Academic Support

Academic Support

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At the Student Success Centre, we provide a number of academic services to help you build and improve on your skills.

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The library can help you manage information, including search strategies and resources.

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Every Faculty offers a different set of academic services. We recommend checking out your Faculty’s website!

SSC Academics

We’re here to support your success!

At the Student Success Centre (SSC), we provide a number of services to help you build and improve on your skills. Even if you’re an A+ student, you can benefit from learning new tips, tricks, and strategies for writing, reading, communicating, and managing your time!

Here’s what we offer:

Academic Skills Coach

Photo of students in a classroom

Coaching catered to your needs

Do you want to get a few quick resources for starting an essay or managing your time, but don’t want to book a full appointment to talk about it? Do you want to ask questions about some of the services that are available to you?

Come to the second floor of Mills Library and talk to an Academic Coach. Academic Coaches will be at the Info Desk in the SSC Lounge as well as the Learning Commons from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. You can drop-in and talk to them about your studies. Coaches might answer your question right away or they might help you book an appointment with one of our excellent services on-campus.

I definitely struggled with my transition to University. I began seeing an academic skills coach first semester and by the second semester, I was meeting my with my academic skills coach almost every week. After I started to visit academic coaches, I not only saw a huge increase in marks, but I felt more confident and less stressed.

McMaster University Student

Undergrad Writing Centre

Whether it’s a fully drafted assignment, essay outline, or even scrap pieces of notes that don’t fully make sense just yet, we offer writing assistance that can help you achieve your writing goals. Meet with one of our trained upper-year or graduate Writing and Academic Skills Tutor to speak about a writing assignment or your academic writing questions.

Tutors cannot proofread, edit, or write your work for you. They can, however, identify areas of improvement and teach you to correct your own work.

What You Need To Know

Services

Here are some of the ways our Writing and Academic Skills Tutors can meet your needs:

Brainstorming
Topic and thesis development
Constructing a strong argument
Essay organization and structure
Revising your first draft
Referencing and formatting
Clarity, word choice and sentence structure
Polishing your final draft

The Undergrad Writing Centre is located in the Learning Commons (Mills Library, second floor), L213H, L213D, and L213E.

Appointments are available starting mid-September. Register for your appointment on OSCARplus, under “Appointments.”

Appointment Guidelines

Appointments are 50 minutes in length. You can make up to ten appointments each semester.

What to Bring

A printed copy of your work
Your syllabus and instructions for the assignment, including a grading rubric if available
Specific goals for what you want to accomplish in your appointment
Ideas and questions about your writing

General Tips

  • Read and try to edit your own work before your appointment. We can give the most helpful feedback when you bring your best work.
  • Think about comments and feedback you have received in the past.
  • Be prepared to ask questions, participate, and take an active role in your appointment.
  • Manage your time: It is most helpful to see a Tutor at least one week before your assignment is due.
  • If your essay is due within one or two days, focus on specific areas to improve, not a general overview.
  • Know where you are in the writing process. First draft? Final draft? Still brainstorming?
  • If you have questions or concerns about the content, speak to your TA or instructor; content and accuracy are the student’s responsibility.

Academic Workshops

Photo of McMaster students in a classroom.

Develop your academic skills

Increase your confidence in your academic skills by taking part in one of our Academic Skills workshops. Through our workshops, we tackle note-taking, the writing process, study strategies, time management, and more so that you leave feeling more secure about the skills you need to succeed at university.

As a first year, it’s pretty hard to figure out the requirements and expectations of professors and TA's in terms of writing since high school often does not prepare students well enough to suit university expectations. In these times, writing assistants helped me understand how to write simply and clearly without fancying it up and still prepare a well-written academic paper.

McMaster University Student

English Language Support

Photo of a student in a lecture

Participate in the English Conversation Program

We know that joining a new community is sometimes hard when you are speaking in a second or third language. We want to help! We also want fluent English speakers on-campus to learn from you and your experiences. Everyone is here to learn.

Our programs are designed to bring people together so that we can foster a global mindset on campus!

Mentorship

Get connected with another student on-campus. If you’re an English language learner, you can build your conversation skills, and if you’re a fluent English speaker, you can benefit from discovering a totally different point of view.

Register on OSCARplus > Events > Special Events.

  • Meet for one hour each week
  • Bring material you want to discuss
  • Make friends and learn about new cultures
  • Attend social events

Conversation Circles

Would you prefer to practice your English in a group setting? Our Student Success Leaders (SSLs) will run conversation clubs for English language learners. These groups can range in size from 6-20 students.  Participants can show up without registering.

Debate Club

Like the Conversation Circles, Debate Clubs are designed to give you plenty of opportunities to speak English. In these sessions, the focus is on learning vocabulary for academic purposes, and forming arguments in conversation.

Appointments

Do you have a quick question about a word or phrase in English? Do you want to practice your conversation skills or learn common phrases for situations?

Make an appointment to talk to our team!  Appointments start in November. Email skills@mcmaster.ca for details.

Model. McMaster Office for the Development of English Language Learners.

A program for English Language Learners

Located in the basement of Thode Library, the McMaster Office for the Development of English Language Learners (MODEL) is a free service designed to help both undergraduate and graduate students who may be struggling with the English Language.

MODEL offers English-language training, workshops, and support to meet the needs of McMaster students of all academic backgrounds and levels of English language proficiency.

MODEL also has an on-site student advisor who is available to meet with students to discuss personal, social, and academic concerns.

A great thing was that the Speakeasy Program started in the beginning of the term, which allowed me to make my first Canadian friend outside the Chemical Engineering context. She helped me learn more about how things work at McMaster and taught me more about the Canadian culture.

McMaster University Student

Events

Late Night Study Sessions. Photo has a graphic of a moon and stars in a night sky.

Join us for a late night study sesh!

SSC Academics has late night study sessions at least twice per semester. At these sessions, we offer:

  • Quiet study spaces
  • Food
  • Support from Writing and Academic Skills Tutors

Students that have participated in our late night study sessions love having a new environment to work in, and they appreciate the change in pace.

Our next Late Night Study Session is February 13, 2019. Email skills@mcmaster.ca to find out more!

SSC Academic Skills Orientation: Online 

Have questions about University?

SSC Academic Skills Orientation: Online is a seven-week online program that supports you before your arrival for Welcome Week. Get tips and advice from fellow students to help you navigate a new academic environment. Join us from home as we discuss university academics through videos, short articles, and personal reflections, and learn about the skills you will need to be successful at McMaster.

This program is offered in July and August; the content is available all year.

Library Resources

Effective information management is an important skill, and the Library can help you master this! Check out these programs:

  • The Research Team: Librarians can help you with the following:
  • Honing your research question
  • Using search strategies and selecting databases
  • Choosing the best resources for your topic

Check out McMaster’s Library website!

Faculty Resources

Each Faculty offers a different set of services. Some departments have organized mentorship programs and workshops to address academic skills. Also, professors and TAs are a great resource when navigating course content, doing research, and improving your skills.

Get help with course material

Are you concerned about your first-year course demands? Don’t worry. McMaster has free and discounted academic services dedicated to your success.

Are you enrolled in a Level I or Level II chemistry course? Free tutoring is offered daily from the Chemistry Help Centre on a drop-in basis. The Chemistry Help Centre is located in ABB 142.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy provides free tutoring for students in first-year physics courses. This drop-in service is located in the basement of Thode Library.

The McMaster Peer Tutoring Network provides connections between students and peer tutors who have successfully completed the course. By subsidizing part of the tutoring fee and creating a central tutor database, the program makes it easier for students to improve their grades and get help with difficult concepts.

Plan your academic path with an academic advisor

Get the 101 on your program’s requirements, courses, and other course needs by speaking with an academic advisor from your Faculty. You can find more information on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

Always seek input from your Faculty’s Academic Advisors when selecting courses or considering program changes. Make an appointment whenever you need advice about managing your academic career!

GPA Conversion

Want to better understand your GPA? Check out the chart below. You can also ask your Faculty’s Academic Advisors for additional information about McMaster’s 12-point scale.

This chart is based on information provided through OMSAS and is intended to be used as a guide only. Contact the institutions you are interested in for an exact determination.

GPA Conversion Chart

Type

Numeric

Percentage

Alpha

12-Point

Scale

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

4.00

9

8

90-100

93-100

94-100

94-100

A+

A

A+

12

3.90

 

 

85-89

84-92

85-93

85-93

A

 

 

11

3.80

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A

 

3.70

8

7

80-84

75-83

80-84

80-84

A-

A-

 

10

3.30

7

6

77-79

72-74

75-79

75-79

B+

B+

B+

9

3.00

 

 

73-76

69-71

70-74

70-74

B

B

B

8

2.70

6

5

70-72

66-68

65-69

65-69

B-

B-

 

7

2.30

5

4

67-69

64-65

60-64

60-64

C+

C+

C+

6

2.00

 

 

63-66

62-63

55-59

55-59

C

C

C

5

1.70

4

3

60-62

60-61

50-54

 

C-

C-

 

4

1.30

 

2

57-59

56-59

 

 

D+

D+

D+

3

1.00

 

 

53-55

53-55

 

50-54

D

D

D

2

0.70

 

 

50-52

50-52

 

 

D-

D-

 

1

0.00

3

1

Less than 50

Less than 50

Less than 50

Less than 50

E/F

E/F

E/F

0

Legend

Acadia – 7 Lakehead – 3 Mt. St. Vincent – 7 Royal Roads – 7 Trinity Western – 7
Alberta – 7 Laurentian – 3 New Brunswick – 7 Ryerson – 7 UBC – 7
Athabasca – 7 Laval – 7 Nipissing – 3 Saskatchewan – 3 UOIT – 7
Bishop’s – 3 Lethbridge – 7 Northern BC – 7 Sherbrooke – 7 Victoria – 7
Brandon – 7 Manitoba – 9 Ottawa – 7 Simon Fraser – 7 Waterloo – 3,7
Brock – 3 McGill – 8 PEI – 3 St. Francis Xavier – 3 Western – 3
Calgary – 7 McMaster – 10 Quebec – 7 St. Mary’s – 7 Laurier – 7
Carleton – 7 Memorial – 6 Queen’s – 3 St. Thomas – 7 Windsor – 7
Concordia – 7 Moncton – 7 Queen’s Engineering – 4 Ste-Anne – 7 Winnipeg – 7
Dalhousie – 3,7 Montreal – 7 Regina – 3 Toronto – 3,7 York – 9
Guelph – 3 Mt. Allison – 7 RMC/CMR – 4,7 Trent – 3