Tips for parents

Learn how to support students enrolled in science programs.


If their academic or emotional load becomes too high, seek support services and speak with an academic advisor or free professional counselor.

Struggling is normal. Common first year struggles can include:

  • health issues (depression, anxiety, mood disorders, etc.)
  • study skills
  • time management skills
  • lack of connection/social life/friends
  • family problems/stress
  • loneliness
  • confusion about academic goals and abilities
  • differences between high school and university effort level expectations
  • course load realities
  • using unhealthy and nonproductive coping behaviours

Time management  

Use time management tools to keep organized. These may include using the family calendar as well as planner apps for iPhones, diaries/agendas or white boards. Schedule quiet time and personal space without distractions for studying, and recognize that the may no longer be able to participate in or assist with family events due to increased course load.

Exam times

Try and give students extra time away from extra duties to study for mid-term and final exams. Let your family and friends know they're focused during exam time.  

For friends and family, don't panic or berate your student if he or she fails a course or assignment. Recognize that it is harder on them than on you.Your student can review their exam or assignment with their instructor or TA and learn from their mistakes. They should investigate the university's course repeat policy together with their academic advisor.

Break times

SFU has a week-long reading break beginning the Family Day holiday in February.  Classes are not in session, although the university is open. Students should take a few days to rest and relax, but also use the time wisely to review class notes and catch up with any missed readings or assignments.  Use the time to form a Reading Break study group - meet for an hour to go over class material, and meet for another hour to watch a sporting event, eat or game together. There is also a roughly two week period between the last day of final exams of one term and the first day of classes of the next term.

Deciding on a major

First year's courses may convince you to continue along the same route or choose an entirely new one, or something in between. Whatever the case is in September, it is likely to change - over half of all students change their major at least once.  What is important is that you concentrate on a field they are passionate about, skilled in, and in which they can see themselves contentedly pursuing a career. Back-up/parallel plans are always necessary. Ask yourself if you have researched Co-operative Education, Volunteer Services, or Career Services.

General success

How can you succeed?

  • Look into the free workshops in the Student Learning Commons
  • Acknowledge the process of letting go of the old and adjusting to the new
  • Embrance the positive changes
  • Visit and talk with their instructors and academic advisor
  • Encourage good time management skills
  • Talk openly about money management and financial decisions with your family.

Successful students are connected both socially and academically. Get involved with extra- and co-curricular activites. Clubs Days for student clubs with the Simon Fraser Student Society are held at the beginning of each term.  Many first year pograms have co-curricular networking activites such as Science's Feed Your Brain Break.