Your First Year: Frequently Asked Questions

Your First Year: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated October 4, 2019

Here are some questions that the First Year Office is asked frequently:

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 ideally be 60% or higher.

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: I’m finding this semester challenging, and I think I might need to drop a course. How does that work?
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 up until November 4, 2019. 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). We encourage you to read through our Academic Help Package for more info and advice, too.

Q: It said in my Engineering Applicant Portal that I will be receiving a scholarship for first year – do I have to do something to receive this?
A: Congratulations! All University and Faculty scholarships will be automatically applied to students’ ACORN invoices during the fall semester, prior to the service charge assessment date (October 15, 2019). When making your tuition payment, you can subtract the amount of your scholarship.

Q: Can I change my winter course timetable?
 Unfortunately, we are not able to change first-year students’ timetables to accommodate personal preferences, as we must ensure that all newly-admitted 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, Varsity athletic, or other important nature you may complete our online request form to request accommodation. Requests from commuter students will also be considered (e.g. a six-hour gap between classes, etc.).

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 15 to switch this course. Please speak with your Academic Advisor about this decision.

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.

Q: Where can I find help with housing?
A: For information regarding on and off-campus housing, please visit the U of T Housing Services 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 an International Transition Advisor about any transition challenges or questions you might have, including what to expect from your first Canadian winter.

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, psychological services, and other benefits. For international students, visit CIE’s web page on health coverage.

Q: I’m too sick to write a midterm. 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 Term Work.

Q: I have a health condition that may impact my academic performance. 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 confidential service as early as possible if you think this might apply. Find out more about registering with Accessibility Services.


Additional questions? Contact us at You can also follow us on Twitter for timely information and fun updates.

(Short link to this page: