10 Tips for Using the Summer Before First Year Wisely

Image by Hermann, pixabay.com

Image by Hermann, pixabay.com

So you’re off for two months, and then university. What are you supposed to do in the meantime? Though it seems like a whole two months away, your summer will (sadly) fly by faster that you’d think. Here are 10 tips that can help you make the most of it and prepare for your first year at university!

1. Review your grade 11 and 12 material
Many programs, especially life sciences or engineering, are based heavily on prerequisites that you took in high school. Reviewing chemistry, physics and math will put you at an advantage when it comes to your first year classes.

2. Buy your textbooks
If you know your schedule, search around online for some old syllabi and start buying your textbooks. It’s better to buy used, as you save money and may get some notes out of it, so join university textbook exchange groups, look at the school’s bookstore for used copies, and start buying early! The later you wait, the harder it is to find students with copies of the books that you may need.

3. Scope out the campus
If you have some free time, take a trip down to your campus and take a tour! You can use this time to check out some good study spots, food places, gyms, as well as find out where your registrar is. This way you won’t be stressed out when finding where to go on your first day!

4. Layout your room
If you aren’t sure what you’ll need to take with you to university, try getting a layout of the dorm rooms, and plan out your space. Then make a list of the things that you’ll need and start shopping!

5. Find friends
Making friends in first year will define your first year experience. Try joining ‘accepted’ Facebook groups, keeping an eye out for those who are in your dormitory. Then strike up a conversation and meet up with them during Frosh week! This can also work when looking for study buddies – try posting your class schedule and finding those who are in your class. Now if you’re ever sick, you have someone to get notes from!

6. Research Resources
Most universities offer crazy amounts of resources for their students – whether they be workshops, skills training, or essay help, look into what your school offers so you know what to make use of in your first year. Knowing that you can get essay or math help for your classes can definitely help boost your grades!

7. Look up your profs
Searching for prof ratings before your classes can help give you a sense of how the class is going to be. Sites like www.ratemyprof.com give ratings about how much you’ll need your textbook, how much is weighted on lectures, etc., which can be helpful advice for your classes. If reviews are negative, fear not! If you find out ahead of time you can try and switch profs – or just learn what makes them tick. Once you find your profs, try emailing them to get to know them! Then during the year, they can put a face to a name, which can make it easier for you to ask questions and get help. This will definitely set you apart from other students in your program!

8. Join clubs
Getting involved in your school in first year is a must! It’ll help you get out there and experience what your university has in store for you. Look up some school clubs that you may like to join, and try emailing them if you have any questions. Clubs look great on your resume and will help give you a break from classes.

9. Search for jobs
Moving to a new town for university? You may want to consider looking at businesses in the area, or town or university specific job boards to find a position. You can even try emailing different professors asking if they have any research opportunities available. Finding a job will definitely help make sure you have money throughout the year, look great on a resume, and help you create a support system in your new home!

10. Find fun hotspots
University, if anything, should be a learning experience! Look up fun things that you would like to try with your friends, as well as any food places, clubs and festivals that take place in your university area. Always wanted to try kickboxing? See if a gym nearby offers it – then take your new friend from tip 5 to try it out!

Be safe, have fun and be prepared for your new year of university! 🙂