Are you ready?
Mastering the skills needed to succeed
at college and university.

Not surprisingly, most students report feeling not as prepared as they would like to have been when they started university or college. Even before the 2019 pandemic, large-scale surveys showed that most students report significant difficulties and deficits in the skills and abilities they will need to excel throughout their studies. More than ever before students are not as ready as they need to be. 

Whether it is difficulties with time management or managing stress or difficulties in preparing or writing tests and exams, there is a lot to know — as soon as you first step into a lecture hall. Knowing what to expect and how to manage it all can make the transition easier and improve your performance when you arrive.

Our goal at the Learning and Wellbeing Project is to help students identify the challenges that they will likely face during their studies and to assist them in acquiring all of the skills they will need to maximize their success and well-being while at school. 

The challenges that students will face at university go far beyond just study skills.  Many students will arrive at the university with additional challenges, including mental health difficulties, learning deficits, or even some kind of disability. Other students will have to contend with being far from home or living alone for the first time; and most will need to learn how to manage money, deal with conflict and maybe even have to handle a breakup or two. Any of these challenges can take the fun out of school and make it hard to focus on doing your best.  

The Learning and Wellbeing Team offers a number of presentations, seminars and lectures throughout the year on a variety of topics (e.g., building health habits) and skills (e.g., the art of effective scheduling). If you are thinking about university or college or will be attending university or college this coming year, we have a great presentation that will give you a quick overview of what to expect and how to prepare. 

The Getting Ready of College and University presentation can be delieved in sixty minutes. We can walk you through some of the biggest challenges you will face, and the importance of some of the most effective strategies you will need. 

Booking a presentation:

We would welcome the opportunity to your students, teachers and parents.  We recognize that it is not always possible or convenient to meet in person, so we would be happy to schedule a virtual presentation. We know how busy the school year gets. The best way to get started is to think about a time that works for you and your students, and we will try to accommodate your schedule.  

Here are a number of possibilities, all of which can work well.

Option 1: Small group with students (and a few teachers). 
If you have a large class of grade 11 or 12 students, we would be happy to deliver the presentation to your class, depending on whether our availability aligns with your schedule. 

Option 2: Large group with students (with teachers). 
You might also think about holding a presentation for all grade 11 or 12 students. Although large groups are not necessarily conducive to asking questions, you might give students the task of generating some questions they may have about college or university, which a student representative can ask us during the Q&A. 

Option 3: Large group with parents and students. 
You might also consider having us present as part of a parent information night about getting ready for college and university. Parents are a critical part of student’s success at school. Involving them right from the start can help both students and parents manage this important transition in their lives. 

Option 4: Got a great idea?  
We are open to working with schools and school boards on how to make all of these resources available to students, parents and educators. 


What is university and college all about?

Attending university and college is about so many things, much more than just attending classes. It is an opportunity to discover who you are and what you are good at, as well as an opportunity to learn how to meet people and work well with others. But it is also about becoming an expert while getting all of the the work done and completing your degree.

However, these four things – discovering who you are, meeting people, pursuing excellence and completing the darn degree – will always be competing goals. Too much discovery and you won’t excel; too many friends and you won’t finish. It’s a fine balancing act. And a lot can get in your way. 

There is enough time for everything.

We’d like to help you develop the skills needed to get the most out of school starting on day one.

More about the presentation

In this 60-minute presentation, you will be provided with a brief introduction to what university and college are all about and how to prepare for university — everything from what to expect and how to get the most out of your studies to strategies to manage stress and reach your full potential. As much as we prefer to meet with parents and student face to face, the seminar can be delivered effectively over a secure video link (e.g., Zoom, Google meets, Doxy).  


The presentation was developed by the Learning and Wellbeing Team at the University of Ottawa, which is directed by Dr. Santor, a professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa, and clinical psychologist, with over 25 years of experience teaching undergraduate students. Our presenters are health promotion and learning experts, graduates of university and college, with years of experience, as students, mental health coaches and counsellors.

Topics covered include:

  • What university is all about: The great balancing act.
  • Major challenges: Mental health and time management
  • What to expect: The big drop and big flip
  • Top four strategies to boost your performance
  • Top fours strategies to manage your stress
  • Distinguishing yourself: More than just grades
  • Thinking strategically about school; Think team sport 
  • The role of parents (do’s and don’ts)
  • Getting the most out of the Learning and Wellbeing Project.

After the presentation:

The presenters will be happy to lead a Q&A in which we tackle your questions about any aspect of the university and college. 

Who should attend:

This presentation was designed for students, parents and educators.

What you will need for the presentation:

We are big fans of worksheets, interactive quizzes and questionnaires. This presentation (like all of the others) comes with a worksheet. Worksheets provide people with the opportunity to write down what they find important, which, as you know, consolidates learning. For the students, who do better focusing when they have something to do, this will help keep them tuned in longer. In the presentation, we will ask attendees to write down the skills and strategies that they would like to develop. 

More information:

We would be happy to chat more about the presentation as well as about the learning and well-being project. You can reach us by email 

Before the presentation:

Although not required, you may elect to have students complete some of the interactive quizzes that we use in our courses and presentations at the university, which are designed to help students find out what skills they could focus on developing.  All of these interactive resources can be found in one of our recent articles entitled Think you are ready? Think again

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