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Transitioning to University Studies

You are probably wondering what to expect as you begin first year and what will be expected of you.  The short answer is "Lots!"  But be optimistic: you are intellectually and academically capable, or you wouldn't be here.  And well over 90% of our students graduate, so no doubt you'll make it too.

Here are some things earlier students have said they'd wished they had heard as they were starting first year:

Expect Change:  "It wasn't like high school!"  Both the kind and the amount of work you'll have to do will be different.  Expect that you'll have to adapt your previous study techniques and learn new ones.  Work at it deliberately.

Start Early:  "Before I knew it the work had piled up so high I could never catch up."  Get reading your texts early.  Don't be fooled if it looks like review from high school:  make sure you know it better now than you did then, and get ready to move into the new stuff when it appears.

Work Hard:  "I never would have believed we'd be expected to do this much work!"  We expect a great deal from our students at U of T, both quality and quantity.  Get working hard and long from the beginning so that you can build up your powers of concentration and endurance.  Even if you don't succeed at it right away, when you need it later you'll be ready. 

Talk to Others:  "By the end of the year I knew people, but it took a while."  Exert yourself early to meet people and benefit throughout the whole year.  Introduce yourself to neighbours in your classes.  Join a study group.  Do talk to strangers:  that way they won't stay strangers.  Finding out your fellow students are encountering the same things you are can be reassuring.

Don't get Discouraged:  "I couldn't get it for a long time, then all of a sudden it was clear."  The learning curve in first year tends to have a couple of dips in it.  Keep working at it.

Seek Help:  "I wish I'd asked someone sooner."  If you are having academic or personal problems, ask for help.

Plan your New Life:  "I wish I'd tried out some of the things in first year that I did in later years."  Manage your study time and work hard, of course, but also plan some time for meeting people and trying out some new things.

Good luck!