Your First Year: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated December 19, 2017

Here are some questions that the First Year Office is asked frequently in December/January:

Q: I’m not feeling well. Where can I see a doctor or mental health professional on campus?
 The University’s Health & Wellness Centre has a medical clinic that is open to all U of T students and includes both general medical and mental health practitioners. They also offer a range of wellness workshops and online information.

Full-time students have extended health coverage through the University of Toronto Student Union (UTSU) for prescriptions, dental care and other benefits. For international students, visit CIE’s web page on health coverage.

Q: I’m too sick to write a final exam. What do I do?
A: Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. If something unexpected and beyond your control prevents you from fulfilling your academic responsibilities, you can file a Petition for Final Examination.

Q: What marks do I need to pass first year?
A: To pass an individual course, you need 50% in that course. However, at U of T Engineering we also review students’ weighted session average at the end of every semester, and this average should be 60% or higher to maintain Clear standing.

You can read the full promotion regulations in the Academic Calendar, and talk to your Academic Advisor if you have concerns. Learn more about how averages are calculated.

Q: When will I see my final marks?
A: Final marks for fall session first-year courses will be posted on ACORN as they become available. The latest that grades are likely to be posted is January 12, however we hope that they will be available earlier than that date.

Q: When do classes start in January?
A: Unless otherwise informed by your instructor through Portal, all meetings (lectures, tutorials and practicals) will start the week of January 4. T-Program courses (APS111, APS164 [online APS110 equivalent], CIV100, MAT186, MAT188) will start the week of January 15.

Q: What happens if I’m on probation?
A: If you receive a session average of less than 60% for the fall session (note: APS100: Orientation to Engineering does not factor in to your average), you will be placed on academic probation. There are several different scenarios for students on probation, so your status will depend upon what your average is, and whether you have failed any courses (and if so, how many). The full details about probation and the promotion regulations are contained in the Academic Calendar (under “Academic Regulations,” “Promotion Regulations”), and are also explained in the Academic Regulations & the T-Program Information Sheet 2017-2018. If your fall session average is less than 60%, you will need to visit the First Year Office in January to make an appointment with an academic advisor.

Q: What is the T-Program?
A: The T-Program, or Transition Program, allows first-year students who have struggled in the fall session to repeat up to three fall courses during the winter session and defer up to three courses to the summer session in order to obtain credit for their fall courses and proceed to the second year on schedule with their classmates. Students with a fall session average between 50-60% and who have failed one or more courses are eligible for the T-Program. More information is in the  Academic Regulations & the T-Program Information Sheet 2017-2018.

Q: I submitted a petition for a missed exam – how do I know what the outcome is?
A: The Faculty Committee on Examinations will review petitions in mid-January, and you’ll be alerted by email when your petition decision is ready to view online. If you have not received that email alert, your petition has not yet been reviewed. Please keep this in mind when looking at grades on ACORN – there may be changes to your academic history depending on your petition outcome.

Q: My average is 60% or higher, but what if I failed a course?
A: If you obtained a mark of less than 50% in one of your courses, you need to retake the course when it is next offered. Usually, this means you will take the course right away in January, and move one of your winter session courses to the summer. If this is the case for you, visit the First Year Office to meet with an academic advisor and have your timetable adjusted as soon as you have all of your fall grades. T-Program courses will start the week of January 15 for those who need to repeat courses or who dropped a course during the fall session.

Q: Can I change my winter course timetable?
 Unfortunately, we are not able to change first-year students’ timetables for personal preferences, as we must ensure that all students fit into their required class sections. It’s also our aim to spread out enrolment numbers over all the sections as much as possible. The timetables students receive are the result of this balance, which, unfortunately, does not allow for personal schedule preferences.

However, if you have a conflict of a medical, religious, or other important nature, or if you have an unreasonably long stretch of classes (i.e. more than five hours consecutively) you may contact the First Year Office for accommodation. Requests from students who are commuting long distances will also be considered at the discretion of the First Year Office.

Q: I’m an Engineering Science student, and I’ve applied to transfer to a Core 8 program in January. When will my schedule be updated?
A: When fall session grades are available, the First Year Office will process the Engineering Science transfer requests and update student timetables. Contact the First Year Office directly for more details.

Q: I’m in a Core 8 program and want to transfer to a different Core 8 program. Can I start the new program in January?
A: No, unfortunately only students in the Engineering Science program are able to transfer for January. Core 8 students must successfully complete the first year of their program before requesting a transfer in May for September transfer. More transfer details are posted here.
*Note: Students in Core 8 programs who intend to apply for transfer to Electical or Computer Engineering must complete APS105H1: Computer Fundamentals instead of their regularly-scheduled APS106H1: Fundamentals of Computer Programming. The deadline to submit the request for this course switch was November 13, 2017. Students who missed the deadline must contact the First Year Office immediately.

Q: Is it possible to transfer to a different engineering program?
A: You can request a transfer to a different Core 8 engineering program at the end of your first year. In most cases, you will not have to take additional courses. However, those students who wish to switch from a Core 8 program into Electrical or Computer Engineering must take the APS105H1: Computer Fundamentals course (C Programming) instead of the regularly-scheduled APS106H1: Fundamentals of Computer Programming (Python) in the winter semester.

You can apply through the Engineering Portal by November 13 to switch this course. Please speak with your Academic Advisor about this decision.

Q: What if I’ve decided that engineering is not for me? Can I transfer to a different program at U of T?
A: You can apply for an Internal U of T Transfer to be considered for admission to another Faculty/campus for September 2018. The deadline for the Faculty of Arts & Science is January 10, and we recommend you meet with your academic advisor about this as soon as possible.

Q: How can I pay my tuition fees?
A: Please visit U of T Student Accounts for detailed information.

In our experience, for students within Canada, the easiest way to pay is through an online bank payment. Your account number with U of T is on your invoice in the Financial Account section of your ACORN account. U of T does not mail invoices.

More info about fees, including the deadlines for fee payments (look for the “2017-2018 Engineering Fee Schedule”) are on the Registrar’s Office website.

Q: I’m an international student and this will be my first winter in Canada. How can I prepare for it?
 The University of Toronto’s Centre for International Experience (CIE) has some great resources on their website and also hold occasional “Winter 101” workshops. Check their website for more details.

You can also meet with our International Transition Advisor, Asim Ashraf about any transition challenges or questions you might have, including what to expect from your first Canadian winter.

Q: I have a disability that impacts my ability to complete my academic work. Are there accommodations available to me?
A: Academic accommodations are provided when students experience disability-related barriers that prohibit demonstration of their knowledge and skills.  Accommodations are provided through the University’s Accessibility Services office to level the playing field upon which students can establish their success.

We encourage you to register for this service as early as possible if you think this might apply.


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