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FAQ

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We’re here to help

As you get ready for University, we know you’ll probably have a lot of questions. To make it easier, we’ve put together some of our most frequently asked questions regarding Welcome Week, MacPass and MacQuest.

Welcome Week

Welcome Week is designed to ease your transition to academic and campus life at McMaster University and to set you up for a successful first year in university.  The week includes an array of social, cultural, athletic and academic activities that showcase the range of services, supports, and opportunities available to undergraduate students.  Get engaged in university life and participate in events and programs designed to help connect you with your Faculty and professors, residence hall community or off-campus society, the Hamilton community and, most importantly, other students.

Orientation to a new place and new community helps you to begin developing the relationships to friends, mentors, faculty, and staff that will allow you to thrive – personally, academically, and socially – during your time at the University.

To be specific, Welcome Week accomplishes this orientation by helping students:

  • Make connections with people – staff, faculty, student leaders, peers – from whom first year students can seek advice and support
  • Feel they belong in their academic program, their faculty society, their living community, and amongst their peers
  • Start the year with an awareness of key offices and services where they can get involved, get advice, and get support
  • Know they have a right to and are supported in being physically and emotionally safe at university
  • Meet and connect with student leaders, who are positive role models

You can look forward to being introduced to long-standing McMaster traditions including the McMaster Welcome, Air Bands, and PJ Parade, participating in an expansive array of social, cultural and athletic activities, meeting University leaders, enjoying exclusive concerts, and having countless opportunities to meet new friends who share with you the same interests, faculty, program, and on- or off-campus community. In a nutshell, you can look forward to a whole lot of excitement.

#MacWW2019 takes place from Saturday, August 24 until Friday, August 30. Events begin at 10:00 a.m. the earliest and will wrap up around 11:00 p.m. Excepting meal times, it is typical for multiple programs and activities to be taking place simultaneously; however, Welcome Week Reps are available to help you decide when and where to participate.

Welcome Week activities are designed to establish connections between McMaster first year students; this means that no outside guests can attend McMaster’s programs and events during Welcome Week.

In 2012, students approved a mandatory First Year Orientation Fee dedicated to fund Welcome Week programming. On January 17, 2019, the provincial government announced the Student Choice Initiative (SCI), whereby only fees related to “essential services” determined by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and University can be considered mandatory. Most of Welcome Week’s programing is considered essential under the SCI’s definitions, with a mandatory First Year Orientation fee of $104.12, payable by level I students.

However, entertainment, clothing and community events within Welcome Week are not subsidized by the Orientation fee, pursuant to SCI. These initiatives, such as concerts, Air Bands, Faculty t-shirts and Monday Night Lights, are provided by the McMaster Students Union, in partnership with the Student Success Centre. This cost is reflected by a “non-essential services” First Year Orientation Fee of $19.54 plus HST for a total of $22.08 highlighted on your MOSIAC account in September 2019.

Learn more on the Registrar’s website.

We encourage you to attend the events and programs that you are most interested in throughout Welcome Week. A variety of programs and events have been developed to engage students and provide you with opportunities to make connections to the university and your peers.

For almost all Welcome Week events, all you need is your MacPass.

You will be notified by the event organizer if a Welcome Week event requires pre-registration.

Incoming students are invited to participate in these other events and programs:

  • The SSC Academics: Online program is a fully online program that helps students make the academic transition to university academic expectations.  The program includes videos, interviews and live chats, as well as blog posts written by faculty members, campus leaders and McMaster students. Themes and topics change weekly.
  • The Common Reading Program helps students connect their own experiences, their own experiences, and facets of university life. Receive a free book, participate in activities taking place throughout the fall semester, and meet the author at our on-campus events!
  • Clubsfest occurs twice every year. With over 300+ clubs available, Clubsfest is your opportunity to find out how to get involved on campus.
  • Collect cool posters and items for your residence by checking out our Sidewalk Sale.
  • More information about orientation after Welcome Week coming soon!

Leading up to Welcome Week, if you’re nervous about the transition, the Student Success Centre offers multiple academic sessions alongside the SSC Academics: Online. These workshops can help you prepare for your first classes and for university expectations. You can learn more about how to prepare on Student Success Centre website or by signing up for an academic session on OSCARplus.

There are no classes during Welcome Week, so we encourage you to use the time to get familiar with where your classes will take place. Programming related to academics is built into the Welcome Week schedule, particularly the SSC Academics: First Year Orientation sessions and your Faculty Day. You can also reach out to your own faculty reps to ask where things are, learn our campus secrets, and exchange stories about their first year experiences.

There are three events that are specific to your Faculty:

  • Faculty Day: A fun morning and afternoon dedicated to meeting people in your program and learning more about your Faculty.
  • Faculty Fest: A mini festival for to learn about involvement opportunities within your Faculty society with an integrated academic portion as well.
  • Faculty Night: A social with a unique location specific to your Faculty. Join to interact with students and reps from your Faculty in a fun setting.

They are our Welcome Week Reps: upper year students who have volunteered to help welcome and support you!

Regardless of where you live or of what faculty you are a part, Welcome Week Reps will be happy to answer your questions, point you in the right direction, and share their knowledge and insight about life at McMaster.

Welcome Week is designed to ease your transition to academic and campus life at McMaster University and to set you up for a successful first year in university.  The week includes an array of social, cultural, athletic and academic activities that showcase the range of services, supports, and opportunities available to undergraduate students.  Get engaged in university life and participate in events and programs designed to help connect you with your Faculty and professors, residence hall community or off-campus society, the Hamilton community and, most importantly, other students.

McMaster is a welcoming and inclusive environment and composed of a diverse range of students, staff, and faculty. With over 100 Welcome Week events of varying size and scope, we aim to have something for everyone and to help bring students together.

Welcome Week Reps and Community Advisors are selected and trained to draw connections between you and your peers; these student leaders are also aware that some first year students will be energized by Welcome Week activities, while others will at times feel drained – both of which are completely normal responses given the programming offered during #MacWW2019.

While it may take more than a week to find and develop the inevitable friendships that will last a lifetime, the vast majority of students who participate in Welcome Week begin the academic year indicating a sense of belonging at McMaster.

Finally, Welcome Week programming is focusing on three core commitments to ensure our community remains safe and inclusive: promoting mental health and mental wellness; preventing and responding to gender-based violence; and encouraging responsible drinking. You can read more about these commitments on our strategic priorities page.