Your guide to Living-Learning Communities

Bridging learning and living

Simply put, a Living-Learning Community (LLC) brings together first-year students from the same program or faculty to live together in residence and benefit from extra programming.

If a Living-Learning Community is available for your program and you opt to live there, most of the people around will be in the same program or faculty as you. There are several benefits to this, so if you’re interested, read on for a list of all the perks.


Editor's note:

For an update on Living-Learning Communities during COVID-19, visit Living-Learning Communities for incoming first-year students. 


Group of girls sharing a snack.

Learning-Living Communities are a mix of academic and social support for first-year students.

Meet people in your program

I lived in the Faculty of Environment LLC at St. Paul’s in first year and absolutely loved it. I always had other students from my classes in residence with me to ask questions regarding assignments or while studying for quizzes. It was an awesome way to meet other students in my faculty – and I knew many other students before classes even started.

The community allowed me to create and develop interpersonal skills that are important to my professional and personal life. I also made friendships that extend past the classroom.

Alex, first-year Accounting and Financial Management

Study buddies

Because you’re in the same program or faculty, taking the same classes, and living near one another, a lot of people in LLCs end up being assignment or study buddies. In my first year, my floor would do our statistics assignments together. Or if you needed help, you would just go out in the hallway and knock on anyone’s door. If we had any questions or needed any help, there was always someone around to bring forward a different perspective.

group of friends at maple syrup festival

There are always people around to hang out with. Here, three of my floor mates and I went to the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. 

Mentors with advice

Generally, students in a Living-Learning Community have access to an upper-year student mentor called a peer leader. Your peer leader is a great resource if you have questions about the program, classes, professors, and so much more. Even if you have questions that aren’t related to academics, they’re the ones to go to because not long ago, they were in your shoes!

A bunch of cool events

Speaking of mentors, they also organize events for their groups of students. My mentor organized a résumé-critique event, in which everyone got to have their résumés reviewed and eat free pizza, too! One of my friends who was in the Health Studies Living-Learning Community had her mentor organize study sessions and de-stress events before midterms, which gave them a lot of well-rounded support and comfort.

Overhead shot of a study group.

Easy access to tutoring

Residences offer tutoring services that are free and available for all Waterloo students, but services may not be available in the specific residence where you live. However, when living in an LLC, you know that academic support is right where you are.

I’m currently a residence life don in the Accounting and Financial Management LLC. My students never have to worry about it being too cold or rainy outside because tutoring is right in our residence. I recommend trying to study in the same room as tutoring because if you have any questions, there are people around to help you!

It’s amazing having tutoring so accessible. I can drop in whenever I want to, and the tutors are very supportive. The atmosphere there is great; it’s a judgement-free zone.

Amisha, first-year Accounting and Financial Management

Something new last year were the Science Academic Clusters. They are similar to Living-Learning Communities in that students from the Faculty of Science are placed together. While there aren’t dedicated mentors, students have access to all the academic support in the residences. Unlike LLCs, Science Academic Clusters are available in most residences! For Science students, it’s a little bit like having the best of both worlds.

I really valued living in a Living-Learning Community. It provided resources not just academically but socially as well – plus you can always meet people outside of your program.