Physical and Mathematical Sciences at University of Toronto (St. George)

Danny Su (Year 2)

What did you wish you knew before going to your university? What made you choose this institution over all others? What are advantages and disadvantages of your institution or campus? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your university.

The reason why I chose the University of Toronto is because of the global reputation, location, alumni network, resources, and opportunities that the university has to offer. The advantage is that there is so much to explore around the campus and events to participate in because the school is located in downtown Toronto. The disadvantage would be that the class size here is huge. It would be a bit challenging to get to know your professors well and to make friends, however, I find the learning environment pretty supportive. Professors truly want students to do well and your peers are happy to help out as well. In addition, definitely join clubs to find people who share the same interest as you do and work hard together. A group of friends can make your undergrad journey more memorable and the learning process less stressful.


What did you wish you knew before choosing your specific program? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your program of study.

My advice for incoming first-year students would be to do more research on the program (specialist, major and minor) that you are interested in. Keep your options open and try new courses, because the school has a lot of programs to offer. If I could go back in time and do my first year again, I would explore courses that I find interesting but never tried before. A mindset I wish I had was that GPA is not everything and that there is so much more than just GPA in school. Enjoy learning, don't procrastinate too often because things will pile up really quickly, and don't worry too much about the grade. The grade will take care of itself, as long as you continue to enjoy what you're learning. The program that I'm in will send out a lot of useful emails about info sessions, networking events, and school activities, so definitely check your school email often. Be proactive in seeking resources because there is a lot out there. Also, health is definitely No.1 and should not be neglected.


What was your favourite university experience?

My best experience at university is to join the Department of Statistical Sciences mentorship program. I was paired up with school alumni and I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the industries that I was interested in and received a lot of useful advice from my mentor.


What was your least favourite university experience?

The school is really big, so for commuters, it takes up a lot of time commuting to school.


What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?

The hardest part about the program would be that there is so much to study. For math and statistics, it's mostly about understanding the concepts and doing a lot of practice problems. Problem set, which are assignments can be very challenging and takes up a lot of time, however learning through struggles, a person can really grow and learn a lot. Most importantly, enjoy learning, focus on the process and the result will take care of itself.


If you were able to take electives, what was your favourite elective? If you were not able to take electives, what was your favourite course and why?

My favorite course is ACT240 with Vicki Zhang. She's such a nice professor and her class was really organized. We even had a bonus assignment worth 3 points toward final mark to do any artistic work that is related to the course material. It was pretty interesting to learn about the finance industry and being an Actuary from the professor's experience.


Additional Comments

If you are interested in studying Actuarial Science, definitely check out the annual ASNA Convention, where you get to network with company representatives, make friends and learn more about the career opportunities. A lot of Actuarial students get co-op offers from that event.


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