There are many resources available on campus to help you improve your academic performance. The SSSC can help you to plan for each semester, how to maximize your studying and learn to prepare for your midterms and exams.
We will also help you connect with other departments on campus who can help you succeed. We provide services to new and returning students, including one on one mentoring sessions, Science-specific workshops, fun activities, and events! The Centre offers a large group study area well-equiped with a white board wall, projector and desks for presentations, seminars and workshops. In addition to helping students with their academic development, the SSSC aims to inform students of academic opportunities such as research scholarships, medical school admissions, and opportunities to further enhance your studies at Carleton.
Answers to Common Questions
First-Year Student Registration
Registration for incoming first-year students takes place in early June and they can register when their time ticket opens. The timetable planning tool opens in Carleton Central in late May and students can put together mock class schedules at this time. This will help the students to be prepared when their time ticket opens.
Where do I go for registration help?
Where do I go if I want to change my major?
You may also wish to speak to your current Undergraduate Advisor and the Advisor of the major you would like to switch into in order to discuss your options and to see which courses will transfer over. If you are switching between majors within the Faculty of Science, you can do so online on Carleton Central. If you would like to switch to a different Faculty (for example, to an Engineering degree) you will need to apply to Undergraduate Admissions to be accepted into the new program.
First Year Seminar in Science
The First Year Seminar in Science is an innovative course given in the Faculty of Science that is designed to jump-start you in your academic career in science by exposing you to teaching styles, concepts and research opportunities that are normally reserved for upper-year students. We hope that you will find NSCI 1000 both interesting and challenging, and we will work with you to make your experience of NSCI 1000 as rewarding as possible. Visit First Year Seminar in Science for more information.
This year, Math Matters is running from August 24-31. All students entering a degree in Architectural Studies, Commerce, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Health Sciences, Industrial Design, International Business, Mathematics, and Science are eligible to attend. We suggest that students register for Math Matters if their high school calculus grade is below 80 per cent or if high school calculus was recommended for admission into their program but they did not take that course. Math Matters is a review of high school math – the building blocks to doing well in university math. Students can stay on campus during Math Matters for an extra charge. Visit the Math Matters website for more information.
Kick-Start into Science
Don't just survive your first semester of university. Crush your first semester! Kick-Start into Science maximizes opportunities for first-year students in the Faculty of Science to adapt to change, conquer challenges and prove victorious at the end of the semester and beyond.
Kick-Start is a series of bi-weekly workshops that take place throughout the fall semester. You can choose from four different themes:
- First-Year Science Accelerator (two sections)
- Medical School Preparation
- New to Coding
- Science Leadership
Each theme is led by two successful upper year mentors who are involved in the Faculty of Science, on campus and off campus through a variety of research, volunteering and work positions. Registration opens on June 27th and there are 20 spots for each stream which will be filled on a first-come first serve basis.
When Does Move-in Start?
Residence move-in this year starts on Saturday, September 3rd. Students are assigned a time and date to move in (usually in July) and must adhere to this schedule unless they make other arrangements with Housing and Conference Services.
For more information on housing, contact Housing and Conference Services.
Residence and Moving Away from Home
Moving into Residence can mean experiencing a lot of new firsts such as moving away from home, a new city, having roommates. It can be scary and it helps to be prepared. For a list of what you can and cannot bring when you move in, check out this Packing List. Take some time once you arrive to explore campus and find out where to get food, where your classes are, where you can find resources on campus, visit the library, find Health and Counselling. Take a map with you or ask around, people are friendly at Carleton and are more than happy to point you in the right direction. Also, take a day or two to explore downtown Ottawa and learn about your new city.
Moving into residence also means meeting and getting to know your roomates. Be patient and open minded when you first meet them and remember that they're in the same boat as you, they're in a new environment and are nervous and excited too. Get out of your dorm room and get to know them over a cup of coffee or a walk by the River. Play 20 questions, ask them why they chose Carleton and their program and learn what their schedule and study habits are to know what to expect once classes get underway.
If you're an international student, or even from a different province, Ottawa's climate can be quite a change. The temperature can get to -40°C in the winter months, and +40°C (with humidity) in the summer months. It's a wide range and pack accordingly. If you're not used to the cold, make sure to invest in a good quality winter jacket and winter boots as well as a hat, scarf, mitts and warm socks. A pair of skates can be bought or rented to go skating on the Rideau Canal, the world's largest skating rink.
Meal plans are available but not necessary in order to eat anywhere on campus. All locations wil also accept cash, credit or debit transactions. If you are living on residence, a meal plan may be included in your residence cost. Check here to find out more. If you are off campus, there are also meal plan options for you found here.
Summer Orientation is a great information source over the summer! Especially consider attending the Science Spotlight date or an early date so that someone can look over your class schedule and assist you with making changes if necessary. You can also get your Campus Card and bus pass on orientation day.
Summer Orientation costs $30 per student, which covers a parking pass and all you can eat buffet in the residence dining hall for the student and the student’s guests.
Summer Orientation Dates
- Saturday, July 9th - Open Session
- Friday, July 15 - Residence Overnight Session
- Saturday, July 16 - Faculty of Science Spotlight and Residence Overnight Session
- Saturday, July 23rd - Open Session
- Saturday, August 6th - Open Session
- Saturday, August 20th - Open Session
Visit http://carleton.ca/seo/orientation/summer/ for more information.
Fall Orientation usually happens during the end of August and into the beginning of September and includes tons of fun activities for which students can choose to participate. The schedule for 2016 isn’t posted yet, so tell them to check for more information later at http://www.carleton.ca/fallorientation/.
Academic Orientation Day
All first-year students are required to attend Academic Orientation Day (AOD). This year it takes place on Tuesday, September 6th. It starts around 8:30 am and lasts until 4:00 pm.
Awards and Financial Aid
Students can estimate their tuition and miscellaneous fees for the upcoming year, find out how to pay and see payment dates and deadlines at http://carleton.ca/studentaccounts/.
Entrance Scholarships are awarded automatically based on the student’s high school courses. They are renewable with an A- standing (annual GPA of 10.0). Detailed information about keeping the scholarships is available at http://www.carleton.ca/awards/scholarships/rules-for-awarding-scholarships/.
The deadline for applying for Prestige Scholarships is early spring and is closed for the 2016-2017 school year.
Entrance Bursaries are available to incoming students. The deadline to apply for incoming students is June 30th. Students must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and must demonstrate financial need on OSAP to be eligible.
Work Study is available to incoming students. Students must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and must demonstrate financial need to be eligible. The application through Carleton Central will open up on August 29th, 2016.
International students who are not in first year are eligible for Work Study.
International students are not eligible for OSAP.
How will I receive the scholarships and bursaries I have been awarded?
Scholarships and bursaries awarded by Carleton University are applied directly to your tuition fees and paid directly to your student account. Entrance and Prestige scholarships are paid in two equal installments; one in August, one in December. Carleton Entrance bursaries are paid in a single installment in August.
How will I receive my OSAP funding?
OSAP funding is issued twice per year, once each term. If you have been approved for OSAP funding you must wait until school begins before you can pick-up your first funding certificate. The Getting your OSAP funding section of the Awards website (carleton.ca/awards/osap/distribution) details the steps involved in getting your funding. Students must present valid government photo-ID and their SIN card to receive their funding documents.
Guided campus tours are available Monday through Saturday. They can either be booked online at Book a Tour or through Undergraduate Recruitment at (613) 520-3663.
Accommodation is available on campus for anyone from May to August. There are also a variety of hotels in Ottawa. Go to Visiting Ottawa for more information on planning an overnight stay in Ottawa.
Campus Card and UPASS
You can pick up your Campus Card and UPASS at the Campus Card office.
While you are a student here, your Carleton Campus Card will be the single most important piece of student identification you possess. With your campus card you can pay for dinner, photocopy notes, print documents, buy snack food and borrow books from the library, with just a simple swipe of the card! Campus Cards are available from the Campus Card Office. You can apply online for your card or pick it up in person when you arrive. If you attend Summer Orientation, you can get your Campus Card during your session!
Your U-PASS allows you to use all forms of public transit provided by Ottawa’s public transit provider, OC Transpo, and on the Gatineau's public transit provider, STO. Your U-PASS is covered by your student fees and can be picked up upon your arrival. The U-PASS is effective from September 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016. For more info about the U-PASS including the opt-out process, please visit the U-PASS website.
Beginning in the summer of 2016, there is also a Summer U-Pass available for undergraduate or special students who are registered in 1.0+ credits at any point in the summer term or designated full-tome graduate students. The Summer U-PASS is effective from May 1st to August 31st, 2016.
You can sign up for your Carleton email account and MyCarletonOne Account on Carleton Central. Your Carleton Email will be the university’s official means of communicating with you. Your MyCarletonOne Account will be the username and password that you use to access Carleton’s IT resources such as wifi on campus, CuLearn, computers in the computer labs and much more.
Health and Counselling Services
Carleton does have health, counselling and prescription pick-up available on campus for students to use. Find out more information about it at Health and Counselling.
Students are automatically opted in to and pay for the CUSA health plan that provides extended health, dental and vision benefits. You can read more here.
International students are automatically opted in to and pay for UHIP, which is similar to OHIP, as well as the CUSA health plan. You can read more here.
For International Students
There are two important points of contact for international students – International Admissions and Recruitment and the International Student Services Office. International Admissions and Recruitment works with international students on getting admitted to Carleton and receiving transfer or other credits for classes they have already taken. The ISSO handles pretty much everything else and has guides for new international students at http://carleton.ca/isso/new-students/new-international-students/.
Students with Visible and Non-Visible Disabilities
Students that require academic accommodations for disabilities must register with Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities in order to receive accommodations.
You can order your textbooks online through The Bookstore and avoid the lines when classes begin. Carleton also offers a textbook rental program through the bookstore.
Banking on Campus
Scotiabank has a fully operational branch and five ABM locations across campus. For more information, visit banking on campus.
SSSC Grade and Mark Calculator
As a university student, one of the most useful skills you can learn is how to track your marks for each class and how to calculate your grade point average. You can use the SSSC Grade and Mark Calculator to do all of the tracking for you! You can also add hypothetical marks and grades to the spreadsheet to estimate where your grades might be in the future.
Please download the spreadsheet and save it to your own computer. Then you can constantly update your marks and track your progress in each course.
Managing Your Time
Managing your time well is the key to success in university. You need to be consistent in the way you address scheduling time for studying, work, rest and play. Creating a weekly schedule is one of the best ways to figure out how to manage your time. If you want help putting together a schedule, stop by the SSSC and one of our mentors would be happy to help you out!
How to Build Your Weekly Schedule
- Start with a blank piece of paper or document. Make a list of all of the things you need to put on your schedule. Make sure to include class time, lab hours, tutorials and discussion groups, PASS sessions, work, office hours, extracurricular activities, volunteering, sleep, getting ready in the morning, time to eat, travel time to and from work and school, study time, exercise and free time. Don't leave anything out that you do on a regular basis.
- Now that you have a complete list, separate the items on the list into categories. You will most likely have mandatory items (classes, tutorials, work), essential items (sleep, eating, travel time), optional items (volunteering, exercise, extracurricular activities), and flexible items (study time, breaks). Items can fall into different categories depending on the person, so do whatever feels right to you.
- Once you have your categories, you can start building your schedule. Open a blank spreadsheet (Excel). You can write out a weekly schedule by hand, but it is more difficult to make changes as you go along. To get started, you can use the SSSC weekly schedule template in PDF or EXCEL formats.
- Start by adding in the mandatory items (things that cannot be changed) to your schedule. Then move on to the essential items.
- You will most likely have large gaps throughout your schedule at this point such as night time or throughout the day. Fill in the rest of these with optional items and flexible items.
- After all of this is in, make sure to set aside a couple of hours a week of time for yourself. This is for going out or getting that extra sleep that everyone dreams of.
Schedule Building Tips
- Always leave enough time for travel to and from work, home and school.
- Although it may be hard at first, staying on track with your schedule will help you achieve better grades. And after a while it will become second nature.
- If something isn't working, you can always adjust your schedule. Your schedule is typed in a computer, not carved in stone.
- Always leave time to eat healthy meals that will energize you throughout the day. It is also possible to have some snacks in class (but not in labs, so make sure to eat before 3-5 hour long labs).
- Colour coding your schedule helps you distinguish things when you are exhausted.
Studying for Exams
Studying for exams is not difficult if you approach it correctly. Remember that you should start preparing for your exams on the first day of classes. Be strategic in your note taking, attend all of your classes, read ahead and make sure you know the areas in which you are having problems so that you can ask questions in class, during your professor's office hours or your TA's. Knowing what you don't know can save you a lot of time in the long run.
Exam Preparation Tips
Answering long answer questions requires a lot of preparation and a thorough understanding of the material. Make sure you identify what your professor is asking of you. Are you supposed to analyze? Compare? State your opinion? Explain? The first step is to really understand the questions before trying to answer; once that is achieved you can start to develop a plan which includes a thesis statement and supporting arguments. Don't hesitate to use sketches and diagrams to get your point across. Remember to be clear and concise.
Multiple choice questions requre recognition of the correct material and test your memory and reasoning. Reviewing the material multiple times prior to the exam is key. The material tested could be definitions, theorems and key words as well as problem solving. If the correct answer doesn't immediately jump out at youl, eliminate those that are unlikely and go from there. Also, sometimes other questions can help you to answer a multiple choice question.
Scheduling Time During Exams
Plan ahead! After your last midterm or about a month before exams you should be starting to review and scheduling in additional time for it. The more you review ahead of time, the less cramming is necessary right before your exam. If you need help making a study schedule, make an appointment with a mentor to discuss your options and have some help.
Reviewing Through 'Cheat' Sheets
Download the generic calculus review sheet that some of our math students have used in the past to help prepare for their first-year calculus course. You can create a sheet like this for any class that requires you to use a lot of formulas, so come into the Centre and we can tell you how best to use it. It only takes a minute or two to jot down the most important things that you need to know from each section of your text or from your lecture slides. Write each formula out every time you are required to use it so that you can clearly see your steps when you have to review.
Basic Study Tips
- Do not cram the day before an exam, but spread out your studying so that you give your brain time to fully absorb all of the information
- Study in one hour intervals, and then take a 10-15 minute break to relax
- Plan out a regular study area. This conditions your brain to being used to studying there, and you can get into “study mode” much faster
- Study when you are wide awake. Everyone has their own personal clock, so choose the time of day that best suits you
- Study in a quiet area with no distractions
Transitioning to University
At Carleton University, we understand the challenges students face making the transition from high school to university. While you may already have a good mental picture of what university is like and how it may differ from your high school experience, the staff at the Science Student Success Centre will ensure the that you are not surprised along the way.
To help put things into perspective, here are five major changes that students can expect when they move from high school to university.
In high school, your schedule was probably planned completely for you. Breaks occurred at approximately the same time daily, you knew exactly when to go to class, when to eat lunch, or when to do your homework. In university you have full control of your own schedule. You will need to set your own priorities and manage all your own responsibilities. You can no longer count on your teacher to remind you of due dates for assignments, test dates for each chapter or to come to class on time.
Different Class Structure
Unlike high school where your class size is often only 30 students, first year university classrooms may hold over 100 students in some courses. Your professor will not approach you if you miss class or do poorly. It is now your responsibility to seek out help when needed. As well, your professor will not remind you of assignment due dates. Instead, they expect that you consult your syllabus and turn in assignments on the proper date.
University classes tend to move a lot more quickly than high school classes. You will cover more material, in greater depth, over a shorter period of time. Be prepared for that challenge. Professors expect you to keep up with what was taught in class, and they also expect some of you to take good comprehensive notes. They may cover up to three chapters of textbook material in a week.
There are often fewer tests and assignments in university compared to high school. Although this may seem like a good thing for you, remember that more information will be covered on each test. In addition, the exams in many courses often build on each other so all of the material taught in a semester may be tested in the same exam.
New Living Arrangements
Travel time for those at home can sometimes take up a total of 3hrs of a school day should be used wisely to do readings or flash cards. Those who move out for post secondary education also experience changes such as making their own meals, more household responsibilities and increased freedom which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how self motivated the individual is. Having a good support system in place is key to your success so make friends with similar goals and seek out help when you its needed.
Top Tips for Transitioning to University
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. Your professors may seem intimidating to approach after a lecture, but they are regular people who want you to succeed. Check the course outline on CuLearn to find out what their office hours are and ask questions. It also lets you get to know them better. TAs are also there to help and answer questions concerning lecture and lab materials.
- Get help early! The day before the midterm or exam or the night before a lab is due is often too late. Start studying for exams and working on assignments and labs early so that you can have time to make appointments and receive replies from professors and TA's who are also very busy. They are not going to come after you if you are struggling or behind - you need to take the initiative yourself.
- Make a schedule, early! And stick with it! Time management is one of the biggest struggles for incoming first year students. University can be a shock with the amount and intensity of school work that is expected from you. Check out Managing Your Time for step-by-step instructions on how to make and keep a schedule. SSSC mentors can also help you build your schedule around your classes and other commitments to help you maximize your study time.
- Do your pre-labs. Just do it. Read over the lab manual beforehand and make sure you have a solid grasp of the material before completing the entire pre-lab. It's worth marks! For physics this might include theory and for chemistry it might include writing out the MSDS. Just make sure you know what is expected of you and get it done beforehand.
- Lecture halls are big and can be loud and distracting. Do your best to get to class early, especially the first couple weeks to guarantee yourself a seat. Find what spot in the lecture hall works well for you. Do you need to be in the front to make yourself pay attention? Further back to see the screens?
- Spend time figuring out how YOU take notes and study best. In high school, you may have been able to get away with just a bit of studying the night before. But in university there is too much material to get by that way. Think about how you learn and tailor your studying to fit your learning style. For note taking, try using a notebook, laptop, printing the pdf's, or recording the lecture (with permission). For studying, try flashcards, re-writing notes, making quizzes and tests for yourself, or reading the textbook.
- Go to PASS. You'll get a second glance at the material from the week before, you'll have fun and you'll meet new. The facilitator is someone who did well in the class, and they will also hold office hours. It doesn't get much better than that.
- If this is sounding like a lot of changes, seriously consider signing up for Kick-Start into Science. The workshops are designed to help new students tackle first-year classes and all the trials and tribulations that come with them. You can also drop by the SSSC to talk to a mentor who can offer some advice on how to get through first year as smoothly as possible.