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Perspective from a U of T Social Sciences Student

A photo of Njdeh Njdeh
It seems that everyone I speak to, their conception of U of T is that the school is "impossible". I'd like to get the perspective of someone from the social sciences department of the school. Specifically Political Science. I love U of T and every thing it is but I want to go somewhere where I can get A's. I'm willing to put in the work but I've heard about a "bell curve" at U of T? Anyone want to expand on this? I've applied to U of T, UOttawa, Western, Carleton, York and Ryerson. Bottom line... I want to hear from a U of T student in the arts. How difficult is this, is the "bell curve" a myth?, how's campus life etc.

Thanks in advance.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Bump for curiosity.
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A photo of Njdeh Njdeh
Somebody please.....
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A photo of uoftlover uoftlover
Bell curves are basically inevitable when you go into a program such as Social Sciences. My cousin and my boyfriend both go to UofT (my cousin's in Social Sciences and my boyfriend's in Science)... I would say that my cousin is not smarter but a more diligent and determined worker, and I was so confused at first to find out that my boyfriend has a much higher average.
You see, with things like Poli Sci and English, there are no real definitive answers. Therefore, biases and professors' opinions create a discrepency in marks. In Sciences or Maths, there are real solid answers--a lot of the work is studied from a textbook, not written into a personal response essay.
It will be the same at any school--I've researched the bell curves a bit at the different schools I'm interested in, and a statistic I found from McGill stated that a student in a science program is 44% more likely to have an A average than a student in Poli Sci. And I know that if you're interested in getting your masters or a PhD, grad schools take your program and its respective class average into account. (Besides in Europe--a lot of grad schools there accept Canadians regardless of whether or not they have straight-As because there is a defficiency of Canadians studying there.)
All in all, what I'm trying to say in a mixed-up way is that you will find it a bit harder to get an A average in Social Sciences or Humanities than you will in Sciences or Maths at any school! Although UofT profs are notorious for being harder markers than others, the prestige of the school and the fact that it is internationally renown pays off for this. :) Good luck with everything!

P.S. Easier elective classes will be your saving grace--don't be too ambitious when choosing them!
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A photo of menjeco777 menjeco777
the bellcurve really exists here. From my experience, tutorials are set up to gauge student understanding and comprehension of the material....for the purposes of testing
the t.a's report to the course co ordinator who then sets up the test accordingly. Depending on the average, the next test will be made harder or easier. Usually harder. Exams are always a bitch(final). so watch out for those. Bellcurve is usually applied to finals, average is to low, bellcurve is usually UP not DOWN, the university adjusts test difficulty to bring marks down. Hope this helps. P.s dont come here unless you are actually willing to work hard. this isnt brock or trent.
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A photo of Jumpy Jumpy
(Double post that refuses to delete)
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A photo of Jumpy Jumpy
Let the record state there is no formal curving system at UofT. It is not mandated by any department; contrary to popular belief, professors do not need to rationalize their course distribution to their seniors.

There develops a curve because over any large dataset in regards to grading there develops a curve. It's a natural phenomenon of statistics. You're always going to be ranked relative to other people who submit work -- that's just how life works. A minority will be exemplary, a minority will be failures, as the rest will be in the middle.

In the end, because UofT has so many students who are all competent you'll find it harder to 'stand out' maybe. You'll get A's instead of A+'s. You'll get B-'s instead of B's. You'll still be in the same field, and therefore competitive for the same graduate programs, regardless. You won't start getting B-'s instead of A+'s.

What you will get is connections with world class faculty and experience in a world class research institution. I know a guy in second year who is helping James Orbinski co-write a book. i know another guy on a first name basis with Canada's representative to NATO. I know a bunch of people who know Governor General Award winning authors, etc etc.

Those kind of connections can be made in many schools in Canada, but never with the same ease and frequency as at UofT. You just need to put yourself out there and approach people. Those experiences more than make up for the 2-3% drop in grades compared to other schools, trust me.
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