Your First Year: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Updated December 18, 2020
For information on current operations and modifications to our advising appointment processes, you're encouraged to visit the First Year Office homepage for regular updates.
Other useful University and Faculty resources include the following:
- 2020 Fall Term & 2021 Winter Term U of T Engineering Undergraduate FAQs
- COVID-19 Information for U of T Students from the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students
- Fall 2020 at the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
- UTogether 2020: Your Guide to Fall 2020 at U of T
FAQs for Current First-Year Students
Please note the First Year Office will be closed for the winter break from Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 3 p.m. to Monday, January 4, 2021 at 10 a.m. In the meantime, here are some questions that the First Year Office is asked frequently:
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.
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.
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 8.
A: Unless otherwise informed by your instructor through Quercus, all meetings (lectures, tutorials and practicals) will start the week of January 11.
T-Program/repeat versions of fall term courses (APS111, APS164 [online APS110 equivalent], CIV100, MAT186, MAT188) will start the week of January 18.
A: Unfortunately, we are not able to change first-year students’ timetables to accommodate personal preferences, as we must ensure that all students are enrolled 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.
When reviewing your class timetable, make sure that you thoroughly read the information posted by your course instructors in Quercus regarding each course’s schedule. In some cases your ACORN timetable meetings may not be an accurate reflection of how the courses are operating.
The First Year Office is also working with instructors to put together Synchronicity Timetable information to assist you in understanding your timetable.
If after reviewing these details you have any problems with your timetable (e.g. a conflict of a medical, religious, time zone, Varsity athletic, or other important nature, or if you believe you are missing a course) you may complete our Winter 2021 online request form to request accommodation.
Time Zone Notes:
- Please ensure that your current address (and therefore, your time zone) is accurate in ACORN. The Faculty is working to optimize winter timetables based on this address data.
- For students in other time zones, we are happy to accommodate changes that will make it easier for you to maintain your general well-being and a healthy sleep schedule – we do not expect you to attend classes at 3 a.m. your local time!
- We recommend that you request timetable changes that prioritize synchronous (live) attendance in Tutorials and Practicals (as these sessions are usually more interactive than lectures), and as many synchronous (live) lecture times as are feasible, and then plan a regular personal schedule to review videos for the remaining class recordings (ideally within a day of the original meeting, so that you do not fall behind the class).
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 ideally be 60% or higher. Here are some ways to learn more:
- Check out this video in the First Year Hub on the promotion regulations (UTORid login required).
- Read the full details about first-year academic regulations and options in the 2020-2021 Academic Regulations & T-Program Information Sheet (PDF).
- You can also read the full promotion regulations in the Academic Calendar.
- To check your progress, complete a Grades Assessment Chart (PDF).
Do you have questions or concerns? Talk to your Academic Advisor.
Learn more about how averages are calculated.
A: Many students find their first semester is a big adjustment from high school, but don’t get discouraged. If needed, it is possible to drop a fall semester course without academic penalty up until November 9, 2020. To do so, you must meet with your Academic Advisor.
Usually, the course will be pushed to your winter semester, and a winter course will need to move to the summer semester (May-June).
If you wish to drop a course after the above deadline, please review the Late Withdrawal policy. Note that for the 2020 Fall term, there have been some updates to the Late Withdrawal policy as outlined in the U of T Engineering Undergraduate FAQs. The extended deadline to use LWD for a maximum of two Fall 2020 courses is January 15, 2021.
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 2020-2021 T-Program Information Sheet (PDF).
If your fall session average is less than 60%, you will need to contact the First Year Office in January to make an appointment with an academic advisor.
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 2020-2021 T-Program Information Sheet (PDF).
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, contact 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 18 for those who need to repeat courses or who dropped a course during the fall session.
A: There are a few ways to make an appointment* with your advisor!
- Use our online booking system through the Engineering Student Portal.
- If you have any difficulty booking online, or you have an urgent inquiry and would like to see if a same-day appointment is available, you can also contact the First Year Office through Live Chat or by phone for assistance.
- Or, you can email your advisor directly with your availability.
*All appointments will be held through MS Teams or by phone until further notice.
Since all first-year engineering classes in the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 Terms are being offered online (for updates on this, please refer to the latest updates from the Dean of U of T Engineering), the University recommends you acquire a personal computer to support your learning needs. While a suitable system may be Windows- or macOS-based, a laptop can offer you additional flexibility. A personal computer will also allow you to access any software required for your classes. Please visit www.uoft.me/techspecs for recommendations.
When on St. George campus, the Engineering Computing Facility (ECF) provides 24/7 in-person and remote access to computers within U of T Engineering.
In our experience, for students within Canada, the easiest way to pay is 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.
Additional information is available in the Guide to First Year.
A: For information regarding on and off-campus housing, please visit the U of T Housing Services website.
You can also find updates regarding campus residences in the University's COVID-19 Information for Students Applying to Residence for Fall 2020 FAQs.
A: The University of Toronto’s Centre for International Experience (CIE) has a number of pre- and post-arrival resources for international students.
The Office of the Vice-Provost, Students is also regularly updating an FAQ page for international students that addresses important questions relating to immigration, travel, quarantine, visas and other details.
We also encourage you to read emails sent to you by your First Year Advisor, Intercultural Learning & Experience, including our International Student Welcome Guide.
A: The University’s Health & Wellness Centre has a medical clinic that includes both general medical and mental health practitioners. They also offer a range of wellness workshops and online information. During the COVID-19 pandemic, services are being offered virtually.
Students have extended health coverage through the University of Toronto Student Union (UTSU) for dental care, psychological services, and other benefits. For international students, visit CIE’s web page on health coverage.
Free, confidential 24/7 counselling support in multiple languages is available to all U of T students through the My Student Support Program.
There are also many other mental health programs and services available, which you can explore in this comprehensive Student Mental Health Resource.
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 Term Work.
The University’s Health & Wellness Centre provides a range of health services for your physical and mental health, wellness programs and information to help support you.
A: Academic accommodations are provided when students experience disability-related barriers that prohibit demonstration of their knowledge and skills.
These accommodations are provided through Accessibility Services, which facilitates the inclusion of students with a wide range of disabilities into all aspects of university life.
If you are a student with a disability (including chronic or mental health conditions, sensory or physical disabilities, ADHD or ASD spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, concussion or brain injuries or temporary physical disabilities), and had academic accommodations in high school (e.g., extra test time, note-taking assistance, alternative-format textbooks), you may be eligible for similar support through this service.
We encourage you to register as early as possible with Accessibility Services to ensure you can access academic accommodations in a timely fashion if you need them.
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 submitting a request to transfer by May 15. Transfer requests are reviewed early in the summer, and take effect for the fall term. 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 25, 2020. Students who missed the deadline must contact the First Year Office immediately.
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.
A: You can apply for an Internal U of T Transfer to be considered for admission to another Faculty/campus for September 2021. The deadline for the Faculty of Arts & Science is January 15, and we recommend you meet with your academic advisor about this as soon as possible.
Have a question that is not answered in the FAQ above? Contact us through our online chat, virtual office hours, phone, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on Twitter for timely information and fun updates and read the First Year News Feed, our weekly e-newsletter sent to all Core 8 and TrackOne students.
(Short link to this page: http://uoft.me/fyfaq)