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. These events are a great time to meet others in your faculty, residence and academic program as part of your transition to university life. Look for invitations in your admission packages to sign up for orientation week.
Your residence might have special programming to help you get to know your neighbours and learn more about the residence you will be living in. Upper-year students may host tours, floor meetings and fun programming.
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 them to the campus community. These activities include concerts, performances and team activities.
Your faculty may also set up specific programming so that you can meet fellow students in your program before your first day of class.
Indigenous Student Programming
Contact your university’s Indigenous student centre. Some Indigenous student centres offer early move-in programs to beat the rush of move-in day.
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 may 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.
Indigenous Students Associations
Many universities have an Indigenous students 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 Indigenous people on campus. In addition, they may offer leadership opportunities if you want to take on specific roles within the associations, such as president, treasurer or cultural coordinator.
Contact your university’s Indigenous student services for information about your Indigenous students association, or seek out the association during orientation week.
If you competed in sports in high school, universities can offer you a range of options to stay active. You can represent your university as a varsity athlete, competing against other Ontario universities in a variety of sports, or stay active by participating in recreational sports and activities on campus.
This section provides information about varsity sports, intramural sports and recreational activities offered at Ontario universities.
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.
Visit Ontario University Athletics for more information about coaches, statistics, sports played at each university, try-out dates and recruiting.
You can also visit Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), the national governing body of university sport in Canada. CIS gives you information about national university sports rankings and sporting events across Canada.
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!
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 may offer recreational programs, such as cycling, personal training and Zumba, to help you stay fit during the academic year. These programs may vary in price and availability.
Safe Spaces (such as Rainbow Centres and LGBTQ Centres)
Many Ontario universities offer safe and inclusive spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited (LGBTTIQQ2S) individuals and allies – heterosexual friends, family relatives and anyone who supports LGBTQ+ people. They also provide supports if you want to learn more about your sexuality.
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.
Many Ontario universities offer either child care options on campus or information about finding child care options near campus.
If you need child care services during your studies, contact your university’s Indigenous student centre for information about child care providers. There is often a high demand for child care spaces, so you should contact the child care centre as soon as possible to reserve a space.
Career and Co-op Services
At career services, you can learn more about writing resumés, searching for jobs and preparing for interviews. You can meet with career advisors who will review your resumé, help you prepare job applications and conduct mock interviews with you.
A co-op placement is a work placement that is related to your academic program. The placement gives you valuable experience working in the field. For most co-op programs, you must apply during your first year of study at university.
Accessibility services make sure that all students 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 contact the accessibility services on your campus early in the summer to ensure accommodations are set up before you get to campus in the fall.