Advice from student's who've been there too

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A message from Campus Life & Engagement, the one office dedicated to new McGill students. 


Hey Campus Life & Engage,


We’re reaching the end of our summer emails and soon, your first semester (and Orientation) will be in full swing! It’s going to be a year of unique challenges for the McGill community, especially for incoming students. Despite these challenges, you will have the opportunity this year to learn about yourself, your values and passions, and to explore the many different possibilities for your future.


If you haven’t already, be sure to register for Orientation 2020! More than ever, it’s important to engage with your peers and dive into your McGill experience.


You’ve been getting a lot of information over this summer about the resources available to you at McGill. All this new knowledge might be overwhelming, so the student staff at Campus Life & Engagement team has paired down a few must-knows. We work with lots of current students as volunteers and/or staff and can share what students and McGill alumni wish they had known earlier – and here are their Top 8 Tips!



I wish I had known to build my social community.






"Making social connections will really help you in your degree. Having at least one to two classmates you can talk to about coursework and life can make huge impact on your studies! Be sure to check out the First Friend program, as well as our Peer Programs to get connected. You can also connect with your departmental groups and faculty associations for specific programming. Having a social community provides balance and will have a positive influence during your degree!"


Samantha, Graduate Orientation Programs Coordinator,2nd year PhD student in Hispanic Studies


…I wish I had known about McGill’s healthcare services.


"I wish I had known more about time management, imposter syndrome (a big one for us grad students!), and school-life balance. McGill's Wellness Hub has a variety of resources including Local Wellness Advisors to help you navigate any wellness issues that might come up during your time on campus and is currently offering virtual services. Additionally, KeepMeSafe is a great counselling resource that all students can access remotely. 


Another under utilized McGill service is the health plans, which have a lot to offer and the benefits reset every year. So for instance, you likely can get a dental check-up every 12 months included on your Student Care plan. Take advantages of these benefits!"





Sarah, Student Engagement Coordinator, 2nd-year Master student in the Department of Family Medicine and the Bioethics Unit


… I wish I'd known about all the places to eat!




"Each on-campus dining hall offers varied and nutritious food options, with a focus on great taste and sustainability. Additionally, each Residence Hall has its own unique style and ambiance, and the Mandatory Residential Meal Plan, which gives you access to a number of on-campus dining locations, carries over to your second year, if you have some money left over. Your meal plan also gives you access to a number of on-campus dining locations.


Students living off campus can also take advantage of the Meal Saver Plan if you are interested in having your meals on campus. It is a great way to save on taxes!

There are a number of student-run places on campus that sell meals and snacks, and it can be easy to find free food on campus if you follow this page on Facebook. Check out this list of spots to eat near campus! Check out the Cheap Sheet for affordable food near and on campus!"


Ashley Schroeders, Orientation Development Specialist, Bachelor of Secondary Education


…I wish I had known more about my housing rights.



"I wish I had known more about my housing rights before I started renting apartments in Montreal. As a student, it's very important to have an understanding of basic Quebec housing law so that you can stand up for yourself. For example, did you know that, in Montreal, it is illegal for a landlord to ask you for a deposit or finders fees? Luckily, the Legal Information Clinic at McGill (LICM) has some excellent webinars that can help you make sense of all the legal jargon.


Another excellent resource is the Good Neighbour Guide to Montreal, created specifically for McGill students, which breaks down everything you need to know about living and renting in Montreal. For more COVID-19 specific housing information, check out the resources that Off-Campus and Commuter Student Support has compiled!"




Caitlin Mehrotra, Undergraduate Orientation Programs Coordinator, BSc Pharmacology 2020. 


…I wish I had known how many ways there were to get involved!





"No matter what you’re interested, there is sure to be a club for you. Joining clubs can also help you make new friends, help you develop leadership skills, add something to your CV and help to give back to the McGill community.


You can find a comprehensive list of student clubs and associations here. Many clubs and associations will still be running in an online format this year and recruiting new members. You can find information on  and myInvolvment where you can create your personal Co-Curricular Record.


Be sure to check out this year’s Annual Activities Night which will be hosted online and to visit the Discover McGill Services Fair!"


Kirsten Vanderlinde, Off-Campus & Commuter Student Support Coordinator, fourth year Arts, Psychology major and Behavioural Science and one in Sociology minors. 


…I wish I had started exploring Montreal earlier!


"McGill is located in the heart of Montreal, one of North America’s most cosmopolitandynamic and multicultural cities! Montreal combines all the amenities of a large modern city with a rich history and diverse landscape and provides a host of exciting cultural opportunities to explore.

The best way to discover more about the city is to get out thereLearn more about how to explore Montreal."


… I wish I had known about these social media resources.


"There are several Facebook groups that McGill students use to exchange used textbooksshop for and sell used items, and find off-campus housing. Look at this list and get connected!"



Katia Innes, New Students Communications Assistant, fourth year Arts English Literature and History double major.



We hope you found our summer emails useful! Let us know if we can help by contacting us at, or check out this FAQ page.


Have a great time at Orientation!



Gilbert Lin

Manager, Orientation & Student Engagement, Campus Life & Engagement | McGill Student Services


If you think you’ve missed any of our messages or want to re-read any, check out CL&E’s First-Year Email archive.




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McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.


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Campus Life & Engagement

3600 McTavish Street, Suite 4100, Montreal, QC H3A 0G3