By: Jenna Storey
Here’s what you can do now to start strong in September
People have probably told you that the transition to university can be difficult. There are higher expectations, an increased workload and new responsibilities to balance. Teachers and professors know that some incoming first-year students may have learning gaps in literacy, writing and numeracy, and that they may struggle with time management and other skills. They also know that students sometimes have difficulty asking for support — or they do so too late.
Asking for help early is key to success in university. Regardless of learning ability, all students should take advantage of campus supports. Our team of dedicated academic skills professionals at the Student Success Centre (SSC) has curated a list of what you can do this summer to prepare for success in the fall.
Register for summer prep programs to advance your academic skills
- The Academic Skills Prep Series (July 12–29) and Summer Writing Program (July 19–30) are two
free programs for first-year undergraduate students that will help you develop your skills over the summer.
- Check out your Faculty to find out if they offer content-specific programs that review key material
you’ll need to know.
Research what resources your Faculty can provide
- All instructors have office hours during the term. These times are set aside for students to ask
questions, review assignments and get to know instructors.
- Faculties often have tutoring centres that offer extra course support.
Favourite or bookmark academic skills, wellness and academic accommodations resources
- SSC Academic Skills
- McMaster Library
- Student Wellness Centre (SWC)
- Student Accessibility Services (SAS)
- Archway Program
Reflect on your strengths and areas where you might need improvement
- Am I an active studier? Do I engage with content, make connections between materials and test myself? Or do I rely on memorization and highlighting?
- What is my note-taking method? Can I identify the most important information?
- Am I prepared for the increased expectations of university-level writing assignments?
- Can I manage my time and prioritize tasks?
If you’re unsure which skills you need to improve, take the Learning Skills Inventory. Use this tool to find out if you’re on track to succeed at university based on your skills and habits.
Check out student society groups in your Faculty
Many Faculties and programs offer special events and programs hosted by current students that offer mentorship and networking opportunities.
Follow different campus resources on social media
- Student Success Centre: @MacSSC
- McMaster University: @McMasterU
- Student Wellness Centre: @McMasterSWC
- Student Accessibility Services: @SASMacU
Find clubs you might want to join
Visit the McMaster Students Union (MSU) clubs directory to discover more than 300 clubs.
Take a campus tour
You can take a tour virtually. Learn more and book a tour on the Future McMaster website.
Get ready for a great adventure!
Remember, your university experience is what you make of it. Get involved, explore your options and don’t feel afraid to ask for help. The entire McMaster community is here to support you.
We recommend you save this information to help you prepare for the fall
Use the “favourite this page” feature at the top of the page to add it to your SSC favourites. Then, the next time you visit the home page, you’ll find a section that includes all the pages you favourited.
Or, you can download this resource as an accessible PDF.
How to succeed in your first six weeks
Read this post for more guidance on how to succeed in your first six weeks of university. Then, download the resource to keep track of your progress.