Resources for Second Year Students
The University of Guelph offers supports and opportunities for students living both on-campus and off-campus.
Most upper-year students rent off-campus housing in the city of Guelph. If you haven’t yet explored living off-campus, the Off-Campus Living (OCL) team is here to help you.
Off-Campus Living is happy to connect about next steps and what to consider, including rental websites and tips on how to find roommates. Email them at email@example.com or book a meeting with the Off-Campus Living Advisor here.
Some students choose to commute from a nearby city or town by public transit or personal vehicle. If you're thinking about commuting or making trips outside of Guelph you can check out the Travel and Transportation page or email firstname.lastname@example.org for planning support. For trips within Guelph, your student card acts as a bus pass for Guelph transit. This means that you don't have to pay when you use the bus since it's already included in your tuition - just tap and go!
If you will be using a personal vehicle to get to campus, you can find information about costs and where you can park on campus on the Campus Parking Services website.
Due to the high demand from new incoming first-year students, Student Housing is unable to guarantee housing for returning upper-year students currently. Upper year students will be placed on a waiting list. When all first-year students who have met the June 1 deadline have been assigned, residence placements will be offered to upper year students on the waiting list using a lottery system.
Navigating Campus & Guelph
Navigating campus for the first time can be challenging but don't worry, you'll learn your way around soon enough. Check out the campus map, and if you don’t know what all the abbreviations mean, you can look them up on this building abbreviations list. Students also often use the website ClassFind to look up the building and room they have class in and to get a visual walk-through of how to get there!
Overcoming Setbacks from Your First Year
Whether you're learning online or in-person, the jump from first to second year can feel overwhelming. Perhaps your first year didn't go according to plan, or maybe you're feeling nervous about what the next year will bring. These feelings are completely normal, and a key part of university is learning how to overcome setbacks. No matter how you're feeling about this transition, we are here to provide you with support and resources!
Resilience is one’s ability to positively cope with stress and to bounce back to a previous state of functioning. Resilience is not a fixed state. Most importantly, resilience can be learned, practiced and strengthened through working through challenges. Students who develop their resilience are better able to meet their academic and personal demands, are proactive rather than reactive, know when to take a break, and aren’t afraid to reach out for help.
We encourage you to check out the following materials and use what you find helpful. Note that these links aren’t meant to replace consultation with a trained professional. It's merely here to supplement.
- Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability – discusses how to live a meaningful and engaged life
- Andrew Solomon – How the Worst Moments in Our Lives Make Us Who We Are
- Kelly McGonigal - How to Make Stress Your Friend – TED talk
- Guy Winch - Emotional Hygiene - TEDx Talk
- Angela Lee Duckworth - The Key to Success is Grit - TED Talk
- Shawn Achor - The Happy Secret to Better Work - TED talk
- Nick Vujicic – No Arms No Legs No Worries – a motivational speaker living with no limbs, describes his journey to gaining a real appreciation for life even through his limitations.
- The Future is Ours – Be Inspired
Looking for additional support/resources? Check out Student Wellness Services.
Health & Wellbeing
University is a learning experience - not just academically - and the University is here to support you with these transitions. U of G’s Wellness Services has many resources to support you, including during the summer, as you transition into second year and beyond:
- Student Nutrition Awareness Program (SNAP)
- Counselling Services
- Counselling for Students of Colour
- Student Support Network: Peer-to-peer support that operates only during the Fall and Winter semesters
- Health Services: Provides clinical care for students. Includes physician, dietician, and nursing services as well as self-care resources.
- Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Support and Education
- Wellness Education & Promotion Centre: Provides resources about health and well-being, interactive programming, and peer-to-peer wellness education and support.
- Student Accessibility Services (SAS): Helps students who experience disabilities with full and equitable participation in academic life
There are also Student Experience Advisors who can assist you in getting the help you need. Appointments can be booked with the Cultural Diversity Advisor, Indigenous Student Advisor, International Student Advisors, or Sexual and Gender Diversity Advisor. Book a meeting with an advisor here.
It takes time to adapt and integrate into a new culture, especially for international students who move away from a familiar culture in your home country. It's a completely normal phenomenon, and it is experienced by all international students at some point and in some form during their stay in a new country. If you're having difficulties or just want someone to talk to, you are encouraged to connect with one of the International Student Advisors.
There are two health insurance plans available to University of Guelph international students and their families: the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) and the Student Benefit Plan. The UHIP fee is compulsory, and it is charged as part of your tuition and fees which can be viewed on WebAdvisor. See the most current rates on the Student Financial Services website.
You can learn more about health insurance as an international student here.
Keep.meSAFE provides University of Guelph International students with real-time and appointment-based confidential support, anytime of the day or night from anywhere in the world! Get matched with a counsellor that speaks your language, is from your culture, or has a shared experience at no cost to you. Real-time support is available via telephone, chat, or in-person.
The My SSP app helps international students by providing 24/7 access to a wide variety of multilingual self-help resources, articles, and a student support advisor. My SSP is free on Google Play and the App Store.
No matter where you find yourself this year – on-campus or off-campus – Gryphon Athletics remains committed to delivering innovative programs, services and experiences that promote and advance sport, physical, social and emotional health and wellness.
Gryphon Fitness On-Demand: Provides a library of Gryphon Instructors teaching some of your favourite classes. Access is free to current U of G Students. Use your single sign-on credentials to gain access.
U of G offers resources to help you learn about everything related to finances, jobs, and how you approach money as a student. To help students plan their finances, Student Financial Services has created a Student Financial Success Guide.
If you’re a second-year student living away from home, you may have new things to budget for, such as groceries, transit, rent, parking, school supplies, and gas.
Student Financial Services has a whole webpage dedicated to helping students budget. Visit their website for tips and resources about budgeting.
For help building your budget, try out the Budget Planner tool from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
Here are some budgeting tips from upper year students:
- An easy way to cut your expenses is by buying used textbooks and course materials when possible
- Looking to make an extra bit of cash? Both the Campus Bookstore and the Co-op Bookstore have a textbook buyback program where you can sell textbooks that are in good condition back to the University!
- Loose leaf or online PDF versions of textbooks are cheaper
- Many stores offer discounts for University of Guelph students, so be on the look out!
- Make a list when shopping for groceries and stick to it! Find a friend to share the cost of bulk items and don't shop at expensive stores
- Enjoy free activities on campus and in the community; this is a great way to meet other students at a lower cost!
If something unexpected happens with finances at any time during school, reach out to Student Financial Services for help.
Things to keep in mind for OSAP:
- You need to start a new OSAP application for each funding year. (The OSAP funding year starts with the fall semester)
- If you received OSAP in first year and do not wish to have OSAP for second year, but are a full-time student, you should complete an online Continuation of Interest-Free Status (CIFS) form through the OSAP website.
- Check out the OSAP FAQs for more information
If you are looking for employment on campus, Experience Guelph is a great resource that allows students to search for jobs on and off campus and submit applications directly through the portal. Some departments also list their employment opportunities directly through their websites such as the CSA and Brass Taps (the Campus pub). So, keep an eye out on departmental websites as well!
Part-time positions are also available through the Work Study Program for students who demonstrate financial need and are taking at least 1.5 credits. To determine your eligibility for the program, you will need to submit a Financial Need Assessment form, which will be available in mid-August. For more information on eligibility and the application process, visit the Work Study section of the Student Financial Services website.
Want to spruce up your cover letter and resume? Looking to improve your interview skills? Career Services offers free appointments with Peer Helpers and Career Advisors that can go over your cover letter and resume with you, help you prepare for an upcoming interview, or even learn how to approach faculty members to ask for references.
The Immigration Information webpage highlights which documents and permits are needed when working in Canada. New international students who have been awarded an International Undergraduate Entrance Scholarship are eligible to receive a renewal amount of $4,000 for each of their second, third and fourth years of study as long as they meet all renewal criteria each year. Read more about International Undergraduate Entrance Scholarships.
Many students rely on financial aid to fund their education. You can find a list here of external bursaries, scholarships and scholarship portals, some of which are particularly geared towards Black and racialized students (both undergraduate and graduate).
First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Students who demonstrate financial need can receive up to $3,500 through the Indigenous Student Bursary. To apply, submit the Indigenous Student Bursary application form and the Financial Need Assessment form to Student Financial Services by the deadline The forms are available on the Student Financial Services Forms and Documents page. If you are looking for more support, you can connect with the Indigenous Student Advisor or with the staff in Student Financial Services for more information about additional financial aid offered through the University of Guelph.
If you find yourself in a unique or challenging financial situation, whether because of your sexual or gender identity or another barrier in your life, we have supports for you. You can connect with the Sexual and Gender Diversity Advisor, and there are staff at Student Financial Services that can assist with OSAP, bursaries, emergency financial assistance, budget counselling, and much more.
At the University of Guelph, we believe that the educational experience of university should be open to every student who is academically qualified. This includes financial assistance for students with disabilities. There are staff at Student Financial Services that can assist with financial information, navigating financial assistance, and more.
Planning Your Degree
The University of Guelph is committed to providing every undergraduate student with high-quality academic advising in order to help you achieve your academic objectives.
There are two types of academic advisors:
Program Counsellors have expertise in degree program (e.g., BA, BSc, BEng) requirements and regulations, as well as the specializations and their fit within the degree program. Find a breakdown of program counsellors by degree program here.
Faculty Advisors have expertise in the program specialization (major, minor, area of concentration, area of emphasis) and how it fits within the degree program. Find a breakdown of faculty advisors by program specialization here.
If you have a general question, start with the UAIC (Undergraduate Academic Information Centre). They are a first point of contact for academic questions, information, and resources.
You may find your classes in second year to be more demanding. You might also find that it is harder to find a balance between your academics and other areas of your life. Although this may feel daunting, students can seek support and access the resources available to them early to stay on top of things.
Here are some tips for academic success from upper year students:
- Only about 20% of U of G students graduate in four years, so taking longer than ‘normal’ to graduate is quite common – takes things are your own pace!
- It's okay to change your mind about your degree program. You are not stuck in the first program you chose first year!
- Don't be afraid to ask for extensions! Professors are people too, and most are very understanding
- Go to your professor’s office hours; this is a great way to get to know your professors and learn more about course material
- Find a good study spot that is not your bedroom. Studying outside of your bedroom helps to create more separation between your work life and your personal life
- It's important to take breaks throughout the day and move your body
- If you have multiple classes in a day and live off campus, come prepared to spend a whole day on campus. Pack snacks, a water bottle, laptop, chargers, etc
- Prioritize self-care! Finding hobbies that you find restorative can do wonders for preventing student burnout and ensuring long-term success. Make sure that you take care of the basics first, including eating a good meal, getting enough sleep, getting outside, and spending time with people you care about.
When selecting courses, it’s important to consider what buildings your classes will be held in and the time it takes to get from one location to the next. There’s nothing worse than having back-to-back classes on opposite ends of campus! When possible, you should also try to arrive 10 minutes early for class. This gives you some time to find a seat and get settled before the class starts.
If you’re interested in some tools or strategies to help you create a manageable schedule or find time for all of the things that you want to do, the library has downloadable calendars and schedules, tips for managing your time, and appointments for personalized advice.
The library continues to support students during the summer semester. Visit the library’s website and follow them on social to learn about upcoming workshops you may be interested in and resources available for you like online appointments and how-to guides.
You can book appointments for support with writing, research, English language support, studying, time management, presentations, group work, and more! If group work is something you need support with, the library can provide strategies for creating a study group and for working effectively on group projects – even if you’re meeting online with other students who live in different time zones.
If you have questions about accessibility for your academics this upcoming year, summer is the time to reach out to Student Accessibility Services at email@example.com
If English isn’t your first language, the Library provides English Language Support which can help with: reading, writing, listening, pronunciation, and communication.
If you would like to improve your spoken English, you can join the Conversation Café. It is a welcoming and informal space for peer-led discussions and activities. You will get to share your cultures and improve your conversational English in a comfortable and welcoming environment.
Safety on Campus
The safety of students is a priority at the University of Guelph. The following resources help maintain a safe environment on campus:
Campus Community Police respond to all emergencies on campus and monitor video surveillance cameras, intrusion alarms, fire alarms and emergency phones. The Campus Community Police service is located in the Trent Building at 32 Trent Lane. For emergencies dial 519-840-5000. For non-emergencies dial 519-824-4120 extension 52245.
First Response Team (FRT) is a student-run, non-profit team of volunteers. They provide on campus emergency first-aid services 24 hours per day, 7 days a week during the Fall and Winter semesters. For on campus medical emergencies dial (519) 840-5000.
Safe Walk is a student-run volunteer organization that provides a safe and reliable escort from 7:30 pm to 2:30 am every night apart from the break between semesters and the summer semester.
The SafeGryphon app is your personal companion during your school experience here at the University of Guelph. It has many features including a personal alarm, flashlight, notifications about university updates (ie. power outages, closures due to snowstorm), click-to-call SafeWalk to request a walk, a direct link to the University’s COVID-19 screening form, and more. Download on the App Store and Google play.
Sexual Violence Support provides programs to support survivors of sexual violence and to enhance the conditions and likelihood of personal and academic success. This includes ensuring appropriate coordination of care and individual support for students and communicating with appropriate partners, both on and off campus. Here is a list of support resources for survivors of sexual violence.
You will also notice there are several emergency poles located around campus, inside and outside of buildings. If you are ever in need of assistance, just push the button and you will be connected to our dispatcher who will contact the appropriate resource.