• profs

    if only prof requests were a thing

    Is there a way we could… ask UofT to consider someone as a professor? Sounds bizarre I know, but a friend of mine at another uni has this author I love for one of her classes, and the prof is a uoft alum! Just wish I could be her student lol


    hey there,

    as far as i know, there isn’t really a process to do this as students. profs/instructors get hired by applying for postings made by the university. students may have some say in the process by giving testimonials for the candidate’s teaching dossier, but these would be from the students they’ve taught before, not potential future students. which kind of makes sense, because while an instructor could seem great on paper, the experience of actually getting taught by them might be different. overall, it really comes down to the prof actually applying to work at uoft, and uoft choosing to accept her.

    if you’re really interested in taking her course, you could see if it might be possible to audit it? and then you can beg her to come to uoft. i guess this only really works if they’re in toronto or have online lectures, though.

    actually, if you really really want to take her courses, you might be able to do it for credit as a visiting student. you’d have to make sure that the course follows a few eligibility criteria, for example, it can’t be a course already offered by uoft artsci, and it can’t be pass fail, has to be in-person, etc. then, you can apply for a “letter of permission” from uoft which allows you take the course for credit. you’d also have to apply to the university you’ll be “visiting” on ouac, through the 105 application stream. it’s kind of a complicated process, but hey, if you really really want to take that course, it might be worth it.

     

    hope this helps,

    aska

  • references

    stuck in a reference rut

    What should I do if I had a good relationship with a professor and was hoping to get a letter of recommendation from them, but then they sadly passed away?


    hello,

    i’m really sorry to hear that and hope you’re doing alright. as for the letter of recommendation, i think the obvious answer is that you have to ask someone else to write it, unless you’ve already asked this prof and they’ve already written and sent your letter (in which case i suppose it’d still be valid), or they’re writing letters for you from the grave (the commitment!).

    i know it’s tough to have to scramble to put together things like this, but at the same time, assuming you’d left a good amount of time to ask your former prof for the letter, you can hopefully manage to find someone else to write a letter for you by the deadline.

    i’m sure you’ve heard how important it is to ask profs early on so that they have time to respond and write your letter. ideally, you’d ask another prof who you have a great relationship with, but if that doesn’t pan out, i’d say a good choice would be to reach out to profs who have supervised you in some capacity e.g. for a research course, work-study, etc. second to that would be profs who taught you in a courses where you got good grades, hopefully participated a good amount in, and are related to the field you want to go into.

    i’d also consider the prof’s approachability. i’ve met profs who were really student-centred and would go to great lengths to help and seemed to always have the students’ best interests in mind, always willing to give extra support or one-on-one meetings even when i didn’t participate a whole lot or wasn’t very close to them. on the other hand, some profs just seem to be less personable, or less available to give extra help to students – either they’re too busy, or the class is too big, and they don’t seem to offer a lot of time outside of class – that could be a red flag for finding good referees, which requires a good amount of time and energy commitment.

    above all, i’d recommend emailing profs (or if appropriate, talking to them in person) as soon as possible. give them the key details, like your name, when you took their course (and which course), the programs you’re applying to, deadlines, and you can attach your transcript and CV as well, to save them the trouble of having to ask for more info if they need it.

    if you’re tight on time, it’s best to email multiple profs (say, 3-4, or more if you really want), just in case some don’t respond. even if you suspect that some of their references may be more lukewarm, it’s better to ask just in case your other options fall through. a mediocre reference letter is still better than none.

    as a side note, most of this advice is based on grad school applications, or applications in academia, but references for professional schools like med school or law school may differ. from what i’ve heard, letters from profs are a must in academia, while for professional schools the status of the referee may not matter as much as the content of your letter, in other words, a glowing review from a different supervisor/mentor figure, even if it’s not from a prof, could still be very beneficial to your application.

    or maybe you need the letter of recommendation for a job (actually, now that i think about it you haven’t really said much about what the letter is for…) or volunteering or something, in which case it might be even easier to find a different reference that’ll do the job. profs are notoriously hard to reach sometimes so if you can even bypass asking them for a reference and go with a different referee instead, that might work too.

    good luck!

    aska

  • declaring absence,  petition

    petition petition petition! (unless you’re not eligible, in which case… don’t)

    Okay so I missed a deadline for a homework because of an illness, and the syllabus tells me to file a petition on Quercus. Where is this petition on quercus?? I can’t find anything there, the only petition thing I can see on uoft is that petition thing for major events. Pls help


    hey there,

    so after a bit of searching around, i’m getting the impression that you’re not really supposed to file a petition in this case, as in, the official arts and sciences petition. these petitions are mostly for exams or late assignments/term work, but by late they mean really late, like after the term has ended.

    i have a feeling that rather than a petition, the syllabus is actually referring to declaring your absence on acorn, which you are supposed to do (just go to the “profiles and settings” tab on acorn).

    you should also contact your instructor to confirm, and meet with your registrar, who might be able to help by suggesting other options, giving advice on any documentation you might need to gather, or writing a letter to explain your case to your instructor.

    if you do actually need to make a petition, that would be done using the artsci online form, not through acorn. you should also consult with your registrar first to see if you’re eligible and get details on how to apply. either way, i’ve heard lots of good things from people about petitions, so if you’re eligible to petition for this or other issues later on, it might come in handy.

    hope that helps!

    aska

  • academic success,  leave of absence,  mental health

    you can do it!

    my time in undergrad has been rough, in addition to much longer than expected; i don’t know how long it’s going to take to get my degree nowadays, and most of my friends have already finished undergrad. i haven’t been in a good place for a while now and haven’t been diagnosed with depression by a professional but everything about me absolutely reeks of it. i still want to continue with higher education, but i don’t know if i should take a break or continue at a relaxed pace. too heavy, or…?


    hi there,

    i think the best thing to do here is to get some professional advice — for mental health, academics, future plans, or whatever else you may have on your plate. your registrar is a good place to start as they can probably direct you to other resources and options, and you can also book an appointment with your family doctor or a clinician at the health & wellness clinic, and get confidential counselling over the phone through mySSP.

    i think it’s a bit hard to know what path would be best for you right now without having a more detailed discussion. it all depends on how your health right now, what your priorities/goals are, possible accomodations… the list goes on. it’s complicated! so, really. reach out to these supports!!

    now i may not be a medical professional or academic advisor, but i’d like to think i’m a bit of an expert in giving some perspective, emotional support, and wholesome gifs.

    speaking of wholesome gifs:

    i think it’s important to remember that it’s ok to take your time, and rather than trying to push and do things “on time” (whatever that means, anyway) make sure you’re doing it in a way that works for you and your priorities — a very important one being your health!

    i was trying not to get all into the realm of cliche quotes and ~positive thinking~, but since we’re here already i might as well drop a few more, like:

    • “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”
    • “comparison is the thief of joy”
    • “time is a social construct and plenty of students graduate in 4+ years anyway” (ok i just needed to fill a space here but still, it’s true.)

    cliche? oh yeah. helpful? hopefully. easier said than done? yeah, probably that too. but you get the point.

    there are probably other practical considerations that’ll affect your decision, like career goals, finances — all of that fun stuff. i think it’s important to think about these things first and figure out where you really want to be at the end of the day. do you want to enter a career that requires a degree? or maybe you’re really passionate about what you’re learning but just need the time, or the right time and circumstances, to work through it. if neither of these is true, maybe it’d be better to look into other options to really reach your goals. you may feel tied down to finishing your degree, but if it’s not what you really want/need, there could be better options out there — and tbh there’s no shame in jumping ship if this just isn’t working out for you.

    if finishing your degree is your end goal, you’ll have to consider your health, finances, and academics this semester to decide whether to take a leave of absence or drop some courses. there’s still a bit of time until the course drop deadline (literally tomorrow!)

    a leave of absence could be a good option if you really feel like you are floundering right now and need the time to rest/get things together. you’d have to drop all your courses this semester by the deadline, and cancel your registration on acorn. there might also be other ways to take a leave if you ask your registrar (they have their ways…)

    on the other hand, if you feel like you could pull through for some/most of your courses this semester, then cr/ncr may be a good option, especially for more difficult or stressful courses. this way, you could save on the tuition you’ve paid so far while earning some more credits towards your degree. you could then take a leave of absence next semester if needed

    there’s a lot of other stuff that can be done/planned out academics-wise too, like going over study strategies with an academic advisor, getting accomodations and support for health concerns or other extenuating circumstances, or changing to programs/courses that play to your strengths.

    uni life is a depressing mess sometimes, but i think with the right advising and supports/resources, you can definitely plan things out to finish your degree in a manageable way, hopefully with a clear, realistic timeline — that way, there’ll be a real light at the end of the tunnel, and you won’t feel like things are just left hanging up ahead. (it really sounds like i’m just regurgitating some kind of smart goals framework thing right now but hey, i guess the theme of the day is cliches.)

    anyhow, i hope this helped give you some ideas on how you could move forward. it’s a tough situation for sure, but i hope you know that it’s ok to take your time on this journey, and that there are tons of resources you can reach out to for support and advice.

    rooting for you!

    aska

  • engineering,  Transferring

    so you wanna be an engineer

    I’m a utsc student in my 2nd year (social science), i wanna transfer to engineering at St. George, how hard would that be? Is it possible to still graduate in 4 years if I do that? What would the process be? Really appreciate the help!


    hey there,

    so the good news is, it’s definitely possible to do that, and you might be able to get some transfer credits too, especially for electives.

    the kinda bad news is that since you’re not in engineering already, you’d have to transfer into first year engineering (more info here), so unless you’re really keen, it’d be really hard to graduate in four years total.

    in terms of the process, since you’re already a uoft student, you’d have to apply for an internal transfer on this portal. it looks like your application is based on your transcript and a supplemental application for things like extracurriculars, and apparently you need:

    unfortunately i don’t have personal experience with transfering, but engineering is a pretty competitive program and transfers can be especially hard to get. if you really want to get into the nitty gritty, a bit of snooping around led me to this report where you can see the number of applicants and offers for uoft engineering undergrad each year (pg 8-9 of the pdf) and it does not look pretty. if you’ve got the prereqs, a good gpa and extracurriculars, it’s definitely worth a shot, but you could also look into alternatives like eng programs at other unis to get some more options.

    good luck!

    aska

  • cogsci,  programs

    will the real cogsci major pls stand up

    hey hey! first off, huge fan 🙂 i’m a first year, and i think i’m going to major in cogsci. however, there are like 7 different cogsci major options, some arts, some science, and all of them different streams. my question is, why are there so many options for the same degree, and does choosing one over the other (eg. arts degree vs. science degree, cognition vs language stream) disadvantage me in any way?


    hello hello hello!

    well thank you! and welcome — hope first year’s going well so far.

    about cogsci, you’re right… there are in fact seven different programs when you look it up, and they definitely have their differences. the five “cognitive sciences majors” are offered by university college, but the other two aren’t really programs at all — they’re actually just part of the computer science major and specialist programs, where you can take 4.0 FCEs to complete a “focus in computational linguistics and natural language processing”. if that horrendously long name doesn’t have you running for the hills yet, the program admissions requirements just might, to be honest, because, well, it’s computer science.

    i’m no cs major, but let’s just say i’ve heard… a lot things about how difficult it is to get into cs programs, especially if you’re not in the cs stream (CMP1) already. but hey, if that’s what you end up being interested in, you should definitely give it a shot — although from the looks of it, the “cogsci focus” isn’t really a cogsci program in and of itself. you’d be doing the cs major or specialist mainly, and just complete some of the more cogsci-related courses within the cs program requirements. another thing to look out for is the tuition, since computer science programs have deregulated fees, which are higher than other artsci programs.

    so we’ve narrowed things down (somewhat) to the five cogsci major streams at uc, and luckily, it looks like CASA (the cogsci students’ association, basically) has put together a list of all the streams, which probably explains them better than i could, tbh.

    but what i can tell you for sure is that the stream you choose could affect whether you graduate with an arts degree (HBA) or science degree (HBSc). basically, the arts streams would count towards an HBA, the science streams would count towards an HBSc, and ultimately the degree you get depends on that and the other arts/science programs you take. now does that really matter? i don’t know. depending on what your goals are, employers/grad schools/professional schools can be picky.

    maybe four years from now, you’ll be cursing that decision you made, if only you’d chosen the HBA/HBSc, if only you’d chosen the other stream, maybe then, you wouldn’t have become an unemployed humanities major/cold insufferable stemlord… (ok jk but you get my point) i can’t claim to know all the industry secrets on arts vs science degrees, but if you have a future path in mind, you could start searching around to see if they have any strict requirements for bachelors degrees. on the flip side, i’ve also heard that employers often don’t really know/care much about the specifics of your degree title (specialist? major? same difference), so the courses you take could be way more important.

    speaking of courses, the other thing i can say for sure is that you should definitely check out some of the required courses for the different streams to see what you’re most interested in. after all, these are the courses you’ll actually have to sit through, so might as well make sure you’d actually want to take them! another thing you could look into is the possibility of switching streams later on in the program. i know this is offered for some other programs that also have different streams, kind of as an unwritten rule where it’s relatively easy to switch between different streams, and that could definitely give some peace of mind when it comes to choosing between all these options.

    the last piece of advice i can give would be to look out for updates from CASA or other cogsci student organizations/events! i know sid smith does program exploration days in february but student associations sometimes also organize their own events to talk about their programs, and even mentorship events, where you could get advice from upper years already in the program.

    hope that helps, and best of luck!

    aska

  • leave of absence,  withdrawal

    drop it like it’s hot (unless it’s your gpa…)

    Hi! This year has been rough so far (who am I kidding the past 3ish years have been garbage), and I’m not doing so hot right now. I’ve been considering taking time off from uni for a while now but much more seriously recently. Since we are mid-semester how would I take a leave of absence (if that’s what it’s called) and would it mark all my current course as incomplete/failed? That would tank my GPA which I can’t afford. I’m at UTSG if that makes a difference. Please and thank you!


    hey there,

    i’m sorry to hear that and given midterm season right now it’s definitely hard not to feel at least a bit like everything’s a whole dumpster fire. but i really hope things get better and less garbage for you, and some time away could help for sure.

    for starters, here’s a bit of good news — there’s actually still a two two weeks left until the course drop deadline, which is on november 16th this year. as long as you drop your courses by then, they’ll completely disappear from your transcript without affecting your gpa.

    if you drop all your courses now, you’d be able to cancel your registration on acorn and take a leave of absence, no problem (more info on that here). okay actually, don’t do that right now, just hear me out first…

    the not so good thing is, you’ll probably still be charged for those courses because the “program/course freeze date” for fall and full year courses was on september 21st, and usually you’d be charged for any courses you had enrolled by that date. it might still be possible to ask for a refund, but you’d have to speak with your registrar for the details.

    on the other hand, maybe CR/NCR would be a better option? the deadline for that is december 7th. if there are some courses that you think you can pass, you can add it as CR/NCR on acorn so that it doesn’t affect your gpa. if you’re able to complete these courses and get the credit, this could save you some money and time in the long run so that you won’t have to retake them in the future. but as you may know, you won’t be able to use CR’d courses for program requirements, and you can only choose CR/NCR for maximum 2.0 FCE in your degree, so those are just a few things to keep in mind.

    in any case, i’d definitely recommend talking to your registrar asap to go through all your options, whether it be possible refunds, withdrawals, CR/NCR, whatever, you never know until you ask.

    best of luck,

    aska

  • bba,  co-op,  co-op management,  tuition

    co-op tuition: bba-lling on a budget (yes this is the best i could come up with)

    Hi everybody! I am a prospective BBA Co-op student. I am supposed to take three study terms the first year. What would I be charged for it? The website says that the annual fee is 60,000 CAD. Now is that for two terms or three terms?


    hello!

    unfortunately, i’m not a bba co-op student — but lemme try to give you some advice anyway.

    i’m looking at the bba co-op websites for utsc, and yes, the international bba co-op tuition seems to be about 60k for first year. from what i understand, each year in the co-op program has three terms: fall, winter, and summer. it’s a bit different from programs without co-op, which don’t usually include a summer term. this makes me think that your 60k per year tuition probably includes all three terms in a year. but again, not a bba co-op student! so take this with a grain of salt. many grains of salt.

    the other thing you might have to watch out for is the co-op fee, which is paid on top of your tuition, apparently. for example, for a typical bba co-op program at utsc, you’d have to pay about $500-600 in co-op fees at the start of each term, for the first 8 terms of your degree — and that’s regardless of whether you’re doing a work or study term in that period.

    i hope my absolutely 100% accurate and factual information clears things up 😉 but do confirm this with your registrar and/or department. they’ll definitely be able to help more and could probably even give you other advice and resources!

    good luck,

    aska

  • suspension

    surprise, you’re… suspended?

    Can you be retroactively suspended 9 months after finishing a final exam. From a course mark being amended and causing your SGPA to be below 1.7 in a previous academic year? Like after you finished a Summer Semester and are now right into a new Fall/Winter Semester?


    hi there,

    i don’t know of any cases of ‘retroactive suspensions’, but if it did happen that wouldn’t be the first time something i didn’t know came around and screwed things over (*cough cough* midterms). so i guess what i’m saying it could happen and you really gotta ask your registrar or academic advisor to be sure.

    according to the artsci website, your academic standing is evaluated twice a year: once at the end of the summer session and once at the end of the fall/winter session. the evaluations are based on your cgpa and your gpa from that session. so you might be able to get away with it if the exam was from the 2021-2022 fall/winter session, or summer 2022, in which case you’ll just be evaluated by your cgpa and sessional gpa from now until the end of the current fall/winter session.

    also, you’re probably aware, but suspension would only happen if you’re already on probation, and there’s a bunch of different rules on how those academic standings are determined based on your gpa and past academic history — here’s a refresher in case you need it.

    good luck,

    aska

  • Transferring,  UTM

    seeya sauga

    Hello, I got refused from uoft art and science. And got admitted to UTM physical and chemical science. But the major I want do is not offer at UTM. Is there any chance that I transfer to uoft art and science. If yes what should I do, like would it matter the courses I’ll take in my first year at UTM? Please help. And thanks ?


    hey there,

    yup, you can definitely transfer to uoft artsci after first year. you’ll have to apply as an internal applicant on ouac. just so you know, the application deadline for early consideration is november 7th and the final deadline is january 12th next year.

    it looks like the main criteria for transferring is your gpa (what else is new) and you should aim for at least a 2.7 cgpa, which is around a B average. you’ll also need the high school and university (first year) prerequisites for the program you’re interested in.

    one possibly good thing is that as an internal transfer, you can carry over some of the courses you’ve completed at utm so that they go towards your uoft artsci degree — these are called “retained credits”. the confusing part of all this is that there isn’t actually any firm guideline out there on which utm courses correspond to uoft artsci courses, so you’ll have to do some guesswork.

    i’d recommend looking up the uoft artsci major(s) that you’re interested in and checking out the required first year courses. if you see any utm courses in the “exclusions” section of the course description, that usually means that they have similar content or overlaps with the course you’re looking at, and there’s a good chance that they’ll count as a retained credit for your transfer. you can also try to pick courses that match the timeframes of the utsg courses you’re interested in, like picking full year Y courses versus semestered S or F courses.

    of course, you don’t have to load up on all the courses for your future major in order to transfer, the most important thing is probably keeping a good gpa and taking the prerequisites you need for POSt.

    anyways, i hope that helps. best of luck!

    aska

  • GPA,  Transferring

    gpa is forever (mostly)

    Hi,

    I was wondering if gpa resets when you transfer within campuses at uoft? let’s say i transferred from utsc to utsg, will my gpa reset or remain the same?


    hey there,

    so first of all i know this is really late….. i’m sorry!! but i’m BACK and i am here to stay.

    now onto your actual question: it depends. you actually can get a gpa “reset” if you transfer into utsg artsci from some other faculties at uoft. your transfer credits would not have any marks associated with them, and they can still count towards part of your degree or program requirements.

    BUT the catch is, utm, utsc, and daniels faculty don’t count. if you transfer from a different campus or daniels and go into utsg artsci, your previous courses will be “retained credits” and they will be part of your cgpa. and no, you cannot refuse these retained credits. 🙁 … or maybe 🙂 if you’re really happy about your marks so far i guess.

    all the best,

    aska

  • management,  programs,  UTM

    if at first you don’t get into post, try try again

    Hi, I’m a UTM student and wasn’t able to make the management pOST or meet some requirements. Would it still be possible to redo the year and graduate within the four years? I’m going into second year with another program, just wondering if attaining that first choice would still be possible. I struggled with economics and math courses as they aren’t my strong suits but the second program doesn’t require them and is something I find more interesting rather than practical. What would you suggests?


    hi there,

    it’s technically possible to reapply to the POSt and graduate in four years, but honestly, it’ll probably be very difficult. it also depends on the number of courses you’ll need to retake to improve your grades for POSt. retakes to improve your marks for POSt are allowed, but they’ll be considered “extra” and won’t count towards the 20.0 FCEs you need to graduate. so, if you need to retake all 3.0 FCEs that are required to get into management, you’ll need to also squeeze in an extra 3.0 FCEs of other courses that are not retakes. that means taking up to 23.0 FCEs of courses total (since the 3.0 retakes don’t count… hope that makes sense :/)

    if you really want/need to graduate in four years, you’ll need to take courses in the summer or overload during the school year (take more than 5.0 FCEs) to finish all those courses on time. the other thing you might have to worry about is whether you can fit all the upper year management program courses in your third and fourth years. some courses might have prereqs or are only offered in certain semesters, which can be kind of annoying to plan around. i just gotta plug the degree explorer, as always, because it’s honestly just a great tool to plan out all the courses you need.

    of course, graduating “on time” is totally subjective anyway and plenty of students take five or more years. if you’re dead set on doing management and it’s feasible for you to take an extra year, don’t feel like you have to finish in four.

    btw, if you’re looking to do a “practical” major that’s related to management/business etc, you could look into applying to other related POSts too, which might increase your chances. for example, the utm commerce major or economics programs might cover similar things related to management, and they seem to have the same prereq courses as management, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to shoot your shot at a good handful of programs.

    i’d also recommend meeting with your registrar — they could definitely give some more in depth advice based on your transcipt and personal experiences so far.

    best of luck!

    aska

  • admissions,  grades

    grade 11? i don’t know her

    hi, i just finished grade 11, and i ended with mid 70 to high 60 for my courses. i recently moved here from alberta and in albertian uni’s, they check both gr11 and 12 marks, but here, i’ve been told that they dont look at gr11 marks as much. i was wondering if that was true, like if they dont really care about gr11 marks unless you pre-enroll(which i am not). also, is there like a certain average i should have in gr12 to sort of ‘cancel’ my gr11 marks? the course i wanna get into is bio-med, ty


    hey there,

    welcome welcome! yes, it’s true. most ontario unis only care about your grade 12 marks, not grade 11. each uni posts their own admissions requirements (the uoft one is here) but they usually only judge you on six of your grade 12 courses, which include any required courses for the program you’re applying for, and other electives where you got the highest marks. pretty sweet, i know.

    grade 11 marks only really matter for early consideration, if the marks for your required grade 12 courses aren’t available yet, and scholarships. even for really competitive programs, i’ve rarely seen ones that use grade 11 marks for admissions (at least for regular acceptance).

    the admissions averages can vary for different programs and unis but if you’re interested in something like uoft life sciences (biology etc), you should be aiming for at least mid to high 80s, which is pretty similar to biomed type programs at other unis from what i remember. so don’t sweat it, just focus on working your ass off this year because the past is (mostly) in the past.

    good luck,

    aska