- Welcome Event &
Academic Orientation Sessions
at St Mike's
- New Student
Revised June 9, 2015
Students who have received an offer of admission to St Michael’s College
are invited to attend an Academic Orientation session in July
Could not attend the June 6 event?
Don’t worry. We know that many new students couldn't attend this event – especially if they don’t live in the Toronto area, so we will post relevant information on our website or refer to relevant sections of other U of T sites at timely intervals leading up to course selection in July. Please refer to our Bulletins for New Students.
For all sessions, please note venue change to Room 100
Friendships and Memories to Last a Lifetime
Living in Residence provides you with the convenience of being just steps away from your classes, along with all the other unique opportunities that downtown Toronto has to offer. It’s an ideal way to experience the independence of living on your own but with a support network to help guide you through the transition. Each of our residence houses is assigned its own Don who is responsible for fostering community, promoting social and educational events, as well as ensuring the rules of residence are being followed.
St Mike’s offers two separate residence operations:
1. SMC Residence which accommodates both men and women
2. Loretto College Residence which accommodates women only
Male students who have indicated an interest in residence on the University of Toronto’s common residence application (MyRes) will receive information from the SMC Residence only, while female students will receive information from both residences. This information will be sent to you via email so be sure that your email account accepts messages from the @utoronto.ca domain. You may also want to check your junk mail folder regularly just in case.
The University of Toronto guarantees residence to freshmen students providing:
1. They indicated an interest in residence by completing the University’s Common Residence Application (MyRes) by March 31, 2015;
2. They receive and accept their offer of admission to the university by June 1, 2015; and
3. They pay their residence deposit ($600) by the due date on their offer letter/email.
Any students who would like to live in residence but who do not qualify for the guarantee should visit the St. Mike’s residence website for information on how to apply to the waitlist.stmikes.utoronto.ca/residences/
|Duane Rendle, Dean of Students St. Michael’s College Residence 81 St. Mary Street Toronto, ON M5S 1J4 +1 416-926-7127 firstname.lastname@example.org||
Angela Convertini, Dean of Women Loretto College Residence 70 St. Mary Street Toronto, ON M5S 1J3 +1 416-925-2833 email@example.com
Posted November 2014
Make sure you accept your offer of admission by the stated deadline.
If you have confirmed your interest in residence on the U of T Common Residence Application (MyRes), look for your offer sent via email from the SMC Residence or Loretto College. Please make sure your email account accepts messages from the ‘@utoronto.ca’ domain. You may also want to check your ‘junk’ mail folder regularly just in case.
Make sure you accept your residence offer and pay your deposit by the stated deadline.
If you require housing off campus, the UofT Student Housing Services will be able to assist you in your search.
We expect the 2015-2016 information will be available by mid-April. Both documents are available only on-line. There are no print versions.
Attend the spring SMC Welcome Event & Academic Orientation Session on Saturday, JUNE 6, 2015 or one of the Academic Orientation Sessions in JULY. If you cannot attend any of these sessions at the College, much of the information may be found on St. Mike’s Newly Admitted Students website. Check the Newly Admitted Students Bulletins page.
Students admitted into First Year will be able to view their start time on ROSI in MID-JULY and will begin to enrol in their courses at end of July. Exact dates will be posted by late April. Transfer students admitted into Second or Third Year register earlier.
Check the Faculty of Arts & Science Registration Handbook & Timetable. Familiarize yourself with UofT's on-line registration and records system (ROSI).
We expect that you will have web access on your start date and time. Course selection continues until mid-September but students who delay selecting courses may find many courses and labs filled.
Make sure that you have adequate funding available to cover your costs for the upcoming year. Budget prudently.
If you are an Ontario resident and require financial assistance, apply for the Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP) as early as possible and no later than JUNE 15 in order to ensure a response prior to September.
If you are from out of province, check with your local funding agency about relevant deadlines.
Pay 65% of your first installment of your academic tuition fee OR defer your fees by MID-AUGUST. Instructions will be in the online 2015-2016 Registration Handbook and Timetable. For full details on paying from within Canada or from abroad, see www.fees.utoronto.ca.
If you are accepting an offer to residence, be sure to pay your minimum installment according to the instructions in your acceptance letter.
Beginning in June, obtain your UofT student card (TCard). Once you have your TCard, activate your UTORID and your UTmail+ account. (You don’t need your TCard or your UofT email account in order to select courses.)
Watch for information about St. Mike’s Orientation Week on the St. Mike’s Newly Admitted Students website.
Classes begin Monday, September 14.
Posted November 2014
FAQs for Newly Admitted SMC Students
These FAQs are intended to offer advice which is generally applicable. Students should always consult the relevant official U of T sites for complete information Last updated July 29, 2014.
When do I have to accept the offer of admission?
Accept your offer of admission by the deadline stated in your Letter of Offer. If you have already accepted another university's offer and would like to change your mind, you may accept U of T's offer and the previous acceptance will automatically be cancelled. You do this on-line through OUAC. Last updated July 29, 2014.
How do I know if I have received an admission scholarship?
Scholarship offers are included with the offer of admission. There are some scholarships for new SMC students awarded at a later date. These scholarships require an application. For details see stmikes.utoronto.ca/students/scholarships/ Last updated July 29, 2014.
For all information about the residences at St. Michael’s College including late application, please contact the SMC Residence (men and women) or Loretto College (women only) SMC Residence 416-926-7127 or firstname.lastname@example.org Loretto College 416-925-2833 or email@example.com For other on and of campus housing questions, please check www.housing.utoronto.ca/ Last updated July 29, 2014.
What if I want to defer my offer of admission?
It is possible under certain circumstances to defer your offer of admission for one year. See information at www.adm.utoronto.ca/adm-awards/html/nextsteps/nextsteps105/105_deferral_request.htm Last updated July 29, 2014.
Can I switch to SMC from another college on admission?
New students interested in transferring to SMC from another Arts and Science college should submit their request by e-mail to Damon Chevrier, Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org The deadline is the end of June. Please include a brief statement with your full name, your student number, describe the benefit you hope to derive from membership in the college and what contributions you feel you could make to the SMC community.
Before requesting a college transfer, please keep these points in mind. We may not be able to guarantee you a spot in one of the SMC residences. If you have a housing guarantee you might be offered a residence which is not at SMC. If you have been given an admission scholarship by your original college, you may forfeit it if you transfer colleges. Contact your original college for details. We will make most decisions in early July and notify students by e-mail. Last updated July 29, 2014.
Can I switch to another college from SMC on admission?
Please contact the college you are interested in for advice. SMC does not offer assistance in transferring to other Arts and Science colleges. Last updated July 29, 2014.
Can I switch admission categories? (e.g. from Humanities to Life Science)
It is not possible to switch admissions categories after you have been admitted. (For instance you can’t switch from social science to life science or from humanities to computer science.) However, most of the time this is not a significant issue and will not limit what you study. There are six admission categories.
The fact that you are admitted to one does not mean that you can’t take courses or programs in the others with one important exception. If you were not admitted as a commerce student there is very little possibility of being admitted to a commerce program even if you take the correct 100 level courses and have the required grades. Last year, across all seven colleges, about 10 non Commerce students were admitted to commerce. The chances are so slight that it can’t be seen as a likely outcome. Last updated July 29, 2014.
What is the practical consequence of being in an admission category?
Being in a particular admission category may give you preference when it comes to selecting 100 level courses which are associated with that category. Here are some examples. Find BIO120H at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/eeb.html Find the enrolment control and indicator at the far right of the BIO120H1 line.
There is a P. P stands for Priority. That means that some group of students enjoys priority. Click on “See Details” to find out who enjoys priority. It says 1st Year Studies in Life Sciences. The priority is lifted on Aug 8 and any remaining space is open to any student. In large introductory courses there is almost always space available after the end of the Priority period. See full details at www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/course/timetable/1415_fw/step-3
Find CHM138H at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/chm.html 1st Year Students in Life Sciences and Mathematical & Physical Sciences enjoy priority.
Find HIS102Y1 at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/his.html 1st Year Students in Humanities and Social Sciences enjoy priority.
Find VIS120H1 at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/far.html 1st Year Students in Humanities and Social Sciences enjoy priority.
However, many 100 level courses don’t give priority by admission category and that is what makes it surprisingly easy to take a variety of courses and/or programs in the sciences, social sciences or humanities. This is one of the strengths of the faculty – the ability to take a mix of courses and programs.
Here are examples of 100 level courses which give priority to any 1st year student. Find ECO100Y sections L0301, L0401 and L5101 at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/eco.html These sections are open to any 1st year student who is not in Commence. (You will see that Commerce students have their own sections.)
Find GGR100H at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/ggr.html
All 1st year students enjoy priority. Here are examples of 100 level courses which have completely open enrolment.
Find MAT135H at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/mat.html There is no enrolment control so this course is open to any student.
Find PSY100H at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/psy.html There is no enrolment control so this course is open to any student.
Find SOC101Y1 section L0101 at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/soc.html There is no enrolment control so this section is open to any student. Many 200 and higher level courses also have enrolment controls but they won’t be associated with an admission category. They will be associated with various programs and sometimes the year of study. Last updated July 29, 2014.
Am I eligible for transfer credit for courses completed in high school?
If you have taken any of the following you may be eligible for transfer credit - Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, French Baccalaureate, GCE (U.K or Singapore), CAPE, Cambridge Pre-U or Hong Kong Advanced levels See details at www.adm.utoronto.ca/adm-awards/admissions/info/p1.action?domain=ADM&page=TC_MAIN
Last updated July 29, 2014.
What about transfer credit for courses completed in another division of the U of T or at a post secondary institution?
If you are eligible for transfer credit, you will be prompted in your offer of admission to complete the on-line transfer credit application. See details at www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/tc/onadmission Make sure to pay the fee and initiate the assessment process as soon as possible. It is useful to know the assessment before course selection begins although this is not always possible. If transfer credits are not resolved by the end of the first year, then further registration will be blocked. Last updated July 29, 2014.
How and when do I choose my courses?
Course selection takes place on-line at ROSI www.rosi.utoronto.ca/ The first day of course selection will depend on your year of study (first year, second year, third year etc) For 2014 2015 details see www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/course/timetable/1415_fw/step-4 Last updated July 29, 2014.
Prerequisites for 100 level courses
Many 100 level courses don’t have prerequisites but the standard introductory courses in BIO, CHM, MAT and PHY assume that you have a solid Grade 12 background in the subject. Check the prerequisites carefully. If you don’t have the prerequisites you should not enroll in these courses. Last updated July 29, 2014.
Can I take a 200 level course in first year?
You may take a 200 level course in first year as long as it has no prerequisite or if you have the prerequisite as a transfer credit. However, you have to keep in mind that many second year courses give priority to second and higher year students in particular programs and you may have to wait until August 8 before trying to enroll. Check the enrollment control for each course which you want to take. Last updated July 29, 2014.
Fees for 2014-2015
Fall/winter fees are posted automatically on ROSI for all students eligible to select courses for the upcoming fall/winter. They are usually posted before course selection actually begins. For full details about fees and fees payment or deferral, refer to www.fees.utoronto.ca/Page13.aspx
The initial payment ought to be made by August 19, 2014. Students deferring their fees ought to meet the same deadline. Students who have not paid or deferred their fees by August 19 will receive a series of e-mail prompts including instructions about how to complete a late payment/deferral. Last updated July 29, 2014.
Choosing a program (i.e. selecting a major)
Students admitted into first year are not in a program. The only newly admitted students who could be in a program are transfer students admitted into second or third year. You will enroll in one or more programs (minors, majors, specialists) at the end of the semester in which you pass your fourth full credit. For most new students who pass 4 or 5 courses in first year, this means that you will choose your programs in April at the end of your first year.
For a comprehensive list of all programs see www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/course/subject-post-enrolment/codes-contacts Type 1 programs are open enrolment, Type 2 and 3 programs require application. If a program requires application it means that there is some course (or more than one course) which you have to take in first year. Last updated July 29, 2014.
What if I enroll in U of T and then drop all my courses and want to come back the next year?
If a student drops all courses or completes courses with only the notation (LWD) the student must re-apply for admission. Re-admission is not guaranteed since the admission cut offs vary from year to year. If a student completes even one half course in the Faculty with any grade – including a failing grade, they are eligible to continue in the Faculty without re-applying.
Last updated July 29, 2014.
I can’t enroll in courses at all. Why not?
1. You may be trying to select courses before your start time. Start times are determined by your year of study. Year of study is determined by the number of credits you have and not by the number of years you have actually been in attendance. See details at www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/course/timetable/1415_fw/step-4
2. If you are a second year student, you may not be in a correct combination of programs (POSts) See details at www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/course/timetable/1415_fw/step-2 At the end of first year every student must enroll in 1 specialist or 2 majors or 1 major and 2 minors. This means that the program must be “active”. It is not enough to be “requested” or “invited”. Check your programs on ROSI.
3. If you owe money to the university, you may be blocked from choosing courses. University policy is that fall/winter tuition and residence charges must be paid in full by the end of April and summer charges must be paid in full by the end of August. Students with significant unpaid obligations are blocked from selecting courses until all financial obligations are paid in full. Check your financial account on ROSI.
4. If you have been away from the university for a year, your file may be in-active. If you have been out of the university for a full 12 months (May- April or September-August) your file becomes in-active and you can’t select courses. In order to re-activate your file you need to submit to the SMC Registrar’s Office a Re-Registration form and pay a $24 fee. See details and the form at www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/forms-services/ You can bring the form to our office and pay the $24 in cash or by debit/credit card If you can’t come in to the office, you can send us a scanned copy of the form and pay by credit card.
5. You may have outstanding transfer credit issues. If a transfer student does not take care of all outstanding transfer credit matters during their first year, the Transfer Credit Office will block access to courses selection. 6. You may have been suspended for poor academic performance. Suspension can be for 1 year, 3 years or permanent. Check your status on ROSI Last updated July 29, 2014.
I can enroll in some courses but not every course I want. Why not?
The most likely explanation is that you do not enjoy priority for the course you can’t get into or there may be some other enrolment restriction in place. Check the course schedules at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/sponsors.htm Choose the department and look up the individual course. Look at the far right of the line and see if there is an enrolment indicator (Ind) and control. This will be a letter like P, R or E. If there is an Indicator of any sort, then click on “See Details” to see the conditions or read the instructions at the top of the departmental schedule. For a full explanation read www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/course/timetable/1415_fw/step-3 The P (or priority) control is temporary. It is removed at 6 am on August 6, 2014 Last updated July 29, 2014.
Students can enroll in up to 6.0 courses. Why can’t I enroll in 6.0 courses?
In the first part of the registration cycle you can select only 5.0 courses. This includes courses which are wait listed, On August 6, 2014 you can add a 6th course. It is important to be prudent about course load. While 6.0 is permitted, we don’t normally recommend it for most students and we actively discourage it in first year. 5.0 courses is traditional full time for good reason. It is what most students can reasonably handle. 6.0 is usually too much especially if you are trying to keep your grades up. Students admitted on probation may enroll in only 5.0 courses. Last updated July 29, 2014.
If I am on a wait list, will I get into a course?
There is no straight answer but it helps if you look at your ranking on the list and the size of the course. If you are 25 on the list and there are 800 spaces in the course, your chances are quite good. On the other hand, if you are 25 on the list and there are only 50 students in the course, your chances are quite poor. Generally speaking, it is reasonable to leave yourself on the wait list if 10% attrition from the course would get you in. Be realistic about your use of wait lists. If you are so far down a list that there is no serious chance of getting in, then you are giving up an opportunity to be in another course. Last updated July 29, 2014.
I need a form completed for my RESP or Education Savings Plan
Submit your request to the Office of the Registrar in Alumni Hall. We handle hundreds of these forms a year but we don’t produce them until after you have selected your courses. If your plan requires that you move from one year to the next (ie from first year into second year), then we use the Faculty of Arts and Science definition of year.
See the definition at www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/course/timetable/1415_fw/step-4 Occasionally a student may be in their second year at the university but will still be considered a first year student because they did not complete enough credits in first year. Last updated July 29, 2014.
I need a letter confirming that I am a full time student so that I can be covered under my parent’s extended health insurance plan.
Submit your request to the Office of the Registrar in Alumni Hall. Last updated July 29, 2014.
If I have extended health/dental/drug coverage through my parents can I get a refund on the university health plan premiums?
Very often - yes. See details at www.fees.utoronto.ca/news/student_society_fee_rebates.htm If you are a full time student, look at UTSU – St. George Campus. The two health premiums are about $130 a term or $260 for both terms. You have to complete the opt-out form on line by the deadline in early October. The refund cheque is issued by UTSU (not by the University of Toronto) and is usually mailed in February. Last updated July 29, 2014.
I was admitted for the fall session but would like to take a course in the summer?
This is possible only if all your final grades from Grade 12 (or equivalent) or your final post secondary grades have been submitted and you have satisfied all the conditions of your admission. Contact the Registrar, Damon Chevrier, at email@example.com if you wish to explore this possibility. Last updated July 29, 2014.
Importance of checking e-mail on a regular basis
The Faculty of Arts and Science and SMC both send e-mail on a regular basis. Some students check all of it and some ignore all of it. Ignoring e-mail from the university is a bad idea. It is like not opening your mail box or answering your phone. Maybe you think much of the mail is uninteresting but every now and then there may be something of real consequence. We expect you to open e-mails and read them at least twice a week if not on a daily basis. Last updated July 29, 2014.
What is a T-Card? How do I get one?
The T-Card is your U of T student card You will use it as a library card, athletic facilities membership card and general identification. Students who have accepted their offer of admission should check the T-Card site at www.utoronto.ca/tcard/ for hours of operation and location. New admitted students will be able to obtain their T-Card as early as June. Everyone should have their T-Card by mid September Last updated July 29, 2014.
BULLETIN 1: Summer 2015
Greetings from the Office of the Registrar & Student Services at St. Michael’s College.
Congratulations on your admission to the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto. This is the first in a series of bulletins for new students. Each bulletin will focus on two or three points of immediate interest. They will remain on our website until early 2016.
1. The Calendar and the Timetable
The 2015-2016 Faculty of Arts & Science Calendar and the companion 2015-2016 Faculty of Arts & Science Timetable are now available online. (The Registration Instructions will become available by early July.)
There are no hard copies of either publication so there is nothing to be picked up or mailed.Bookmark both sites and start to become familiar with them. You should also bookmark the Arts and Science New Student site
Virtually all the facts which you need to know about degree requirements, programs of study, individual courses, the scheduling of courses, selecting courses over the web and paying your fees are on these three sites.
At first glance they may appear to be almost too much to understand but with some effort on your part, the structure of the programs and the rules and procedures will become clear and they don’t change much from year to year. The next bulletin will offer some tips about how to approach these sites efficiently since together they contain an enormous amount of information and you want to focus on the information which is relevant to you.
2. Welcome Event, Academic Orientation Sessions, and SMC Orientation Week
St. Mike's will host three types of information/advising activities between early June and early September:
- a Welcome Event and Academic Orientation on Saturday, June 6;
- three Academic Orientation Sessions in July; and
- an Orientation Week from September 8-11.
We know that many new students can’t attend these sessions – especially if they don’t live in the Toronto area, so we will post relevant information on our website or refer you to relevant sections of other U of T sites and offer timely guidance through these bulletins. The September Orientation is being organized by senior student co-ordinators. Details and registration information will be posted by early July.
3. Office of the Registrar & Student Services
There are 4800 students at St. Mikes with about 1200 new students each year. There are two full-time advisors and five part-time.
We typically don’t set individual appointments with new students who have just completed high school unless there is a pressing reason. New students with four or more transfer credits are welcome to set up individual appointments since the general rules for new students may not apply to them. We see most students on a drop in basis every morning and afternoon; we see some students by appointment if required and we respond to a large volume of e-mail inquiries.
However, one of the keys to being successful at the University of Toronto is to take the initiative. In your academic work a lot of your learning will take place – not in the lecture hall or the laboratory - but in the library or in your room. Reading, making notes, reading again and revising notes are core activities. A good place to take the initiative is with the Calendar and Timetable, and a good time to start is now.
Well before course selection begins in late July you should devote a few minutes every day to reading relevant sections of the Calendar and the Timetable. The next Bulletin will offer a suggestion about where to begin ...and it won’t be at the beginning.
BULLETIN 2: Summer 2015
Greetings from the Office of the Registrar & Student Services at St Michael’s College.
This is the second of our bulletins for newly admitted students. Each bulletin will focus on points of current interest and end with an FAQ or two. Please keep them for future reference.
1. The Calendar and Timetable – beginning to make sense of it all.
This is long but important.
In the last bulletin we had the links to the Arts & Science Calendar and Timetable and the New Student site. Together they have thousands of lines of text. How and where do you begin to makes sense of them?
Making sense begins with the two big practical questions. What courses will I select? Why will I select them?
The answers start with the degree requirements. The degree requirements are the conditions that you need to satisfy in order to graduate. Think of this as the framework within which you have to select your courses.
The degree requirements can be distilled to six points:
- Must have 20 credits passed
- May have a maximum of 6 credits at the 100 (introductory) level
- Must have a minimum of 6 credits at the 300/400 (upper) level
- Must take one of three approved combinations of programs of study
- Must have a minimum CGPA of 1.85 (about a 62% overall average)
- Must satisfy the breadth requirement (not critical in first year)
The starting point is the programs. Everything else follows.
So, what are programs of study? Programs are clusters of courses which revolve around a topic. You have probably heard people say, “I’m studying Philosophy (or French or Commerce or Biology) at university.” That means they are enrolled in a program in that subject.
There are three types of programs here: specialists, majors and minors. The difference is the number of courses. Specialists are 10 or more courses, majors are 7-8 courses, and minors are always 4 courses. Students choose their programs at the end of first year.
There are three approved combinations of programs:
- One specialist
- Two majors
- One major and two minors
Everyone has to choose one of these three possibilities at the end of first year.
Some programs are open enrolment (there are no conditions for admission). We call these type 1 programs. However, even if a program is open enrolment, there is usually some introductory course which it is wise to take in first year.
Many programs, however, require application at the end of first year. That means there are some conditions for admission. Typically the condition is some minimum grade in one or more courses. We call these type 2 and 3 programs. The difference between 2 and 3 is not important at this stage.
So, in order to make the optimal choices of courses in first year, you have to know what programs are available. There are about 180 subjects to choose from and when you consider that some subjects have a specialist, a major and a minor there are actually over 340 different programs to consider.
Fortunately, there are two lists of programs to consult. Each gives you different information about programs.
On the New Student site there is an A-Z Program list. It lists all the subjects and provides useful information including suggestions for first year courses. What this lacks is quick information about whether the programs are type 1 or type 2/3. You won’t know if admission is based on grades or not.
The second list is exhaustive. It tells you at a glance the name of the program, whether there is a specialist, a major or a minor and, in each case, whether it is open enrolment (type1) or requires application (types 2 and 3)
This second list ought to be your starting point.
Everyone ought to read this list from beginning to end and make a note of any program which sounds even slightly interesting. At this point, you have started to narrow down your selection of courses in first year.
The real benefit of reading the list from A-Y (since there is no Z) is that you will come across programs which you didn’t know we offer. It’s easy to think only of the big programs offered by the big departments. It is easy to overlook the dozens of first-rate programs, many of which are interdisciplinary, which have names that don’t spring to mind. Read the list. It will take less than 10 minutes but you may be surprised by some of the programs you come across.
I received a few questions after Bulletin 1 so in each Bulletin, I’ll end with the ones which everyone has an interest in.
Farida asked: when does course selection actually begin?
Bulletin 3 will assume you’ve worked your way through the list of all programs and have identified those which interest you. All this is leading to the answers to the questions - What courses will I select in July? Why will I select them? How will I know when they are offered? Will there be space for me in the course?
We will post the third Bulletin in the next few days.
BULLETIN 3: Summer 2015
Greetings from the Office of the Registrar & Student Services at St Michael’s College
This is the third in our series of Bulletins for newly admitted students.
1. Determining the best combination of courses for first year.
In the last bulletin I suggested that you go through the list of the 340 programs offered by the Faculty of Arts & Science and make a note of those which sound of potential interest. This is a necessary first step in deciding which courses to take in first year.
The next step is to research these programs to find out more about them and then refine (i.e. shorten) your list to the programs which continue to be of interest. Remember to keep track of whether the programs are open enrolment (type 1) or require application (types 2 and 3) and whether there is a specialist, a major or a minor.
So where do you get more information about the programs? There are two places: the Faculty of Arts & Science Calendar and the program websites. The Calendar presents information about each program in a consistent manner so it has a predictable format but the focus is on outlining the program requirements and then listing all the courses offered by the department. The program websites are varied in their set up and often have much more information than the calendar so they are a good place to start. They often contain information about individual professors, the local student society, graduate studies, conferences, departmental news and interesting links. How do you find the program websites?
Refer to the A-Z program list which I mentioned in the last Bulletin. Click on the program name and then look at the bottom of the page which opens up. There ought to be two links - one to the program website and the other to the relevant portion of the Calendar.
It may take you some time to work your way through the websites of various programs – certainly more time than it took to read the A-Z list – but it is a useful exercise since it will help you to refine the list of programs of potential interest.
The net result is that you will end up with a list of programs which interest you.
The next step is to see what courses you would take in first year in order to qualify for admission to the programs (in the case of type 2 and 3) or simply to meet the general first year expectation (type 1 programs)
The objective is to come up with a combination of first-year courses which will open as many program doors as possible for you at the end of first year.
It is possible that you might end up with a list of first-year courses which is so long that you can't actually take them all. If that is the case then you will have to review your list and decide which programs are of greatest interest. This is part of the on-going task of finding and sifting through information in order to arrive at the best outcome.
Let me illustrate three outcomes of this exercise and some of the possible consequences.
The first example will be of interest to those interested in Rotman Commerce programs. The second example draws on life sciences but is equally true in computer science and the mathematical and physical sciences. The third example is appropriate for those interested in the humanities and social sciences.
Example 1. Several first year requirements and few related alternatives.
Suppose you are interested in the specialist in Accounting.
Students interested in the Accounting program (one of three programs offered by Rotman Commerce) enrol in the three credits ECO100Y, RSM100Y and MAT133Y or a higher level introductory calculus course. That part is clear. However, Accounting is a type 3 program. Admission is very competitive and even those students who have the "commerce guarantee" are not always successful in qualifying. If you simply chose these three courses and two random electives, what would happen if you failed to qualify for Accounting at the end of first year? This is not a theoretical question. We meet students very year who have not considered this possibility. The answer is that you have to have contingency plans (Plan B and C and D etc.)
So, if you weren't admitted to Accounting, what else would ECO100Y, RSM100Y and MAT133Y qualify you for?
RSM100Y does not qualify you for admission to any program outside commerce.
However, both ECO100Y and MAT133Y are necessary first year courses for the major in Economics. (Note that MAT133Y is not a good choice if you are thinking about a specialist in Economics.)
Let us say that your grades in ECO100Y and MAT133Y were high enough for the major in Economics. That would be good news but you can't have a degree based on one major. You need two majors or a major and two minors. What would these other programs be? That is one of your tasks - to consider alternatives if your initial plan does not work out.
But what if your grades in ECO100Y and MAT133Y were not high enough for the major in Economics? You might at that point have credits in ECO100Y, RSM100Y and MAT133Y but not be admissible to any of these programs. What would you do? Again, you must consider this possibility when selecting your courses.
Remember that students usually take 5.0 courses in first year and ECO100Y, RSM100Y and MAT133Y are only 3.0 That is why you have to think about how you would use the other 2.0 courses. They should not be chosen randomly. They ought to be chosen with an eye on what you would do if you weren't successful with Accounting or Economics.
See Example 3 below for ideas.
Example 2. Several first year requirements with several related alternatives
Suppose you are interested in the specialist in Neuroscience.
Students interested in the Neuroscience specialist program (part of the Human Biology cluster of programs) enroll in the three credits (BIO120H1+BIO130H1) and (CHM138H1+CHM139H1) and either (MAT135H1+MAT136H1) or (PHY131H1+PHY132H1). If you look carefully at the higher years you will see that PSY100H is a required course so many first-year students would enroll in that course as well.
That makes 3.5 credits. That part is clear. However, this specialist is a type 3 program. Admission is competitive and not everyone is successful in qualifying. If you simply chose these three and a half courses and one and a half random electives, what would happen if you failed to qualify for the specialist in Neuroscience at the end of first year?
What else would (BIO120H1+BIO130H1) and (CHM138H1+CHM139H1) and either (MAT135H1+MAT136H1) or (PHY131H1+PHY132H1) and PSY100H qualify you for?
Unlike the Accounting example above, you would still have a large number of type 1 (open enrolment) alternatives - the five different Human Biology majors or majors in Biology, Animal Physiology or Cell and Molecular Biology come to mind. A good grade in PSY100H could qualify you for a psychology program (type 2).
The real risk associated with taking the combination (BIO120H1+BIO130H1) and (CHM138H1+CHM139H1) and either (MAT135H1+MAT136H1) or (PHY131H1+PHY132H1) is for those students who aren't suited for these courses. They don't like them or they aren't very good at them. Once again, the prudent strategy is to consider the possibility that you might do no life science programs at all or that you might do one life science program and some other program from outside life science. This last combination is actually very common.
Once again, the prudent strategy is to consider how the other 1.5 other courses can open the doors to programs other than those in life science.
Example 3. Lots of Alternatives
Example 1 above concerned commerce. Example 2 concerned life sciences but the idea is applicable to computer science or mathematical and physical sciences. What about humanities and social sciences? Well, in these two broad areas the situation is actually quite different.
Rather than focusing on a program, this example will show how 5.0 credits prudently selected can open the doors to a surprising number of programs.
Let us say you enroll in ECO105Y, ENG140Y, HIS103Y, PHL100Y, SOC101Y
As you might imagine you would be preparing yourself for programs in English, History, Philosophy and Sociology. (Interestingly you would not be preparing yourself for Economics since you would not be doing a MAT course.)
But - and this is the part which often escapes notice - you would also be taking the correct course for Criminology, Employment Relations, Ethics, Society and the Law, European Union Studies, International Relations, Material Culture, Peace, Conflict and Justice, Semiotics and Communication Theory and Urban Studies.
How do you know this? You have to look these programs up in the calendar and check the first year requirements.
Finally, there are also the programs which have no first year requirements at all such as American Studies, Diaspora and Transnational Studies, Book and Media Studies, Canadian Studies, Equity Studies and Sexual Diversity Studies.
How do you know this? Again, you have to look these programs up in the calendar and check the first year requirements. (There aren't any for this last group but you ought to check anyway to makes sure this is correct!)
These lists of programs are not meant to be exhaustive.
Several students have asked: "When does course selection actually begin?"
Check the Registration Instructions and Timetable and look at Step 4 or check Next Steps New Student site.
Bulletin 4 will assume you've made significant headway on identifying courses which you want to take in first year. I will look at some of the other considerations when it comes to selecting courses. These will be less mechanical (i.e. they don't require working your way through more websites) but will involve some reflection and exercise of judgment on your part.
BULLETIN 4: Summer 2015
Greetings from the Office of the Registrar & Student Services at St Michael’s College
1. More about determining the best combination of courses for first year.
In the last bulletin I asked you to start identifying courses which you want to take in first year. This involves a fair amount of time working your way through programs of potential interest and then determining what is the optimal selection of courses which will keep as many doors open as possible.
This ought to be the main consideration when you are selecting what courses you will take next year.
There is also the question of how many courses you will take. This may seem pretty obvious. 5.0 courses is a conventional full-course load and your tuition is fixed whether you take 3, 4 or 5 courses. The natural inclination is to take 5.0 courses.
However, in some cases, there are good reasons for taking fewer than 5.0 courses.
There are at least four considerations which you have to keep in mind: knowledge of English, functional preparation, other obligations, and health.
a) Knowledge of English
If you are not yet at home in an English language environment, you should consider taking a reduced course load. If you are not fully at ease reading text books in English, listening to lectures in English, making notes in English, writing reports and exams and essays in English or if you aren’t familiar with the informal language of everyday speech, then you ought to consider taking 3 or 4 courses rather than 5. It could easily take the better part of a full academic year for you to feel sufficiently at ease in English that a course load of 5.0 is reasonable. This, of course, is entirely a personal decision.
Look under English Language Help at the Academic Support site
b) Functional preparation
You have to make sure that you are functionally prepared to take certain first year courses.
You need the proper academic background. There are a small number of 100 level courses which have specific high school pre-requisites or a strongly recommended high school background
These are core introductory courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics as well as AST121H, ECO100Y and ESS102H1
In the case of all of these courses, the important point to bear in mind is that your preparation has to be strong and current. That would normally mean a grade of at least 80% in the past year in the relevant prerequisite or recommended preparation course. This is not a rule but it is sound advice. These are demanding courses and students who lack a solid foundation are unlikely to do well.
c) Other obligations
Being a successful full-time university student is like having a full time job – 35-40 hours a week, with the possibility of lots of overtime. By full-time student, I mean a conventional 5.0 course load. Lectures and labs normally account for 15-20 hours a week. The other 20 hours ought to be devoted to studying, reviewing, making and revising notes, researching and writing.
However, many students have other commitments like salaried work, volunteer work, family responsibilities or extra-curricular activities. Everyone has to make a decision about how to allocate their time. The important point is to be realistic about what you can accomplish well and to strike a reasonable balance amongst all your obligations.
If you have a medical problem – of any sort - or a learning disability, then this fact has to be taken into account. Medical problems can be temporary or chronic. Whatever the case there is the possibility of reasonable accommodation at the university as long as you identify yourself in a timely manner. We don’t recommend that students with medical problems or learning disabilities tough things out on their own even if they were able to do so in high school.
The university has an office of Accessibility Services which is dedicated to assisting students who have medical problems or learning disabilities. On the St. George campus there are over1500 students registered with the service. It has an excellent reputation but it is extremely busy so it is important that students register early in order to receive the full benefit of the service. June is an excellent time to register for assistance in the fall semester.
Remember, even with accommodation available, it may still be prudent to enroll in a reduced course load. Accessibility advisors can offer guidance on this question.
There is no time limit for completing your degree
Remember that there is nothing necessary about taking 5.0 courses. It is conventional but it is not required and many students take fewer or – more precisely – many students end up with fewer by the end of the year. If you know early on that you simply don’t have the time to devote to 5.0 courses, then why not begin with a reduced course load?
It is always possible to drop a course along the way but a course dropped at the half way point represents time and energy which could have been devoted to other courses. If you are going to take a reduced course load, then you are better off to come to that conclusion sooner rather than later.
It is not a race to get out of the university. Sometimes an extra semester or an extra year when considered in the context of the next 30-35 years of work is not all that much. I understand the cost associated with taking more than four years to finish so I don’t suggest this lightly but I have met too many students who take on more than they can handle successfully. This is one of the most common causes of poor academic progress.
Several people have asked: what is my student number?
It is the same as the applicant number which appears on the offer of admission. The ten digit numbers begin with 10.
Bulletin 5 will look at three interesting opportunities available only to first year students: (i) First Year Foundations courses (including the SMC Cornerstone course); (ii) First-Year Seminars; (iii) and First-Year Learning Communities.
BULLETIN 5: Summer 2015
Greetings from the Office of the Registrar & Student Services at St Michael’s College.
1. Three interesting possibilities available only in first year.
This bulletin will look at three activities which are available only to students in their first year of university. Two are courses and the third is not a course but actually refers to a cluster of courses which are program related.
The First Year Foundation courses are eight small classes available only to first year students. Each of the seven colleges offers a Foundation course and the eighth is offered by the Munk School of Global Affairs. Students at any college can apply for any of the eight but we are particularly proud of the St Mike’s Cornerstone course and encourage applications from new St Mike’s students. As you will see applications remain open in five of the eight programs.
The SMC Cornerstone course offers something out of the ordinary. It will take students out of the classroom and off campus three hours a week. This course will appeal to students interested in social justice and community building. Participants might work in a homeless shelter or a long-term care facility. They might do advocacy work for a local non-governmental organization or might work in community economic development. It is a certainty that students in the Cornerstone course will be introduced to new and perhaps unexplored aspects of life in Toronto.
First-Year Seminars are small classes (no more than 24 students) available only to first year students. They are often called ‘199 courses’ because the course code is always 199. This year there are over 100 different 199 courses and around 2000 first-year students will enroll in one. They are very popular because the small class size offers a welcome contrast to the large classes which are common in first year.
There are a couple of points to keep in mind. Some 199 courses are sponsored by a college and give priority to students of that college. The best place to see this information is in the 199 timetable.
The other point is that the course codes are a bit mysterious – CCR, TBB, SII, LTE, MPU and XBC. These codes actually refer to the five breadth categories and are explained under the third bullet here.
First-Year Learning Communities or FLCs (pronounced ‘flicks’) are not courses. A FLC is a group of 25-30 students who are taking at least one or more courses together. The focus of the FLCs vary and include life sciences, Rotman commerce, social sciences, computer science economics and others. Students meet on a regular basis outside of class to discuss their progress and to engage in social activities. Since space is limited in FLCs and, since one of the objectives of the program is to create a sense of community, FLCs give priority to students who live off campus although some space is available to students living in residence.
You will see that there are four FLCS specifically for St Mike’s students. Two are in the life sciences, and two are in Commerce. St Mike students can also apply for spots in all the other FLCs. Membership in a FLC is by application only and applications must be submitted by July 20. The time to apply is right now.
FLCs have proven to be quite popular but there is one limitation which you have to keep in mind. Since all students in a FLC are taking from one to three courses together, students have to accept the schedule of the FLC. For example, see one of the St. Mikes life science FLCs.
Students in this FLC have to accept this schedule for BIO, CHM, MAT and the FLC meeting time. This means that other courses have to be built around this specific schedule.
A student asked if it was possible to take a First Year Foundation course and a 199 course.
Victoria College won't permit a student to do their Foundation course and a 199 (First-Year Seminar) course. The other seven Foundation Courses are fine with the combination.
Is it a good idea? Generally speaking it is NOT a good idea.
There are really two types of first year courses: the majority which prepare you for admission to the various programs, and the minority which aid in the transition to university (mainly through small classes like the Foundation courses and the 199 courses).
The Foundation and the 199s are terminal courses in the sense that, with rare exception, they are not part of programs. They rarely open doors to programs. So, to the extent that you take one of these courses, it means that you aren't taking a course which potentially could be part of a program.
If you take 5.0 courses and 1.0 is a transition course, that is generally fine. You still have 4.0 courses which are preparing you for programs. If you take 5.0 courses and 2.0 are transition courses then only 3.0 of your courses are preparing you for a program.
The risk may outweigh the benefit at that point.
We see very few students enrolling in a Foundation course and a 199 course.