Living@Guelph - Choose Your Own Adventure Living
The Learning Commons
By Maryann Kope

What You Need to Succeed
Most first-year students come to university with a record of outstanding academic achievement in high school. However, many high-achieving students have told us that they were able to obtain good marks in high school by doing an inconsistent - at times even minimal - amount of work. As a result, they simply haven't needed to develop many of the learning or time management skills necessary to succeed in university courses. An increasing number of entering students have not written analytical or critical essays. And though most have used the Web, they lack experience in integrating Web materials with a range of library resources, and in using the computer as an academic tool.

So, while good marks in high school got you into university, they may not be enough to ensure the same level of achievement while you're here. There is a fundamental difference in the type of learning that is required in university compared to high school, and the level of independence and self-motivation that is expected. A drop in marks in first year is common, and many students are concerned about the subsequent risk to their scholarships and plans for graduate or professional school. Others wonder about their ability to balance academics with part-time work and/or extra-curricular activities and still meet their goals. And every student worries about how the investment of thousands of dollars in a university education will pay off.

It's common for those who did well in high school to start university with the assumption that they will adapt to the university learning environment successfully on their own. Certainly many do so, but others find that they can save considerable time and stress (not to mention marks) by accessing information and advice from the experts in the Learning Commons. We have what you need to succeed at university, and are committed to helping students to become independent and strategic learners. This fall we're offering a number of ways for you to hone the academic skills you'll need to study, manage the workload, write, do research, and use technology effectively at Guelph:

Informative Programs

  • seminars and non-credit courses, specifically designed for entering students, on studying, time management, writing, library research, and technology

    Publications and Award-Winning Web Resources

  • the famous (and free) Fastfacts handouts
  • the University Learning and Academic Writing series of booklets
  • an extensive Web site chock full of information:
  • a free Web-based workshop on time management:

    Advice and Assistance in two formats:

  • free individual assistance with study issues, time management or academic writing is available by appointment with our Peer Helpers (academically successful senior students who have received specialized training ) or professional staff

  • course-specific assistance is provided by the Supported Learning Groups (SLG) program, which offers regular, small-group study sessions in historically difficult courses, lead by senior students. Listen for announcements by SLG Leaders in your first classes or see this Website for a list of courses which offer SLG sessions this fall:

    Learning with Technology

  • individual assistance with using technology effectively for learning, writing, and research is available in the Library's Forster Room Multimedia Computer Lab. The Help Desk in the lab is staffed by Student Technology Consultants, who also provide free individual assistance and software training by appointment. See the Forster Room Web site for details:

    Surf our Web sites, call, e-mail, or visit the Learning Commons for more information on how we can assist with what you need to succeed at Guelph.

    The Learning Commons
    1st floor, Library
    Ext. 53632
    Web Site: