What to Expect
When your student begins at UTSC, life will become very different for them. A self-directed learning schedule, new people and increased independence can make the first year an exciting time for students and those who care about them. We’ve provided some information to help you understand what your student will be experiencing during their first year.
The new learning environment may have students fluctuating between feelings of excitement and apprehension. Students will be enthusiastic about the opportunity to meet new people and try new things, while being challenged to orient themselves to the campus, adjust to their courses and the increase in academic work. Being away from family, friends and their home can also be very difficult for some students. Anxiety about meeting new friends and fitting in should also be expected.
Larger Class Sizes
One of the many advantages of UTSC is the smaller-than-normal class sizes. Class sizes range from 30 students in a lab to 500 students in a lecture hall. Students will have to adjust to listening to lectures in a larger setting and taking notes in a potentially new manner.
Adjusting to academic life at university presents challenges for students as the amount of reading and independent work significantly increases. Students must exhibit a great deal of initiative and self-discipline as work is no longer supervised by a teacher on a regular basis. Support and assistance is available from professors, teaching assistants and the Academic Advising & Career Centre.
Changes in Support Systems
The support network for each student will change. While some students may stay close to family, friends and services they have traditionally used, others may make new choices about whom they remain in contact with. There are a number of services and opportunities available for students to help them establish a new support network. Students should be encouraged to develop connections with classmates and peers, get to know their professors and teaching assistants, or meet with academic advisors, personal counselors or other professionals on campus if required.
Increased Freedom and Flexibility
A typical daily schedule at university differs much from high school. Studies are self-directed, meaning students are not assigned work on a daily/weekly basis and need to keep up with homework and readings on their own. This can be challenging for students, especially those who are used to the structure and accountability of the high school system. However, a variety of tools are available to help students adapt to the new academic environment, such as workshops and seminars organized by Teaching & Learning Services, and the Academic Advising & Career Centre.
New Independence, Ideas and Ways of Thinking
Students will be exposed to a variety of different cultures, religions, beliefs and schools of thought once they reach university. As a result, students may start to questions their own upbringing, adopt new beliefs or struggle with their key values and identity. It is important that students are given the freedom and the opportunity to explore, and parents and guardians should recognize that while significant changes may occur, students are likely to maintain the core values that they were taught.
*content provided by the Office of Student Affairs & Services