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Academics

6 Tips to Help you Prepare for University

Are you about to go into your first year of university? Well, congratulations on getting this far! University is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. Such a change in environment and responsibilities as you move from high school to university can be extremely stressful. Staying on top of everything can be hard, so here’s a short list of things to try to do as you enter your first year.

Reach out to other first years

Finding a community is so important in your first year – these are the people that could end up being your best friends, partners, or even family! Not only will you have people to hang out with, but it’s also likely that you’ll end up helping each other stay on top of deadlines, work on assignments, or understand class content.

Double-check your deadlines

Many first-year students underestimate how little guidance there is in university. News flash: your university will not tell you what needs to be done! You need to keep track of your own deadlines – you definitely don’t want to pay your tuition fees or submit an assignment late! And heads up: your faculty and professors might not even send you email reminders, so make sure you know the ins and outs of your program for the best shot at success.

Get your questions answered

Don’t go into your first year having some unanswered questions! University is an important, yet complicated experience, and you need to make sure you have a good handle on it before getting started. If you have important questions that have gone unanswered, there is a strong possibility they’ll be the cause of more confusion in the future.

Practice your organization and time management

Your university schedule will fill up faster than you realize and before you know it, you may be struggling to juggle all your responsibilities at once. To ensure a smoother transition to university, try learning how you like to organize yourself and how to study efficiently. If you know yourself going into university, it will be much easier to manage than trying to figure out your learning style once you’re there. Better to be safe than sorry!

Check your university email

One of the easiest things you can do for yourself is check your university email often. Your school will likely send reminders for events or special deadlines (important information will always be sent to your school-affiliated email, your university will not reach out to your personal email for school-related content), and you don’t want to miss any of them!

Make sure you don’t have any extraneous applications to complete

The transition to university can be a difficult one to follow, but it’s manageable! One thing that might throw you off is that certain universities require you to fill out extraneous applications (like standardized tests or essays), so make sure you double-check your application process. Prepare for the unexpected so you don’t find yourself thrown off! 

University is intimidating a first, we know. No longer having the same guidance from your guardians or your school’s administration which can make you feel a bit clueless, but don’t worry, because with time and practice you’ll get the hang of university life and the expectations of adulthood. We hope these tips set you on the right path to success, but here’s one last bit of advice: don’t let your worries get the best of you, help is always available to those who need it!

Olivia Onesi

U Ottawa '24

Olivia enjoys binge reading her favourite young adult novels and going for evening runs. She is a second year psychology student at the University of Ottawa and can be found scrolling endlessly on TikTok.
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