I’m in grade 12, and live in the GTA. I’m conflicted as to whether or not I should apply (and eventually attend) UofT. Why, you ask, would I not automatically consider the university ranked as the best in Canada when it is 2 hours away from home? Well, lets just say that the only word on the street about UofT is somewhat… frightening. Could you help me dispel some rumours?
Apparently, UofT has little community atmosphere, and the classes are so large that the profs simply don’t care, and you just feel like a number.Apparently, the grades are curved in such a way that the fierce competition makes it nearly impossible to get As compared to other universities in Canada.Apparently, a very large number of first year students drop out or transfer.
Is UofT really a lacklustre undergraduate experience?
Do the rankings only reflect the research, not the teaching?
Thanks for your help,
-Dazed & Confused
Yo yo D&C
I’m going to be straight with you. It depends on your field but the odds are in first year, you’re going to be in massive classes (ie the glorious Con Hall). These massive classes are awesome for the morning after fatigue because you probably won’t get called on to answer a question. BUT the school does realize that classes with a couple hundred students can be lame-o for incoming students.
So here’s what they did
1) Prof office hours (great way to kiss ass)
2) Multiple TA’s that are assigned in relation to the number of students (Can answer any and all your questions – if relationship based, it would probably be better to ask here wink. wink.)
3) First Year Seminars – If i could preach these I WOULD. You know what …I’m going to. These are small courses designed so students could interact with their profs one on one. Awesome? topics – who doesn’t want to take a course on Vampires or Lord of the Rings. And generally you get killer grades in these. Only first years are allowed to take these babies
As for that lovely bell curve, the odds are that you’re going to encounter at least one. But they are used when the class as a whole is suffering, not just a couple people. So the odds are you will be suffering with them (sorry to burst your bubble). In any case, curves are calculated the same at all schools and they will only happen if a class desperately needs it (I personally have only ever had one, and it was only for 1 test)
Honestly man, all of the concerns you have are going to occur at all schools, not just U of T. People drop out and transfer at all schools, for different reasons. And first- year experiences differ based on the person. I’ve known people who have partied too hard and failed (that’s their fault, not the school), and people who have partied like a monster and studied like a monster too and are going to be graduating this year. People drop out and travel, or go to college.
Cheese ball line: Your experience is what you make of it. The school is there for you, with endless help resources and if you make an effort to be noticed and get good grades, you will (I promise).
Peace and Love Baby,