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What to Expect When You Start University

Heading to university? Here’s a list of things to expect when you take this exciting life step.

(I recently interviewed some students who are headed back for second year.  These are their comments for you, future frosh:)


  • more independence.

  • tons of reading — more than you can imagine!

  • more homework.

  • no tutor / professor followup.

  • optional attendance: it’s up to you to go to class, and it will be tempting to skip.

  • more distractions.

  • it’s harder to stand out: you may be a “small fish in a big pond” for the first time in your school life.

  • there’s a feeling  of anonymity in the large classes.

  • no constraints in your life: no curfew! no rules!  


  • more independence.

  • fewer assignments per class per term / semester.

  • you’re an adult now, free to make your own decisions about your life.

  • there’s a large and interesting course selection.ample opportunities to meet new friends.

  • social events and opportunities are abundant.

  • school day and classes may be shorter.

  • in your courses / program, you likely will meet “birds of a feather,” like-minded peers.

  • it’s harder to stand out: you may be a “small fish in a big pond” for the first time in your schooling.

  • there’s a feeling in class of anonymity.

  • no constraints in your life: no curfew! no rules!


  • class sizes vary

  • class formats vary

  • teaching styles of instructors and professors vary

  • you need to think critically

  • you need to push yourself and take initiative.


  • Whatever you do, make sure you do the following:

  • put yourself “out there.”pace yourself.

  • know there will be changes in your life in many ways.

  • be prepared for bumps. They are inevitable!

  • ask for help when needed, from teachers, peers, and parents.

  • don’t be afraid to mess up / fail. Just get up and try again.

  • be aware of and seek support when you need it: from your residence don, tutors/instructors/professors, student services counsellors, student health professionals.

  • ASK FOR HELP AND SUPPORT WHEN YOU NEED IT. You will need it.  And that’s ok.

Have fun and enjoy this amazing time of life. Your university experience will be what you make it!

Best wishes for a smooth transition and start!


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