Tips for Transitioning to University

Posted by York & U on September 12, 2017

A YU Perspective | Goings-On around York | On-board to York

It’s the moment all new York Lions have been waiting for: welcome to the beginning of the Fall 2017 term! The start of the academic year is full of exciting new experiences, especially for first-year students. You’ll be hanging out with new friends from York Orientation, exploring the campus, choosing which clubs to join and starting classes. Along with all of this excitement comes a significant change, and York U provides new students with many support services to ease your transition from high school to postsecondary studies. If you missed our previous blog post “A Guide to Your First Week at York U“, take a look at our list below of the resources available to you on campus and some tips for a positive start to your first year!

Students listen closely in lecture.
Students listen closely in lecture.

First and foremost, you’re attending university to learn, develop expertise in your chosen field and get a degree. Don’t get us wrong: your first few weeks at York are filled with social events, meeting new friends and having a lot of fun. However, there are a few things you can do in your first weeks of school to set yourself up for academic success.

1. Make use of Instructors’ Office Hours

For starters, take advantage of your instructors’ office hours and attend tutorials! This is a great opportunity to get to know your professors and teaching assistants one-on-one, ask any questions you may have and learn from someone who is an expert in their field.

Success tip: Prepare for your classes by completing your readings beforehand. When you’re studying, write down any questions you may have so that you remember to ask your professor/instructor for clarification during office hours.

2. Research academic support services

Students gather on the Campus Walk.
Students gather on the Campus Walk.

Next up, be aware of all of the academic support services that are available to you as a York U student. For example, visit the Learning Commons on the second floor of Scott Library to develop your study strategies. Once you’re there, take part in Learning Skills Services workshops, Peer Academic Coaching and one-on-one sessions with a Learning Skills Specialist to make sure that you have strong study habits. Whether you want some pointers about taking effective notes or need time-management advice, these resources can help you achieve your academic goals.

If you want to improve your writing and brush up on different citation styles, visit the Writing Centre in person or online, or visit the Citation Station in the Learning Commons.

Success tip: Access the Student Papers & Academic Research Kit (SPARK) online to develop your research, writing and editing skills. These short modules include mini tutorials, examples and templates to help you write strong essays.

Additionally, if you require academic accommodations, contact Disability Services to find out about registering with them to ensure that you have the support you need. Disability Services also has a mobile app to help students access information about their programs and services.

3. Start a Study Group

Students gather in a study group.

If you want to benefit from different skill sets and perspectives, start a study group with your classmates. It’s easier to tackle a challenging subject if you split up the research and teach the rest of your group a particular topic. You can also quiz each other with flashcards and share study tips. Finally, if you’re struggling to grasp a particular concept, chances are someone in your group will be able to help you out.

Success tip: If you need to find a quiet place to meet, book a study room in a York U library or the Bergeron Centre.

4. Create a routine

During your transition from high school to postsecondary studies, you will experience a lot of change. One of the best ways to adapt to university life is to create a daily routine. Not only will this help you make the most of your time, but you’ll also get used to your new schedule and the campus environment. You may find that your workload is heavier in university than it was in high school, and to stay on top of your assignments, it’s important to use an agenda to create daily and weekly task lists. By writing down everything you need to accomplish for the week, you can work more effectively. Take a look at our previous #YUBlog post for our “Time Management Tips for York U Students.”

Success tip: Add variety to your day by making time for health and wellness! Give yourself a study break and meet new friends by joining an intramural team through your college or participate in a drop-in fitness class. Taking a study break to work up a sweat and visit with your friends will leave you with a clear head. If you find that you are struggling with the pressure of university life, York U has resources to help. Take a look at the Stress Management course offered by Learning Skills Services, or contact Personal Counselling at York.

York U Lions support their team
York U Lions support their team.

5. Establish a Support System

The best way to feel comfortable in a new place is to build a support network of friends, advisors and resources. As a new student, you have a lot of opportunities to make new friends! You can join one of York U’s 300+ official clubs or attend social events on campus. You can also sign up for one of York’s peer leadership programs to meet new people and get advice from senior students. Finally, remember to schedule quality time or a weekly Skype session with your family! University marks a new level of independence, but your family will continue to be an important source of support, encouragement and advice.

The transition from high school to university can be challenging, but it is also an opportunity for personal and academic growth. Make the most of the Fall 2017 term with the help of the supports listed above and enjoy this exciting start to your university career!

Share your tips for transitioning from high school to postsecondary by commenting below or tweeting us on Twitter @YorkUStudents!


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