• other schools (boo!),  transfer credits,  Transferring

    we got ourselves a transfer!

    Hi there! This September I will be entering my first year at York University (Biomed Student). However, UofT has always been my dream school and unfortunately, I didn’t make the cut for Life Sciences in Grade 12. I’ve been thinking of transferring to UofT SG in my 2nd year. I did my research online and it said I had to apply through OUAC 105D and pay a fee of $30. My problem is that I used Transferex and some of the courses I’m taking at York apply as half credit, no credit or aren’t courses at UofT SG at all. This concerns me because some people are telling me I might have to spend an extra year at university to complete these courses (a total of 5 years).

    Just wondering what I should do, thanks a bunch!!



    good job for doing your research! you have no idea how many vague and uninformed questions i get (hint: a lot).

    it’s possible that you will have to take more time to finish your degree if you transfer. though that is a bit of a bummer (especially if you were planning on finishing in four years), just remember that it’s totally fine (and normal!) to take more time! go at your own pace! if finishing in four years is super important to you, then that’s possible too. you may need to take summer courses and/or more than 5.0 credits one year (5 is the standard amount of credits that u of t students take, though it’s a lot!) to finish in four years. it’s doable, but may be a little difficult. but if it’s what you want, then i’d say go for it!

    have you looked at the programs available at u of t? i suggest that you take a look at the programs at u of t, find a few that interest you, and see what their entry requirements are. that way, you can see what if your york credits would transfer and fulfill the requirements of the program(s) you want to enter when you’re at u of t.

    i highly suggest that you go see some sorta academic adviser at york. they should be able to give you more information about transferring and help you with next steps. i can’t really point you in the right direction since i don’t know what resources are at york (this is askastudent u of t, not askastudent york!!!) but hopefully you figure it out.

    unsure kristen wiig GIF

    hope this helps!



  • admissions,  choosing,  internal transfer,  other schools (boo!),  UTM

    the bias is real

    Okay, I know a lot have talked about it but I hope you bare with me a bit.

    The whole idea of studying in Canada started in Feb, and I have registered
    in multiple universities, the ones which didn’t reach their deadline yet,
    one of them is UofT. Sadly I didn’t make it to UTSG deadline but I have
    registered for UTSC and UTM, in Computer Science (and my April IELTS exam
    result getting held back for a randomly selected measuring didn’t help
    my lateness). But yesterday I got admitted in UTM as UTSC have “reached
    enrolment capacity”.

    I’m expecting an admitting from the University of Alberta too.

    Now, I would love to go to UofT but I’m not happy with the being in UTM,
    less range of courses, most the events will be on the main campus, far from
    downtown, need an off-campus residence, and as an international student, I
    need a good social life and being off-campus won’t help.

    How easy/what’s the chance for me to transfer to UTSG, what should I do and
    not do to ease the transfer, and does the tuition fees differences a lot
    between the two campuses?

    Or should I just stick to UAlberta? (with their on-campus residence)

    If I wouldn’t be able to transfer to UTSG I’ll go to UAlberta without a
    second thought.

    I know there isn’t a right answer to this but any thoughts and advice would
    help, cause I can’t stop thinking about it and I don’t know what to choose.




    seeing as though this is askastudentuoft, it’s highly unlikely i’m going to tell you to go to ualberta because that would go against everything we believe in. like, do you really think i’m going to say: “yeah man, go to ualberta, they’re so much better than us!”

    that being said, it’s really up to your own gut. you can definitely transfer to UTSG eventually. it’s called an internal transfer! we have tons of posts on internal transfers which will answer your question about how to do so and much more! i encourage you to look at those because there are only so many ways to say the same thing over and over again :/ to ease the transfer, you just have to work hard to get a good CGPA. what CGPA range are they looking for? it changes every year so you’ll have to ask enrolment services when you want to transfer.

    not sure what you’re going to be studying, but the UTM and UTSG tuition fees look about the same if you look here! colleges at UTSG have varying incidental fees but they don’t seem to vary by much. the fees website will have tons of info on international fees.

    UTM is a great school with a lot to offer. i think you’re being too hard on it. seriously, give it a chance. if your end goal is to end up at UTSG, being at UTM would definitely make the transition process much easier than if you were to transfer from ualberta

    another thing to consider is the city. do you want to live in edmonton or do you want to live in mississauga/close to toronto? i’ve never been to edmonton, but i know that toronto has a great deal to offer with its multiculturalism and places to explore! toronto is awesome.

    but hey, as much as we would love for you to come to U of T, we hope you make the right decision for yourself, even if it means going to another school!

    you know yourself better than anyone else. you are the only one who knows what you want and what you don’t want.


    peace and love,




  • admissions,  other schools (boo!)

    hot buttered soul admissions

    I know this sounds a bit too ambitious, but can utm grads get into HBS? If so what do you think needs to be on the checklist?



    i have no clue what you mean by HBS. do you mean the heritage building society? health and biological sciences? hardware breakdown structure? hawaii biological services? hot buttered soul? hrvatski biljarski savez? i literally have no idea.

    okay, in all seriousness. i think you meant harvard business school? idk. ask harvard.

    jk. i don’t think it’s too ambitious to go for harvard! despite the jokes and sterotypes, utm is a university too, just like utsg. you worked hard for your undergrad degree, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

    again, i don’t know much about other schools’ application and admissions process, but i can tell you what they have on their website. according to the harvard admissions website, you need an undergrad degree, GMAT or GRE test results, an essay, two recommendations, and a resume. i would suggest putting in extra effort into the essay. you’ll be able to really appeal to the admissions committee and showcase your passion and dedication.

    best of luck, get after that HBS (whatever it means).



  • biology,  other schools (boo!),  Transferring

    transfer quest 2k17

    Heyy askastudent

    I messed upp sooooo badddddddd!

    I don’t even know what to do or how to explainnn!!!

    When I was in high school I barely got good grades in sciences although I really wanted to go on the science route and I did so bad in bio grade 12 by getting a 56% due to my mental health (ADHD and my anxiety). Since I did so bad in biology I thought i would make a drastic change by going ahead with commerce since my math marks were 90%+. And I got accepted to UTM.

    I was first year student this year 2016-17 and I was doing fine in all my classes but i freaked out recently and had a mental breakdown because I don’t think commerce is for me and i want to do my degree in biology… so I LWD literally every single course I had left and now on my transcript i just have soc100 as a CR/NCR this year was sooooo freaking crappy I don’t even understand. AND NOW I’M LIKE WHY DID I DO THAAAAATTTTT…

    When I talked to the registrar they said I have next year to choose whatever program I want to go in. But I now want to switch into McMaster or McGill or even downtown campus UofT for biology.

    I’m planning on meeting the requirements for the biology degree in UTM for 2017-18.

    But to transfer to McGill or McMaster Their website said I have to be newly admitted at UTM to transfer… but next year would be like my 2nd year i guess?? but technically a re-do first year >.< … By the end of 2017-18 year i would have hopefully completed 5 credits (not including the 0.5 CR/NCR) ….Idk if they mean this because they don’t want someone who is “half done their degree (10CR)” from a diff uni or if they just mean even if u just have 5 credits “you can’t apply here since u are second year”? Do u think that would make it hard to get into McGill or McMaster because they say that, or is my situation diff since i would only have completed 5.5 CR.??

    ANDDD im freaking out if my grade 12 marks would matter for transferring since i got 56 in bio grade 12 … but If i get a good cgpa next year that shouldn’t matter right??


    i know that transfering to downtown campus wont be that bad as long as my CGPA is a bit higher than the minimum but my heart feels more inclined to actually “starting fresh” by going to a different uni like McMaster ot McGill.

    What do you think? Helppp :'(

    Thanks yoo!

    PS sorry for a lot of rambling…



    from what i can understand from your question (which is like… not much), it sounds like you’re a first year student who’s finished 0.5 FCE’s. is that right? as for wanting to transfer, i really shouldn’t be answering any questions about other schools. this is askastudent u of t, not asakstudent mcgill or mcmaster. i really can’t guarantee correct answers if we are speaking on behalf of another school.

    there are many factors that go into a transfer, and i really have no clue how it works at other schools. because your case is very unique, you really need to speak to admissions at mcgill and mcmaster directly. if you are aiming to enrol in either of the schools for the 2018/19 session, your application would be due sometime in the winter term, meaning that they wouldn’t have much of a transcript to look at when reviewing your application. in that case, they might even consider your high school grades. who knows? all i can tell you right now is what i see on their website, which might not even be applicable in your situation, so promise us you’ll talk to them first!

    the mcgill website doesn’t say how many credits you need to have, just that you need to have a 3.3- 3.8 CGPA, a semester each of differential and integral calculus, and two semesters of bio, chem, and/or physics (with labs).

    at mcmaster, it only says that you need to complete at least 2 full years there, aka 10 “full credits” in order to receive a degree there. they also have some prereqs outlined, so check out their website.

    to transfer downtown, they just look at your CGPA. if you know what specific subject POSt you want to enroll in, i would check out their requirements too.

    i really encourage going to see an academic advisor or registrar in order to map out your specific case. they’ll be able to give you more personalized and nuanced information too.

    i hope that was helpful. can’t believe you got me on the mcgill and mcmaster websites, good job.

    best of luck!

    Product Hunt confused silicon valley jared go figure GIF




  • academic offense,  other schools (boo!),  suspension,  UTM

    no secrets


    I started at the campus of UTM in 2010 and got to second year by 2014 – I
    know, not something I’m extremely proud of. In 2014, I got suspended for
    one whole calendar year for failing too many courses. Subsequently, I also
    got suspended for a plagiarism allegation for 3 and a half years. Right now
    is 2017 and my suspension is up in the summer of 2018.

    Would it be wiser for me to just ditch U of T and apply to another
    university with my high school grades? Or is that not allowed?

    Thank you!



    wow, sounds like you’ve had quite a wild ride. school ain’t easy, that’s for sure.

    if you choose to ditch U of T, you can’t apply to another university with just your high school grades. if you try applying for another university, you’ll need to show records from every previously attended institution, and if you refrain from disclosing information, there will be pretty severe consequences.

    your best bet, if you still want to pursue your degree, would be to wait out your suspension and continue on at U of T. we still want you if you want us too!

    hope everything works out for you!




  • other schools (boo!),  probation,  Transferring

    u of t questions only please!

    Hey Aska,

    I’m super worried right now and need your help. I’m currently in first year in U of T and am an architecture student. I have a couple of problems I need to discuss with you guys and please don’t mind the fact that i am about to go on a somewhat emotional rant. So, here’s my story:

    First thing I did in my fall term was that I decided to choose 6 courses for my double major, 4 architecture related and 2 actuarial related, and to add to that, each one was extremely difficult, but I learned that the hard way. Now, apparently 2/6 of the courses were on wait-list and i got in them after 1-2 weeks into the term, so I had to catch up. Initially it was going well until BAM, the course load hit me hard, like a meteor, and I returned that with a punch. however, meteor>punch, so yeah it didn’t go so well. I had to juggle between written assignments, readings (TONS of readings ), quizzes, Practice problems, Problem sets (I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE Problem sets) and practical work and it was a huuuuuuuuuuge mess. I did one thing, left the others, did another thing, left the others and this was technically my routine. After a while, it got so bad that I had to drop one arch course (the practical bit) cause i was being late on my deadlines, and had a discussion with my prof. about my situation. It was only after he said that what I was doing was reckless and super difficult  that I figured out that I was messing up stuff. At the end, I was just trying my best to survive in the courses. My results have come out for Fall term and I really hate myself… (My GPA is 1.4). So in conclusion, I messed up really really really badly and it feels so not good……

    Right now, after a lot of discussion with my parents, siblings, and stuff, I decided that i am going to drop architecture and solely focus on actuarial science. I am planning on transferring to western university doing an actsci course over there that im really interested in. According to western, i need a min of 70% GPA overall and a good first year or semester grade, plus my highschool transcripts. Now, i want to ask is:

    1)I am in my winter semester right now, and planning on starting as first year in western fall semester 2017. I have found out that if I do good on both winter and summer terms that i am taking, i can get increase my GPA to 3+. Can I transfer to western for fall 2017 provided that i am taking a summer term of 2017?

    2) How does the whole transfer thing work anyway, can someone give a brief view on that.

    3) Also, suppose I don’t get accepted in western, can I continue at UOFT provided my GPA increases?

    4) when is the deadline for the transfer application?




    dude, i got so stressed out just reading this.

    since i am not affiliated with western, i won’t be able to answer any questions about admissions or transferring there (questions 1, 2, and 4). so sorry. my suggestion for you is to contact the school directly with any questions you might have. i technically could do all the research on the western website and link it to you, but i wouldn’t be able to provide any advice aside from what is written on the websites.

    i wish i could answer all of your questions but because it is about another school, i am not clear on their policies and processes. don’t worry, it’s not because we don’t want you to leave, we have your best interests at heart and if leaving is going to benefit you in the long-run, you absolutely should. U of T isn’t going to stop you!

    if you need support from us in your transfer process, i would recommend going to your registrar’s office to discuss your options. they’ll be able to guide you through the process since they do work with students that are transferring out.

    i am, however, able to answer one of your questions!

    3) since your GPA is 1.4, that means you are currently on academic probation, but:

    -if improve your grades up to a CGPA of 1.5 or higher and annual GPA of 1.7 or higher you’ll be back in good standing, meaning that you’ll be able to continue at U of T! 🙂

    -if your grades continue to be lower than a CGPA of 1.5 but your annual GPA is 1.7 or higher, you’ll continue for another year on probation. :/

    -if your grades fall under a CGPA of 1.5 or an annual GPA of 1.7 after one year of already being on academic probation, you will be suspended for one calendar year. 🙁

    get those grades up! i believe in you!

    for more info about how the academic probation thing works, check out the calendar rules on academic standing.

    hope this helped you!

    good luck with the rest of your semester and the summer! don’t feel discouraged by bad grades, it definitely took me a very very long time to figure out how to do “just okay” in school. it’s going to take time and a lot of discipline. keep pushing forward after obstacles gets you down and you’ll find that, in the end, you’ll have the strength to climb up obstacles that you never knew you could climb before! (sounds like a disney song lol)

    peace, love, and solidarity,



  • americans,  gap year,  other schools (boo!),  transfer credits,  Transferring,  UTM

    inauguration day/ come back home


    I completed my first year at UTM in the 2015-16 school year, in good academic standing. I had to move at the end of my first year to the U.S., and so transferred to an American University. Turns out I may be returning around Fall 2017, though! So, my question is, would my one year off just count as a gap year? Would I be able to transfer my American credits back to UTM? I checked transfer explorer, and it doesn’t even recognize my American Uni’s name, lol, so I don’t have much context for my courses.

    I hope you can maybe provide some insight here? Has this happened before?

    Any light you can shed on the situation would be greatly helpful!



    An unintentional and unwilling exchange student who regrets moving




    welcome back, maybe!

    there isn’t really an official term that designates a ‘gap year’ at UTM, but basically if you’ve been gone for 12 consecutive months, you’ll have to reactivate your student record.

    you can do that by going online at this link if you’ve been away for 12 consecutive months. once you reactivate, you need to make sure you pay tuition with 12 months or else your reactivation will expire.

    in terms of your transfer credits, i’m not exactly sure why your university doesn’t show up, but you’ll be applying for a slightly different kind of transfer credit: a post-admission transfer credit.

    a combination of these two actions should get you back on the right track, however, it would be best to contact your registrar at UTM to make sure you’ve done everything correctly and to confirm that you have indeed reactivated your student record.

    hope this works, and hey, you’ve picked a good time to move back to canada!

    peace and love and hope for america,


  • applying for U of T,  grades,  other schools (boo!),  transfer credits,  Transferring

    final destination

    For undergrad, can someone do two years at York then transfer to UofT for the last two years? Is this difficult to do? Honestly thinking of doing this as I really want to go to UofT but I’m an international student and cannot afford 40k tuition each year for four years.



    it is definitely possible to transfer to U of T from york but it’s a whole process. not a terrible process, but a process nonetheless.

    first, you need to be in pretty good academic standing, and by pretty good, i mean a solid B average. if the program you are trying to enter is more competitive, you might need to contact the department for a more accurate average.

    second, you can’t apply if you are more than 2 years into a degree, meaning if you were to transfer into the same program after 3 years of york, you wouldn’t be able to, you’d have to apply for a different program.

    third, you have to meet all the high school entry requirements as well as university requirements for your program.

    the application process will be through OUAC105 since you won’t be applying as a high school student, and after you are admitted, you will need to have your transfer credits assessed by U of T. the university can grant you a maximum of 5 transfer credits (1 full year).

    the whole transfer process is outlined nicely at this link, so take a look!

    basically, it’s not that difficult if you meet all the requirements and are in good academic standing. however, all things considered, transferring to another university is a huge change and you might want to think about whether or not you want to leave your already established group of friends and community.

    hope you make the right decision!

    peace and love,


  • applying for U of T,  arts & sciences,  math,  other schools (boo!),  prereqs,  PUMP,  transfer credits

    transferring + that calculus requirement

    Hey Aska, I had a question regarding the calculus requirement for Life
    Science programs. I haven’t took high school calculus, and am moving soon
    and want to transfer to U of T. I am currently taking a first year math
    course here at York.  The U of T website says “A suitable community college
    or university course in calculus” counts,  but I’m not sure if the course
    I’m taking, “Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences” will count since
    it’s not strictly calculus  (though it covers Biocalculus for at least 85%
    of the course.) please let me know if I can fulfill the requirement with
    the course I’m taking (and if so, what mark is satisfactory, since I don’t
    think I can pull off an A atm). If I can’t fulfill the requirement I’ll
    just take PUMP or night school.

    Thank you Aska, I appreciate your help!!



    so U of T has a great resource called ‘transfer explorer’ where you can plunk in a course taken at another institution (in your case, york) to see what its U of T equivalent would be. when you put in  ‘MATH1505: mathematics for the life and social sciences’ in transfer explorer, it states that the equivalent (last assessed in 2014) is U of T’s JMB170.

    the course description of JMB170, doesn’t give me the impression that it is a calculus course. i’m not sure what life science program you’re trying to get into, but from my point of view, MATH1505 doesn’t seem like it would carry over and be considered as a valid calculus course.

    just out of curiosity, i took a quick look at the department of psychology’s calc requirement and couldn’t find anything that would include JMB170. if i’m not mistaken, calculus courses at U of T generally have MAT course codes. my recommendation for you would be to contact your chosen life science program directly.

    contacting the faculty of arts and science may also be able to help you with this issue, since they are the ones who decide ultimately which courses transfer over.

    if worse comes to worse, PUMP is definitely a good option. you’ve done your research!

    good luck with everything and i hope you have a smooth transfer process!

    peace and love,


  • other schools (boo!),  weirdness

    york needs an aska


    So I’m a York student (you may get your fork jokes out) and I’m in a bit of
    a situation.
    In 2014 I had a family situation that mighhttt have caused me to get really
    sub-par grades in a couple of courses. I already retook the courses and
    everything, and fixed up the grades.
    Finally, in 2016 and with part-time student status, I got the time to
    petition the initial attempts at those courses. Unfortunately, the
    committee refuses to look at it since it’s a request past the deadline,
    regardless of my reason to petition them.
    I’ve already made one appeal that I did not have easy access to the
    documents throughout the 2 years (seeing as the court case pertaining this
    event is still ongoing, and it’s more important my family deal with that
    than some Uni petition). They rejected the appeal, again on grounds that I
    still don’t say why I decided to petition so late.
    I have one last chance to appeal, and I was wondering if you had any advice
    on how to do so successfully? This was a really bad time for my family with
    several economic and medical issues, in addition, it’s really important for
    me for post-grad opportunities, so it would be ideal if the courses got

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!
    Thank you.



    **disclaimer, this post is filled with tons of shade. opt for another one of our lovely posts if you can’t handle the shade.**

    so i’m a u of t student (you can get your #uoftears jokes out of the way) and i’m in a bit of a situation.

    so in 1999, one of my predecessors launched a site called askastudent.utoronto.ca, intending it to be a website which answered the many questions of stressed out U of T students. since then, a significant number of york students have decided that utoronto stands for any flippin’ university in toronto and not JUST the university OF toronto.


    so my question is this. why doesn’t york have a blog like this?

    askastudent.yorku.ca sounds pretty good to me, doesn’t it?







    okay. all jokes aside, it seems like you’re in a really tough situation. while we do have a reputation of being really tough on our students, i don’t want to start a stereotype of us being terrible people, so i will say this. i REALLY wish i could help but since you don’t go to U of T, i’m not familiar with how petitions work at york. i’ve never even set foot on your campus… like, how do i even get there? we may be all-knowing on all things U of T related, but we definitely know as much nothing as jon snow when it comes to york.

    the best thing for you to do would be to keep talking to your registrar’s office. at u of t, registrars are the ones that help you with the petition process.

    i’m sorry that you guys don’t have this kind of ‘ask a fellow student’ resource at your school, but hey, maybe this would be a good time to start one? we could even entertain a healthy aska rivalry! let us know if you start one!

    good luck with your situation, again, i really wish i could help.

    peace, love, and solidarity,


  • other schools (boo!),  transfer credits,  Transferring


    Hello, so I’m currently on academic probation after my first year and due to personal family issues, my father asked me to transfer for a year to St Marys university in Calgary, and then come back to utsg. Will I be able to get transfer credits for the courses I do at the other institution and do I have to reapply or can I just re-register for courses for the semester I come back for?

    Sincerely, a very sad confused person


    hey there,

    as long as you have a mark on your transcript (and you must have, because you can’t be put on academic probation if you don’t have any marks), you’re officially in uoft.

    wow, how vague. what do you mean by that, aska?

    i mean that once you’ve received a mark at uoft (specifically, in the faculty of arts & science), you can come back to uoft anytime you want. so if you leave, get into another university, and come back after a year (or two, or five), all you have to do is get re-registered (and cough up twenty-five bucks) and sign up for courses.

    that being said, if you are on academic probation at uoft, you cannot receive transfer credits from another university. that means that if you were to follow through with your plans to transfer to St Mary’s, none of the credits you received there could be transferred back to your UofT degree.

    a little bit of unsolicited advice for you: don’t plan so far in advance. if you think it’s a good idea to transfer to St. Mary’s, do it. maybe you’ll really like it and decide to stick around there. that’s great! maybe not. maybe you decide to come back to uoft. that’s great, too! try to take life as it comes to you. changing schools is always a scary thing, but it’s going to be ok.

    and uoft will always be here (very like another ancient school), if you ever decide to come back. i hope that makes you a bit less sad and confused.

    best of luck with all of it,


  • other schools (boo!),  Transferring

    a Parent Post

    My son finished his first year of Humanities at McMaster with very decent marks, high 80s and higher. He applied to McGill and even though his marks are apparently good enough, it’s seeming more and more likely that he won’t be accepted. I’ve suggested that he return to McMaster ( where he wants to specialize in Philosophy and History ) but he’s convinced it would lock him into McMaster for the next three years. He’s sure it’s too difficult after two years to switch schools. He’d consider another year at Mac if it meant he could then transfer to U of T.

    Could you enlighten us as to how possible this would be?

    Many thanks,


    hey there,

    i think this is the first time i’ve ever received a question from a parent! it’s kind of exciting. what rabbit hole of the internet did you have to go down to find me? i kind of feel like a bartender at a run-down pub on the bad side of town, and some person wearing tails and a Rolex has just walked, bewildered, through my front door.

    lucky for you, i’m a nice bartender. have a scotch on the house, just because you’re new. that’s the aska welcome.

    as for your question: yes, it’s possible to transfer to uoft after two years at McMaster. transfer students can receive a maximum of 10.0 transfer credits, which typically takes two years to complete. for that reason, it usually makes the most sense for students to transfer after year 1 or year 2 of their studies at another university. after that, it’s still possible to transfer, but it makes less sense, since you won’t be able to transfer over all the credits from your first university.

    other than that, your son needs to have a competitive GPA (at least a ‘B,’ which shouldn’t be a problem if he’s getting 80s and 90s), AND completed prerequisites for whatever program he’s interested in applying to, in order to be considered for admission to uoft.

    as someone who transferred to uoft after their first year, i completely understand that sometimes, you just have to get out of your current school. i’m curious though, about what else may be going on here. why does your son want to transfer? what can’t he get at Mac that he can at McGill or uoft? if it’s just a prestige thing, i would advise you to do the Parent Thing and talk with your son about his expectations. McMaster is a good school, and the opportunities for a grad from Mac will probably be very similar to those offered to a McGill or uoft grad – and he wouldn’t have to do the whole transferring thing, which is not overly difficult, but can be a bit lonely sometimes.

    i don’t know the backstory to this question, and i don’t want to make assumptions. it’s just that my back automatically goes up when i can only hear the voice of a parent, and not of the student. i appreciate you taking the initiative to ask this question, don’t get me wrong – i just want to make sure your kid is happy with their decision in the end.

    best of luck to the both of you!


  • admissions,  americans,  med school,  other schools (boo!)

    strap on your toque, yankee, you’re in for a wild ride

    Hi, I am a US student thinking of applying to U of T. I’ve heard many many rumors of the soul crushing undergraduate experience at U of T. As a hopeful medical school applicant, would I be better off grades wise in a top university in the US or is Toronto not as terrible as it seems? I’d really like to go to Toronto but I’m worried….


    hey there,

    that depends on which U.S. universities you’re thinking of, my friend. are we talking state universities or Ivy League? even within state universities, there’s a lot of variety in terms of quality. the comparison you’re making is going to be very different depending on which other schools you’re thinking about.

    i can’t tell you how well you’re going to do at uoft. i wish i could, but it would be disingenuous. the best i can do is give you a couple of factors that will influence your experience here, and that you can consider before making your decision:

    1. uoft is one of, if not the, most academically intensive universities in canada. i won’t go so far as to say that it’s the “Harvard of the North” (because we gotta stay humble out here in the 6ix), but it is very academic. uoft is an institution focused on research, and that goes right down to the undergraduate level. from day 1, you will be required to treat your school like a full-time job. if you excelled in high school, if you’re willing to work hard, and if you’re interested in the material, that is by no means impossible. but it does require a serious commitment to focus on your academics.
    2. uoft is very big – and i feel like you can’t really understand the real implications of that bigness until you actually get here. it can be very isolating. there are lots of wonderful, small communities within uoft where you can feel connected and valuable (your college community, residence community, seminar courses, extracurriculars, etc.) but if you don’t search all that out, you can feel a little stranded. and, trust me, if you feel distanced from and unappreciated by your school – like you could skip class, not do the assignments, etc. and no one would notice – that can have a very real effect on your schoolwork. a lot of U.S. universities have that small, collegiate feel throughout the entire institution, but at uoft, you have to do some digging.
    3. two positive points now: keep in mind that if you are graduating from a world-class university, medical schools are going to know that your GPA will not be as high as people who graduated from less academically rigorous schools. they will factor that into the application; everyone’s GPA is not equal.
    4. second: GPA is not the only factor medical schools look at! MCAT scores and extracurricular experience are also important parts of your application. that’s where toronto is ideal. we have a lot?of hospitals here. a?lot. “hospital alley” is within walking distance of uoft, and there are lots of opportunities to volunteer and gain valuable experience at each of them.
    5. finally: i know that americans think canada is just, like…cold america, but keep in mind that culture shock can be a difficult thing to manage, especially in first year (that’s not to say that we don’t have people to help you deal with that – because we do). you’ll be moving far away from home all on your own, meeting all new people and learning to stand on your own two feet, even more so than domestic students, who might just be a car ride away from home.

    i know that’s a lot of information, but keep in mind that you have time to mull it all over. uoft is a wonderful place to be. it’s in the middle of an amazing city, it’s a nexus of?research and innovation and exciting student life, we have cool people and exciting courses and i am so glad i’m here. BUT it’s not for everyone. so do think carefully about it.

    one last piece of advice: if you can manage to get up here and tour the place a bit before deciding, i find that’s often helpful.