5 ways to start the term off on the right foot

Faculty of Engineering
Student life

By your Engineering Mentors

Engineering mentoring centre (STE 1030), Faculty of Engineering

Students walking on campus
Are you starting university this year? Your mentors at the Engineering and Computer Science Mentoring Centre have put together a list to help you start your first term off on the right foot.

1. Choose your classes wisely

Check your official course sequence to see which classes you’re supposed to take. It’s easier to stay on schedule than to get back on track if you miss a course or take the wrong one.  

If you’re already off sequence or want to take fewer than the suggested number of courses, contact the academic advisers at the Faculty of Engineering to help you set up a new course sequence. They know which courses are prerequisites, so they can minimize the disruption to your schedule.  

It’s best to choose your courses for both the Fall and Winter terms in late spring or early summer, once enrolment for your year has opened. If you have any issues with enrolment, contact the Engineering Undergraduate Studies Office early — they’re much busier once the term starts! 

2. Make a schedule

At the beginning of the term, once you have your classes and their components confirmed, make a weekly schedule. List all your commitments: school, work, clubs, study groups. Then add time in the schedule for your study sessions. Make sure you leave time for yourself (sleep, exercise and cooking) so you can maintain your physical and mental health. On the social side, I also recommend joining a student club or a competitive team so you can meet some friends at the Faculty! 

3. Make a calendar

This is different from your schedule: your schedule is weekly, but you calendar is for the whole term. Look through all your syllabi and write down all your due dates, midterms and other important academic dates and deadlines for the term. This will help you get an idea of when you’ll be most busy. Once you make your calendar, ask yourself, What work can I get started on now to reduce my workload later? 

4. Track your grades 

This is one of my favourite tools to succeed in my courses. You can use Excel or Google Sheets and set up a way to record your grades throughout the term. I set it up so that it automatically calculates my average as I record my grades. I like this tool because it gives me continuous feedback on how I’m doing — I can see which courses I’m doing well in and which ones I need to spend more time on. 

5. Stick to it

If you follow these suggestions, you’re taking the right steps to succeed. The important part is not just setting up these tools but using them throughout the term. Stick to the schedule you make. If it says personal study time between classes from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, make sure you study, and avoid being distracted and hanging out with friends. Check your calendar weekly to ensure you stay on top of your work. As you receive grades, add them to your grade tracker.  

Make sure to take a look at the engineering orientation page before the year starts! And don’t forget: If you need help getting your term on track, feel free to stop by the Engineering Mentoring Centre and we’ll be happy to help. Good luck with your courses!