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Should I continue with my degree at UofT?

  1. Aug 30, 2006 #1
    I'm currently pursuing a BSc at UofT. I've been dying to ask someone's advice about my academic situation -- please tell me what your advice would be.

    Due to a combination of personal reasons (family pressure, an intimidating teacher who was suspended for punching a student), I completely switched disciplines in my final year of HS. I switched from Math & Computer Science to...Life Sciences.

    However, I was never remotely interested in Life Sciences. :rolleyes:

    My marks went way down in Grade 12, and I ended up with a 90% average (on the dot).

    But I still took some math courses (Caclulus 91%, Algebra 87%), so it wasn't all bad...

    Things became worse at UofT. My first mark was 50% in organic chemistry -- hardly an great start to university. :frown:

    This year was my second year, and I 'started over' in Computer Science. My marks were much better -- 91, 89, 88, 98...

    This more advanced course reaquainted me with my true passion: *math and logic*. As a result, I have decided to pursue a math specialist.

    I spoke with a Computer Science professor, and he told me that he wouldn't consider me as seriously for Grad School if I took an extra year.

    There is a way to speed things up -- I can go straight to the more advanced second-year Analysis II, without having taken Analysis I.

    Should I do this? Or should I simply take 6 years to finish my BSc, and make sure I have a solid background?

    I am very willing to take a heavy courseload, and work hard -- I just need to develop a proper mathematical background.

    Thanks in advance for any advice...

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2006 #2
    Is UofT the University of Toronto or Texas or Tennessee or Timbuktu?

    Anyways... For your personal development as a student and scientist, don't you think a better understanding of the material is more important? I don't believe you will be flat out rejected from every graduate program you apply for simply because it took you 6 years to get your BSc. Will it affect your admissions? I cannot say, as I do not sit on the admissions commitee of where you are applying. Someone else on here may be more familiar with mathematics grad school admissions.

    For the specifics of whether you can handle Analysis II without taking Analysis I is entirely dependent on how mathematically sophisticated you are and the difficulty of th e material. And we cannot tell you a concrete answer to that question. We have no idea what the courses consist of, what courses you have taken, how comfortable you are with high level math, etc. My advice, talk to the professors who teach these classes. Ask them to give you an honest evaluation based upon your grades if you could do it. Ask the mathematics professors you have had so far if they think you have a chance. Ask students who have taken the courses. Talk to other math majors, find out if anyone else has succeeded in doing so.

    Well I wish you good luck with your decision.
  4. Aug 30, 2006 #3


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    Wow, that surprises me. I wouldn't think anyone would care how long your undergrad degree took except for you and maybe the registrar. Is that really the literal interpretation of what he said, or was there some other context?
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2006
  5. Aug 31, 2006 #4
    Thanks for the replies -- yes I'm talking about the University of Toronto (downtown, the main St. George campus).

    Also, the professor originally said it was perfectly reasonable to take 5 years for my Computer Science degree, since I was in Life Sciences for the first year

    However, he warned me that if I took another year on top of that (an extra year of CS/math courses), for a total of 6 years, then I wouldn't be considered "as serious" as other students -- he was rather stern about that point.

    Perhaps he thought taking 6 years meant I wouldn't be taking a full load each year -- which is not at all what I mean.

    Anyway, I've decided to take your advice -- I'll try Analysis II for the first few days, and if I'm too unprepared, then I'll accept that and take Analysis I.

    Here's one benefit of not taking Analysis II -- since I already have a credit in first year calculus, the math department said it was acceptable to just audit Analysis I -- I don't actually have to spend the money and formally retake the course. :smile:

    So that gives me an extra space in my timetable to take some other cool courses, like Artificial Intelligence (I've always wanted to learn about that.) :cool:
  6. Aug 31, 2006 #5


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    your teacher is unusual. we do not care how amny years it takes you to learn the stuff, just so you learn it. i myself took from 1960, on graduation from high school, to 1974, upon entrance to grad school at Utah. They were very glad to have me, and I was a star student.

    Now I am a full professor at a university, and have been a postdoc at an ivy school, and they did not ask me how old i was or how many toes i had or anything else stupid like that, just what did i know and what could i do. enjoy the ride. work hard and all else will be added to you. and thank the dieties you resepect for your situation.
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