Tips for a smooth Ont. university transition

Tips for a smooth Ont. university transition
Aug 18, 2022

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Almost 500,000 students were enrolled in Ontario university programs in 2021-22

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

It may be hard for some people to accept, but the summer is almost at its end.

The daytime high temperatures are lower, and the nights are cooler, signaling fall’s approach.

For students in Ontario, the end of August and beginning of September also means back to school – whether it’s elementary, high school, post-secondary or another form of education.

The buzz is in the air, said Jon Warland, associate dean of academic at the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph.

“I was talking about this the other day and it’s like an unstoppable bus heading towards a brick wall,” he told “The summer holidays are lovely but the excitement around back to school is electric as well.” connected with Warland for some tips for a successful transition to university this fall.

For many students, the fall 2022 semester may be the first time back in a physical classroom participating in in-person learning since COVID-19 interrupted recent school years.

Students should give themselves and others the time and space they need to adapt to what might seem like a new learning environment, Warland said.

“Last year we had some on-campus learning but there was still a lot of remote learning. This year it’s going to be almost exclusively in-person education,” he said. “Lots of people are going to be transitioning back to that style of learning, so I think students should have grace for themselves and others as everyone gets accustomed to the school year.”

It's also important for students to learn the campus, learn where resources are and to get comfortable asking for help, he added.

Once the schoolwork begins, first-year students should be ready for a larger workload compared to high school.

Time management is key to ensuring students can make time for each courseload, Warland said.

“We know students struggle with how much more work there is in university when they’re coming out of high school,” he said. “I encourage students to set aside two hours per week for each of their courses. It’s easier to do a little bit at a time than to have to cram everything in because that can become stressful.”

For students enrolled in ag programs at the University of Guelph, patience is key in the beginning.

The university’s courses are rooted in science, and while those items might be dry, they pay dividends in the long run, Warland said.

“Students are going to have to take first-year chemistry and math,” he said. “Those courses aren’t fun, but if they’re here to study agriculture, that foundation will help them in their future studies.”

One aspect of university life outside of schoolwork is campus life.

The University of Guelph has more than 20 student clubs and associations where students can network and get involved in the university and the greater community.

“Finding out what those clubs are and getting involved is a great way to make friends,” Warland said. “They also help your studies from the applied side of things because the clubs relate to what you’re learning about. The clubs are also great for volunteering opportunities and opening yourself up to professional development.”

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