Top Tips for Surviving Your First Year at York University

Starting your first year at York University is an exciting and transformative experience. From navigating a new campus to managing coursework and making new friends, the transition can be overwhelming. To help you make the most of your first year, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide with top tips for surviving and thriving at York University.

1. Get to Know Your Campus

Explore Early:

  • Orientation Week: Take advantage of Orientation Week to explore the campus. Participate in campus tours and events to familiarize yourself with key buildings and facilities.
  • Map It Out: Use a campus map or mobile app to locate important spots like libraries, lecture halls, dining areas, and student services.

Key Buildings and Landmarks:

  • Vari Hall: The central hub for students, featuring classrooms, study areas, and eateries.
  • Scott Library: The main library, offering extensive resources and quiet study spaces.
  • Student Centre: A vibrant space for student activities, clubs, and services.

2. Manage Your Time Wisely

Stay Organized:

  • Planner or Digital Calendar: Use a planner or digital calendar to keep track of class schedules, assignment deadlines, and extracurricular activities.
  • Set Priorities: Prioritize tasks based on deadlines and importance. Break larger tasks into manageable chunks.

Avoid Procrastination:

  • Set Goals: Establish short-term and long-term goals to stay motivated.
  • Create a Routine: Develop a daily routine that includes time for studying, attending classes, and relaxation.

3. Take Advantage of Academic Resources

Utilize Libraries:

  • Scott Library: Access a vast collection of books, journals, and digital resources.
  • Subject-Specific Libraries: Explore specialized libraries for focused research materials.

Seek Academic Support:

  • Tutoring Services: Take advantage of tutoring for subjects you find challenging.
  • Writing Centres: Get help with writing assignments and research papers.
  • Academic Advising: Meet with academic advisors to discuss course selections and career planning.

4. Get Involved on Campus

Join Clubs and Organizations:

  • Explore Interests: With over 300 student-run organizations, there’s something for everyone. Join clubs related to your academic interests, hobbies, or cultural background.
  • Leadership Opportunities: Take on leadership roles within clubs to develop valuable skills and expand your network.

Attend Events:

  • Campus Events: Participate in campus events, workshops, and social gatherings to meet new people and immerse yourself in the university community.
  • Cultural Festivals: Celebrate the diverse cultures represented at York through various festivals and events.

5. Prioritize Your Health and Wellness

Stay Active:

  • Recreational Facilities: Utilize the university’s gyms, swimming pools, and sports fields to stay active.
  • Fitness Classes: Join fitness classes or sports teams to stay fit and meet new friends.

Mental Health Support:

  • Counseling Services: Access confidential counseling services for support with personal or academic issues.
  • Wellness Programs: Participate in wellness workshops and activities that promote mental and physical health.

6. Build a Support Network

Connect with Peers:

  • Study Groups: Form study groups with classmates to collaborate on assignments and prepare for exams.
  • Socialize: Make an effort to socialize and build friendships with fellow students.

Seek Mentorship:

  • Upper-Year Students: Seek advice and mentorship from upper-year students who can offer valuable insights and tips.
  • Faculty and Staff: Build relationships with professors and staff members who can provide guidance and support.

7. Budget Wisely

Manage Finances:

  • Track Expenses: Keep track of your spending to avoid overspending.
  • Budget: Create a budget that includes tuition, rent, groceries, and other expenses.

Seek Financial Aid:

  • Scholarships and Bursaries: Apply for scholarships and bursaries to help with tuition and living expenses.
  • Part-Time Jobs: Consider finding a part-time job on or off-campus to earn extra income.

8. Navigate Housing and Accommodation

On-Campus Housing:

  • Residence Options: Explore the various residence options available and choose one that suits your preferences and budget.
  • Community Living: Take advantage of the supportive community environment in on-campus housing.

Off-Campus Housing:

  • Nearby Neighborhoods: Research nearby neighborhoods like The Village and Jane-Finch for off-campus housing options.
  • Housing Resources: Utilize the university’s resources to find off-campus housing and roommates.

9. Stay Safe on Campus

Safety Measures:

  • Campus Security: Familiarize yourself with campus security services and emergency procedures.
  • SafeWalk Program: Use the SafeWalk program if you need an escort while walking on campus at night.

Personal Safety:

  • Be Aware: Stay aware of your surroundings and avoid isolated areas, especially at night.
  • Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts, including campus security and local authorities.

10. Embrace the York University Experience

Stay Open-Minded:

  • New Experiences: Be open to trying new things and stepping out of your comfort zone.
  • Learning Opportunities: Embrace the diverse learning opportunities available both inside and outside the classroom.

Celebrate Achievements:

  • Small Wins: Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small, and recognize your progress.
  • Stay Positive: Maintain a positive attitude and stay resilient in the face of challenges.


Your first year at York University is a time of exploration, growth, and learning. By following these tips, you can navigate the challenges, seize opportunities, and make the most of your university experience. Remember to stay organized, seek support when needed, and immerse yourself in the vibrant campus community. With the right mindset and resources, you’ll thrive at York University and lay a strong foundation for your future success.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the top tips for surviving and thriving during your first year at York University. By focusing on key areas such as campus navigation, time management, academic resources, involvement in campus life, health and wellness, building a support network, budgeting, housing, safety, and embracing the overall experience, you can ensure a successful and fulfilling start to your university journey.

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