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Academic Resources in Canadian Universities

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Academic Resources in Universities in Canada

Libraries

Almost all post-secondary schools have a library, if not more than one. Larger universities often have several libraries that specialize in various subjects. What they all have in common is the ready availability of study and reference materials.

In addition to actual books, an increasing number of libraries are also offering reference materials in electronic format. Some of this material is freely available online, but for those materials that require an account in order to view and use, the university or college usually has this arranged. You can login using the library’s computers, and access reference material without having to be an individual subscriber and paying extra fees.

Writing Center

Most schools have a dedicated writing center. These are places where students can get help with writing issues they may have, participate in workshops or presentations, and get advice on thesis submissions.

Special writing tutors will aid with writing-related issues such as spelling, grammar, editing, and essay writing styles. They are meant as a supplement to primary and secondary level education, and will not “write” your essay for you. Special workshops and presentations aimed at improving writing style are also periodically offered.

Honors and graduate students will often use the writing center when it comes time to write their thesis. They can get help on the technicalities of writing a thesis (eg. grammar), and also on various writing styles and which are appropriate for a thesis-based work. Some writing centers also offer binding and finishing services; in other schools this is the purview of the library or the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Bookstores

Bookstores are another source of academic resources. They offer course textbooks as a matter of course, but they also offer generalized study materials such as reference guides, previous editions, and other supportive material. With the advent of much reference material going online, the bookstore is becoming less useful as a source of academic information. See the article on bookstores for more detailed information.

Career Center

Careers centers offer a chance for new and graduating students to research and plan on a post-education career. This can consist of one-on-one counseling sessions, interactive software programs, co-operative education options, and employment opportunities.

Counseling sessions are designed to help students decide what they want to do after post-secondary school. After a verbal conversation and perhaps some aptitude tests, counselors are better able to at least eliminate those careers that would be unsuitable for new graduates. They also take into account factors such as geography, desired income level, opportunity for advancement, time off, and the current and future job market.

Some career centers also offer computerized “counseling” sessions, where students can use software to narrow down their career choices, usually through the use of aptitude and skill testing. The results are usually used in conjunction with a personalized one-on-one session with a live human counselor.

Almost all post-secondary schools offer co-operative education as a curriculum option. The career center is usually an integral part of this. See the article on co-operative education for more information.

Career centers are also the place where temporary, part-time, and full-time work positions are posted for all students. Jobs that require registered students (eg. to fulfill academic grant requirements, etc.) are usually prominently listed. These listing can either be virtual (by logging onto the career center website), or available in print. It’s possible now to do your career searching entirely virtually; however an in-person session with a career counselor is highly recommended!

Computer Center

Like the career center and the writing center, the computer center is another resource available to students on campus. Often this resource is housed within the library system; other times it is a separate entity with its own department and staff.

For those schools with a dedicated computer department, many types of software and hardware are made available to students. Typically, desktop computers and printers are made available for the printing of essays. Almost always Internet access is available on the same computers.

For those who wish to use their own computers or wireless-enabled devices, free wireless Internet is available in most schools for those with a student account. Staff is on-hand to help solve any software or hardware issues that may arise.

Tutoring

Many students will experience difficulties with academic subjects at some point during their academic career. Often times this can be attributed to the change in the learning environment: the transition from high school to post-secondary institutions can be rather bewildering for new students. As well the support environment that students are used to in high school is often absent in first-year classes, which are much larger (sometimes hundreds of students) and much more anonymous. As such, many schools now offer a variety of academic support services, among them tutoring. About 60% of schools in Canada advertise tutoring on their websites, with many more advertising off the Web (eg. departmental bulletin boards, word of mouth, etc.). See the article on tutoring for more information.




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