Answers to Common Questions
- What is COMP Matters?
COMP Matters is a week-long course that is designed to help prepare students coming into a Computer Science program in the Faculty of Science. The course introduces/reviews three main components needed for success in computer science: computational thinking, problem solving skills and basic programming skills. The first two are the underlying core skills needed for all computer science courses. Starting a computer science degree with a good foundation of problem solving skills will ensure that students feel confident to participate and succeed in their computer science studies.
- Is COMP Matters mandatory?
No, COMP Matters is not mandatory. The course is designed to help solidify basic and fundamental computer science skills for students who feel they could use some improvement before starting first year or who want to raise their confidence level when starting the computer science program.
- Who should attend COMP Matters?
We suggest that you consider registering for COMP Matters if your high school computer science grade was below 75% or you did not take computer science in high school, and you are starting in a computer science program this fall.
The computer science program does not expect incoming students to have programming experience. However, some students may lose some of the confidence starting the program when they see other students coming in with this experience. If you do not have any programming experience and want to gain some experience before starting school, then you should consider this course.
- Should students attend COMP Matters if they have strong computer science grades?
Registering for COMP Matters does not necessarily need to be a reflection of your grades. If you’re achieving high grades in high school computer science courses, you likely already have strong computer science fundamentals and might not need this course. COMP Matters is designed to instill confidence and understanding of the most basic beginning steps to solving computer science problems that many students lack.
If you feel lost in computer science classes and find that you don’t know where to begin when solving problems, COMP Matters might be a great fit for you. The pace of learning will be dictated by the group of students that attend, but you may feel under-challenged during the week if you already have basic or strong computer science skills.
- When is COMP Matters offered?
COMP Matters will be offered from Monday August 14th to Friday August 18th, inclusive. The program will run during the day for the whole week with a mix of lectures and practice sessions.
- How much does COMP Matters cost?
The fee for COMP Matters is $150 including HST.
- What is included in the cost of the program?
The registration fee covers the cost of the instructor, a Study Group Leader, two diagnostic tests, and access to any materials. There is no required textbook for COMP 0999, but it is based around material that will be covered in COMP 1405 and 1805. Any problem sets required will be provided to students to download from the course’s Brightspace page.
- How do students pay for COMP Matters?
The fee for COMP 0999 will be added to each student’s account for the Fall 2023 semester. The payment deadline for all charges on student accounts (including COMP Matters charge and fall/winter tuition fees) is August 25th. Students can visit Student Accounts Receivable for information on how to pay fees. Once registered, students can view their account summary on Carleton Central.
- When and where do students register for COMP Matters?
Students can register for COMP Matters on Carleton Central when their time ticket opens using the course code COMP 0999 and the CRN provided on the COMP Matters registration page.
Registration for COMP Matters closes at noon on August 10th, 2023. If a student wishes to register after this point, they must contact the Science Student Success Centre at (613) 520-2600 ext. 3111 or email
- If a student gets an error message when trying to register for COMP 0999, what should they do?
If you get an error message during registration, you should:
- Make sure you’re in your time ticket slot, and
- Ensure that the deadline to register for COMP Matters hasn’t passed.
If you’ve checked these things and you’re still not sure of the error’s cause, please contact the Science Student Success Centre at (613) 520-2600 ext. 3111.
- If students cannot attend the course or change their mind, what can they do?
You can withdraw from COMP Matters through the Registration tab on Carleton Central with a full fee-adjustment up until noon on August 10th. After that date, the course is non-refundable.
- What topics are typically covered?
Generally, COMP Matters aims to introduce students to basic problem solving and programming skills that they will need for first-year and future COMP courses. The course will focus on the main components of problem solving in the context of computation thinking:
- Pattern Recognition/Data Representation
- Generalization and Abstraction
- Algorithm design
The components of computational thinking will be introduced by way of example problems. Solutions to the problems will be created using the Python programming language and with the needed programming skills introduced as they are needed.
No prior programming experience is needed or expected of any student in the course.
- What supplies do I need for COMP Matters?
You will need a working computer with internet access, a microphone and camera. Notes and handouts for class will be posted on Brightspace. It is recommended that you print out the notes beforehand and have paper or a notebook for taking notes and solving problems.
- What happens if a student has to miss a day of COMP Matters?
COMP Matters is only a week-long course, so it’s important that students plan to attend every day. Since there are a limited number of available spots for the program, please only register for COMP Matters if you are able and plan to attend the 5 days of class.
- If students cannot attend COMP Matters, is there a course like this offered anywhere else?
COMP Matters is a unique opportunity for students (you!) to really hone essential skills that allow for future success in computer science courses. It is not meant to be a summary of first-year or high school and won’t touch on all topics in the curriculum, but rather will help build a strong basis for problem solving and understanding in computer science in general.
If you can’t attend the program and are planning to take first year computer science courses at Carleton, you should try out the courses available on Codecademy. Neither this nor COMP Matters is a replacement for good study habits and hard work, though; those things are up to you! If you have difficulty when you arrive to Carleton, you should visit the Science Student Success Centre for tips and information about succeeding in first-year science courses.
- Where should students be directed if they have additional questions?
For questions about COMP Matters, please contact the Science Student Success Centre at compmatters [at] carleton.ca or call (613) 520-2600 ext. 3111.