So you’ve accepted your offer to York, huh?
You’ve officially completed the first, and most important, step on your journey to York U. But what comes next? How do you get from where you are now to being a prepared student in September? I’m going to tell you, just try to keep up 😉 This guide will make the difference in whether you are Student A – goes to classes, tends to go right home after, generally miserable or Student B – goes to classes, hangs out at their college, is involved on campus, participates in events, is generally happy and well-rounded.
Step 2: Book an Enrollment Appointment
As soon as you’ve accepted your offer to York, you should book your enrollment appointment using MyFile. The faster you sign up, the faster you can choose your courses, figure out your transfer credits (if you transfer from a college or university), and learn how to use York’s online systems.
Step 3: Pay your Deposit
Once you’ve enrolled in courses, you have a set amount of time before your deposit is due. Paying the deposit on time ensures that your position in the courses will be maintained. You can check which date applies to you by clicking here. Remember to pay your deposit a few business days before the deadline to account for processing times!
There are two main ways to pay – the first is to go to your bank. Ask them to make a payment to York University and when they ask for the account number, provide your York student number… super easy huh? You can also pay online if you have online banking. If you go to your billing section there should be a spot to ‘Add Payee’ from there, find York University and when it asks for the account number, again, put in your student number. This is also how you will pay tuition in the future!
Step 4: Where Are you Going to Live?
If you are living at home, feel free to continue to the next step.
If you want to live in a residence on campus, you need to apply by June 1st to be guaranteed a spot. They will likely have some availabilities after that and you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to double check. If you do decide to apply for residence, make sure you double check your residence package as you will have to put down a $250 deposit.
You can also choose to live in the Village, a small residential community directly south of campus, or in the surrounding areas. Living in the Village comes with it’s pros and cons so my main tips are to go and collect lots of numbers. Take a look at the condition of the property. Find out how many people are living in the house. Meet the landlord and make sure they seem accountable and that rent will suit your budget. You should also bring an experienced adult to get a second opinion on whether your place is safe (are there fire alarms hooked up, do they have security alarms, etc) and a good deal. The Village is not owned by York University so there are some situations you should watch out for – the main one being you should try to avoid rooming houses that have 7-8+ people in them. These conditions are NOT fire safe. However not every house in the Village is set up like this and you can still find some good deals if you spend the time to look for them.
I choose to live just outside of the Village and I found my place by checking websites such as Kajiji, Craiglist, and apartment websites for the area. Craigslist doesn’t have the best reputation but I was able to find a townhouse for a decent price that I ended up splitting with my boyfriend and his bestfriend. We haven’t had any issues renting and it’s a quieter location than the Village is known for so this is also something to consider. I have a 15 minute walk to campus so it’s perfect!
If you aren’t sure whether you want to live off campus or on, I would suggest living on campus for 1 year to get the residence experience and then think about living off campus after that. It also makes transitioning to adulthood a little easier.
Step 5: Funding your Education
- The first thing you should do is apply for OSAP. You can fill out the aid estimator first to see if you are eligible and find out a rough idea of how much funding you will get. From there you should fill out the actual OSAP application – make sure you do so by June 30th if you want your funding in time for classes. You can still apply after but if you don’t have your components in by then, your funding will likely arrive late.
- If you plan on cashing out any RESP’s, make sure you bring a letter of verification to your bank. In order to access the letter you will need to have enrolled in classes and paid your $350 deposit.
- Another option through your bank is applying for student lines of credit. You can apply for up to $10,000 a year, for a max of four years. You will need a cosigner with at least decent credit but most bank work in that you get the credit and you only have to pay interest back until you are done school. For every $10,000 you use it works out to about $30 a month so if you can afford that, this is a really good option.
- You should also consider applying to York’s Student Financial Profile. There are tons of bursaries and scholarships you could be eligible for so make sure you set aside the time to go through this. If you missed the entrance SFP, don’t fret, another SFP will be available by August 16th for the Fall and Winter semesters.
- Lastly there are tons and tons of on campus jobs. Some of the independent stores will take resumes on the spot but a lot of the university work study positions (10-15 hours a week for students) require that you fill out the SFP and then apply online with York’s Career Centre. Most jobs are posted in August and January so I would look then but you can also check weekly throughout the year. You can also look for positions close to where you live. I use Google Maps around my house to find stores and businesses and then print off the appropriate amount of resumes and go from there!
Step 6: Getting Support
York has tons and tons of different support services available depending on your background so I encourage you to look into them and get yourself set up before school even starts.
I strongly encourage you to reach out to York’s Counselling & Disability Services (CDS) as soon as you are at this step, and certainly before school starts. If you go to them in good time they will be able to ensure any supports you need and will direct you to resources as needed. Not sure if your situation counts? Double check anyways, it’s better to be safe than sorry especially when your academics will be impacted. And if you think you might be suffering from any of the above, please take the time to visit your doctor or even the walk in clinic on campus so that you will be able to get the supports you need by the time school starts. You can read more about each group and how they can support you by clicking the link on the words.
Scenario 2: You don’t feel your academic abilities are where they need to be for university.
It’s okay, most of us go through this feeling. And you’re right, your high school abilities might not be enough to maintain the grades you are used to. But don’t fret because York offers tons of free workshops that are easy to listen to and give you the information and skills you need to find great success. Keep in mind that some of these will likely be running during the summer and you can absolutely attend before school starts!
Scenario 3: You are a mature or part-time student and you need specific resources.
York has a whole center dedicated to you – The Atkinson Center for Mature & Part Time Students (or ACMAPS for short). Check it out!
Scenario 4: You are coming from high school and are worried about adjusting on a day to day basis.
There are two amazing services, one offered at each campus that will help you out SO much. The first, at Keele campus, is known as York’s RED Zone. These amazing student leaders will be able to direct you to your classes, and answer almost any of your questions. They can be found Monday to Friday in their booth in the middle of Vari Hall. Glendon’s equivalent is The Lion’s Den. And, if you need help on the go, you can always check out my student-run Q & A blog YorkULife (which also has tons of other useful resources).
Scenario 5: You are an International student.
If you are an International student I strongly encourage you to reach out to York International as soon as you want to apply, have applied, or have been accepted to York. They offer tons of resources specifically for International students that I’m sure you will find helpful. I would check out the ‘Prospective International Students’ and ‘International Student Programs & Services’ links on that page.
Step 7: Getting Used to Campus
Before school starts, if you haven’t already, you should definitely attend a tour. You might also want to come back, especially when you know what classes you are going to have, so you can freely walk around campus. Try to find your classes but if you get lost, don’t be afraid to ask another student for help. We’ve all had to ask for directions at some point! You can also download York’s Safety App which can also give you live directions from building to building (not specific room numbers though). You might also want to check out the libraries or other buildings to find cool study spots or places to hangout 🙂
At this point, you should stop, and take a big deep breathe. In. Out.
You can’t do much beyond this until you receive more information from the school. You can look ahead to see what the next steps are, but they will all be occurring in August and beyond.
Step 8: Orientation
There are actually TWO different orientations, both based on your college, which you can learn more about here.
The first is an academic orientation. This orientation tends to be a little dry but please please don’t skip it. It is a mandatory event for a good reason – you are going to learn about all the relevant necessary academic information to get from your first day of school to the point that you graduate. You will have a hard time navigating York’s resources and staying on a correct path with your degree if you don’t push through this! Don’t be the student that skipped and doesn’t have a clue about anything, okay :)?
The second orientation is infinitely more fun – FROSH (social)! I definitely 100% wholeheartedly recommend that you attend frosh, specifically the frosh of your college and not of your residence, if you are living in one. You will want to set aside $80-130+ for a frosh kit (which includes access to frosh, a bunch of goodies, etc) and any extras but the price is well worth it. Frosh week is dry, so drinking or anything else of that nature won’t be tolerated this week (and this is strictly enforced) but you won’t even notice. The week will start with icebreakers to get rid of all the awkwardness and then a bunch of fun events and epic day trips will be offered. Past day trips have included: Wasaga Beach, Wonderland, Downtown Toronto (including a Jays game), a Boat Cruise, etc. The cost of the frosh kit doesn’t even cover the day trips so again, please consider what a great value this is. I made my first friends at frosh who were in my program and it was well worth it 🙂
Note: You will get more information about both of these, likely in late July or the beginning of August.
Step 9: Pay your tuition/residence fees
You can find the due dates for tuition here and by clicking ‘Fee due dates’. For residence, you can click here and click ‘Residence and Meal Plan Charges and Payments’. This information should also be in your residence package!
You will also want to be conscious of drop and refund dates. Drop dates are the days that you can last drop your classes without having a mark on your transcript with refund dates are the last days you can drop with differing financial consequences. These days do NOT match up so make sure you take a look at these before school start and put them somewhere you will remember. You will likely end up wanting to drop at least one class throughout your academic career so be prepared!
Lastly, York might not always apply your entrance scholarship or other scholarships or bursaries right away which means you might be left with a negative balance. This means that York owes YOU money. In this case you can either wait and they will send you a cheque at some point or you can go here to request a faster refund.
Step 10: Get Involved, Be Aware
Now that you have an idea of all the different responsibilities you will have and things you need to take care of, it’s time to talk about a different side of things.
First – your social life. Do not neglect it. Your academics NEED to be balanced with a healthy social life if you want maximum success, happiness, and health. You can check out clubs and associations on YU Connect and any sports you are interested in playing on York U Lions. You can also get more involved with your college but they will tell you all about that at Frosh 🙂 A last great option is to volunteer for big school events. You will likely get emails about this and if the event interests you, consider giving up some of your time to help make it happen! It’s a great way to build some leadership skills and you never know what awesome opportunities will come your way.
Second – make sure you keep an eye on your grades and your degree progress. You don’t want to notice things are getting out of control too late when it’s infinitely harder to resolve (if at all). You can also check your GPA by looking here.
Finally, try to be self aware. If you notice any physical or mental changes, even if you start feeling like you are overwhelmed with stress – reach out. York is so accessible and accommodating you just have to do your part by reaching out. You certainly won’t ever be alone in your struggles, York is a community and it comes together to support those that need it. Visit the walk in clinic on campus or set up counselling sessions if you need them. Disclose to your professors, your peers, your club members, etc, whoever you feel you need to fill in. Mental health struggles are very common in university, some statistics say as many as 2 out of every 3 students will be affected.
Self awareness also spreads out into time management. Adjusting to university is going to take some time, especially with all the new found ‘freedom’ but you have to try your hardest to manage your time and not procrastinate. Make sure you study throughout the semester so you aren’t overwhelmed and don’t have to cram at the end. You can also use tools like a planner, Google Calendar, Sticky Notes, or Scattrbrain. We live in a digital world and there are tons of other useful apps that can help you maximize your productivity so that you have more time for fun 🙂
Well, this is it! Welcome to York and I wish you every success in your first year. Following these tips will surely help you have an amazing, fun, and super successful year so feel free to bookmark this page or leave any comments, questions, or concerns below!