“Life Sciences POSt Seminar” on Wednesday, March 11 at 5:00pm.
Event: Life Sciences POSt Seminar
Host: Medical Sciences Student Union (MSSU)
Start Time: Wednesday, March 11 at 5:00pm
End Time: Wednesday, March 11 at 8:00pm
Where: PB B150
To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:
I didn’t know how to start this one. My day has simply been too long–in fact, “yesterday” for me ended at 6:30 this morning, and “today” began about 2 hours later, when I jerked up abruptly from an unsettling sleep and proceeded to review material for my lab course term test for a third time. It was actually a fairly happy morning, because due to nervousness about my test or just exhaustion in general, I had mistaken my test time to be 9:00 instead of 9:30, and at 9:00, I was pleasantly shocked to find that I actually had an additional half an hour for reviewing.
I really do believe that the test used up whatever brain power was left in me, because I don’t think my brain functioned at all for the rest of the day. I think I mostly drifted through everything in more or less a dream-like state. Looking back, I don’t remember either what I said or what I actually did. Or why I did what I did. Simply put, I need to get some zzz real soon because I’ve been feeling rather faint for quite a few hours now.
Which is why I’m afraid I won’t be able to write as long a post on PoSt selection as I did before. Your college registrars are professionals in this field (or they are supposed to be since they actually get paid), so do make an effort to go to them if you have any questions (or click here). Depending on your college and who you’d want to talk to, it might not even be necessary to book for an appointment ahead of time. Different departments also offer various sources of undergraduate counselling. The best thing to do would be to go onto their websites, look for anything that contains the word “Undergraduate” and click on all the relevant buttons. You’d mostly likely stumble upon “Counselling” or “Contact” information, which would direct you to specific faculty members of the department who are much more knowledgeable about your program of interest than your registrars are (for a list of department websites in Life Science, see bottom of this post). In addition, Life Science departments usually offer Subject PoSt seminars, where they invite current students and teaching staff to come and talk about the various courses their program might offer, and also, answer some of your basic questions. In my opinion, these events are totally precious because there’s not only have the chance for you to talk to peeps of the department in person, there’s usually also FREE FOOD! It’s mostly pizza, but still…
What you need to know about Type 1, 2, and 3 Subject PoSts (because I’m just that nice)
A quick word about “Types”: it doesn’t say anything about how good/bad a program is. Actually I often wonder why it’s even there. For Type 3 PoSts, enrollment is sometimes limited, as there might be more competition for entrance to the program. Thus, you are asked to rank your preferences on the Faculty of Arts and Science Registrar’s website. It is often said that if you have ranked a specialist higher than the major from the same program, the department would not actually consider you for the major once you’ve been accepted into the specialist. However, often enrollment limit is rather flexible, and depending on your personal circumstances, there’s always the option of contacting the department directly and requesting to be enrolled into a program when you don’t end up receiving either an acceptance or rejection to your invitation when the time comes. Keep in mind that each department is willing to go to great lengths to attract students with potential so that great young minds of tomorrow could be well-cultivated under their mentorship </cheesiness>. In contrast, both Type 1 and Type 2 programs are added directly through ROSI. Type 1’s are directly added onto your list of currently enrolled programs, whereas for Type 2’s, you’ll also need to request for enrollment and wait for an invitation, although generally speaking the requirements for admisson into these programs are a lot less stringent.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that for Type 3’s, majors are more easy to get than specialists. It’s less about the rigor of program itself and more about its popularity. For Life Science, students tend to shy away from the so-called “BIG” programs, aka Biochemistry Specialist, Immunology Specialist, and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Specialist, because while they do prepare you extremely well for graduate school, they could potentially bring down your GPA. I quote the FAQ section of Biochemistry undergraduate department page:
“Is the Biochemistry Specialist Program a good choice if I’m applying to medical school?
Most of the students in the biochemistry program are interested in science. Many are planning careers in science. Biochemistry is a four year program and is designed to prepare students for graduate studies – although not all students choose to go to graduate school. There are other programs that may be more suitable for students who need high grades in their courses in order to get into medical school.”
Majors, on the other hand, are generally very popular amongst students aiming for professional schools. Thus it’s understandable that the Physiology major actually has a higher GPA cutoff than its specialist program does. Other popular majors include those from the department of biochemistry and pharmacology and toxicology. As a specialist program, the Neuroscience program, integrated into the department of Human Biology just last year, is also fairly popular. Nevertheless, as a rule of thumb, if your cGPA at the end of your first year is above 3.5, you shouldn’t need to worry about not receiving an invitation.The sole exception is probably Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (LMP), which takes 40-something students each year, and has had a cut-off of about 3.8-3.9 in previous years. Newly introduced this year are the major programs for Immunology and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, which, in previous years, were only offered as specialist programs. Look for this update in the Calendar this year, as well as new immunology courses such as IMM250H and MGY350H.
I personally consider PoSt selection a sort of UofT-specific “rite of passage”. Yeah, it’s annoying, it’s confusing, and sometimes it can be down-right scary, but in the end, it’ll make up a big part of your undergraduate experience, and not to mention prepare you extraordinarily well for the “real world”, where every decision you make would ultimately impact your life and the lives of those around you in the most unexpected ways.
Good luck! I lend you mental strength through a Lenka song my friend has recently made me obsess over: THE SHOW.
For more information on individual Life Science departments, here are a few sites you might be interested in:
Cell & Systems Biology: http://www.csb.utoronto.ca/undergraduate
Human Biology: http://www.hmb.utoronto.ca/
Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology: http://www.lmp.facmed.utoronto.ca/undergrad/artsc.htm
Molecular Genetics & Microbiology: http://www.moleculargenetics.utoronto.ca/MGYProgram.htm
Pharmacology & Toxicology: http://www.pharmtox.utoronto.ca/programs/undergraduate.htm