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  • Writer's pictureThe Mentorship Spot

A Comprehensive Look at the First Year Experience at Laurier

As a 2nd year Laurier Golden Hawk, Wilfrid Laurier University is offering an amazing experience for me as a student. Pursuing my Bachelor of Business Administration at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, my transition into this program and into a different learning environment from high school was challenging. The BBA program here at Laurier offers many different insights into the business world and its complexities. Through in-class discussions, case competitions and training from industry executives, the program delivers an in-depth experience revealing the reality of today’s business world. Students graduate well rounded business executives as well as specialists in their areas of focus. The Lazaridis School of Business and Economics offers many different business concentrations such as accounting, finance, entrepreneurship to name a few. The program also offers Canada’s largest co-op program which allows students to gain valuable experience in the workplace prior to graduation.

During my senior year at John Fraser Secondary School, I had considered many options for pursuing a business degree. Out of 4, Wilfrid Laurier University was my second choice. The program requires you to maintain a 90-93% average in 6 high school university courses. These include English, Advanced Functions and either Calculus or Data Management. For first year, Laurier has an extensive focus towards building a thorough calculus understanding. Prior to my admission I had not known this, and I had taken Data Management. I would recommend taking Calculus in Grade 12, as it helps greatly in the first year Calculus course offered. The other 3 courses are up to student’s choice but are mandated to be university courses. Personally, I had chosen courses that would benefit my future learning at Laurier which included Economics, Business Leadership, International Business and Accounting. These courses built a solid foundation for first year BBA courses such as Micro/Macro Economics, Financial/Managerial Accounting and Business Environment. The program jumps right into business material so having background knowledge in related courses is key.

Financially, Laurier has many ways to help their students such as entrance scholarships, bursaries, and awards. Personally, leaving high school with a 92% average allowed me to obtain the first level of entrance scholarship. It offers students up to $2000 as a part of their tuition funding. I had also applied for entrance bursaries which require many previous volunteer/work experiences throughout high school. Maintaining your financial situation during university can get difficult as residing in the Waterloo region can be quite expensive. I had applied for the OSAP Government Loan for students, which had helped greatly towards my transition into Laurier. This loan is split into grants (which students keep) and a repayable loan (which students pay after graduation). It is a great tool for first year students looking for financial aid. In first year, students are offered on-campus housing which is a great opportunity to meet new people, attend university events and to have a better transition into the university lifestyle. However, I had chosen to stay off-campus to save a lot of money. I had leased an apartment 10 minutes away from campus with a bunch of friends because Laurier residency seemed a bit too expensive for me, so finding cheaper apartment leases throughout the Waterloo region helped me maintain my financial position.

The Waterloo Region has evolved over the years to accommodate students from both Laurier and Waterloo University. Uptown has transformed into a student-friendly area with plenty of places to enjoy your time. With restaurants, pubs, and cafés around every corner, it hosts a great social lifestyle. The transit system has had its ups and downs; however, the newly constructed subway and bus routes allow students to move freely around the region. Living in Mississauga, I had taken the GO Bus which is conveniently located right in front of campus to accommodate students looking to commute or visit back home. The university also had endless opportunities for students looking to expand their co-curricular interests. With over 200 clubs and associations such as Radio Laurier, the Journal of Arts or Spoon Laurier, students can get involved in many activities on campus.

Wilfrid Laurier University can be a great opportunity to explore different career paths, making new friends and fulfilling personal goals. However, certain struggles come with transitioning into such a lifestyle. For me, leaving my parents’ home to live on my own in a new city has been challenging. Being faced with a new responsibility of fully caring for myself and managing my time was stressful. Starting off by making a full year calendar was a great way for me to manage certain due dates for courses and important days of examinations. Professors provide a lot of information in their respective course syllabuses which can help you understand how the course is structured and what you can expect as the workload. Attending lectures and participating in classes or tutorials also helps students to understand material better. Cramming was something I had relied on during high school, but in university it did not help at all. Daily studying and overlooking course material goes a long way when it comes to preparing for final examinations. Laurier courses are set up for students to succeed with online practice quizzes and interactive learning experience with professors. Staying connected and studying with a group of friends in your classes will help greatly for assignments and quizzes.

Overall, I am glad I have been giving this opportunity to share my personal experience as a first-year student at Wilfrid Laurier University. I hope future Laurier Golden Hawks, or any student can use my personal advice to advance in their university/professional careers.


Arshman Shad

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