Student LifeStudent Life

How can I make the most of  my university experience?

It’s important to maintain a healthy school and life balance at university. Universities offer you many opportunities to get involved in the local community and to explore other interests outside of the classroom. Below you will find information on housing, student life, campus clubs and societies, student services, athletics and recreation, and transportation.

Compass IconOrientation Week Activities

  • Overview

  • Residence Orientation
  • Off-Campus Orientation
  • Faculty Orientation
  • Aboriginal Learners’ Programming

Orientation Week Activities

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All Ontario universities host orientation programs and events for first-year students. These activities can last for a few days or a week. They’re meant to help you familiarize yourself with campus, learn about activities and supports you can access, meet new friends, and have fun. It’s a great time to meet others in your faculty, residence, and academic program, as part of your transitioning to university life. Keep an eye out for invitations in your admissions packages to sign up for orientation week.

Residence Orientation

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Your residence might have special programming to help you get to know your neighbours and learn more about the building you’ll be living in. Upper-year students may host tours, floor meetings, and fun programming.

Off-Campus Orientation

Living off campus doesn’t mean you are excluded from activities during orientation week. Many universities have specific orientation week activities for first-year students living off campus to introduce you to the campus community that can include concerts, performances, and team activities. You can learn more about these programs on our university profile pages.

Faculty Orientation

Your faculty may also set up specific programming so that you can meet fellow students in your program before your first day of class.

Aboriginal Learners’ Programming

Be sure to reach out to your university’s Aboriginal Student Centre. Some Aboriginal Student Centres offer early move-in programs to beat the rush of move-in day. Check out our university profiles to find out what programming each Aboriginal Student Centre offers during orientation week.

Clubs IconCampus Clubs and Societies

  • Campus Clubs
  • Aboriginal Learners’ Associations

Campus Clubs and Societies

Campus Clubs

Each university boasts a large number of clubs that you can join. During orientation week, your university may hold a clubs’ day or clubs’ week to showcase its variety of clubs to you. Consider joining a club. It opens up many opportunities for you to network, make friends, and learn new skills.

Examples of the types of clubs on campuses include a Hip-Hop Club, Student Law Association, Amnesty International, and Shinerama. Student groups can also include hobby or interest-based associations, such as clubs related to Harry Potter, photography, chess, or juggling. Many of the clubs on campus are created by a group of students who share a similar interest. If you would like to create your own club, please check out our university profiles.

Aboriginal Learners’ Associations

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Many universities have an Aboriginal learner association, group, or club. These clubs are social and cultural communities on campus. They may host feasts, social gatherings, and other cultural events. They can also serve as a voice for Aboriginal people on campus. Plus, they can give you leadership opportunities if you want to take on specific roles within the associations, such as president, treasurer, or cultural coordinator.

Contact your university’s Aboriginal Student Services for information on your Aboriginal Learners’ Association, or seek out the association during orientation week.

Athletics IconAthletics and Recreation

  • Overview

  • Athletics Resources

  • Intramural Sports
  • Recreational Activities

Athletics and Recreation

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If you competed in sports in secondary school, universities can offer you a range of options to stay involved. You can represent your university as a varsity athlete, competing against other Ontario universities in a variety of sports, or you can stay active by participating in recreational sports and activities on campus. See below for more information on the varsity sports, intramural sports, and recreational activities offered at Ontario universities.

Varsity Sports

Varsity sports are the athletic teams and athletes who officially represent your university in competitions against other universities. Varsity sports may include football, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf, volleyball, and track, among others. Check out the Ontario University Athletics website for more information on coaches, statistics, sports played at each university, try-out dates, and recruiting.

You can also check out the website of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), which is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. The CIS website gives you information on national university sports rankings and on sporting events across Canada.

Intramural Sports

Intramural sports are non-competitive sports and activities at universities that give everyone a chance to play in a fun environment. You can usually choose from a wide range of sports including basketball, volleyball, inner tube water polo, and ultimate Frisbee. Some universities even have Quidditch teams! Check out our university profiles for more about intramural sports at your university.

Recreational Activities

Universities also have athletic centres where you can work out. These centres usually provide cardio equipment, weight-lifting platforms and equipment, free weights, and skipping ropes. Your university’s gym could offer recreational programs, such as cycle-fit, personal training, and Zumba, to help you stay fit during the school year. These programs can vary in price and availability, so check out our university profiles for programs at your university.

Student Services

  • Safe Spaces (such as Rainbow Centres and LGBTQ Centres)
  • Diversity and Equity

  • Child Care

  • Career & Co-op Services
  • Accessibility Services

Student Services

Safe Spaces (such as Rainbow Centres and LGBTQ Centres)

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Many Ontario universities offer safe and inclusive spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersexed, queer, questioning, two-spirited (LGBTTIQQ2S) and allies – heterosexual friends, family relatives, and anyone who supports LGBTQ people. They also provide supports if you need to learn more about your sexuality. Check out our university profiles to find out what your university offers for LGBTTIQQ2S learners.

Multi-Faith Centre

Many universities offer a Multi-Faith Centre that provides spaces and supports to celebrate multiple faiths, and that may also include access to spiritual leaders.

Child Care

A female student volunteers at a children's event on campus. The child has her face pained with flowers.

Many Ontario universities offer either child care options on campus or information about finding child care options near or on campus. If you need child care services during your studies, contact your university’s Aboriginal Student Centre for information about providers of child care. There is often a high demand for child care spaces, so you should contact the child care centre as soon as possible for an opening.

Career & Co-op Services

At Career Services, you can learn more about writing resumes, preparing for interviews, and searching for jobs. You can meet with career advisors who will review your resume, help you to prepare job applications, and conduct mock interviews with you.

A co-op placement is a work placement that’s related to your academic program. The placement gives you valuable experience working in the field. For most co-op programs, you need to apply during your first year of study at university. Check out our university profiles to see if your program offers co-op opportunities.

Accessibility Services

A group of students sit at computers in a study area on campus.

Accessibility Services offices make sure that all learners with disabilities are provided with the appropriate accommodations to make their academic program accessible. If you are a student with a disability, you are strongly encouraged to reach out to the Accessibility Services office on your campus early in the summer to ensure that accommodations are set up before you get to campus in the fall.