• breadth requirements,  one programs,  seminars

    i love the people who say it like ‘breath requirements’

    Hi Aska,
    Can first year seminars (199 courses) be taken while in a Ones program? I want to try and fulfil most, if not all, of the breadth requirements in first years. Any suggestions for doing so? Thanks.


    hey there,

    you can take both 199 seminars and One courses unless you’re a Vic One student (sorry, Vic peeps).

    as for breadth requirements, it’s hard to make specific suggestions if i don’t know what program you’re interested in or what you like.

    if you’re in a humanities program, the 1-3 breadth req’s will be pretty easy to pick up. if you’re in life/physical/mathematical sciences, then the 4-5 req’s will be easier.

    if you want to complete those breadth req’s that are unrelated to your program early, then a lot of people like taking introductory versions of classes in other streams. for example, a course like AST101H1 fulfils the 5th breadth req. category, but doesn’t require a physics background.

    if you’re on the other side of the fence, then something like FAH101H1, for instance, would give you a pain- and artistes-free introduction to art history, and fulfil breadth category #1.

    but please remember, these are just examples and guidelines. the most important thing is to enrol in courses you’re genuinely interested in* – filling breadth requirements is not hard, and usually happens without you noticing it. don’t feel like you have to stretch yourself or your schedule to meet all the breadth req’s in first year; it’s really not necessary, and you won’t be “ahead” of people who didn’t do them all in first year.

    hope that helps! and whatever your stream, don’t be afraid of taking something that’s a little outside your comfort zone. the whole point of breadth requirements is that students become well-rounded and aren’t just automatons who only know how to think about their tiny area of expertise.



    * bolding words means this is?serious and i’m not messing around.

  • easy,  first year,  GPA,  seminars

    aska tells you how to live a bomb-diggity life

    Hi Aska!
    So the start of the new school year is upon us and Universities have started coming to my high school convincing us their school is right for us. I am really interested in UofT Life Science program and want to become a doctor when I’m older. However I’ve been hearing horror stories from friends and off the internet about UofT and its Life Science program. I’m an 80% – 85% type of student. I’m confused whether to come hear. I just want to know if it is possible to get good grades in this school and if there are actually easy courses here that can boost my GPA. And What are these “easy” 1st year seminars i’m hearing about.



    hey there,

    Oh, man. I remember what it’s like to be in your shoes, my friend, and I’m glad you’ve come here for advice. See, the universities are all going to be telling you a variation of the same thing, because they want your sharp little brain at their school – but I don’t care one way or another (no offence xoxo) so I’m going to be straight with you.

    The UofT Life Science program is great, and if you’re getting between an 80%-85%, the rule of thumb is that your average will drop 10-15% in first year (mine dropped from a 92% to an 82% between grade 12 and first year in a Biomedical Science program). That puts you between a 70% and a 75% – and that’s great! If you get out of first year with a mark like that, you should pat yourself on the back. As for keeping up your GPA, there are no secrets: just find out how you best study, and stick to it. It’s not impossible, trust me.

    Next, and I can’t stress this enough: DO NOT pick a course because it “sounds easy” or because random people online (not counting me obviously) say it’s a bird course. That includes first-year seminars. First-year seminars are super cool because they are much smaller than your typical first-year class, which means you’ll get to engage more with the prof and your peers. You’ll all be best buds and sing kumbaya together. It’ll be beautiful.

    However, if you just pick a random seminar you have zero interest in, the wonderful opportunities of first-year seminar will be a waste. If you find it boring, you won’t do the work, and you’ll zone out in class, and paying attention is a necessary component to doing well in any course, no matter how “easy.”

    Finally, my last nugget of wisdom: high school and university courses are a good way, but not a great way, to determine if you want to be a doctor. You know how you figure that out for sure? By actually being one. There are lots of ways to do this: volunteer at a hospital, join the UofT Pre-Medical Society, and read up! If you’re finding that you’re not excited by doing any of this, then don’t do it. Just quit. There is absolutely no shame in that. Besides, no one likes a grumpy doctor.

    I hope that helped, and just remember: don’t stress, and don’t feel pressured to make certain decisions because other people are telling you to. Do your own thing, and I think you’ll find that you’ll be awesome at it because it belongs to you.

    Best o’ luck,


  • english,  individual studies,  seminars

    one is the loneliness class capacity

    Hi there,By any chance do you know of any place students have written about their experiences with ENG390Y1/392H1/393H1? I’m interested in taking an Individual Studies course next year and am curious about what students who have taken it have to say.Thanks!



    Strangely enough, there are no forums dedicated to English Individual Studies courses. I actually haven’t heard of any students who have taken those courses. I bet they’re awesome though.

    No, I’m not being sarcastic. A course where you propose the material is bound to be a pretty awarding experience. That close-knit experience with a professor will be super beneficial too; both for a reference and to develop your skills one-on-one.

    Sometimes silence is a good thing. Hearing nothing about these courses probably means there are no huge complaints about them,



  • distribution,  science,  seminars

    i saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes

    Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get into any of my science seminar choices, better yet there were absolutely no spaces left in any of the science seminars by my 10:15 start time. Instead I chose “The Sun and Its Neighbors”, which seems like a good alternative. However, it’s only a half-credit course and I was thinking about enrolling in “Stars and Galaxies”. “Stars and Galaxies” is a second year course but, it does seems to complement “The Sun and Its Neighbors”. I am worried that because “Stars and Galaxies” is a second year course it may be too challenging for a first year student, although by reading the anti-calendar and the course description it does seem to be about the same in difficulty as “The Sun and Its Neighbors”. Am I wrong in thinking this?

  • courses,  keeners,  seminars

    more work is NEVER fun

    should I take a seminar for “the fun of it”? my course load is kinda hellish (bio, comp sci, phy, chem, math) but i wanna get my distribution req. over with in a class that i’ll probably enjoy. the main problem is that i would be taking more than 5 credits… kinda masochistic i guess.. hm