• colleges,  university-college

    commuter’s guide to colleges

    sorry if you’ve been asked this before, but I just got accepted to University College (Humanities) does the college mean anything if you’re a commuter? like how does it work? can I still use services like libraries at other colleges? does the college actually mean anything i’m kinda confused?


    hi, hello and welcome!

    ah yes, the age-old question of “i’m a commuter and does college actually mean anything”… (and also on that note, does anything even actually mean anything? but i digress.)

    as a commuter, your college doesn’t really matter as much but it does come in handy for some admin stuff, student life, and pretending you’re in a hogwarts house.

    it’s not really a restrictive thing, but more like a way for uoft to somewhat organize the absolute barrage of artsci kids here, imo. you’ll get access to pretty much all the other college libraries and buildings on campus, except for some dining halls which have been restricted to their own college’s student during covid. fun fact, uc also has their own commuter student centre with a kitchenette and lounge. i’m not sure how much people actually use these student centres, but i did drop by once for an event and there were free donuts, so that’s one positive review.

    your college registrar is also pretty imporant (the uc one is here!). they would be your go-to for admin things like academic and financial advising, getting transcripts, paperwork, stuff like that. other nice college perks include writing centres, mentorship opportunities, and some scholarships and awards (uc has a bunch of annual writing awards which are pretty cool). uc is also one of the colleges which offers independent research courses for their students, if that’s something you’re into.

    there are also lots of college-based clubs and events. most are open to all students, except for frosh, which is organized by college and also basically the loudest, most obnoxious poster child for “college things”. but honestly, if you’re not staying on res it’s really up to you how much you’d like to get involved with your college. you can parade around campus bleeding uc red and chanting to your heart’s content, and you’re also free to just… not (i mean, there’s nothing stopping you from literally just leaving). or, more likely, it’ll be something in between, and you’ll get to know your college in a way that works for you 🙂

    hope that helps,

    aska

  • colleges,  switching

    the good ol’ college switcheroo

    Hi! I’m in woodsworth college and I’m hoping to try and switch colleges to trinity, Victoria or UC. I’m wondering if you have any advice for how to do this successfully! What kind of reasons are they looking for to switch? What can I do in an application that will make my chances better? Thanks!


    hey there!

    i think a few things would help make a strong application. firstly, try to reach out and apply as soon as you can! it’ll be easier to convince the college that you’ll be a great addition to their community if you join early on in your undergrad career, with plenty of time ahead to experience the college that you want to transfer to. vic actually states that they will not accept transfers from students that have completed more than 10.0 credits, so applying earlier is definitely an advantage.

    a good gpa would help, too. for example, vic requires a cgpa of around B (3.0) or higher. the requirements for other colleges aren’t really publicly available, but i’d assume that a higher gpa would be beneficial.

    anyhow, moving on to the part that you’re really here for… how to actually write your transfer application. college transfer applications are somewhat of a black box. vic is nice enough to lay out some application questions right on their website, but you’ll have to reach out directly to the other colleges to find out their exact requirements.

    do i know anything about how colleges judge their transfer applications? not really. have i even personally transferred colleges before? also no. am i gonna throw some ideas out here anyway? well yes. based on my general experiences applying to stuff, here are a few things that might help.

    • find out more about the college, and talk about what you like about it. try to be as genuine as possible. get a sense of the vision and values of trin, vic and uc,  and describe specific aspects which resonated with you.
    • write about what you’re hoping to get out of the transfer. this shows that you’ve done your research and have a clear idea of why you want to transfer! are there certain college-specific resources that you are hoping to access? is there any aspect of student life in the college which drew you in? if you’re interested in uc’s beloved writing centre, vic’s sweet sweet scholarships (read: “generous financial support”), trin’s small and close-knit community, or anything else for that matter, then write about it!
    • describe what you can bring to the table. how have you contributed to your student community thus far? what kind of a role do you see yourself playing in the college and its community? are there any student groups or activities at the college that you’d like to get involved with? you might want to reference specific initiatives at trin, vic, and uc.

    the college transfer process can be tricky, but hopefully this gives you some ideas for your application! remember that other factors such as the number of spots available at a college could also affect your chances of landing a transfer. as one of the smallest colleges at uoft, i feel like trinity will probably be particularly hard to transfer into, while it may be easier to transfer to a large college like uc. in any case, good luck and give it your best shot!

    all the best,

    aska

  • colleges,  prospective student

    words of wisdom? from me?

    Do social science students have to choose a college like life sci students? Also, any words of wisdom for the incoming high school seniors?

    ———————————————

    hi there,

    i hope you’re enjoying the last of the summer, and thank you for your patience with this answer.

    yes, social science students do need to choose a college! all students under the faculty of arts and science get sorted into colleges — u of t is so big that it only makes sense, administration-wise.

    as for words of advice, it’s been a quick minute since i’ve been in high school. honestly, the piece of advice that most readily comes to mind is this: in most people’s cases, your senior year of high school is your last chance to be a kid, so enjoy the heck out of it. life comes at you fast during university, and most of my friends needed to grow up real quick to deal with the realities of rental housing, international student immigration hoops, and student loans.

    i know there are a lot of stressors attached to university applications and figuring out your future when you’re in the 12th grade, but personally, i wish i had slowed down a bit and savored where i was a little more.

    i don’t know if that’s the kind of wisdom you’re looking for, but that’s all i’ve got for ya today. best of luck completing high school, and you know where to go if you have more questions!

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • colleges

    bye woody!

    hi!! i’m an incoming student! i was accepted to woodsworth but after doing more research i kind of wanna switch to vic 🙁 do you think it’s possible? thanks!!

    ———————————————

    hello there,

    welcome in advance to u of t, and congratulations on accepting your offer of admission!

    it is indeed possible to switch colleges. you can find information on switching into victoria college on this webpage. the process essentially involves sending a very detailed email to the victoria college registrar. the contents of your email, as well as your CGPA, will determine whether or not your transfer is successful.

    unfortunately, the deadline for the 2021-22 academic year has already elapsed, but if you’d like to switch colleges at the end of your first year, that’s apparently the time that transfer requests are most likely to be approved. i’ve actually never heard of anyone switching colleges between admission and first year. so give woodsworth a try for your first year — if it helps, i’ve heard that it’s much easier to get financial aid/bursaries there than most other colleges!

    hope this clarifies things, and good luck with first year.

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • colleges,  innis,  Transferring

    innis LOVES you

    Hi! I was just wondering, is it possible to switch colleges? I’m a first year in Vic right now, and I find that the resources (i.e. the writing centre) is much better at Innis. Just not sure if this is possible though. Thank you.

    ——————————————
    hey there,

    it is in fact possible to switch colleges! if you check out this webpage, click the “new students” drop down menu, and look for the “can i switch my college affiliation?” question, you’ll find the info about that there.

    the tl:dr of it is that you have to submit a letter to the registrar explaining why you want to transfer colleges. i’ve heard that these transfers aren’t easily granted, so make sure the reasons you cite are legitimate.

    i’d actually recommend giving the registrar’s front desk a call, so you can briefly explain some of your reasons and ask for advice on drafting the letter. you might be more successful that way.

    i hope this helps, and good luck with transferring should you choose to move forward!

    be Boundless,
    aska

  • admissions,  colleges,  rotman

    picking a college is like choosing a cult to join

    Hello, I’m an American student who would like to attend UofT. If I’m interested in business, which college would you recommend I rank first? Thank you

    ——————————————

    hello,

    an american!

    if you’re interested in studying at rotman commerce, it doesn’t matter too much which college you rank first! i wouldn’t say any of the colleges have a particularly strong rotman community—i think rotman kids are pretty well dispersed.

    if you’re worried about proximity to your classes (assuming you’re hoping to live in res and this godforsaken pandemic is a thing of the past by your first year), then victoria, innis, and woodsworth might all be good colleges to consider. i’ve heard that many of the first-year rotman courses are at victoria college. the rotman building itself is right next to innis, just down the street from woodsworth.

    however, i wouldn’t make the location of your college the determining factor in your choice. if i were you, i’d look into the unique character of each college, the scholarships that different colleges offer, and what the residence conditions are (assuming, again, that you’re hoping to live in res). for example, innis and woodsworth offer apartment-style residences. most of the others do a more traditional dorm experience, but if you do a little digging you can find the differences between those experiences: you’re more likely to get a single room at trin than vic, for example.

    each college is known for something different. trinity and innis tend to be tighter-knit communities, since they’re both quite small and only admit students who rank them first—but they both have very different vibes. victoria is another one that needs to be ranked first, and is known for being a little more literary/artsy, plus since vic charges higher student fees they tend to have more fun stuff (muji pen giveaways during finals, free pancake days etc). UC has some fantastic clubs, and is home to many of the most creative students i know. i’ll stop short of giving you a full rundown, since i don’t really want to inject too much of my own bias into things. i think if you do a little research, you’ll find that one or two college communities stand out to you more so than the others, based on your values and what you’d like to be surrounded by.

    good luck with your application!

    be Boundless,

    aska

     

     

  • admissions,  colleges,  scholarships/bursaries

    i want to take a long nap

    Hi! Could you explain how your college choice matters if you’re not in residence? Also, I keep hearing that scholarships can be divided by colleges. Which college is the best for scholarships? Thanks!

    ——————————————

    hi!

    so sorry it took me a while to get to this, my ask box is filled with students in distress right now and i’m the very slightest bit worried and overwhelmed lol.

    college choice does still matter, to a certain extent, if you’re not in residence. your college will determine things like which registrar’s office you go to, which clubs you’re most likely to join (since colleges have clubs), and what your most immediate community is at u of t. think of a college like your university home base.

    your college will also run your orientation, if that’s something that matters to you. innis is a dry orientation, whereas there’s plenty of drinking that happens after-hours during trin’s O-week. different colleges just have different character, y’know?

    of course, if you’re not on res, you don’t technically have to interact with your college very much at all. you could totally carve out your own path and make, i don’t know, the biology student union your home base. if you’re a victoria college student, you don’t need to join vusac. and you don’t need to be a victoria college student to write for the strand. in other words, you can join a college club without being part of the college.

    what i’m trying to say is that yes, colleges do kinda matter, but overall you’ll get to shape your own experience with how a college affects your university experience.

    aight, let’s talk money now.

    many scholarships are indeed divided by colleges. from what i’ve heard, trinity and victoria are the best for scholarships, since they tend to be more “prestigious” colleges with more donors, i guess? i’ve heard that st. mikes isn’t particularly great, scholarship-wise. but most colleges do have some kind of college-affiliated scholarships, whether those are in-course academic scholarships or leadership scholarships.

    if scholarships are a major area of concern for you, i’d recommend that you look up the two or three colleges you’re most interested in and compare their info on scholarships. for example, here’s the vic page. you should be able to find the others by googling “[college name] u of t scholarships” or something along those lines. you’ll quickly be able to get a sense of how much money is offered at different places, and what you have to do in order to qualify for those funds.

    i hope this answer finds you in time for your applications! wishing you all the best with uni apps, and i hope you have a wonderful (or at least tolerable) holiday break.

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • colleges

    u of t needs a sorting hat

    Hello. I’m an international first-year applicant and I was trying to rank colleges and I couldn’t find the one that fit me best. I’m looking for something with a nice clean residence and most importantly, a place where I can make a lot of friends and meet nice people. I would say it would be nice to have good food but a meal plan isn’t necessary. I’ll tell you what i found about all the colleges so you can help me pick out a fit for me.
    1. I ruled out St.Michael’s because I heard that it’s very religious
    2. I also ruled out Trinity because from what I’ve heard, I wouldn’t be able to get along with the students there
    3. I ruled out Victoria because I heard all the students there are artsy and that it’s far from the rest of the campus
    That leaves the other 4
    New College seems like a nice place, but I’m not sure how the students there are like and whether I’ll be able to get along with them or not.
    I don’t know much about University College other than the place looks nice and the people seem to be outgoing. I heard the food is bad though and I don’t know much about the residences there.
    Woodsworth seems to have a great residence, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to make friends there because I heard it’s mostly mature students and upper-year students.
    I also don’t know much about Innis and its residences.
    Please respond as soon as possible. Thank You.
    ——————————————
    hey there,
    sorry it took me a while to get to this! for future reference, it can usually take up to 14 days for questions to get answered on here— for more urgent questions, i usually recommend that you contact the appropriate u of t office, for example admissions.
    anyway, someone really ought to create a sorting test for colleges because this question comes up a TON.
    here’s what little disorganized wisdom i can offer you, if you haven’t submitted your application already:
    • if you’re interested in good food, new college has the best dining hall on campus, hands down. but if you can cook, innis and woodsworth are good choices as well because their residences are equipped with full kitchens and there’s no mandatory meal plan— meaning you can choose what you eat, when you eat it, and how much you spend.
    • it’s true that woodsworth has a great residence! their study rooms have gorgeous views and if you luck out, so will your dorm room. i wouldn’t worry too much about woodsworth being mostly mature/upper-year students, because this is the first time that i’m hearing about that as a problem. there will be plenty of first-years at woodsworth for you to mingle with!
    • if you’d like to be super close with one or two roommates (assuming COVID-19 is in the past by your first year), UC and new college offer a classic dorm experience. if you’d like to mingle with a slightly larger group of 4-5 students in a more apartment-style setting, i’d choose either innis or woodsworth. in my experience, the classic dorm experience does tend to be more social, whereas the apartment-style experience offers you more privacy and independence.
    • i don’t know much about UC’s food or residences either— which probably just means that the UC res experience isn’t particularly remarkable. if things are really bad or really good on campus, you tend to hear about them.
    • i will say that UC has some really great clubs and associations— UC is a bit of a larger community compared to colleges like trin and innis, so that means there’s more variety in the student life there. UC also has several student lounges, one of which serves free cookies on weekdays during a regular academic year. not all colleges are that lucky.
    • during a regular academic year, woodsworth has free pancakes every wednesday for all students!

    • in terms of student spirit out of your remaining four choices, i’d say that innis and UC students tend to be prouder of their college affiliation, in comparison to woodsworth and new students. i’ve heard that few woodsworth students care very much about their college, but then again i’ve never been a woodsworth student so i wouldn’t know.
    • innis is the smallest of your remaining four colleges, and i’d say it probably has the most tight-knit community of them as well. i’m a bit biased here, but innis is known for being welcoming and wholesome, if that’s something you’re into :’)
    • if you’re worried about proximity to the heart of campus, UC and new are certainly more central than innis and woodsworth are. woodsworth can actually be pretty far, too— it’s the furthest north of all the colleges on st. george.  but i wouldn’t worry about this factor too much— even in the snow, a few extra minutes of walking won’t hurt you too much, and you’ll barely notice after a while. plus, the likelihood is that you’ll have classes all over campus anyway, so you’ll usually be far from something.
    if you’ve already submitted your application, or if you’re still stuck after reading this post, try not to worry too much! at the end of the day, your college is most important for administrative purposes (it determines what registrar’s office you visit, some of the scholarships you’re eligible for, etc.).
    if you’re looking to make good friends and meet new people, i’d say that’s possible at every college, even the ones you’ve ruled out. the most important thing, i’d say, is to put yourself out there. attend events, say hi to new people, ask them if they want to study together sometime or hit up a free food event with you. add them on social media and stay in touch. plenty of students are looking for new friends in your first year, and if you’re approachable and confident enough, i can see you thriving socially no matter what community you get dropped into.

    … and honestly, if you want a clean residence, that’s going to depend more on the roommate you end up with (which is more or less out of your control). even apartment-style dorms can get messy if you live with messy people. trin, though, is a little special for one particular reason: they get a free weekly cleaning service. lol. because of course they do.

    be Boundless,
    aska
  • admissions,  colleges

    ! prospective ! student ! alert !

    hi! i’m applying for september 2021 for social sciences (and probably some other programs) and i was wondering what the differences between all the colleges are? do i have anything to do with them if i have to learn from home? what’s the point of them? side question, do you have any tips for (possibly) incoming students?

    ——————————————

    hello hello,

    colleges! the classic admissions question.

    so to give you the rundown, colleges are basically smaller communities within the very large faculty of arts and science. some of these colleges, like victoria and st. mike’s, used to be separate universities that were absorbed into u of t like a baby eating its twin in the womb.

    your college affiliation is mainly significant because it determines which registrar’s office you go to for administrative services and academic advising and which residence(s) you’re eligible to stay at. you’re also eligible for certain scholarships and resources at your college that other college’s students won’t be allowed to apply or qualify for. apart from that, your college can often become the student community that serves as your home base, since there are college-specific clubs, student governments, and newspapers that you can get involved at.

    if you’re planning to learn from home (to be fair, we don’t REALLY know what september 2021 will look like yet), your college will still matter for all those reasons except res. if you’d like to make an informed decision but aren’t concerned about res, i’d pay particular attention to what clubs and scholarships are available at the colleges you’re interested in, as well as the general character of the community (which you can read about on reddit* or get ~ vibes ~ about on instagram).

    you should also note what you need to do to get into the college of your choice. some colleges, like victoria, trinity, and innis, will only consider you if you place them at the top of your rankings list. victoria and trinity also require supplemental applications.

    anyway. do i have any tips for incoming students? heck yeah i do.

    depends on what you wanna hear about. i guess i’ll throw some generalized tips at you:

    • be aware of what program selection is! in short, when you’re admitted to u of t you’re not really admitted to a program yet— you’ll need to go through a second admissions process after first year. it’s a good thing to be aware of because if it hits you like a surprise… well, that’s a lot of unwanted stress.
    • start learning what it means to take care of yourself and your mental health before you enter university. that’s vague, and i’m sorry, but it really is something good to start thinking about. university (at a normal pace, anyway) will strain you like few other things and it’s good to start building habits that will enable you to endure it. for me, that would have looked like beginning to visit a counsellor while in high school.
    • enter university with an open mind and some confidence in yourself! if i could do my first year again, i would tell myself that there’s no good reason to feel like an impostor and that there was a lot i could achieve at this school. i definitely wasted a lot of time in first year held back by impostor syndrome, which seems to be relatively common at u of t.

    i hope this helped! good luck with your uni applications process— i hope you get into everything you want and that you make the right university choice for you. and let me know if you have any specific questions re: tips for incoming students.

    be Boundless and stay safe,

    aska

    *obligatory note: take things that you read on reddit with a grain of salt! r/UofT makes things sound a lot scarier than they really are sometimes, and not all the academic information on there is correct. but for things like gauging the character of different colleges, you can’t do much better than a crowdsourced opinion.

  • colleges,  one programs

    no restrictions! none!

    can i apply for vic one if im not part of vic college, apply for uc one if im not part of uc, etc?

    ——————————————

    hey friend,

    you definitely can! i had friends in innis one from trin, vic, and all sorts of colleges. while the college system does kinda sort you into smaller groups, it places no restrictions! none! on the courses you can take.

    i have no idea what this gif is from, but it was the first result under ‘go for it’ on giphy. represent, i guess.

    keep in mind that only some of the one programs require an application, though– you should be able to get into uc one without applying. hope this helped and feel free to reach out if you need any other answers!

    be ??oundless,

    aska

     

  • colleges,  cool things,  random

    the unofficial aska tour of utsg

    Hi,

    I have graduated from U of T a few years ago and some oversea visitors would like me to take them to see the campus. I recall there are many interesting stories about ie. Victoria college and also interesting stories about architecture designs, and wonder if there is some material you can share with me so I do not have to reinvent the wheel doing the research to provide an insightful tour that lives up to our school’s reputation?

    I will be taking them around on March 9th and if you could please share something with me before then that would be highly appreciated.
    Thanks!

    ——————————————
    hey there,

    man this is such a fun one i don’t know where to start. i also don’t know if my system of organization is the best one out there, but it’s…there. i take feedback. shoot me your complaints.
    as you’ll see, i didn’t end up with a lot about architectural details, but i hope the stuff i dug up is of some interest to you. brace yourself for a long and occasionally haunted post.

    colleges

    university college (uc)

    ah, uc. home to the fireball, the junior common room, and really old, creaky, poorly-lit hallways. it’s u of t’s poster child, a national historic site, and is mostly made of yellow brick grimy enough to look like stone. the east staircase of uc’s main building is guarded by a carved griffin; a long time ago, students used to rub it for luck before taking an exam, but the tradition has since died out. which like, i’m not complaining about. would hate to have to trek there, then all the way to the godforsaken exam centre.

    in 1868, a bunch of undergrads baited a cow all the way up the stairs, til it made it to the top of the dining hall’s bell tower. this cow belonged to the uc steward. what’s a steward? why did he have a cow? i dunno, but they had the brilliant idea to tie the cow’s tail to the rope that rang the bell. as anyone with good sense knows, it’s not a good idea to have a cow climb down stairs. once she was discovered, they ended up putting her on a board and sliding her all the way back down in order to rescue her. it’s true. i was there. i was the board.

    looking for a saucy ghost story to impart? uc is the setting of what’s arguably the university’s most popular ghost story, starring diabolos and reznikoff. since you graduated from the school, you’re likely to know that each of them now has a namesake cafe on campus, diabolos in uc and reznikoff on st. george.

    anyway, sometime in the 1850s, diabolos and reznikoff were uc stonemasons madly in love with the same woman. reznikoff went after diabolos with an axe, presumably to assert his dominancce, but surprise surprise, diabolos got the upper hand and murdered his rival with a much smaller knife. the lesson here is to fight smart and not strong, friends. according to the legend, he went on to stash reznikoff’s body somewhere in the building; during a fire some years later, skeletal remains were found. if you look carefully, you’re purportedly able to find the axe marks still embedded in the door where the murder occurred. apparently, reznikoff’s ghost haunts the property to this day.

    <

    uc also happens to be a movie star! it’s visible in a scene from the vow, and i bet a bunch of other lesser-known films.

    trinity college

    episkopon! trin’s cult is the first thing i heard about the college, even before i showed up on campus. they’re infamous for their exclusivity, deep-rooted traditions (the group dates back to 1858), and hazing rituals. especially the hazing rituals. episkopon is no longer officially connected to trin, but is still very much alive and conducting meetings. this year, i heard their initiation involved getting students drunk, blindfolding them, and having them jaywalk across bloor. could be pure rumor, though, keep in mind.

    trin is also known for its oxbridge-inherited traditions, one of which are their high table dinners. once a week, students will don harry potter-esque robes to dine in strachan hall, the college’s dining hall. at one point in history, students who showed up but couldn’t afford the robe would be forcibly removed from the hall in a “pooring-out.” the tradition has since involved to “pouring-outs,” in which a student is removed for “doing something infamous.”

    at the end of strachan is a massive tapestry, dating back to about the 17th century. mostly made of silk, it hails from the netherlands and shows the scene from the bible in which king solomon meets the queen of sheba.

    innis college 

    i mean, i don’t have any interesting stories about innis. but i gotta plug it for having the best cafe on campus. as far as i know, it’s family-owned and the staff are real sweethearts, honestly. if you want to try campus food (but why), innis cafe is where it’s at. plug plug plug.

    most friday evenings, you can catch free films screening in the innis town hall as well.

    victoria college

    wow, another hollywood star! vic was cast as queen’s college in cbc’s anne, the tv remake of lucy maud montgomery’s classic novel anne of green gables. we get it, u of t, you’re photogenic.

    there’s also a story that there were once two vic professors who taught in the same second-floor classroom; one was irrationally attached to his heavy oak lectern and the other preferred space to move as he taught. weeks passed, and the lectern was moved in and out of the room until the latter prof decided the solution was to toss it out the window. i wonder what sound it made when it hit the ground. maybe i should reenact it and find out.

    i’ve never confirmed this for myself, but inside burwash dining hall, queen victoria’s burial flag is supposed to be up on display– after her death, it was gifted to the college. pop your head in and give it a look, if you like.

    vic’s known to have a bunch of pretty awesome alumni, including lester b. pearson, prime minister of canada and winner of the nobel peace prize for his work resolving the suez crisis. lester b! the first canadian to win the prize, apparently. margaret atwood also belongs to the ranks of vic alumni. cue handmaids.

    there’s a pervasive urban legend that northrop frye hall has a mcdonald’s somewhere in it. you can comb the building if you want and see what you find, but… like… you won’t find a fry in frye, unless you’ve brought it there yourself. sorry ’bout it.

    …other buildings 

    convocation hall 

    con hall seats a freaking lot of people. wikipedia says it’s 1,730, which honestly sounds about right. it was never meant to be a classroom, but today many first-year general lectures with hundreds of students are taught under its very large dome. if those students make it to the end of their degree, con hall is also where they’ll walk across the stage and receive their diploma. so much money and so many tears just for a fancy piece of paper? sign me up!

    a scene from mean girls was actually filmed here– themathletes competition, near the end of the film, shows both the exterior and interior of con hall. if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve probably seen this gif:

    yup, that’s in con hall.

    hart house

    a bunch of people take wedding photos on campus, but you can actually get married at hart house. it’s also got an art museum, a reading room, and a theatre that donald sutherland used to perform at. apparently you can also get haircuts there? wow, what a well-rounded student center.

    the only reason hart house has a gym today is because of stubborn students. u of t laid the original foundation for the gym behind uc, where a vast playing field was located; students loved the field so much they offered to pay for the removal of the foundation if u of t would just move the freaking gym. they were even willing to carry out most of the work to remove it. am i impressed by that dedication? hell yea.

    anyway, the university seemed content to relocate the gym to hart house, and the back campus playing field is still very much in operation today. i mean, i saw girls doing field hockey practice in what i’m pretty sure was negative degree weather. student athletes. they’re stronger than me.

    it turns out, though, women were once barred from hart house; in fact, when kennedy spoke there in 1957, he did so for a male-only audience, and was later recorded as saying, “it’s a pleasure to be in a country where women cannot mix in everywhere.” apparently, a huge factor in keeping hart house male-only was so the men could continue swimming nude in the pool, a beloved tradition of theirs. when women found out, they offered to join in, but unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) were not permitted. it wasn’t until 1972 that women would be allowed to use the hart house facilities.

    robarts

    all the students have been mad about the way u of t’s been conducting closures this winter. a l l. but according to the university, at least robarts will always be open 24 hours! i’ll catch you the night before the next snowstorm, sleeping over somewhere in the reading room.

    despite the amount of contention among students at the school, robarts is in fact shaped like a peacock, not a turkey (or a goose, or babar the elephant).  this is most obvious if you look at the building from the st. george/hoskin intersection.

    what most people don’t know (or at least i didn’t) is that the tower forming the peacock’s head doesn’t serve any function. it’s puuuuure aesthetic– which means it was on the chopping block when the university tried to cut building costs. the only reason robarts has a head today is because the chairman of the committee in charge was informed it would cost ten grand. ten grand! what a bargain! wish i could relate. but that’s why our main library isn’t a headless bird.

    there’s an episode of friends with robarts in it, too! season 10, episode 13 at 5 minutes 25 seconds in. thanks, reddit. 

    fisher rare books library, which is housed in the same building as robarts, contains the only copy of shakespeare’s first folio in canada. or marlowe’s, if you prefer. it’s one of only 228 surviving copies in the world, and dates back to 1623– or in other words, the heyday of black teeth, emptying chamber pots into the streets, and people who wore neck ruffs so large a gust of wind could knock them over. fun times, fun times. why do i feel like i’m… not missing out?

    36 of his most famous plays are included in the book, which is valued at about $6mil. unfortunately, it’s so valuable the public can’t walk in and see it– special arrangements have to be made. but if you’d like, the library has plenty of other super rare books on display that you can walk in and see!

    mclennan 

    don’t think i’ve ever personally been inside this building. but should you wish to showcase it on your tour, it was a filming location for good will hunting as a stand-in for MIT and harvard. the movie later went on to win an oscar. which basically means… we won an oscar, guys.

    at one point, u of t was a nuclear power– that is, before the accelerator was decommissioned. the shell still sits somewhere in mclennan, but is obviously no longer hurling particles around at stupid speeds. mmm, unfortunate.

    varsity stadium

    the ice rink didn’t seem that impressive to me when i was in there as a froshie, but apparently it’s got killer acoustics. many many years ago– think the 30s and 40s– a bunch of symphony concerts were held inside the arena.

    not into symphonies? john lennon performed here once, with his plastic ono band in 1969. it was right before the beatles split up, but by the time he played the varsity concert he already knew it was going to happen.

    gerstein

    gerstein is apparently the university’s oldest building built specifically to be a library. it was remodelled about 100 years ago to add a two-level safe for rare books and valuables, that extends down into the basement. i don’t know how interesting that’s gonna be to you, since you can’t access it from anywhere other than the chief librarian’s office. but anyway, this giant walk-in safe now holds office supplies, because errything important got snatched up by the rare book library.

    regis college

    there’s this old story floating around about this place that’s a little bloody. yay, murder!! this is how it goes:

    there was a man named robert christie, whose father– the christie of mr. christie’s cookies– passed away. naturally, rob christie and his wife then moved into the vacant house. that’s it. that’s the story. horrifying, huh?

    just kidding. see, christie had a sidepiece hidden away in one of the manor’s many rooms, literally locked away so no one would find out he was having an affair. eventually, he got bored with her, and the poor girl ended up hanging herself from her bedframe. a ghost haunts that same room to this day, occasionally swinging the door shut to lock people in. no one’s sure if it’s the mistress, or if it’s christie himself, attempting to trap more women from beyond the grave. exercise caution, etc. etc. or don’t, it’s up to you.

    i had to do a little digging to figure out where this urban legend actually happened, because there’s no quick google maps result for “christie manor.” turns out the place has been renamed to regis, and i’ve been walking past it since my first day on campus. huh.

    OISE

    i feel a little weird sharing this because it’s a place i like best when there’s no one there / it’s quiet. but if you promise to be nice about it, i’ll give it to you as well. the nexus lounge on the 12th floor of oise has the best publicly accessible skyline views on campus. it’s only open on weekdays, according to a security guard i spoke to in the building once– so you might not be able to throw it in on your tour. i guess this one’s for future references, then.

    if you show up on a weekend, like i did the first time i sought it out, you can still kinda see a view but the glass doors will be locked. don’t be like my friend and try to reach through the gap to unbolt them. your fingers will not fit, and it’s also a sketchy sketchy thing to try. just…come back on a weekday. please.

    fun facts!

    – most of the architecture on campus is modelled after oxford and cambridge.

    – we’ve got north america’s third best university library system, beat only by harvard and yale.

    – u of t’s student newspaper, the varsity, is one of canada’s oldest. you can pick up a copy at most campus buildings. it also puts out a feature magazine twice a year. some pretty successful people have come out of it, including william lyon mackenzie king, of prime minister fame.

    – utsg is infamous for not closing, especially for bad weather. i’ve heard a joke that it’s only closed three times, and two of those were for world war i and world war ii. but as it turns out, u of t didn’t even want to close for the first world war. it only ended up shutting down because ~total war~ meant war industries ate up all the fuel, so u of t ran short of coal and didn’t have much of a choice. classic.

    – penicillin was invented at u of t! the discovery is credited to frederick banting, a u of t grad. we’re doing important work here, yall.

    – each year beginning in 1955, the university used to hold an annual winter carnival and, during the festivities, would select a snow queen. the criteria for the crown? her enthusiasm, appearance, ability to snowshoe, cook pancakes over an open flame, and wood-sawing skills. what a gal. i don’t even think elsa would qualify.

    anyway, this concludes your askastudent tour of st. george. man. you’ve made me want to be a tour guide, and not gonna lie i feel a little bit qualified now that i’ve made it through this post. wishing you good weather for your tour! lowkey not just for you, for me. winter’s making me mad. when will the snow be gone?

    anyway, ending this post with a meme. original content, brought to you by yours truly. except i don’t own any of the photos. tag yourself, i’m robarts.

    over n out,

    aska

  • colleges,  st. mike's

    colleges, crim, enrolment, oh my!

    Hello,

    I am admitted in the University of Toronto St. Michael College for studies in Humanities. I have 2 questions for you.

    1) What is the difference between all the Arts & Science colleges?

    2) Is it possible for me to select Criminology & Socio-legal studies as a major after my first year even though i have been admitted in the faculty of Humanities?

    Thank you.

    ——————————————

    hi!

    since your question is in two parts, i’ll be answering in two parts.

    1) colleges are kinda like a student’s “home base” during their time in the faculty of arts and sciences. every student in artsci belongs to a college. this is mostly for administrative reasons, as u of t and the faculty of arts and sciences are huge. so, if you needed to access any admin (ie. registrar’s office, dean’s office, etc), you would want to get in contact at the college level first. there are also a lot of different resources that are available to students at a college such as writing centres. you will also be participating in orientation week with your college and if you’re living on residence, your college is where you would live.

    there isn’t really any difference between the colleges, they all serve the same basic purpose. there are some people who say that each college has their own “personality”, but you will be able to find people that you click with no matter which college you’re at. basic people will tell you all about the stereotypes associated with the different colleges, but that’s all they are– stereotypes.

    2) yes, it’s possible for you to for you to enroll in criminology and socio-legal studies as a major even though you were admitted into humanities. as long as you have the appropriate prerequisites fulfilled, there’s nothing stopping you!

    you just need to take 2.0 FCE (full course equivalents) in either: HIS (history), ECO (economics), PHL (philosophy), POL (polisci), PSY (psychology), or SOC (sociology). then, between first and second year (or whenever you complete 4.0 FCE), you have to apply for the major on ACORN. check out this link for a detailed explanation of the program enrollment process. criminology and socio-legal studies is a type 3 program.

    you could also make an academic advising session with your registrar’s office, who would be able to give you even more information.

    i hope this helps! see you on campus in september!

    millie bobby brown blow kiss GIF by SAG Awards

    xoxo,

    aska

  • arts & sciences,  colleges,  fees

    every penny counts

    I’ve noticed that some colleges have cheaper tuition prices then others, it seems that Woodsworth College has the cheapest tuition is this correct?

    ———————————————

    hi!

    included in your tuition are compulsory non-academic incidental fees. a lot of these fees are the same for all u of t students (we’re all charged the same hart house membership fee, for example) but some of them are college specific. though they’re not technically “tuition”, they’re included in your overall fees and you pay them at the same time you pay your academic fees.

    the compulsory non-academic incidental fees include your college’s student society fees, any levies they require that you contribute to, or any service fees. they differ from college to college, as each college has a different student society that collects fees to contribute to clubs/ levies/ events.

    you can check out the these charts to compare the different colleges’ incidental fees. i ain’t gonna do the math and figure out the cheapest one for you. you know i hate math.

    xoxo,

    aska