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Seriously thinking about dropping out, as a Liberal Arts student.

vanizorcvanizorc 26 replies11 threads Junior Member
edited December 2012 in College Life
I'm currently a third-year at my university (University of Toronto in Canada), and ever since I transferred to this university from another previous one (which I loved and where I did my first two years of uni at), I am having a terrible time adjusting.

As I am in the Philosophy department, their grading practices are ridiculous. Although I had no trouble getting A's in Philosophy at my previous university, U of T's Philosophy curriculum absolves you of control over your grades. The Philosophy professors here evade students who question them about why they got a certain mark on a paper; the quality of your work does not matter, as there is hardly a professor who wants to be seen as an "easy marker". I have read some of my classmates' papers, and their work was phenomenal -- yet they only scored consistently in the B-range. In fact, many of my acquaintances think that a 2.9 GPA in this program at this university is "great". The fact of the matter is, a subjective discipline combined with uniquely stuck-up UofT Philosophy professors makes it impossible to have control over your own grades. You could be working on a huge research paper for more than a month, with no argumentative flaws to speak of, and yet still end up with a B. Very disheartening indeed. My GPA and grades have dropped more than 10% (from a very good GPA of 85-90% at my previous uni) since transferring to this university (and my previous uni was also a "good" school -- it's not like it was some watered-down excuse of a university or anything).

So where am I going with this? Well, seeing as I'm a "Liberal Arts" major (Philosophy), my now-mediocre grades/GPA will hardly get me anywhere (Law School is likely out, as it has a GPA cut-off of around 3.7 cumulative GPA). I cannot foresee my grades getting better, as I have tried multiple times to work and study harder, yet my marks remain the same because of the institutional policies here at UofT.

So I was wondering -- would it be a better idea, considering my academic situation, to drop out of this university and go apply to a trade school or college business program somewhere to start learning marketable "hard skills" immediately?

A Liberal Arts degree is useless enough, let alone one with mediocre grades. By dropping out, I don't think I would be missing out on anything (and actually might have everything to gain, since I'll reduce my potential opportunity costs of laying idle in the ivory tower for one more year).
edited December 2012
5 replies
Post edited by vanizorc on
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Replies to: Seriously thinking about dropping out, as a Liberal Arts student.

  • ThisMortalSoilThisMortalSoil 909 replies19 threads Member
    Are you super passionate about philosophy or what? It sounds like you kind of are leaning towards the trade school or business school route and you just want that final push of encouragement.

    I say do it. Hell I'm a business major and I can't find a job, if I could turn back the clock I would have gone to trade school or joined the military. Don't waste time and money on something you're not set on is all I can say.
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  • AxelrodAxelrod 660 replies3 threads Member
    U of Toronto is a world class university with high standards. Why not transfer back to your old school ?
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  • NovaLynnxNovaLynnx 1391 replies15 threads Senior Member
    You are one year away from graduation. I don't know how much you're paying for tuition, but is saving one year's worth of tuition worth giving up the bachelors degree? Even if you don't make use of philosophy, I would say you're close enough to consider finishing, and then see where life leads you. Or, would you be able to change majors and finish your degree in another area? Or transfer to another school, like Axelrod said - I transferred twice and it was never considered a problem by anyone.

    If the tuition is high enough that you'd rather save yourself the money, and you really believe you cannot turn your grades around at this new Uni, then trade school might be a good option - what are you thinking of pursuing there? You could always go back and finish your bachelors degree later, but keep in mind it is difficult to go back once you've been out for a while. Not impossible, but life tends to get in the way.

    Just do not think your career options are gone because your grades dropped a bit at your new Uni.
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  • vanizorcvanizorc 26 replies11 threads Junior Member
    @ThisMortalSoil: I am indeed very passionate about Philosophy (I had consistently earned A's in all my Philosophy courses at my previous university). The problem is only that, here at U of T, the Philosophy department has much, much stricter grading policies, such that I haven't even been able to break the B-range in the Philosophy courses over here. And thus my current and future GPA will also be doomed to sink into the B-range, since as a Philosophy major, most of my courses are Philosophy ones. (The only time I get A's here at U of T is through math/science "elective" courses, like Calculus or Economics, in which I have no problem landing high grades due to the objective and quantitative nature of the grading scheme.)
    This is the crux of my agony -- if I am doomed to mediocre B-range marks in my subject, then I think I might as well drop out ASAP to start enrolling into trade school.
    And I totally feel for you; the current economy is such that even business majors cannot find a decent job. I don't even want to know how I, as a would-be Philosophy major, could land a job in this case.

    @Axelrod: Yes, U of T's "high standards" is in actuality just ridiculous grade deflation. You've got a whole bunch of genius students attending this school, combined with the fact that professors here are uniquely stingy about handing out A's (and that grade-scaling is severe), and what do you get? 97% of the student population scoring in the C to B range, no matter the objective quality of their work. It's ridiculous; to get an A in a Philosophy course here, you need to be absolutely EXCEPTIONAL, writing papers that are journal-publishable quality.

    Of course I've thought about transferring out of here, but to do so, I'd need to complete 2 years at the new school in order to graduate with a degree there. Hence, here in Canada, if you want to apply to transfer universities, you have to do it during either 1st or 2nd year. Since I'm already in my 3rd year, it will mean I'll have to take an extra 5th year at the new institution. Besides that, my parents are already giving me ***** for suggesting that I might want to transfer again (which is not entirely my fault, as they were the ones in the first place to pressure me into transferring to U of T because they wanted me to move back home with them, as they didn't like the idea that they couldn't control me when I was away on campus at the other uni).
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  • vanizorcvanizorc 26 replies11 threads Junior Member
    @NovaLynnx: Yes, I DO want to transfer out of here into another university, but I can't because my parents won't allow me. Since I've already transferred once, they don't want me to do it again because they think it's a big hassle (the only other university in my city is York University, and I don't want to go there because of its reputation as an "easy university for half-wits" -- it's the running joke among students here). That means if I transfer again, I'll have to move out of the city away from home to an out-of-town uni, which I cannot afford (and my neither my parents nor finanical aid/student loans will support me).

    The thing is, my previous university was in another city before, so when I transferred to UofT (located in my home city), my parents drove more than 5 hours one-way to help me move my stuff back home. I'm now living in my parent's house, having a 1 hour and 30 min commute each way to and from the UofT campus.
    If I were to transfer to another university besides York, I'd have to move out again to a different city. My parents will not help me financially if I go that route, and since the amount of financial aid/loans I'm allotted is ridiculously little (my parents' income is over the cut-off), I have no choice but to stay here and keep attending UofT because I can't afford any other option.

    So that's why I'm thinking of dropping out and starting on a trade. Because mediocre grades in a Liberal Arts degree won't get you anywhere.
    ...Or do grades not matter? Do most employers even ask for an academic transcript in job applications (for non-technical jobs)?

    And P.S.: my marks haven't dropped "by a little"; they've dropped by A LOT -- 10-20% drop in my GPA since enrolling into UofT from my previous uni. This is why I'm angry and panicking.
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