Freshmen Tips

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As freshmen entering your first year of university, you are likely wondering which professors and courses to pick, where to buy textbooks, and how to get involved on campus. Here are some tips for getting started at UNBSJ.

You have an idea which subjects interest you, now it’s time to pick your courses. Choosing a professor and course can be tricky. Asking a friend’s opinion of a professor is a great place to start, but keep your friend’s study habits and work ethic in mind when considering their advice. The professor they dub a nightmare may end up being your favourite, and you could be missing out on a great opportunity to learn from them.

The best way to determine whether a professor is right for you is to attend a class with them. By going to their class on the first day you can receive the syllabus for the course and meet them first hand. If you do not think they are the right fit for you after meeting them, or the course is not what you expected, then drop that course and try one with a different professor.

If you end up in a course or with a professor that you do not like, you can switch courses up until the end of the add/drop dates. The final date to add or drop courses for the 2014 Fall Term is Friday Sep. 12. Adding and dropping courses on or before this date will not affect your academic record and a ‘withdraw’ (W) will not be shown on your transcript. This allows you to try out different courses and professors for the first week to find the best options for you.

Some courses may be mandatory for your degree, so you may not have the opportunity to choose your professor or opt for a more interesting class. Make the best of it.

Some important academic dates to remember are:

Friday, Sep. 12 is the last day to pay tuition and fees. Note that this is also the final date to add/drop courses without a (W) showing on your transcript.

Friday, Sep. 19 is the last day to opt out of Health and/or Dental insurance or be exempted from International Health insurance. If you do not opt out on or before this date you will be charged for it. To opt out go to

Friday, Oct. 24 is the last day to withdraw from a course with a prorated refund. A (W) will be added to your academic record.

Monday, Oct. 27 is the last day to withdraw from a course without academic penalty. A (W) will be shown on your academic record.

Textbooks can be costly. Do not go to the campus bookstore on the first day and buy every book listed for your courses. To avoid buying textbooks you will not need, be sure to ask your professor how much you will be using the book in their class. Sometimes you can do without purchasing it. Shop around for books. Students may be selling their course books for less. Check bulletin boards around campus for textbook ads or browse the Facebook page ‘Textbooks – UNBSJ’.

For additional cheaper solutions try Chapters, Amazon, or eBooks. Project Gutenberg at is a great place to find free eBooks and other reading materials. UNBSJ’s Hans W. Klohn’s Commons often has textbooks or course materials available for students as well.

Get involved on campus. There are many clubs and activities throughout the year that you can take part in. Club week is from Sept. 15 to 18. You can check out various clubs and societies on campus and sign up during Club week. A few of UNBSJ’s popular groups on campus are as follows.

If you are an aspiring teacher or looking for volunteer work to enhance your academic resume, the Promise Partnership might interest you. The Promise Partnership pairs student volunteers with children in grade school for mentoring and fun activities. You can find out more about the Promise Partnership at

If you are an artist or a writer looking to have your work published, VOX: UNBSJ’s Arts Annual might interest you. VOX is a collection of creative works by students that is published every year. For more information on VOX check out their Facebook page ‘VOX: The UNBSJ Student Arts Annual’ or contact Editor Kyle Roberts at

Remember these tips, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and make the most of your time at UNBSJ.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.