hello! i am a grade 12 student at an ontario highschool. my average at the moment is around 93-95%. i’ve applied for social sciences at utm/ustg. i’m hoping to major in political science or criminology, and then apply to uoft law.
from your experience in social sciences, 1) do you think i will be able to achieve a 3.5-3.8 gpa in my undergrad? 2) do you have any tips/advice on how to do so? 3) what are the pros/cons between utm/ustg…will i have more difficulty achieving a high gpa at ustg? ty!!
that’s a pretty dang good high school average!
i’ll answer your questions in order.
do i think you’ll be able to achieve a 3.5-3.8 gpa in your undergrad? that’s hard to say. different high schools have different levels of grade inflation, and i know literally nothing about your study habits, so i don’t really feel like i can make a prediction. however, what i can tell you is that there are certainly people with high school averages like that that manage to maintain your target GPA at u of t.
i know u of t has a reputation for being really tough, and it is challenging. there are certainly high achieving students who have a very difficult time adjusting to first-year university, but i wouldn’t say everyone needs to be super scared of failure. there are student supports at u of t to help you achieve your goals.
do i have any tips on getting a good GPA? sure. here are a few:
- use your resources.
achieving and maintaining a high GPA is a lot easier when you’ve got help.
here are some things that have helped my friends and i with our studies: going to office hours, making use of the writing centres and math learning centres, participating in club or college mentorship programs, visiting a learning strategist, and checking out the academic help workshops on the clnx calendar. visits to your registrar’s office will prove invaluable whenever you need advice, and tapping into u of t’s mental health resources can help you deal with the stress of academics.
- build a support network
studying is a lot easier if you’re not also dealing with isolation and loneliness. a lot of uni students i know have struggled more with their studies when they haven’t been surrounded by supportive peers. pulling a long-haul study session is less painful if you’ve got someone with you keeping you accountable (even if just over Zoom).
plus, it’s important to remember that academics won’t be all you’re dealing with in university—you also need people to help you endure your personal lows and celebrate your highs.
i really do think that the better you’re doing as a person and the more you’re plugged in to some kind of likeminded community or friend group, the better equipped you are to achieve your academic goals.
- get organized
i’ve spent a solid amount of time at u of t now, and something that seems to happen every semester for me is that a few balls get dropped. unless you’re gifted with impeccable organizational and time management skills, the endeavour of managing classes, clubs, a job, your health, and your personal life does get tough.
find a system that works for you to keep track of all your responsibilities and deadlines. it always feels really bad when you find out about an assignment last-minute or after the deadline—you lose marks unnecessarily, and your grades don’t reflect your abilities.
i currently use a monthly planner that i got from muji, which allows me to see all my deadlines several weeks ahead of time. i colour-code it (green for assignment deadlines, pink for tests, purple for shifts at work etc) so that, at a glance, i have a good grasp of what i’ll be busy with in any given week. and then at the beginning of each week, i dump everything into a google spreadsheet schedule broken down into half-hour increments, so i have a sort of weekly timetable. that’s what works for me. virtual calendars are also a good option if you prefer!
to touch on your last question, i’ve only ever been a student at st. george, so i don’t feel like i can say whether it’s harder than utm. i don’t really feel that qualified making a pro-con list either, since i’m probably quite biased towards st. george. this might surprise you, but i’ve never even been to utm in person!
i’d recommend that you do some research yourself and make a pros-cons list that reflects your own priorities. you can consider things like what extracurriculars each campus offers, living costs (if those are applicable), program offerings, campus aesthetics (if that even matters to you), and location.
if you’re extensive in your considerations, you’ll probably find that you end up with one option that’s clearly better than the other. i chose my campus because i was interested in specific st. george extracurriculars, as well as programs that were only offered at st. george. it just seemed like the right call.
hope this helped! wishing you all the best of luck with your application.