaces mean there are no required books. what will you be reading in that case? i had one prof upload a bunch of pdfs and that was it. i would take that course again just to save money.

    there are other cases in which you’ll need books, but they won’t be listed. that means they won’t be bookstore-offered texts, and you’ll need to take a trip to the bob miller book room, alicos printing, or print city to get your reading materials.

    sometimes, you don’t even need to get books

    there are certain courses that’ll list books but they’ll end up being optional, or you’ll never even crack them open. i haven’t found that this is common, but if you’re concerned about this you can always attend a few lectures before buying. what you risk by doing this is that you’ll be behind on readings, but the potential reward is that you get to save some cash.

    with that said, there’s no way to know whether or not you’ll really need the book til your first class, when (hopefully) your prof will tell you. so it’s not a terrible idea to wait til you’ve attended at least one class to get your books.

    • the bookstore is…okay as an option if you need to buy

    PROS: your books will be easy to find and in one place, they’ll be in prime condition if you’re interested in selling them later, and it’s located on campus so you won’t need to go too far. they also sometimes will rent out or sell used books, if you’re trying not to blow your whole salary on school supplies. 

    CONS: $$$$$, and may not have all your books, especially if you’re in the humanities or social sciences 

    there are many alternatives to the bookstore:

    1. facebook groups: the u of t used book exchange (toronto) is the only group i’m aware of, but it’s quite a good one.

    PROS: negotiable prices and bundle deals, meetups usually on campus

    CONS: can be a bit sketchy so use caution. ask about highlighting and writing before you agree to buy, and check your books before you leave. also– don’t take a seller’s word that the books they’re offering will be what your course needs. pay special attention to differences in edition, because sometimes it MATTERS.

    2. discount textbooks toronto

    i’m not sure how viable of an option this is anymore, as their location recently moved from our campus to ryerson’s. however, i’ve heard that you can get some good deals here.

    3. used bookstores on bloor

    these aren’t a particularly good option for lifesci texts and the like, but if you’re in need of novels or similar assigned reading material and have a bit of time on your hands to search, used bookstores are a good bet.

    there are certainly used bookstores in other areas, but bloor west of campus has some good ones. i like BMV books because i’ve found they have pretty good pricing. the varsity has done a piece on used bookstores, on bloor and otherwise, that’ll highlight a few other options for you.

    4. tusbe, aka the toronto university student’s book exchange

    as with all internet-based exchange sites, please! exercise! caution! to avoid getting clobbered in one of those strange alleys on harbord and any other, similarly unfortunate, things that could happen to you.

    5. amazon

    if i’d known how many of my books were available used on amazon, i would never have bought them off the u of t book exchange or the bookstore. amazon is way cheaper if you get lucky, people. the downside is that you do have to wait quite a bit of time for shipping– a few weeks, i think, in my case? but it can be useful for yearlong courses with texts you won’t need til second sem.

    there are also many alternatives to buying books:

    1.the library — and by the library, i mean the online search thingy. it’s not a bad idea to look your textbooks up in the system before you commit to buying them. i got through a whole semester once by renewing and renewing and renewing a class textbook i got at gerstein. on occasion, you can get even luckier– i heard some of HIS103’s books are available as downloadable pdfs through the u of t library. this is a big win, @ first year IR kids. it’s legal and it’s free. 

    heads up that some local libraries can have online ebooks you can borrow as well. check yours!

    2.course reserves– they’re only avail to you for ~2 hour loans and can be unreliable, but are definitely an open option. if your books are in course reserves, your prof will usually say so or mention it on the syllabus. 

    3.renting books — you can do this either through the bookstore, or rent ebooks from amazon. if you can find your books as ebook rentals on amazon, that’s a real win. you can’t get any more win than that. i once found a textbook for $8 rent, when it would’ve cost me around 70 new. check both amazon.ca and amazon.com, because even after exchange rates .com can have better prices for text rentals.

    4.the lovely lovely world wide web– some novels, like heart of darkness, are free on the web through project gutenberg.

    a new and revolutionary option:

    do almost any of the above, but split it with a friend in some way. obviously, how well this will work depends on what kind of book you’re talking about, what kind of reader you are, and what kind of friends you have. it’s something i wish i had thought of earlier, though.

    my first year, i bought a book new from the bookstore and was so determined to keep it tip-top shape to resell that i never even really read from it, just took pictures and viewed them off my laptop. i did fine learning this way, but later realized i didn’t actually need the book if this was all i was going to do. i could probably have taken photos of a friend’s book and just bought them lunch, or presented some kind of other compensation they were okay with.

    it’s not the best call if you like writing or highlighting in your books, or if you simply prefer paper to a screen, but it’s something to consider. i feel like any other way of splitting a book could get complicated with custody, but maybe there are possibilities that haven’t crossed my mind yet. use your imagination, friends.

    hope this was helpful! go get ’em, friends (or hey, don’t)!

    be Boundless,