I did the Vancouver recruit and my experience is that they won't necessarily make eye contact either. Some of my interviewers were using two devices so they weren't looking at me most of the time. One set of interviewers didn't even have their camera on. Then there are the ones that are new to the platform and don't know how to let you in, or have sound issues, or were tuning in on their phone, or from a large board room, or whatever. All this is to say, don't worry too much about eye contact.
I know Ultra Vires publishes a piece on the U of T recruit + grades every year (I’ve actually helped work on it in the past), but it’s always acknowledged that the survey can be quite biased/not totally representative for many reasons, plus it’s just a bunch of anonymous numbers without personal context. As such, if anyone has any anecdotal experience with grades/OCIs from U of T, insight would be appreciated!
Personally, my 1L grades were probably pretty below average (fingers crossed for better success this term!), although it’s tough to determine what “average” means at U of T and how employers look at our grades. On the other hand, I’d like to think I have a pretty extensive amount of relevant work/volunteer/extracurricular experience, so I’m truly not sure how I’ll fare.
Ah, I was under the assumption that this was a one-off or maybe a two-off.
On the one hand, what's another W if you already have a lot?
On the other hand, not having any more W's supports your upward trend.
On the third hand, if you take your licks and accept the poor midterm mark, you can still technically have an upward trend. Upward trends involve minor fluctuations, getting one bad mark doesn't undo the entire trend.
If you're not applying in the general category (as opposed to access), then I would keep the grade to demonstrate that you've overcome the things that made you withdraw from courses earlier in your degree. If you're applying access, take the W if you can explain the aspects of your life that necessitated withdrawing.
FWIW, I had poor marks in 1st/2nd year but my grades trended upwards as I continued. I still had some awful marks in my last 2 years, but they didn't undo the fact that overall I was clearly a better student than I used to be.