• admissions,  americans,  applying for U of T,  engineering

    would it be canadian american or american canadian?


    im an american senior high school student that’s suuuper into attending u of t for electrical engineering. i think my case is a little different because im a canadian born citizen, but all of my education from grade 1 was completed in the usa. basically, my gpa is a 3.3/4.0 and my sat a 1300/1600 with a 21/24 on the essay, and ecs are good (fencing team captain, intern job, volunteering, etc.). my question is… 1.) are admissions harder for american students and what are my chances OR because im a canadian would i be considered domestic? (i know this is true for fees) and 2.) well… anything you can share that would be relevant to this case in general. i finished my online student portal and im gonna submit it by the end of this week. im really passionate about potentially being able to attend u of t, and id be ecstatic if i would somehow be able to be accepted.

    im sorry if this is a little hard to answer!

    – canadian born american



    first of all, sorry for being MIA and the super delayed response. it is askastudent after all and i had exams and finals too.


    hey arnold nicksplat GIF

    so, according to this link from the engineering website, you will be “evaluated on the basis of the education system [you] followed, regardless of [your] country of citizenship.” meaning that yes, you will be evaluated as an international student.

    that being said, i’m not sure about the specific numbers/ averages/ SAT marks you need. all they say is “high grade point average and high scores.” this link has some information about admission requirements specifically for US students as well as how you can submit your transcript.

    i suggest that you get in contact with the engineering admissions office to get more information or if you have any further questions. they’ll have the most specific and up-to-date information.

    i hope this all helps!



  • 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,


  • americans,  arts & sciences,  cool things,  english

    it wasn’t me (clean version)

    You said the UofT English courses are very traditional, but I was wondering what exactly that entailed. I know there are probably a few hundred pretentious schmucks out there that’ll swear by their life that there’s nothing they’d enjoy more than rereading A Midsummer’s Night Dream, but that’s just not me. I have a friend in the states that’s doing a BA in English and they had courses like Zombie Literature and etc. Is there anything as fun and interesting as that at UofT?



    uhhhhh not sure who said that, but it wasn’t me! i am (believe it or not) the 15th aska running the site and i’ve actually never taken an english course at U of T. thank you, IB credit!

    thank you for offending all the pretentious schmucks reading this- i’m sure they’re angrily shaking their berets at you. *lowkey high five*

    k, but seriously, shakespeare can be good sometimes. (i’m saying this as someone who doesn’t read for pleasure) i’ve definitely watched some very interesting sparknotes vids on shakespearean plays… “to be, or not to be”… that’s a thing, right? i only pretend to know shakespeare because of michael fassbender and oscar isaac’s portrayals of shakespearean characters.


    U of T is just as hip as any school in the states, okay? we’re such a huge university, it would be a shame to not have some good classes.

    in our english department, you can take classes on graphic novels, children’s literature, detective novels, science fiction, and fantasy and horror. if you want to check out the full list of courses that are offered, you can find them in the calendar.

    if you can’t find ‘fun and interesting’ courses in english, there’s always mus321-perhaps you’ll find some more down-to-earth mustachio’d fellas. (p.s. it’s MOVEMBER now, i’m so happy)

    hope these courses are fun and interesting enough for you!



  • admissions,  americans

    the American Dream (to come to uoft)

    Hi there,

    a couple questions that I hope you could help me with. I’m an American student and have been working for a year after finishing my undergraduate degree in business administration, but now want to go back to school to study humanities, which I’d actually enjoy.

    Should I retake my SATs though? My scores back from 11th grade were pretty mediocre: reading 620, math 790, writing 670. I know I’d do significantly better if i retake. Will UofT accept new scores or even want me to submit SAT at all?

    My high school GPA was weighted 3.7 and unweighted 3.5, last year of uni was 3.1/3.2ish, uni overall 3.2; do I stand a chance being accepted into UofT?

    Thanks in advance!

    Best regards,


    hey there,

    ah, a Yank! so you want to come up into the frigid north and read some Atwood (probably) in our poorly insulated refriger-classes, huh? well, good on you. i always admire someone who’s coming back to school to pursue a passion. even if it is in this icy chillscape.

    it seems like the university will want you to submit your SAT scores. all the scores you’ve cited, however, are higher than what’s “been presented by successful applicants” in the past, to paraphrase admissions. so that’s a good sign. i don’t know too much about the SATs and what constitutes a good score, but a cursory look at the requirements seems to indicate that you don’t absolutely have to retake them.

    as for your GPA, that’s harder to compare. every university has a slightly different GPA system, even if many of them use a 4.0 scale like uoft. that being said, if you finished with a 3.2 and we assume that the scales at both universities are roughly the same, then you finished with a ‘B’ average, which makes you a competitive transfer applicant.

    all in all, i can’t guarantee that you will be accepted, or that you won’t be. from the information that you’ve given me, it could go one way or the other. the thing is, if it’s something you want to do, you have to try.



  • 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.



  • americans,  GPA

    international education is a nightmare

    Hi aska, I’m not sure who to ask this so I’ll ask you: do American grad schools weigh uoft undergrad GPAs differently because the grading scale is different in Canada vs. the U.S.? Because my GPA would be significantly lower at a U.S. uni where an 80 is a B-, not an A-, for instance. If you don’t know, who do you recommend I ask? Registrars haven’t been able to tell me (shocking) but a number of my professors did undergrad at uoft and went to American grad schools so I’m thinking of asking them.


    hey there,

    well, have you been asking the registrar’s office at uoft, or at the schools you’re interested in? because ~ shocker ~ uoft is only going to be an expert about the rules at uoft.

    at the end of the day, it’s going to depend on the school you’re interested in. not all american schools are the same. to be honest, the situation with higher education is a bit of a nightmare in North America in terms of consistency. then you go over the pond and it’s like a foreign freaking language. like, what the heck is a first? what’s 2:1?? don’t even get me started.

    ANYWAY. if you do a bit of calling around to?the schools you’re thinking about, you may be able to track down someone (probably in admissions) who?may have a more concrete answer.

    or you may have to do a bit of the grunt work yourself. you’ll have to figure out what kind of GPA scale the schools you’re interested in use, and then translate your GPA on a 4.0 scale (which is what we have) to that scale.

    for example, if they are on a 4.33 scale, you can use this handy chart to figure out where your percent grades would put you on that scale. here are some other ones. there are many more like it on the internet. have a look around.



  • admissions,  americans

    kindling a love for kin


    i’m an american born canadian student aka i was born in vancouver so i have a canadian citizenship but moved to america when i was little. because canadian tuition is cheaper and canada is just so cool i am considering going to university in canada. i’m looking into ubc, mcgill, and u of t. problem is i literally know nothing about canada or their system idk. i was?just wondering if you could help shed a little light on all of this.

    ive heard that u of t is more of a liberal arts school and that undergrad?is hella hard there. i want to study kinesiology to become a phyiscal therapist. but i heard that its hard for science majors at uoft to get the classes they need to get into grad school (ex bio physics and chem). is that true? ive heard that many people, bc they didn’t get the required classes, have trouble getting into grad school. i plan on returning to the US for grad school and i would hate for something like that to happen.

    can you just talk a little bit about kinesiology at uoft as well? thank you
    so much!!


    hey there,

    this is the second time i’m hearing this thing about kinesiology students not getting the courses they need, and i’m starting to think i’ve missed something, so if any kin students are reading this, please correct me if you know something about the program that i don’t. however, as far as i know, kinesiology is an entirely different faculty from the faculty of arts & science at uoft, so there’s no way that you wouldn’t get into the classes you need for your degree. also, you wouldn’t be a science major – you would be a kin student, and you would graduate with a B.KIN, not a B.Sc.

    as for uoft being hella hard, there’s something to that, but…i dunno. it’s not impossible. as long as you’re prepared to work hard, you should be able to pull through. university is made for regular people with good a work ethic, not genuises. i don’t think coming here would ruin your chances at grad school, either in canada or abroad (and like i said, getting your required courses/prereqs for grad school shouldn’t be an issue).

    finally, while i usually try to answer everyone’s questions individually, because even similar questions often have different nuances, i answered a question that is literally exactly like yours right here?not too long ago. read that through as well and e-mail me if you have more questions, but i think that post answers everything you’re asking in depth.



  • admissions,  americans,  being canadian,  comp lit,  english,  grad school,  international students,  masters

    corn pops and comp lit: being american at u of t

    Dear askastudent,

    So I just recently developed an interest in UofT for grad school. Canada seems pretty great, and I want to explore some other places in the world. I would go to school for Literature, which falls in the Arts and Sciences program if my research is correct. Anyway, I was just wondering if you could give some advice about what would be expected from life in Canada that differs from the states. Is there any way to go about making the tuition cheaper? What is the english/comp lit department like?

    Any words of wisdom will suffice, like I said: simply curious! Thanks


    Hi there oh curious American,

    You asked the right guy! The handsome and mysterious genius behind askastudent may just be an American student, and may also just be doing the undergraduate program in Comparative Literature.

    The Centre for Comparative Literature is a fantastic and well respected program. Literary theorist Northrop Frye is just one of the great academics who made their careers at the University’s Victoria College, and your colleagues and professors in the program are of the highest caliber. What that also means is that it’s pretty tough to get in! For starters, the masters program requires you to be highly proficient in at least one language other than English, and for the doctorate, at least two (some students have an arsenal of a half dozen).

    Something else to consider: Despite the program’s high profile and prestige, humanities programs in Canada and at U of T are constantly under attack as academia angles towards more profitable ventures like science and business research. Just recently, the Centre for Comparative Literature was on the chopping block, and only thanks to spirited organizing and activism on the part of the students is it still intact.

    There is also a larger Department of English, which I know less about except that my English TAs have always been big sweethearts! Poke around the sites and maybe you can see which program suits you.

    As for being American in Canada, I can sincerely say it totally rules. The differences are minor, and can therefore sometimes be all the more surreal. Let me prepare you for a few:
    – It’s more than likely that you will develop the subtle Canadian pronunciation of ‘out’ and ‘about.’ You might even pick up the dreaded ‘eh’ You won’t notice it until your American friends from home tease you for it, so it can be an ugly surprise, but you’ll learn to embrace it.
    – About half of the words with spelling differences in British English maintain them here. ‘Colour,’ ‘favourite,’ ‘centre’ and ‘theatre’ are the first ones to learn, but you’ll be stretching it a bit if you use ‘globalization.’ Either way, I’ve never had a professor get on my case about it, despite my best efforts at losing sleep over it in my first year.
    – Money is cute and bright here, and there’s lots more change.
    – Hockey is the name of the game here.
    – The corn pops are different– and much, much worse.
    Regarding the tuition, there’s not much to be done- you’ll be paying international fees for at least a few years of your degree. Even if you get engaged your first week on campus, the process towards Canadian residence or citizenship is longer than a Master’s degree.

    Here’s a helpful article about the experience of immigrating to Canada as an American: Immigrant with an Asterisk ()
    Stay sweet, and kiss the land of the free for me!


  • americans,  being canadian

    you want to be canadian eh?

    Hi there, I’m an American applicant to U of T (and a couple of other Canadian universities). Which brings me to my question! Do you call them
    “unis” in Canada? What’s the slang? If I do come to uni (??) in Canada I hope to make everyone think I’m super-hip and possibly even Canadian (I
    should be so lucky!).Also, will I be shunned, chased back to New York with pitchforks, etc. if I’m caught watching Degrassi/attempting to befriend members of the cast?Please advise.Thanks and hope you’ve enjoyed your New Year!


    Hey American,

    We support stalking in this country (but it is still illegal, so don’t get any ideas) But really? Degrassi kids are who you’re going to stalk?

    Side Bar Ted – 5 babalicious Canadians you should stalk instead


    2) Ryan Reynolds

    3) Rachel McAdams

    4) Ellen Page

    5) Evangeline Lilly

    I actually had to really think about your question … I really haven’t referred to a university verbally lately. I’m pretty sure Canadians (this is a huge generalization, so maybe Ontarians) say university. Uni could suggest a variety of things. Apparently Aussies call it Uni though. However we do love to?shorten the names of all our universities. Like University of Toronto is just U of T, University of Victoria is U Vic, Dalhousie University is Dal, Ryerson is … well just Ryerson.

    Just say “I know, eh” or “oh yah” and everyone will believe you’re are Canadian.

    forever Canadian,


  • americans,  grad school


    Hey Aska,

    Do you have any idea how many U of T undergrads end up going to the US for graduate schools? I was thinking about it and thought I’d ask.


    Yo, I tried fishing around for this information and came back with nothing. All I can say, is a good percentage of them? Of course it depends entirely on your program of study and what kind of school you are applying to. If you are thinking about applying to graduate schools in general, U of T holds tons of information sessions with various schools across Canada all through the fall. (A complete list of times and dates is available here.) They also hold information sessions for U of T grad schools in particular.
    Most of what I know about applying to American grad schools involves friends griping about the GRE. I assume that U of T’s Career Centre will be able to make sense of that experience and what to expect from the process. Talk to your professors and TAs about applying too! They’re the ones you’ll need to write those reference letters that will get you in at Harvard, Columbia, or my personal preference, Bowling Green University.

    xoxo, Askastudent

  • americans,  fraternities & sororities,  probation

    step away from the sorority girls…put the keg down…

    Location: United States
    I was accepted to UT and I will probably attend. The trouble is I am very bad in large lecture classes. I will go to office hours and take advantage of many of my colleges services, but I was wondering if there was anything I could do on campus such as a smaller advising program or a chance for a mentor. I am afraid I will fail out next year. I was thinking of joining a sorority to make friends. I need help.

  • americans,  extracurricular,  languages

    I feel the same way about Guam

    Hi. I like Canada. I have questions, though. I have never
    actually been to Canada but I am gullible and from what I have read and heard
    from all over the place, it is better than America. I don’t like America. 🙂 So,
    yeah. Questions. Do I need to speak French to live in Toronto? I am going to
    take a semester of Intro French I next semester because the sucky-ass school I
    go to now doesn’t offer anything more intensive than that. I know that Montreal
    is a lot more French-y than Toronto is, but still… how important is French in
    Toronto? Maybe it isn’t and I am stupid for asking. 😉 Like I said I am
    transferring from the states and I am trying to decide between UofT and McGill
    (hence my concern for French). I will not ask you to compare that stuff because
    I read the questions other people ask. =) But my other question is… I am
    completely American-raised. Please school me on Canadian basics. What are some
    Canadian colloquialism? Is the “aboot” thing really true? Anything
    else pronounced weird? Also, is that British-style English you guys speak? I see
    things like “programme” and “centre” and I worry that I will
    get many points taken off in my essays when I say “program” and
    “center.” Sorry my question is so long. Feel free to cut out the
    useless babble if you do get around to posting it. 😉 Anyway, cool site and
    thanks for your honest answers, they really help.