Secrets to Academic Success: Founders College

Posted by Rebecca on May 18, 2017

A YU Perspective | Get In The Know

Row of bookshelves in old-school library with some seated students

York University’s motto is “Tentanda via,” Latin for “The way must be tried.” It’s an exceptionally chosen phrase because it easily sums up university: a long, four- to six-year journey of balancing twenty-page papers, studying for exams and reading an array of novels (if you’re a Creative Writing major like me ;)) and journal articles, all while trying to find the time to clock in a part-time job and hang out with your friends. On the path to graduation, it’s easy to sometimes feel overwhelmed — but don’t fall into the trap of giving up: every year most of us make it through.

Even as a third-year student going into her fourth, I’ll admit that university can get tough sometimes: when you’re multitasking so many commitments, it can be hard to work on or proofread your assignments as much as you would like to. At York, we’ve got multiple resources to help with that dilemma: the Writing Centre offers one-hour appointments with a writing assistant to help edit essays or go over assignments, Learning Skills Services offers workshops on how to write better essays and prep for exams (if you are looking to be proactive about it) and each of our Colleges provides unique resources such as PASS programs that are run by upper-year students who have aced specific courses in the past to help you as you take those courses in the present.

Now, I want to talk about one more “secret” resource that most of you might not be aware of:  it’s the Founders Academic Assistant program! During the school year, the Founders Master’s Office hires four academic assistants, all students with high GPAs, to meet in the Founders Junior Common Room (JCR) to assist students with their academic work. They help with essays, assignments, resumés — whatever you need. Even though the program operates out of Founders, it is open to all York students. I had the privilege of working as an academic assistant this past year, so let me give you some reasons why you should take advantage of this awesome tutoring opportunity.

  1. Flexible Times

The Founders JCR is open five days a week during the day, and on four of those days, it is also open throughout the evenings. Founders academic assistants are available in the room Monday to Thursday from about 4:00pm to 8:00 or 9:00pm, depending on the semester. This way, you don’t have to worry about the tutoring schedule conflicting with your classes or other engagements.

  1. No Appointment Needed

The service Founders offers also works entirely on a drop-in basis! No appointments or intense scheduling are needed. There are usually two assistants in the room at all times, so even if one is busy, someone else will be there to help you out. Since the service is operated out of Founders (therefore mostly advertised to Founders students) and located in the College’s basement, there are usually no crowds or lines of people waiting! You can come in and get your work looked at almost immediately.

  1. College Perks

As I mentioned before, because the JCR is nestled inside Founders College, it provides a quiet and intimate environment for tutoring. The room itself is wide and spacious, with comfy chairs and couches, so that after you’re done consulting with the assistants, you can just grab a seat and comfortably get some work done. There is also another room opposite the JCR called the Arthur Haberman room, out of which runs a free fitness program throughout the year, such as yoga sessions on Wednesday nights. This program, too, is open to all students.

Students holding up We love Founders signs

The secret is finally out! Current students, I hope you will be able to take advantage of the academic help offered, as well as of any of the other events happening at Founders. The College has been a tremendously welcoming place for me this past school year, and I’m returning in the summer to help plan Founders Academic Orientation in the fall. Incoming Lions, I’m excited to talk to you, and I hope this guide has been helpful for your future academic needs.


Rebecca M. is a third-year English major. She no longer blogs regularly for the YU Blog but may post on occasion as a guest-blogger.

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