You're Here to Learn

You’re at university primarily to learn, so it’s important to understand what academic life at Carleton is like. In this section you’ll become familiar with the different types of classes at Carleton, how to organize your academic life, what kind of support is offered at Carleton and more!

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Lectures are classes that could contain anywhere from 30 to 400 students. Lectures are taught by a professor and often have a linked component such as a lab or a tutorial that is smaller in size. Lectures assist students with the comprehension of their course readings and teach important course concepts, research techniques, and critical thinking skills. It is important to prepare for each lecture by familiarizing yourself with the course material beforehand.

First Year Seminars

First-year seminar courses are small classes (usually with 30 students) designed to give students the opportunity to discuss and research topics of interest in a core subject area. Most university students are in their third or fourth year of study before they have the opportunity to take seminar courses. If you are a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Cognitive Science, Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies, or Bachelor of Global and International Studies student you are provided with this experience at the first-year level through enrollment in a First-Year Seminar. First-Year Seminar instructors are committed to teaching and mentoring first-year students as they make the transition into university life. Look for them under the “FYSM” course code on the course registration page. Be sure to visit the list of this year’s FYSM offerings. Keep in mind that you are limited to 1.0 credits in First-Year Seminars.


A tutorial is a linked component to a lecture which allows a more intimate discussion of course topics. Tutorial sizes generally range from 20 to 30 students. Tutorials are led by Teaching Assistants who are either Graduate students or upper-year Undergraduate students. Tutorials are designed to complement the lecture and attendance is mandatory.


Just like tutorials, labs are linked components of lectures. During your lab you will be applying the knowledge you learned in your lecture. Labs are led by Teaching Assistants who are either Graduate students or upper-year Undergraduate students. It’s important to attend as it is a great opportunity to strengthen your understanding of concepts learned during your lecture. Just like tutorials, attendance at labs is mandatory.

The highlight of my Carleton experience has been meeting new people. Transferring is not always easy and it can be a really lonely or depressing time. But you are in control of your experience and if you want your university experience to be full of friends and fun then you can easily find ways to make that happen! Never be afraid to ask for help. Get involved and talk to everyone you can.

Hailey − Honours Psychology

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The Centre for Student Academic Support (CSAS) is Carleton’s collaborative student learning centre. Centrally located on the 4th floor of the MacOdrum Library, CSAS offers peer-led individualized and group-based academic support services to provide you with university-level learning strategies. Using a combination of workshops, one-on-one peer mentoring, in-class presentations, and online initiatives, CSAS can help you develop effective study habits, improve your writing and study skills, and enhance your understanding and application of course material.

Individual Support

CSAS’s range of one-on-one, drop-in support services includes Skill Development Sessions, Writing Services, and Peer Assisted Subject Coaching (PASC).

Learn how to tackle academic challenges, such as time management, and develop study skills that can strengthen your academic performance at a Skill Development Session. Get instruction on how to organize your writing by meeting with a Writing Services tutor. You can also sit down with a PASC Subject Coach, who can help you understand difficult course material and provide you with useful study strategies.

Bounce Back

Bounce Back is a mentorship program that pairs first-year students who have had a difficult first semester at Carleton with an upper-year Facilitator. This Facilitator can can offer support and help a first-year student work through issues that may be impacting their academic performance so that they may work towards academic and personal success.

Group Support

If you enjoy learning in groups and collaborating with others, CSAS runs weekly sessions and workshops.

Practice your English speaking skills at an English Conversation Session. You can review course material through fun, collaborative activities and gain a better understanding of the concepts discussed in your lectures at a Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) workshop. You can also attend a Skill Development Workshop to improve your study habits.

The First Year Connections (FYC) program is specifically designed to assist first year students in making a successful transition from high school to university. First Year Connections encompasses all three components of the Student Experience Office’s mandate – transition support, engaging programming opportunities and peer to peer learning. Mentors will support students in their academic, personal and professional goals by providing encouragement, helping students access support services and helping students to get more involved in the Carleton community.

Participating students are paired with an upper-year mentor in their program who they will meet with one-on-one throughout the first six to eight weeks of the school year. Students and Peer Mentors will meet weekly to make sure the transition to university life is as smooth as possible, connecting them with their academic department, identifying social opportunities and ways to meet new people, and ensuring they have someone who they can ask anything at all about Carleton, student resources, and how to get involved and make the most of campus life.

Carleton is pleased to welcome college graduates and university transfer students to our campus community. We recognize that transfer students have unique backgrounds and transition needs.  We have developed dedicated support services to help facilitate a smooth transition into a new cultural and academic environment. Here, you’ll find a stimulating campus community where you can meet new people, get involved in activities that interest you, and experience all that living in Ottawa, Canada’s national capital, has to offer.

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