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Have questions about starting university?

Monday, July 6–Friday, August 14

The Academic Skills Prep Series is a six-week online program that supports you before your arrival for Welcome Week. This series is open to all first-year undergraduate students at McMaster (all Faculties).

Get tips and advice from fellow students, staff and professors 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.

Each week will focus on a different theme:

  • July 6: Being a University Learner
  • July 13: Mastering Time Management
  • July 20: Note-taking in University
  • July 27: Reading Critically and Efficiently
  • August 3: Writing for Academic Purposes
  • August 10: Being an Online Learner

Did you miss a session? Don’t worry. Links to blogs and recordings are available in the Monday Blog, Wednesday Webinar and Feature Friday sections on this page.

Participate in weekly activities:

Our student staff member, Tory, will publish weekly blogs that include some of her advice as an upper-year student. Check back every Monday for the latest posts.

July 6: Being a University Learner

“Welcome to the first post of the Student Success Centre’s (SSC) Academic Skills teams Academic Skills Prep Series! Over the next six weeks, these weekly posts will highlight the skills you need to succeed as a university learner. But first, I’ll introduce myself. I’m Tory! I’m going into my fourth year of Arts & Science with a combination in Philosophy. This final year is going to be challenging but through my undergrad, I have gained skills that can guarantee my success. Outside of university, I love to cook, read, and spend time with my dog.”

July 13: Being Goal Oriented

“Welcome to Week two of the Academic Skills Prep Series! To start this week off, I wanted to get you thinking about how you will manage your time come September. University, and especially online classes, are going to test your time management skills, but with the right preparation, you can handle everything that the fall semester will bring. This week will focus on different aspects of time management and provide you with some advice on how to make sure that you stay on track.”

July 20: Note-taking in University

“In this post, I will guide you through some tips that can be used to help you effectively engage with lectures. I will also include suggestions for how to follow along with your instructors so that you can get the most out of lectures, as well as strategies for taking useful notes (by hand or digitally).”

July 27: Reading Critically and Efficiently

“This week, we are going to be focusing on reading. Throughout your time at Mac, your professors may choose to use course texts to supplement and support their lectures. While you may be familiar with textbooks, as they are used in many high schools, they take on a different role in university. Often times, depending on the subject area that you are studying, you may have to review many readings each week.”

August 4: Writing for Academic Purposes

“This week, we’re going to be thinking about how to communicate our ideas through writing. Regardless of your faculty, many classes have assignments that contain written components. Whether it be a lab report, an essay or a written assignment, writing is an extremely important skill, and this post is a great place to start building your confidence.”

August 10: Being an Online Learner

“Welcome to the final Monday Blog and the final week of the Academic Skills Prep Series! September is quickly approaching, and with it comes the beginning of classes. As many of you may know, the upcoming term is going to take place online. While this will likely be a new experience for many of you, know that the skills you have developed during in-person classes are going to help you be a successful online learner.”

We will have weekly webinars as part of this series. After each session, we will upload the recordings to this tab on the following Tuesday so you can view the webinars at a time that works for you.

Sessions will take place every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. (EST) and will include:

Note: First-year students gain access to OSCARplus on July 7

Follow @MacSSC Instagram stories on Thursdays with Tory to participate in weekly contests related to the different themes.

Share your perspective for a chance to win the grand prize!

Write a 250–300-word response sharing what you found interesting and new in the Academic Skills Prep Series. Did the series help you prepare for your first year? If so, how? Email your submission to skills@mcmaster.ca by 11:59 p.m. on August 12, 2020.

The grand prize is a $250 gift card to Best Buy, with a second and third prize of $100 and $50. All submissions from first-year McMaster students (undergraduate) will be entered into the draw. The winner will be announced and contacted on August 13, 2020.

Have questions about university expectations? Get answers, tips and helpful advice from a McMaster professor. We will upload the recordings to this tab on the following Thursday so you can view the sessions at a time that works for you.

Sessions will take place every Friday at 5:30 p.m. (EST) and will include:

Note: First-year students gain access to OSCARplus on July 7

Enter for a chance to win:

In addition to the student-to-student blog and the two webinars each week, we will also have weekly Instagram takeovers on the @MacSSC account from our student staff, a weekly Instagram prize and one grand prize to finish the series off right. The grand prize is a $250 gift card to Best Buy, with a second and third prize of $100 and $50. 

How to enter: Write a 250–300-word response sharing what you found interesting and new in the Academic Skills Prep Series and how it may help you prepare you for your first year of university. Email your submission to skills@mcmaster.ca by 11:59 p.m. on August 12, 2020.

This contest is only open to incoming first-year students.

Learn more about our Academic Skills services and programs.

Get started

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