Brandon (Year 2)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
I chose this institution for two reasons. Firstly, it was relatively close to home so I could save money by commuting. Secondly, it has a very good reputation for my program of interest (actuarial science). The university definitely exceeded my expectations. I was expecting a very competitive and depressing environment. That was certainly not the case. A lot of my peers were very supportive and we helped each other a lot.
Do you have any lingering thoughts or regrets in your year as a whole (ex; application process, mistakes going into first year). If so, describe them.
I regret not joining any clubs in my first year. It's very difficult to get close to people in class because class sizes are so large and people sit in different spots every class. I will definitely try to join some clubs this year.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
UofT in general is a very rigorous institution. For math courses, they expect you to be very clear and precise when solving problems. Also, the grading is often quite strict. Course averages are usually in the C+/B- range for non-elective classes.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
I did not join any clubs this year. I was able to meet a lot of people in my classes but I didn't really get too close with them.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
Best: The best part of my experience is being able to work with many talented and passionate students. UofT attracts a lot of talent and it is really interesting to meet these people.
Worst: The worst part of my experience is not being able to make close friends. It's really easy to meet a lot of people in a large school but it's very hard to get close.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
Course Group Chats: UofT has a lot of different Facebook chats for different courses. It's a great place to meet people and ask questions about academics.
Math Learning Centre: UofT has many Math Learning Centres. They aren't the greatest and are usually understaffed. However, the TAs are really knowledgeable and helpful.
Tutorials: A lot of classes have smaller tutorials in addition to lectures. The small class environment is great for making friends and asking questions.
List advice for first-year students:
UofT isn't as scary as the rumours suggest. Just try your best and you'll be okay.