STEVEN LEE/THE VARSITY

The University of Toronto can be a challenging place to be. It’s worthwhile to know where you can get help when you need it.

Academic support

Academic accommodations: The university offers services to accommodate students with learning and physical disabilities. For physical accommodations, adaptable furniture is available, as are many textbooks that are available in braille and DAISY recordings. You can also request calculators or dictionaries for use during exams as long as they do not compromise core learning objectives. Accessibility Services also provides lecture notes from volunteer notetakers. All of the above can be accessed by providing documentation for your disability and completing an online form with Accessibility Services, which will then put you in touch with an Accessibility Advisor to discuss your accommodations.

Writing CentresAll three campuses have writing centres. UTM and UTSC each have one, as well as all of the major UTSG colleges. These centres have trained instructors to provide you with guidance on your writing assignments. Find the website for your specific campus or college and book an appointment online with your UTORid. Group workshops are usually available to all students, whereas individual sessions should be booked further in advance at your college or campus’ website.

Aid centres: Many departments, like mathematics and statistics, also have a department-specific centre to help with coursework, especially for first-year students. These aid centres offer drop-in tutorials where students can ask questions and discuss problems they have been struggling with. The Department of Economics also offers a peer mentorship program for first- and second-year students, who are paired up with an upper-year undergraduate student for tutoring. Look into your program to see which specific options are available to you.

Physical wellness

Health & Wellness Centres: Each campus has a Health & Wellness Centre or a Health & Counselling Centre. These centres offer physical care, such as general health check-ups, birth control, STI and pregnancy testing, vaccinations, and addiction treatment. If you are travelling anywhere, it is also worth booking a travel appointment to properly organize your vaccinations and medication well in advance.

Drop-in and Fitness Classes: Gyms at all U of T campuses provide classes in a wide variety of activities and levels, from beginner yoga to master-class boot camps. Among these activities are swimming, martial arts, and dance classes. If you’re at UTSG, take a look at the activities offered at Hart House, the Athletic Centre, and the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. The Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre and the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre have similar options, for those at UTM and UTSC, respectively. 

Union health and dental plans: Each of the major U of T student unions, including the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU), the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students, the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union and the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union, provides coverage to its students. The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union will begin its own health care plan on September 1 as part of its separation from the UTSU. These plans can provide services such as psychologist appointments, massage therapy, dental check-ups, and eye care, and are supplementary to other basic health care programs. Check your union’s website to view your coverage!

Mental wellness

Health & Wellness Centres: In addition to general physical care, the centres also offer counselling services, group therapy sessions, and online therapy, all free of charge. Health & Wellness is also where a student can book an appointment with their doctor to determine if they need prescription medication for their mental health. Since these services can sometimes be overburdened, it is best to get in contact early.

Indigenous Student Services: Indigenous Student Services provides support for Indigenous students across all three campuses. This includes academic support like tutoring, financial assistance in the form of scholarships and grants, and community support. The First Nations House is a great place to get in touch with members of the community and access these services.

The Centre for Women and Trans People: The Centre for Women and Trans People offers peer support programs and advocacy for women and transgender people. The centre also offers a community cupboard stocked with food for those who need it, contraceptives, workshops, and social events throughout the year.

University can be a difficult adjustment, but the best way to help yourself is to get help from others when you need it. Make this year as enjoyable as possible by taking full advantage of the services at your disposal.

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