Welcome to upper-year courses!
Congratulations! This is an exciting time for you as you embark on upper-year courses at the 3000 and 4000 levels. You are pursuing your passion!
You have made it through the first two years of your university experience. Now is time to face the challenges of upper-year courses. During these years you are focusing on your major area of study, understanding the complex concepts of your discipline, and entering the unique discourse of your specialty. There is no formula for success at university. Just as you are unique, the experiences you have, the problems you encounter, and the solutions and methods that you devise will also be uniquely yours. The purpose of this guide is to offer you new strategies to level up your organizational, learning, and writing skills to meet the demands of upper-year courses.
- How do upper-year courses differ from first and second year?
- How can I adapt to the challenges of 3000- and 4000-level courses?
We welcome you to book a confidential, 45-minute appointment with an Academic Skills Instructor to discuss ways you can refine your skills.
As you move through your academic journey the expectations change from the broad strokes of your discipline to more focused and deeper understandings of concepts and ideas. With deeper understanding comes increased expectations. Assignments will be longer and more complex, while tests will require less memorization and more insight into your subject and discipline. Courses will introduce new complex ideas that require your analysis of available evidence, observations, and arguments.
The pandemic was a challenging time for many students. The transitions from in-person to online (and back again!) have left many reeling. However, you have risen to this challenge by navigating through the complexities of university in the era of a global health challenge. The experience of trying to get an education during this time has proven to be demanding, and we are here to help you navigate complexities as you move forward. We are also here to help you to understand and meet the expectations for engagement in class, for critical thinking and analysis of course materials, and for clear and organized written and oral communication that demonstrates your learning and your thinking. Also, let’s remember the positive takeaways from your pandemic learning experiences: more resilience and adaptability.
Upper-year courses require independent learning, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone when things get tough. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Research shows that students who are engaged in their learning are more likely to use university services and find academic success.
You have valuable strengths that enhance your learning. You have successfully navigated through high school and two years of university and now, entering the upper years of study, you can draw on your strengths. Some of the strategies that you have used in the past will still be relevant in your upper years, but you may want to adopt some new strategies to meet the challenges of the upper-level courses. Be open to new ideas and new approaches. One way to leverage your strengths is to review feedback from assignments from your past courses. Know the areas where you are strong and understand the areas which you need to refine further.