Parents and family will want to support their student toward success at university. Beginning university is a transition for students, and for parents as well. Your student has embarked on a fascinating journey of academic, intellectual and personal growth. They are ultimately growing toward intellectual, scholarly and life skill independence. The university regards your student as an adult but we know they are still your child. This resource is designed for you.


Tips for parents Tips for you to help your child meet challenges
FAQs Get answers to your questions
On-campus supports and services Find out where to go for help

Tips for parents

  • Support your student’s engagement in new ideas and courses they find interesting or exciting.
  • Support your student emotionally as they discover new challenges. It is not unusual for a student to stumble on their journey as they explore academic areas and new ways of working. This is part of their learning and development and there are numerous supports and resources available (see below).
  • Encourage your student to protect time for extra-curricular activities, physical activity, sleep and social time – all of this will contribute to their well-being and positive outcomes.

Best tip: You are in a perfect position to support your student toward engagement and autonomy on campus.

University is a transition from high school. Students will encounter new opportunities (courses, extra-curricular activities, friends, work) and new challenges when they come to U of T. They will need to build on the skills they developed in high school to adapt. The following are some typical challenges and the growth and learning opportunity they include for the student!

Challenge: More unstructured time between classes, especially in Arts and Science programs. 

Opportunity: Freedom to study, work and exercise at optimal times. Freedom to join study groups, take workshops and join extra-curricular activities.

Challenge: More overall homework, heavier workload.

Opportunity: The opportunity to dig into to your field of interest, read cutting edge research and develop new skills.

Challenge: More independent work requirements, especially reading.

Opportunity: A chance to reflect and learn how you learn best. A time to advance your skills, e.g. critical reading.

Challenge: Usually fewer methods of assessment (assignments and tests) with greater grade weighting.

Opportunity: Your professors will give you meaningful methods of assessment – you will want to be thorough, prepare in advance, and ask questions early.

Challenge: More expectation for critical thinking.

Opportunity: As a university grad this will be one of your greatest assets. Ask questions, and ask yourself what you understand and know and why.

Challenge: Possibly more competing academic priorities especially at busy times (before mid-terms and end of term).

Opportunity: Cultivate your time management skills so you can meet multiple priorities in a strategic way.

Challenge: More independent navigation of the degree and important deadlines in courses for coursework and in degree administration. 

Opportunity: Learn the dates for your assignments early so you can become your own project manager. Read your syllabus in detail. Pay attention to degree and registration deadlines. Read your U of T email in detail.

Challenge: Feeling new to everything and possibly feeling lost or unsure of where to start. 

Opportunity: Realize this feeling is often part of the learning process. Ask yourself what you need in order to take the next step. Take action or seek a support or resource to help you.

Challenge: So many extra-curricular opportunities, so little time!            

Opportunity: It is important to learn to engage all the parts of yourself (body, mind, spirit, creativity, social etc.) while you are in school. It will ultimately support your academic performance as well as develop new skills you can take with you throughout life.

There is support on campus for every one of these areas that students can utilize as they wish. We recommend Academic Success online tools, workshops, and one-on-one appointments as well as the writing and math and other services listed at the end of the next page.


Q. Can parents attend Academic Success workshops?

A. Academic Success workshops are designed for students to learn and discover how to build on their strengths to navigate and succeed at university and so we will only admit students.  Parents are welcome to explore our website, this resource and in August during our pre-university workshops, ask questions of the Academic Success staff member on hand (note this is only available during August workshops). 


Q. Are there sessions for parents during Orientation?

A. Your student’s college or professional faculty may offer talks for parents so you may want to inquire there.  With that exception, expect Orientation programming to be exclusively for students.


Q. My student has accessibility requirements.

A. Supports your student received in high school (accommodations, medication etc.) will likely continue to be helpful or necessary when they engage in studies at a higher level.  They can register at Accessibility Services to arrange for accommodations.  Doing this early is the best way to have it set up before deadlines and tests arise.


Q. I am concerned about my student’s well-being or emotional state.

A. No-one knows your student better than you do so do listen to your gut.  Supports are available through Health and Wellness.


Q. What if my student’s marks drop?

A. U of T attracts top performing students and your student is one of them.  As part of their learning and challenges they may not receive the kind of marks they did in high school in all their first year classes.  They will be adapting to new ways of working and demanding courses.  They will also be discovering what areas they most want to pursue.  If you or your student is concerned about a course or marks take heart and utilize your college or faculty registrar’s Academic Advisors regarding grades concerns and program admission or requirements, and Academic Success regarding ways of working.  Also know that as students navigate their programs they tend to improve over the course of their degree. 

On-campus supports and services

Academic Success: Learning strategists, academic learning and performance, and workshops, resources, study groups and one-on-one support. Come to learn skills and receive coaching. 

Registrars: Administration of the degree, meeting degree and program requirements, processes if a student has missed work due to illness/unforeseen event. Go early and ask your questions.

Writing Centres: Workshops and one-on-one appointments for academic writing. Book early, even before any writing has begun!

Math Aid/Help Centres: Go as often as you wish. If you’re stuck, don't wait.

Economics Study Centre: Support for economics course material with upper-year tutors.

Wellness counsellors: For concerns about your emotional or mental well being. Available at your college or professional faculty and through Health & Wellness services.

Health & Wellness: Doctors, nurses and therapists for your physical and mental health.

Accessibility Services: Register with Accessibility Services to receive accommodations. Register early even if you aren’t sure you'll use them.

Center for International Experience: For students who are new (or relatively new) to Canada and students who would like to study overseas.

Clubs: There is a vast array of student clubs or students can start their own.

Physical activity: Incidental fees include membership to three outstanding facilities: Athletic Centre, Goldring Centre, and Hart House. There is something for everyone.

Libraries: Workshops, one-on-one research consults and more.

Your CollegeFaculty or Department

Recognized Facilitated Study Groups: Course affiliated study groups with co-curricular credit.

Career Exploration & Education: Career exploration services and resources for throughout your degree and beyond.