Students studying together in Arts Quad.

Naomi Written by Naomi (she/her), student

Make the most of your university experience and discover your full potential with these supports and resources designed to help you thrive.

Starting your university journey can be both exciting and overwhelming, but don't worry, we've got your back. We want to make sure you know that there are plenty of supports available to help you navigate this new chapter of your life. From career advice to academic supports, to mental health support, and even free fitness facilities, we're here to ensure you have everything you need to thrive!


Transitioning into university life

So, you want to be a Warrior? Get ready with these resources that help you navigate your first year such as insider tips, key details, and additional supports.

It can be a big leap from high school to university — consider Waterloo Ready your parachute. This program is designed to help you successfully navigate your first year, giving you the opportunity to connect with other students, learn insider tips, and access resources before you even start at the University of Waterloo! By completing Waterloo Ready, you'll have the tools to get familiar with the learning experiences offered at Waterloo and explore faculty-specific information. There are also weekly email updates with all the key details you need, and parent newsletters. With Waterloo Ready, you'll be well-prepared to be a Warrior!

King Warior with two students

The next step of transitioning into university life is attending Orientation week. This week-long program is your chance to connect with your new classmates, explore unique traditions of Waterloo and your faculty, and learn what it means to be a Waterloo Warrior. It’s also a great way to get to know the services, resources, and opportunities Waterloo has to offer, and fully immerse yourself in the vibrant community!


Academic tips and resources for success

Worried about getting good grades or succeeding in your program? Find out more about the learning strategies available to you, what your academic advisors can do for you, and where you can get some academic advice.

Academic success is a top priority at Waterloo, and support is always available for your if you need it. If you're struggling in your classes, your professors and teaching assistants (TAs) are always available during their posted office hours to help answer any questions and keep you on track. Beyond the classroom, there are lots of resources available to help you succeed.

Student Success Office (SSO)

The SSO has your back when it comes to your academic development. They've got tons of supports like online learning tools, workshops, and peer success coaching appointments. These appointments are perfect for working one-on-one with a coach to create a plan and explore new learning strategies that can help you reach your academic goals.

Writing and Communication Centre (WCC)

The WCC is an amazing resource for anyone who needs help with assignments. From brainstorming to revision, they provide support in any discipline and at any stage. They've even got email tutoring services for those days when you’re on a tight deadline and can’t book an appointment in-person, or just don’t feel like leaving your room.

 

Warrior Study Hall

Prefer studying in a group setting? Warrior Study Hall is the place to be! You can work independently or with others, and you’ll be supported by a peer success coach who provides weekly academic tips and strategies, helps you set and meet study goals, and answers any questions you may have.

Drop-in tutoring

Campus Housing drop-in tutoring is available for all University of Waterloo students. The drop-in tutoring program provides you with a welcoming environment where you can receive support and are encouraged to develop your academic skills.

 
 

Students studying together

Conquering exam season

Make sure you're fully prepared for exams and check out our study tips for exams and tests and the Warriors exam checklist. These will help you stay organized and tackle the stress of preparing for finals and make sure you're prepared to ace those tests. If you've had challenges with exams in the past or need testing accommodations, AccessAbility Services is also here to support you. Their academic accommodations cater to a diverse range of conditions that may impact your learning, including temporary or permanent disabilities, chronic or disabling illnesses, and psychological or emotional effects of trauma. Their services ensure that you can participate and succeed in your education.

Who are your academic advisors?

Your academic advisors are your go-to guides for planning your degree. Whether you want to change or drop courses, are unsure of what classes to enrol in, or want to switch programs, they’re there to support you. They're also an excellent resource for maximizing your degree, especially if you're adding minors, specializations, or diplomas. With so many options, things can get confusing, but your advisors can help you navigate through it all. They'll even let you know if you're on track to graduate and what steps you need to take if you're not.

I’ve reached out to multiple academic advisors in the past while switching programs and they’ve all gone above and beyond to address my concerns and accelerate my future successes. I would have missed out on a great number of academic opportunities; they’ve helped me get back on track with my academics by engaging with me to create plans for the future and promoting faculty resources.

DOlivera (she/her), third-year Environment, Resources & Sustainability student

Residence supports

Live on campus with the support of resident life dons and access to quiet study spaces, all while being surrounded by a community of fellow students striving for success!

Living in residence is an amazing way to spend your first year as a university student. Despite knowing that, you might still be nervous about being away from home for the first time — that’s completely normal! Campus Housing has supports in place to make sure everyone has a great experience living on campus and to help you transition to your new life and routines at Waterloo.

Student and residence don talking together.

Each residence has a team of resident life dons who are upper-year students with first-hand experiences of university life. Dons are trained in emergency first aid and mental health crisis response, so they can support you in any situation. Whether you need help settling into campus life, need emergency assistance for yourself or a friend, or simply want to meet new people, your don is available. You can find them at events, email them, or even just knock on their door, which will likely be on your floor. They're there to support you through the highs and lows of university life.

Aside from your dons, there are resources in place to help you thrive not just personally, but academically too! Conveniently located around residences are study spaces, and during exam periods, quiet hours are extended to 23-hours per day in each building, so you can focus without any distractions.

I love being able to help first year students move in and watch them grow. A lot of the time it’s about giving students the resources they need and helping them navigate things. I think it’s also about checking in with students. Some people just need to cry or rant or scream or leave their room and not think about school. I keep my door open and let them come in and have that safe space where they can just be themselves.

Isabella (she/her), don and third-year Rhetoric, Media & Professional Communication student

Career guidance

Worried about preparing for co-op or upcoming interviews? Don’t have a résumé and not sure where to start? Here’s how we help you launch your career with confidence.

At the Centre for Career Development (CCD), you’ll find skilled career advisors who are ready to support you with career planning, graduate school preparation, job hunting, helping you establish achievable career goals, and more. CCA also offers virtual and in-person career appointments and consultations, and same-day drop-ins for help with résumés, cover letters, and interviews.

If you're interested in co-op and nervous about the process, don’t worry! All throughout your co-op journey, you'll be enrolled in Professional Development courses to enhance your career readiness. You’ll learn how to build a résumé, cover letter, and interview successfully, and develop important skills that employers deem most valuable. Plus, your co-op advisors can help you in your search for your first co-op experience and offer advice on career-related topics.


Health and wellness resources

We know that life can be challenging, which is why we offer access to professional medical care, counselling services, and free fitness facilities to help you stay healthy and manage your stress.

Taking care of your well-being should always be your top priority, and Waterloo provides numerous resources to support your health and wellness. The Student Medical Clinic is one of the many ways you can access professional primary medical care, while the student medical insurance plan provides extended health care coverage for essential services that may not be covered by your basic health plan. Plus, with the Counselling Services team, you can access psychologists, registered social workers, and counsellors. You can also schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist in the Mental Health Office with a referral from a Health Services physician. Whether you prefer one-on-one therapy or group therapy and workshops, there are services and courses to equip you with the skills to cope with life’s challenges.

Friends working out together

Staying active is also an essential part of maintaining your health, and Waterloo offers several fitness facilities on campus that are completely free to use. Whether you prefer working out in the gym, swimming in the pool, or playing games on Warrior field, there are numerous ways to stay active and healthy.

The upgrades to the PAC gym are fantastic. I work out a lot in the Warrior Zone on the second floor and having high-quality student spaces for exercise goes a long way towards reducing stress.

Eli (he/him), fourth-year Computer Engineering student

Waterloo also has open rec opportunities every term, such as volleyball, badminton, basketball, swimming, and more! No registration required, just show up, tap your WatCard, and play. There are intramurals too, and lots of recreational ways to get involved in team sport opportunities. Eli has also played intramural soccer in the field house for several winter terms and says, "it's by far my favourite student space. We're incredibly fortunate to be one of Canada's few universities with a field house."


Everything you need to succeed

Starting university is a major milestone, and while it can be daunting, the range of resources and supports available at Waterloo are designed to ensure that you succeed both academically and personally. So, take advantage of all that Waterloo has to offer, and make the most of your university experience!


 
 
 

Related articles