I’m going to uoft St. George for an English undergrad in the fall of 2018. I’m also interested in doing a double major in political science. I’m a bit confused about how to choose courses (how to take ones that interest me, fulfill my program requirements, and are also are prerequisites to upper-year courses) and am worried about the workload if I do go for a double major. (I think I heard somewhere that it would take an extra year?) Also, I know I’m not outstanding in English and the main reason why I want to study it is because I want to improve in it. Since my highschool graduation is drawing closer, I’m beginning to have doubts about whether or not I can succeed regardless of how much effort I put in because it’s a world class program and I’m only average at best. In your experience, was there a huge step-up from highschool English to university English? Were can I find information on courses available to me?
Thanks so much!
at u of t, in order to complete your degree, you have to do a combination of programs of study (or, POSt). you have to complete either: a specialist, two majors, or a major and two minors. so, your desire to do a double major is actually pretty common at u of t. being worried about the workload is valid, you ARE moving from a high school workload to a university workload. however, like i said, doing a double major is extremely common at u of t, with some students even piling on a minor with their double majors! i don’t think you will have any issues doing a double major. however, if you do, that’s ok too. and it’s ok to consider taking a reduced course load (less classes per semester) and take longer to graduate in order to work at a speed that works for you.
god, if i could, i would grab every incoming first year student by the shoulders, give ’em a good shake, and scream “YOU CAN TAKE MORE THAN FOUR YEARS!!! TAKE YOUR TIME!!!!”
but… i digress.
now to address the question of course selection. most students take 5.0 FCE (full course equivalents) in a year. 5.0 credits is considered the standard for a full time student and it’ll allow you to graduate in 4 years (5.0 FCE times 4 years = 20 FCE needed to graduate). because first year is general and you can take anything you want, it’s a good idea to check out the required courses for your intended programs of study. so in your case, if you want to do an english and polisci double major, you’d want to see what the required courses are to get into those programs as well as what first year courses are offered in those programs.
for english, there aren’t any prereqs to get into the major. however, you should probably take a first year english course anyways as most second year courses and other upper year courses require the completion of a first year course. check out this link for all the first year english courses that would count towards an english POSt.
for polisci, you need to have achieved at least a 67% in POL101Y or POL200Y or one POL FCE or equivalent in half courses. so it would probably be a good idea to take one of those courses in your first year so that you can get into a polisci major after first year.
you 100% should get in contact with your college registrar’s office and set up an academic advising session. they will be able to go more in-depth with you and discuss all your options. you can also get in contact with the program advisers of english and polisci respectively. check out this link for their contact info.
as for whether or not you can succeed “regardless of how much effort [you] put in”… well, like i said earlier, the transition between high school and university can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. if you find yourself struggling academically, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with the academic adviser at your registrar’s office, or to contact your prof/ TA, who are also great resources and can really help you if you’re struggling in a course. you should also look into the academic success centre, where you can make appointments a learning strategist who can help you learn more about how you learn.
another great resource at u of t, especially for kids in programs like english and polisci, are the writing centres. you can book an appointment and bring your assignments to them before the deadline, and the people who work at the writing centre can go through the assignment with you and provide insight on how you can write a better assignment. they’re awesome. they’ve saved many a paper of mine.
ok, phew! that was a LOT of information. i really hope this helps. if you have more questions, please get in contact with the people i’ve linked above (especially your registrar’s office, they’re super helpful and a great first contact point for anything academic).
good luck, see you on campus in september!