Start Here for Second Year

Returning for your second year may feel very exciting – you have a year of university experience now.  

Perhaps it will be your first time physically on campus. You may be wondering how you will find your classes, how to use dining services, or how to attend in-person classes in a safe way.  

Or maybe you found online learning challenging last year and you are anxious about classes this year.  

If you were one of the few students who were on campus last year, you may be worried about adjusting to more people being on campus.  

Maybe you are wondering how to make friends or get involved now that more on-campus services and experiences will happen. You might be curious if there are summer and Orientation events for you as a second-year student.  

We are here to support you, no matter what you are feeling. This page is a great place to start. If you have any questions, email  

What do I do during the summer? 

Check your email during the summer. Your email will have information about deadlines and summer events.  

Here’s where to find important dates and deadlines for the rest of your time at U of G: 

  • Academics: Dates like the last day to drop a class, when the exam period is, and more are found in the Undergraduate Calendar 
  • Finances: If it's not in the Undergraduate Calendar, specific finance deadlines can be found on Student Financial Services website. 
  • Campus and Community: There are many opportunities at U of G to get involved. We encourage you to attend O-Week events to find out about specific clubs and involvement opportunities. Many are listed on 

This summer, think proactively about your goals for second-year. Stay connected in the START at U of G 2020-2021 (Class of 2024) Teams Group. Join for summer events to help you get ready for second year.  

Many students do different things during their summer: 

  • Take a summer job, such as through Experience Guelph  
  • Take summer courses   
  • Volunteer in their community 

Stay connected over the summer. We’re going to help you get ready for your second.  

START at U of G 2020-2021 (Class of 2024) 

This group on Teams will continue! Check in it for events, other students who are in your classes, looking for housemates, and much more.   

STARTonCampus: The Second Year Experience

Let’s start off second-year on the right path! Join us for summer events on academics, wellness, getting involved, and finances. Dates coming soon! 

Orientation Week 

Loved Orientation in first year? Didn’t get to attend all the events you wanted to? Don’t worry! Orientation Week: The Second Year Experience will include plenty of activities and events catered to second years. 

Want to get involved with Orientation Week as a volunteer? Sign up here.  

International Students 

On top of Orientation Week, we also have international specific events for you too! START International Orientation helps students arriving in Canada to get to know Guelph, and campus, while making new connections. Moving to Canada can certainly be a big change. The International Student Experience Office at the University of Guelph is here to support you. 

Living Off-Campus in Guelph 

For housing, most upper-year students rent off-campus in the city of Guelph.  

Students who are interested in living off-campus in Guelph in September are looking at rentals now. If you haven’t yet explored living off-campus, the Off-Campus Living (OCL) office is your resource. OCL is happy to connect about next steps and what to consider, including rental websites and tips on how to find roommates. Email them at or book a meeting with an OCL advisor here.   

When you’re choosing housing in Guelph, if you’ll be using public transit, make sure to check the bus routes nearby so that you’ll be able to make it to your classes and other commitments easily. You can find bus schedules, where to load your On Your Way card, and trip planning resources on the Guelph Transit - City of Guelph website here

Commuting to Guelph 

Some students choose to commute from a nearby city or town by public transit or personal vehicle. Looking at commuting in from a neighbouring city or thinking about making trips outside of Guelph? You can check out the Triplinx Trip planner here or email for planning support.   

If you will be using a personal vehicle to get to campus, budget for the cost of parking on campus. You can find information about costs and where you can park on the Campus Parking Services website. Check that where you’ll be living has parking availability, too.   


There is a high demand for campus residence from new incoming first-year students, so Student Housing is unable to make any residence offers to returning upper-year students at this time. Residence capacity for upper-year students will be re-assessed after June 15, once new incoming student applicants have been accommodated. We encourage you to explore off-campus options. If you choose to move forward with an application for the upper-year residence waiting list, but cancel your application while on the waiting list, you’ll receive a full refund of your residence deposit. Read more about the waiting list here.  

Navigating campus for the first time? Many second-year students will be visiting campus for the very first time. You’re not alone!  

Over the summer, we’ll be sharing helpful information about navigating campus. And Orientation 2.0 will also help you learn campus! 

In the meantime, check out this map here that gives you an overview of campus and where to find certain buildings. Students often use the website ClassFind. On ClassFind students can look up the building and room they have class in and get a visual walk-through of how to get there! 

If you’re living off-campus in the fall, you’ll likely want a bus pass to help you get around town. In Guelph, your bus pass is carried on an ‘On Your Way’ card. This is a pre-loadable card, that can be loaded with individual trips, a monthly pass, or a post-secondary pass. More information on how and where to purchase your card is on the CSA website here.  

If you will be using a personal vehicle to get to campus, budget for the cost of parking on campus. You can find information about costs and where you can park on the Campus Parking Services website. Check that where you’ll be living has parking availability, too.   

Last year wasn’t what many new students expected their first-year to be like. For some, that was extremely challenging.. Many felt loss from not experiencing the O-Week or residence experience they expected. Others are grateful for a year devoted to their classes. And some feel nervous about what next year will bring.  

No matter what you are feeling, just know that it is completely normal to feel this way. Many second-year students feel the same way, and we are trying our best to anticipate these very normal feelings. University is a learning experience - not just academically - and the University is here to support you with these transitions.  

Wellness has many resources to support you, including during the summer, as you transition into second year:  

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 Advisor, or Sexual and Gender Diversity Advisor. Click here to book a meeting with an Advisor. 


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.  

Athletics will continue to provide updates to the entire Gryphon community about what services are available based on provincial and local health guidelines.  

In-person Fitness and Activities: 

  • Recreational Activities: Keep fit at our suspended running track, climbing wall, twin pad arena, swimming pools or any one of our many gyms and activity rooms. As an undergraduate student at the University, you have access to all these recreational activities. Visit the Recreation Calendar for a schedule of what’s being offered.   
  • Intramurals: Intramurals are a moving and ever-changing program that depends on public health guidelines. Currently, the intramurals offered include E-Sports, badminton, dodgeball, pickleball, and volleyball.  
  • NRG Pass: With an NRG pass you have access to our 25,000 sq ft Fitness Centre and all our fitness classes. Examples include Pilates, yoga, cycle and a wide range of fitness classes. Visit the NRG Calendar for a schedule of what’s being offered.    

Virtual Fitness and Recreation Resources: 

  • GryphFit App: Download the GryphFit app to access class schedules, create goals and participate in club challenges. You can download the app from the Apple Store here or Google Play here.  
  • 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. Plan ahead, budget, and know when to ask for help. It's also important that you plan your finances for your entire academic career and not just one year at a time. 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. Budgeting for tuition and school supplies is important, but so is budgeting for groceries, rent, and transit! If you’re a student who will be commuting in a personal vehicle to campus for the first time, you will also want to budget for the cost of gas and a campus parking pass.  

Student Financial Services has a whole webpage dedicated to helping students budget. There are also videos about how to cook on a 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. It will help you map out all your potential expenses. It will also give you alerts to signify categories where you may be overspending (based on averages). Try to think ahead and set aside some money in case of emergencies. And don’t forget, a budget is not a one-time activity! You should continue to review your budget and see if it matches how much you’re actually spending. 

Tips from an upper year student: 

  • You can cut costs by buying used textbooks and course materials when possible. Both the Campus Bookstore and the Co-op Bookstore sell used materials. Both bookstores also have a textbook buyback program where you can sell textbooks that are in good condition, back to the University! Buyback usually operates at the beginning and end of semesters.  
  • Many stores offer 10% discounts for University of Guelph students (on a certain day each week, like “Tuesdays”). When you pay, share that you are a U of G student to find out about discounts. 
  • 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 a convenience store where items are usually more expensive. 
  • Enjoy free activities on campus and in the community! 

If something unexpected happens with finances at any time during school, reach out to Student Financial Services for help. 

Loans, Scholarships, and Bursaries 

Students who have completed one full year of studies at U of G can apply for in-course scholarships. Many in-course scholarships have a May 15 application deadline; browse the available awards and their application requirements using the award search tool

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.) The application is usually available by early May on the OSAP website
  • 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. 

Looking to work while a student? 

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.   

International Students 

Looking for a job? Check out Working in Canada for resources and details on how to find a job. The webpage Immigration Documents and Permits also highlights which documents and permits are needed when working in Canada. 

Not sure how to pay your tuition? PayMyTuition is a new payment option for international tuition payments. It allows you to pay your tuition from any bank, in any country, in any currency at better than bank exchange rates. Learn more about PayMyTuition, and read the step-by-step instructions for using this new payment method. 

BIPOC Students  

Are you a BIPOC student and looking for financial resources or support? You can chat with the Cultural Diversity Advisor or the Indigenous Student Advisor. Click here to book a meeting with an Advisor. 

LGBTQ2IA+ Students  

Are you a LGBTQ2IA+ student and looking for financial resources or support. Know that you are welcome to connect with the Sexual and Gender Diversity Advisor. Click here to book a meeting with an Advisor.  

Academic Advising 

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.  

Some questions you can ask an academic advisor include: How do I select a major? How do I change majors? What if I’m not doing well this year? What if I have to go on academic probation? What courses should I take? 

There are two types of academic advisors: 

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. There is often an increase in what is expected of you now that you have completed your first year. You might also find that, after a year of online courses with few extracurricular options, finding a balance between coursework and other activities can be challenging. Although this may feel daunting, students can seek support and access the resources available to them early to stay on top of things. 

The University Classroom  

You may have never been in a university classroom before. Neither have most other second-year students. During the summer, check out our summer events where we’ll talk about how to prepare for an in-person university classroom.  

Making a Schedule 

Many students will be welcomed to campus in the Fall for the first time so creating a schedule will be a little different than it was for virtual learning.  

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.  

You may also have a mix of in-person and virtual classes so try and make sure you’ll have enough time in-between classes to find a quiet and comfortable space to attend your virtual classes. Or perhaps you may try to attend your virtual classes in your living space to avoid the hustle and bustle of campus. 

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 

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. 

Accessibility for Academics 

If you have questions about accessibility for your academics this upcoming year, summer is the time to reach out to Student Accessibility Services at  

International Students 

Looking for help?  

An International Student Advisor would be happy to chat with you about any questions you have regarding your degree at the University of Guelph and moving to Canada. 

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 conversation English in a comfortable and welcoming environment.  

Being a Gryphon means getting involved. With the university planning to have a more vibrant on-campu experience in the fall, you might be thinking… How can I make friends? How should I get involved on campus or in Guelph? Where do I start?  

Orientation 2.0 will have lots of opportunity to connect with other students. Before then, here’s some ideas for how you can plan to get involved on campus: 


Did you know that the University of Guelph has 100+ clubs? The Club Directory provides a comprehensive list of clubs that are currently available at the University. If nothing is catching your eye, you can form your own club! CSA Clubs outlines how you can form a new club here. 

Jobs & Volunteering  

Some students work while studying at U of G. You can earn while you learn! Throughout the year, on- and off-campus job opportunities are posted on Experience Guelph. As a new student, you gain access to Experience Guelph around the first week of September.   

Work Study program  

Work Study is a part-time job program to assist students with demonstrated financial need meet their educational costs by working part-time during their registered term. This program is available for eligible students after the approval of a Financial Need Assessment form. To determine if you are eligible for the Work Study program, look at the Student Financial Services’ information on the Work Study programFinancial Needs Assessment Forms are now available for the fall and winter semesters. Submit the form to Student Financial Services to apply for an in-course bursary or for approval for the Work Study Program.  

Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) program 

The Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) program is a competitive program that provides summer research opportunities to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need. Students gain invaluable research experience working under the direction of U of G faculty and may expand their knowledge and understanding of their current field of study. 

Undergraduate Student Research Award program   

The Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) program is meant to nurture your interest and fully develop your potential for a research career in the natural sciences and engineering through full-time summer employment. 

Co-operative Education 

Co-operative Education is an opportunity available for students registered in a co-op degree program. Guelph’s co-op programs integrate academic studies with related work experience. Co-op students complete paid work terms alternated with academic semesters throughout your degree following a sequence specific to your academic program 


Volunteering is a big part of the U of G student experience. Gryphons volunteer for many reasons: to connect and engage with their community, help others, develop a social network, explore career options, gain valuable experience for their resume, or build job-related skills. 

Interested in starting your volunteer journey in Guelph? Student Volunteer Connections (SVC) is your on-campus volunteer hub! The SVC team can help you explore volunteer opportunities in the community and beyond that fit your interests, academic and career goals, and availability. Connect with them today at

Experiential Learning 

In the EL Hub, we want to connect you to experiential learning opportunities (such as research, community-engaged learning, field courses and hands-on electives) to help you develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes you'll need for life after graduation. Visit our website to learn more about experiential learning and check out opportunities. 

Email to set up a meeting to chat about for-credit and not-for-credit experiential learning opportunities relevant to your interests, program, or goals for after graduation. Stay in the loop about events and deadlines by signing up for our weekly e-newsletter

Safety Resources 

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: Responds 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):  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. 
  • SafeGryphon App: Download it now. 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 and flashlight, friend walk (sends your location in real time to a friend so they can watch you as you travel to your destination), 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.  

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.  


The COVID-19 landscape remains dynamic and ever-changing. As such, the approach for the fall semester is "planning for flexibility" -- flexibility in our preparations, in meeting the needs of our students, faculty and staff, and in adjusting to any changes the pandemic may still bring. 

The positive developments with vaccination rollout and recent advice from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health means that the University is currently planning for a vibrant on-campus experience in the fall. They are planning to offer as many face-to-face classes, labs and other student experiences as possible. Safety will be a priority and public health regulations will be followed to ensure a safe return to campus. 

In every section, there are resources and supports you can connect with.  

If you don’t know where to start, connect with a Student Experience Specialist!  

The Student Experience Specialists are knowledgeable about a wide range of programs and services and can assist you in getting the help you need. 

Click here to book a meeting with a Student Experience Specialist.  


Want to connect with an upper-year student mentor as you begin second-year? Check out these options:  

  • STARTonTrack: Open to second-year students, you can meet with an experienced upper-year student for one-on-one support. Support is offered in various areas like wellbeing, academics, making friends, or anything else. Sign up in August! 
  • Academic Action Program: For students in all years who would like to enhance their academic potential. Students meet with their academic coach, a trained upper-year student or staff member, throughout the semester. Support is tailored to each student’s needs, but often focuses on setting goals, staying motivated, reducing procrastination, and making academic transitions. Sign up in September or email for more information. 
  • The Student-Athlete Mentor (SAM) Program: For student athletes, the SAM program is tailored to their unique needs, which improves academic performance. The program provides a supportive environment for student athletes where they connect with mentors, upper-year student athletes who are empathetic, open-minded and trained to assist and refer on academic, athletic, and personal topics.    
  • CORE (Creating Opportunities for Racial Equity) Mentorship Program: Pairs BIPOC students in second year and above with a BIPOC faculty or staff member at U of G or a community professional in an area of interest to the student. CORE intends to support academic success and retention, and social engagement and networking by helping students navigate barriers and challenges they might experience and build skills that will support them in achieving their academic and professional goals. Contact Alexis Charles (she/her), Coordinator of Cultural Diversity Programs at for more information.  
  • Conversation Partners Program: For English as Additional Language Students who wish to be paired with a student volunteer to practice and improve your spoken English. You can sign up for the program on GryphLife from June – September.  
  • USHINE: A peer mentoring program that empowers students to develop lifelong successful habits to boost well-being. Students can meet one-to-one with a USHINE Peer Mentor to identify wellness goals and create a personalized wellness plan to meet these goals. Topics include sleep, nutrition, exercise, and much more. Mentors are available year-round (that means this summer too!) and students typically meet with them 4-5 times. Email to register! 

Need help choosing? Email