Hello and welcome!
The first week of school can be a bit overwhelming, especially the first day of school. For me, what helped me to feel safe and prepared was to stay on top of any news and communication from the University. That way, I got enrolled in time, at least a couple of months before classes. Here are some useful tips to have a successful first week of school and a great semester.
Enrolled on time
If you start in the Fall semester, by the end of June and the beginning of July, the list of courses will be available for enrollment. If you start in the Winter semester between November and December the list would be published. Pay attention to the communications from the University to know which courses and which professors would be available for each semester.
Do some research
It is important that you enroll in courses that you like and that will be beneficial for your career, as well as satisfy your academic curiosity. The courses I took in my first semester were all amazing and related to my research. Therefore, it is important to review the biographies of the teachers from your department and their areas of interested.
And what happens if the courses you chose are not a perfect fit for you?
Nothing happens! In OISE we are able to surf courses the first two weeks of classes to make an informed decision. You can drop and add courses during this time. By the third week, you must be formally enrolled in all your courses.
What if I enrolled in too many courses and I want to withdraw after the third week of classes?
You can do it. Check with your department or with Registration Specialist to confirm the deadline to withdraw from a course without paying any fines. IMPORTANT. If you’re a full-time student, you must be enrolled in at least 2 courses per semester. DO NOT FORGET THIS. Students that mostly take 1 course are Part-Time students.
Save time! Review the syllabi and the requirements at PORTAL UofT. However, don’t worry if you don’t find anything, some professors do not work with Portal and give you the course’s information in the first class. But if you can work ahead, do it, it would be worth it. For example, it took me by surprise that in most of my classes teachers ask me to buy books. But, sometimes books may be out of our budget. Hence, it always helps to check if the material required is at University Libraries. Also, you can find some books in the Toronto Public Libraries. Accessing the city libraries is really easy. You only need an address in Toronto. The registration is free! Finally, you can always download books from the web or buy e-books, which are much cheaper.
Punctuality is very important. Sometimes a lot of people only go to the first class to see what the course is about and decide whether to enroll or not. Always arrive early to be able to sit wherever you want. And bring along drinks or snacks, some classes can last up to 3 hours.
Pay attention, ask questions, meet new people, listen. International students have a lot to say and share. Go ahead and be yourself!
In Spanish: La primera semana de clases