- What can I do to help someone transition to university?
- How can I help someone find the right services?
- How can I best support someone who has to juggle many responsibilities at university?
- What should someone do if they need accommodations due to a disability?
- Can I contact someone’s course instructors directly?
- What safety features are available on campus?
What can I do to help someone transition to university?
- Promote their independence: Be supportive and trusting and, above all, promote their independence, even though this means you will likely know less about their day-to-day activities. Independence is an important part of every student’s growth and university experience. Of course, you can still be available for support when they need it.
- Check in regularly: You can also check in regularly in a way that makes sense for both of you, whether you use phone calls, text messages, emails or apps. Your check-ins can be a way of gauging stress level – especially during exam periods, and how they are transitioning to university life.
- Ask how you can help: Asking the simple question “What can I do to help?” goes a long way.
- Encourage them to access supports and services: Finally, encourage students to take advantage of academic and personal supports and services that are available to them at university.
How can I help someone find the right services?
Universities encourage students to access the many academic and personal services available to them on campus. These services may include:
- essay-writing workshops,
- resumé-building sessions,
- counselling and
- access to medical care on campus.
Encourage them to take advantage of these services. You can also remind them to reach out to:
- staff at student services,
- other students,
- residence dons and
- professors or teaching assistants.
They can also reach out to staff at the Indigenous student centre at their university.
How can I best support someone who has to juggle many responsibilities at university?
Most of us understand the feeling of having too little time and too much to do. Encourage them to develop a way to stay organized that works for them – for example: Creating a schedule based on established priorities, including project deadlines, studying, exams, exercise, spending time with friends and visiting home.
Encourage them to review their course outlines and use them to organize their time. Students receive a course outline (also called a syllabus) for each class they are taking. It notes important contact information, due dates and course expectations.
It is the student’s responsibility to keep track of weekly readings, due dates and upcoming tasks. This means that proper planning – and help from peer mentors or academic support services – may help them design a plan to meet all their responsibilities and deadlines.
What should someone do if they need accommodations due to a disability?
If someone needs accommodations due to a disability, they should contact their university’s accessibility services office before the beginning of the school year.
Can I contact someone’s course instructors directly?
Most universities have confidentiality policies and students are expected to raise any issues or concerns directly with their professors or teaching assistants. All information disclosed by students to staff is confidential and will not be shared with family, other university staff or course instructors without the student’s written permission.
Rather than reaching out yourself, encourage the student to reach out to their university for guidance on any issues or challenges they experience. Guidance can come in the form of:
- Elders at the Indigenous student centre,
- academic advisors,
- counsellors at health services or
- staff at accessibility services.
What safety features are available on campus?
Ontario universities are dedicated to creating safe and secure environments for students, staff, faculty and visitors. Most universities have security policies and services on campus. These security measures may include:
- Campus security.
- Student volunteer programs, like foot patrol, which is a buddy system for students who may be walking alone on campus at night or leaving an evening class. Through this program, students can request foot patrol members to escort them anywhere on campus or to their homes (within a reasonable distance of campus).
- Emergency first responders who can quickly provide aid anywhere on campus. This program is often student-led. Students can contact the responders by phone or other emergency access points.
- Security cameras, emergency poles that include a bright blue light, and an emergency warning system that connects you directly to campus police, if needed.