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Getting Started on the Path to Success

Are you a 1st year student, wondering how to succeed at university? Or a returning student looking for a fresh start? Check out the workshops & services below and let us help you achieve your academic goals.

Meet some of our upper year YorkU students and recent grads who share tips they wish that they knew in first year.

Meet Our Peers


My favourite study strategy is retrieval practice using flashcards. I like that flashcards can be used to revise for anything whether it be concepts, theories, or equations — not just words and definitions! It's also great because they're easy to carry around, especially if you use digital flashcards.

- Aviva, Learning Skills Services Peer


The best thing about being a Learning Skills Peer is being able to help students to succeed and be their best in university! We have so many great resources available, and it’s always so nice to see when one has worked! 

- Jordan, Learning Skills Services Peer Team Lead

Tips for Getting Started

Start Right Away

Putting off tasks may feel like a method for temporarily reducing stress, but actually it's a recipe for increasing your stress levels as the term progresses. Things won't get easier later on, when the workload snowballs and your deadlines loom ever closer. You don't have to do everything at once, you just have to get started. When you begin a task, you leave behind all the worry and fear that the task is “too big” or “too difficult”. Break the job down into manageable steps, choose one small aspect of the task and get going right away.

Use Course Outlines

Once you see the course from the perspective of the professor, you’ll have a major insight into what (and how) to study for your courses. Seeing the course from this perspective is as easy as carefully analyzing the course outline and course description for the goals, objectives, and topics of the course. Equipped with the knowledge of what is important in the course, you can organize your approach to the course to focus on the main ideas of the course and their inter-connections.

Get into the Right Mindset

Believe In Yourself

Success is all about doing the best you can with what you have. Success is perseverance in the face of challenge; it means rising to the occasion; it means pulling through when times are tough. A positive attitude is a key ingredient in succeeding at university. Taking responsibility for making things happen, following through on tasks, and staying oriented towards your goals will all contribute to success.

Grow As You Go

While each course or assignment might be unique, the skills needed to perform well on them carry over from one to the next. It might seem obvious, but a key element of success is actually paying attention to and working on the feedback you receive. Grades, comments, contradictory information, stress, delight… these are all forms of feedback that can help you to improve. Instead of working harder doing the same things, change your approach gradually on the basis of the feedback that you receive.

Additional Resources

YU STARTA New Student Transition Program designed to support you as you make your way into and through your first Year of York.
Start Strong YUA Reference Guide to navigate in-person, online and hybrid student services.
Ask & Services York LibrariesAccess support services from York Libraries such as speaking with research librarians, understanding research guides, and more.
Student Counselling, Health, & Well-beingSeek support as you transition into university and find useful tools to help you balance your mental well-being with your academic goals.
YorkU Colleges Your college is your home base while at York, a place where you can participate in student government, attend social activities, get academic help, work, and volunteer. Also, the colleges on campus all have areas designated as student space.