• CR/NCR,  grad school

    y’all are really testing the limits of my all-knowingness

    hi there, I am going into my third year and I took a breadth course this past summer which I NCR/CR’d. I unfortunately didn’t pass and got a final grade of NCR. I am particularly concerned because I want to go to grad school (particularly masters/law). I am in humanities and the course I didn’t do well in was a science course, but its the first time I failed to get the credit for a course. Will it look bad on my transcript and will it greatly impact my admission chances?

    ——————————————

    hello hello!

    don’t feel too bad about the NCR, it happens sometimes.

    i’m not sure how it’ll look on your transcript or how it will affect your grad school admissions, though. admissions questions are always the toughest for me to answer because, as a fellow student myself, i’ve never worked in admissions or gotten to go behind the scenes of the process.

    something i’ve been told by academic advisors, though, is this: usually when you apply for grad school you’ll have an opportunity to explain any personal circumstances that may have affected your academic record. so if there was a serious reason you didn’t pass the course, you’ll be able to provide that reason to the grad schools you’re applying to.

    other than that…

    you could always try checking in with your registrar, who might know more about this subject than i do. but i have a feeling they’ll redirect you to the specific grad school programs you’re considering, since every program has different admissions policies.

    be Boundless,

    aska
  • career choice,  grad school

    your brain > my brain

    Hey, so i had earned a masters degree in physics and education from Pakistan and am currently a new immigrant to Toronto and aspiring to build on my skills (and social circle) to land on a good job by getting into a masters program at U of T. I do have OCT certification but getting into Toronto’s teaching market is quite a daunting job. So, i want to have a advice regarding whether to pursue Masters in: (a) Education Policy;(b)Curriculum development and Pedagogy or (c) Meng in Material Science?

    ——————————————

    hi there!

    welcome to toronto, the city of… the CN tower and… the CN tower.

    just kidding, tons of fantastic stuff here. i hope you’re settling into the city well. at some point (when it’s safe), you should check out kensington market, which is my favourite spot in the downtown area. kensington has great bagels, solid coffee shops, and some of the best fresh produce stores in the city. plus a ton of weird stuff happens there. and if you want a skyline view of your new home, the nexus lounge on the top floor of OISE is the place to go. free to enter and publicly accessible on weekdays, aka way, way more worth it than the CN tower. although i guess there are no glass floors.

    to actually answer your question, i actually am really just a student myself, and don’t know if i’m qualified to give the kind of sweeping career/education path advice that you seem to want. i guess my questions for you would be— how would each of these masters’ programs get you closer to your goals? how do you define a good job, and what are your priorities? what industries do you want to build your social networks in?

    if you’re interested in educational leadership of any sort, the master’s in education policy would probably be the route you want to take. lord knows we need some good educational leaders, especially now. i’d actually never heard of the curriculum development and pedagogy program until now, but i’m sure you’d also be able to do some important work with that expertise. i’ve recently come to appreciate how important curricula are in terms of shaping students’ ideologies and thought patterns.

    the MEng in material science also seems like a solid option for you, given your physics background. i guess engineering degrees are prestigious and tend to lead to stable, high-paying jobs. if that’s what you’re after, then by all means, go for it.

    i mean, maybe it’s not a money grab. i’m sure there’s a lot of innovation and exciting work that’s done in a masters of engineering program.

    if you’d like more information about each program before making a decision, i’d recommend that you reach out to the departments and ask whatever pressing questions you might have. the contact info for each department should be available in the links i’ve embedded above. i’d also go through the curricula and class requirements for each program, and see what gets you the most excited. as i understand, you also have options between M.Ed degrees and M.A. degrees if you choose to go the education route.

    i usually make pro/con lists in a spreadsheet when i have to make decisions like this. map all your options out and decide which ones fit your priorities best. i have full faith in you to make the best decision for yourself. i mean, holy crap, you’re already way more educated than i am.

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • covid-19,  grad school,  profs

    going the distance to bag those references

    hello! i am looking for reference letters for graduate school and i was thinking of asking a professor during summer courses. any advice on getting to know my profs this summer when courses are online?

    ——————————————

    hello hello,

    good afternoon to everyone except profs who are still assigning textbooks that cost over a hundred dollars, even during an economic downturn.

    grad school! an exciting endeavour.

    excited despicable me GIF

    online summer courses! a mediocre endeavour at best.

    seth meyers ok GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers< so i took a solid chunk of time and thought this out, because initially it seemed highly unlikely to me that you'd be able to successfully get to know a prof who's teaching remotely. even before this pandemic, i'd taken a few online courses and found that each time without fail, the instructor remained a nameless faceless entity. do online instructors even exist? confused demarcus cousins GIF by Bleacher Report

    i hate feeling useless, though, so here are the suggestions i scraped together for ya:< number one: online office hours

    as far as i’m aware, most instructors are still holding office hours using platforms like zoom or whatnot. these office hours are gonna be your best bet to get to know your profs. show up, have good questions, make it clear you’ve engaged with their material so that you make a good impression.

    brag chris redd GIF by Saturday Night Live

    bonus points for knowing what their area of research is and being able to talk to them about it– but only after you’ve spoken to them at least a few times.

    number two: engage with your prof via email

    it’s a second-rate strat, but if you’re unable for any reason to talk to your prof face to face over some kind of video call, sending them emails will at least let them know you exist. make sure these emails are polite, professional, and make you sound smart without trying too hard lol. respond quickly (which i suck at, rip me) and once again, ask good questions and express an interest in the class material! some form of communication is better than none.

    number three: make yourself stand out if you have class discussions

    now, i know this isn’t the case for many classes this summer, but some smaller upper-year seminars will still be holding live lectures with a participation or discussion component. if you’re planning to apply to grad school soon, my hope is that you’re an upper year able to take a small advanced class like this. participating is a good way to get noticed by your profs. the ones i’ve had have always appreciated quality participation, and if you do really well they’ll notice you and you won’t even need to try. it’ll then be easier on you when you reach out and want to talk about grad school later down the road.

    diana ross ease on down GIF

    number four: do well in the class, or make yourself stand out through assignments

    it goes without saying that sometimes these things are out of your control.

    Help Me Omg GIF

    if we all could do well in our classes we would. but in my experience talking to profs about grad school, they’ve been pretty transparent about how, if you want a solid letter, you should get an A in their course or have something academically noteworthy about you that they can discuss. if you can manage to do really, really well, or turn in a creative or surprising assignment, this will definitely get your profs to notice you as well as hand them material for whatever letters they may write you later on.

    hope this was helpful! good luck with your summer courses and grad school applications.

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • grad school

    graduating soon!!!! love that

    Hi,

    I will be graduating soon and technically only need 5 more courses to graduate or 2.5 credits to satisfy the 6.0 FCE at 300+. However, I was wondering if graduate schools require you to have at least 10 credits in both 300 and 400 courses.

    I changed programs last year which resulted in me having extra credits for courses that do not satisfy my current program requirements. But this is also why I would not need to take more than 6.0 FCE in 300+ level courses in order to graduate.

    I do plan on continuing my education in the future and do not want to come back to finish courses if I do not meet the requirements. So would it be best for me to have 10 credits in 300 and 400 courses or would I be wasting my time taking extra courses now?

    Thank you and take care.

    ——————————————

    heyo,

    kudos to you for having the energy to plan for your future during these trying times. i can only manage to sleep way longer than i should, zone out at the kitchen table, and start new podcasts only to give up 10 minutes in.

    anyway, the best course of action for you to take is to get in touch with whatever grad school programs you might be considering for the future and ask them directly. i say this primarily because there’s no one-and-done rule for grad school admissions– different schools have different policies– and i’d hate to give you inaccurate information that screws you over. this is especially true given i don’t know what kind of grad schools you’re looking at. law? med? fine arts? … engineering?

    it’s a lot easier (on your sanity and wallet alike) to email and call a couple of your top choices than it is for you to take an extra ton of credits at the 300 and 400 level just in case.

    it may be reassuring for you to know, though, that many grad schools do encounter applicants in your shoes (fewer upper year credits) and are often willing to account for reasonable factors causing this. for example, u of t medicine’s application info page reads:

    “It is recognized that at times, students take courses in lower years for various reasons, such as a change in program or to complete subjects of interest or prerequisites that did not fit the academic schedule previously. If you have information about your academics that you feel is important for the Admissions Committee to know, please use the Academic Explanations Essay within the OMSAS application.”

    ie. they allow you to explain your situation, so that it’s accounted for when they’re looking over your file. i’ve heard that this is quite common among grad schools.

    but yeah. best course of action is always to go right to the source of the admissions policies, just to be sure. hope you’re takin care of yourself as well, and good luck with finishing your degree!! you’re almost there.

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • career choice,  grad school

    i have a lot of question sand, too

    Hello! I am looking for some advice. I am a graduate student at U of T and ma planning to make a career change after finishing my grad school. In order to do that, I may need to acquire a second bachelors degree. However, I am not entirely sure which department would be most suitable and how to proceed about it. I have a lot of question sand need to find a very good academic advisor that can meet with me in person. Would you recommend any specific person that I can get in touch with?

    ——————————————
    hello hello,
    i’m so sorry it took me so long to get to this! i wrote a post up, but it got buried in a bunch of other stuff. fully my bad.
    so you’re at u of t, which is bureaucracyland– meaning that i can’t necessarily recommend a specific person for you to speak with, because there are so many different academic advising offices serving different populations. i doubt the academic advisors i know would be able to help you out, given that as a grad student you don’t fall under their jurisdiction.

    so my first instinct was to send you to your own registrar, but upon actually looking into that… apparently this is a lot more convoluted than i thought. the registrars’ directory that i normally link people to does have a line for “school of graduate studies,” but when you click it, it sends you to a registration info page. what? did someone just paste the wrong link in? more concerningly, do grad students not have a registrar? who do you run crying to when you miss a deadline and need reassurance? ah, you’re grad students, maybe you have your lives figured out.

    i would recommend that you email graduate.information@utoronto.ca to see if the school of graduate studies has any academic advisors (i would sure hope so). you can also reach out to the career centre for a one-on-one career advising appointment. this might be more of a post-covid thing, given that they don’t have a phone number listed (???) so maybe try the school of graduate studies first.

    while most departments are no longer doing in-person appointments at this time, you can probably get the same caliber of advice over the phone or microsoft teams.

    hope you’re staying safe and sorry again for how long it took me to get back to you!

  • chem,  engineering,  grad school

    i had to google submatriculate, but i think i’m still qualified to run this blog

    Hi! I’m a (possibly) incoming UTSG artsci freshman who has too many academic interests. Firstly, would it be possible to do a 2nd major (or minor or 2nd degree) in biomedical engineering? Secondly, is there a way to submatriculate into an MSc program from chem/biochem specialization? Lastly, is there some way for me to skip the introductory courses (apart from transfer credit)? Sorry for ruining your day with a barrage of obscure questions! ?

    ——————————————

    hey hey,

    lmao i feel like 40% of the people on this site are in some kind of serious academic trouble, and 20% are keeners like you (very kind, apologize too much, interested in literally everything). don’t worry, you’re not ruining my day with a barrage of obscure questions. i thrive on obscure questions. we cool.

    i’m not aware of any option to take biomedical engineering in conjunction with an artsci program. to even be eligible for biomedical engineering as a minor, you need to be in one of the core 8 engineering programs or in engsci. the biomedical systems engineering major, meanwhile, has hella requirements. you only get to enter it after two full years of engsci foundational courses. i can’t imagine an artsci kid juggling that on top of another major, even if it were allowed. i suppose you can get in contact with the department if you really wanna know for sure, but i think the answer is unfortunately no on this one.

    to address the lil’ musing about second degrees you seem to have thrown in…. i’m not really sure if a second degree is really what you wanna do, even if you’re super thrilled about everything. i have a feeling your first degree will tire you out a lil, or at least enough to make you wanna reconsider. especially doing a second degree in engsci, i dunno man, it seems like a lot. and then when you add the amount of student debt you’d be carrying after one degree, let alone two… yikes. just some things to consider, yknow? hang on to the second degree thought until you’re close to doing your first degree. then, if you still want to do a second degree, talk to the academic advisers at your registrar and get a lil guidance on it. that would be my take.

    as for the submatriculation thing… i was unable to find any info on this via the big ol’ world wide web. so i reached out to someone who’s pretty well connected in the chem department, and they told me that they’re not aware of any submatriculation options within chemistry. even if you’ve been working underneath the same supervisor for a long time and hope to do a phd with them, you’ll still need to actually apply to admissions to do so. i’m not sure if it’s different in biochem, but like i said, there doesn’t seem to be any readily-available internet info on this, which suggests that the answer is no submatriculation. once again, i would reach out to the department if you want a super solid answer, though. chem contact info linked here, biochem info linked here.

    in terms of skipping required introductory courses without transfer credit… i would say the answer is also probably no, otherwise a ton of people would be doing it. i’m assuming you’d be wanting to do this in order to take a wider breadth of courses, or something? introductory courses tend to have some pretty important information, and even if you could skip out on them i wouldn’t recommend it– the foundation you get in those huge first year courses tends to be quite important for the academic work you’ll be doing later on in your degree.

    but once again, you could contact the department running the course and ask, if you have a super duper legitimate reason to be skipping an intro course.

    this whole post has been an enormous “pls ask someone else” but i hope my insights have at least been… insightful! keep that excited, i-love-everything energy. it’s refreshing, and makes my brain feel a little less melty. wishin’ you all the best as you weigh your options for next year!

    be Boundless and stay healthy,

    aska

  • CR/NCR,  grad school

    ah yes, grad school admissions. life’s greatest mystery

    Hi! I am planning on applying to grad school next year and I have a concern that might affect my decision to apply. In my last year, I’ve decided to spend summer to take a few courses so during the year I could lessen my load for a club (3 in summer, 4 per term = 5.5 credits). But, I CR one of my summer courses. The grad programs I’m looking at looks at the final 5.0 credits. Will grad school ignore my CR grade and look at the the last 5.0 credit “real” grades or will they consider the CR still?

    ——————————————

    hey there,

    it’s kind of hard to assess this– different grad schools might have different policies, and i don’t wanna toss you the wrong direction by giving you my guess! i’d encourage you to reach out to the admissions offices of the grad programs you’re interested in, and see what they say. as much as i wish i could help you, for this one i think it’s best that you go straight to the source.

    wishing you all the luck (all of it!) with your grad school applications, though, and hope the admissions offices have favorable responses. after you hear back from them (or even before lol we love our registrars), i’d encourage you to drop by your registrar’s office if you have any concerns.

    be Boundless,

  • economics,  grad school

    at u of t we can only count to 20

    Hello, I’m doing a bachelor of economics and I have a gpa of 3.01/4.33 (which makes 2.80/4 I guess). At the end of Fall semester, I think I’ll get 3.10 or 3.15 out of 4.33. (2.90 out of 4). But, I will only have 63 credits completed. Do you still think I have a chance to enter UofT and get admission for a Master in Economics ? Will they consider the number of courses completed ? Thank you!

    ——————————————

    hey there,

    gotta say, you’re not doing your undergrad at u of t, are you? i found out a few weeks ago that other canadian schools were handing out GPAs on a 4.33 scale and, well, man. had no clue what to make of that. anyway, it took me a hot minute to figure out what you meant by 3.01/4.33 and 2.80/4. how’d you even convert that? i have questions.

    unfortunately, because u of t operates on a weird system, i have no idea what 63 credits even means. here, one semester-long class is typically worth 0.5 credits, and we graduate with 20. i don’t really know what the conversion rate (???) is for the school you go to, and don’t even have enough to gauge what year you’re in. third…?

    in general, though, i usually have to answer questions about grad school the same way. it’s best to get directly in contact with the program you’re considering– or in other words, go right to the source.

    what i can tell you is that you’ll need a solid mid-B average (around 75%)  in your final year of study in order to get into u of t for a grad degree in econ. that’s a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. i don’t know if you are in your final year of study, but that might be something for you to consider. according to this econ department webpage, to be competitive you might need to meet even higher thresholds– we’re talking a last year GPA above an A-, and a CGPA ‘above the mid-point between B+ and A-,’ whatever that means. they list a few other ‘qualities of a successful applicant,’ including high GRE scores, so that might be worth giving a look.

    i guess they’ll probably consider your number of courses completed. if there’s a reason why you haven’t completed as many courses as you’d have liked to, there’s usually a box in the application to write that reason in, or provide any other explanations for academic abnormalities. other than that, you’ll have to compare your situation to what the econ department provides as its application guidelines, and decide for yourself what your chances are. i’m a student, not an applications officer :/

    be Boundless and happy holidays,

    aska

  • GPA,  grad school,  grades,  graduation,  health

    this post has been brought to you by my last half brain cell

    So basically I really really messed up last year I filed petition for not writing exam due to health issues.. I was diagnosed with spinal cancer and things were just really hard… and I read the petition form has to be
    signed within the day of the exam or the next day but because I was unwell it ended up getting it after a couple days and I got scared and changed the date by 3 days I did this for 1.5 credits …. I was super honest about my mistake and they said from May 2019-December 2019 I’ll be suspended and the 1.5 credits will be a 0..

    I don’t mind I was suspended at the time cuz I had to have emergency surgery to remove the tumor because the dr said if I don’t I’ll become paralyzed and wheelchair bound sooo in April 24 I did the surgery hoping I would be able to walk again and by May 15 I left rehab walking!!! And now this winter I’ll be doing some tests just to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned so things were crazy…

    But now I realize that I’m suspended cuz u tried going into my email or acorn and it isn’t working and I’m freaking out!! Cuz before I didn’t think I could even walk to school and would rather quit if that’s what happened, but thankfully I am fully recovered and now It is hitting me that I’m suspended and when I was in high school i was never the type and I’m just really sad and disappointed in myself…

    I’m worried I won’t be able to enroll for Jan-April 2020 did they kick me out of uni? How do I know I can start to log in and enroll just in time for classes in January? Should I go to uni to see in December or just wait till the start of January??

    And I’m actually a 4th year and barely completed any classes due to extreme fatigue and pain… but now I feel so much healthier and think I can graduate either as a 6th or 7th year… but if I were to apply for grad
    schools like masters for microbiology or immunology would they see that I stayed at school for too long and not want me??

    ——————————————

    I basically got enrolled!! so scratch that question… But since 1.5 credits are a zero i was wondering if i were to take a total of 29 credits.. would those extra 9 be added in the final gpa?? I feel if i were to do that many extra credits i would be happy with my gpa.. But is that allowed??

    ——————————————

    hey there,

    sorry for the wait in getting this question answered– glad you managed to get fully recovered and enrolled again! it sounds like the last few years have been a wild ride for you and it’s good that you’re doing better now. we love feeling healthy.

    even though you said you resolved the issues in the first question you sent in, i do kinda wanna address them. you should have been able to access your email and ACORN while suspended– the only thing you don’t have access to while on suspension is course enrolment. that section of your ACORN would probably have been blocked, but everything else should have been available for you. i’m not too sure what happened, but from what you said i guess you managed to resolve it. if you ever run into similarly confusing circumstances, i wouldn’t advise waiting– always contact your registrar if something seems to be wrong. if it’s too inconvenient for you to go in person, feel free to email them or give them a call. that’s what they’re there for, after all!

    as for your questions about grad school– yes, they would be able to see from your transcript how long you’ve been in school, but what you may not know is that grad school apps usually give you an opportunity to explain any academic anomalies you might have. you’d be able to let them know about your health issues (which are 100% valid) and they’d take that into account when considering you for admissions. hopefully that eases your mind a bit. you shouldn’t be expected to finish in four years if students not dealing with your level of health concerns have trouble finishing in four years, too.

    as for your question about GPA — technically, yes, you can boost your GPA by taking an extra 9 credits after you complete your 20. according to the rules and regulations, the courses you take beyond 20 credits don’t qualify for exception from your CGPA. i found out today that actually, you can even graduate and continue to take courses and have them count towards your CGPA. hope that helps you out– keep in mind that the more credits you take, the less each one affects your CGPA. so it can be kind of hard to go beyond 20 and pull your GPA up significantly. but hey, if it’s the loophole you need it’s the loophole you have.

    the more times i use this gif the funnier it gets. instead of one dude lifting the roof, you get several doing it in sync. here’s one more just because.

    be Boundless,

    aska

     

     

  • 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,

    aska

  • 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,

    aska

  • 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,

    aska

  • grad school,  law school

    you must not have trouble meeting word counts for your papers

    Hello!
    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,

    aska