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Top 7 tips for new math students

Friday, July 16, 2021

New students on campusYou’re a new student in the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. You applied and were accepted. Maybe you’ve picked your first-semester classes. Okay, what now? We’ve got you covered with the top seven tips for new math students.

  1. Pay attention to the details. As a new student, you’ll find there’s a lot of information coming at you. There are due dates and deadlines, program requirements, policies and regulations. It can be tough to keep track of everything. A helpful habit is to use a productivity and time management system to keep your work organized. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with your program’s details and read the relevant sections of the University Calendar. When you get your course outlines, take the time to carefully read through and understand all the requirements for the course. Details do matter.
  2. Get oriented. With so much happening for new students, you can sometimes feel a little lost. The University’s Waterloo Ready orientation is the go-to for all new students. There’s also a specific orientation for math students. Then, make sure to scope out the Faculty of Math Academic Advising Office. They can help you decide the direction you want to take and how to plan your degree program. And if you have any questions at all, you can always get in touch with the Math Undergraduate Office by sending an email to
  3. Know the resources available to you. Along with new student orientation and academic advising, the Faculty of Mathematics, and the University more broadly, has numerous resources in place for you. But sometimes new students wait until they need a particular service before learning what is available. It’s a good idea to review all the different resources and services for undergraduate students. Check out the listing of campus resources on the Faculty of Math website.
  4. Communication matters. All new math students need to take communications courses, and most programs require you to take a communications course in your first semester. But clear communication is essential for more than just essay writing. Make sure to craft your emails and communicate with your professors and fellow students professionally. If you need help with writing in your communications courses, be sure to visit the Writing and Communication Centre.
  5. Focus on health and wellness. Pursuing a degree in the Faculty of Mathematics requires dedication and perseverance. You’ll be spending lots of time studying! But to be at your most productive as a student, you need to foster habits that contribute to your health and well-being. Staying active, eating good food and getting enough sleep are all factors in student success. Along with keeping physically healthy, maintaining your mental health is just as important. The Faculty of Math and the entire University fosters a non-judgmental culture of openness and offers support for health and well-being through Campus Wellness.
  6. Get involved. Being a university student is not just about studying and doing research. It’s also about making connections with other students and being part of a community. As a new student, you should look to get involved in some of the organizations, societies and events taking place on campus. An excellent place to start is by visiting MathSoc, the student-led math society on campus. You should also check out the Faculty of Math resources for student life.
  7. Embrace innovation. The Faculty of Mathematics is all about pushing the boundaries of what is considered possible. That’s true for our researchers, our professors and our students. As a new student, you are now part of a community that purposefully sets out to make discoveries and break new ground. By joining our community, you are now part of a great project of innovation. We invite you to embrace innovation and realize your potential here in the Faculty of Mathematics!

By the Numbers is a weekly series that reflects on the lighter side of student life, research and innovation in the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. Stay tuned to this space for the next installment.

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