A Guide to Student Resources and Services at York University

services at york university, student walking out glass door
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator via Unsplash

As students, we often feel overwhelmed by demanding courses, jobs, and extracurricular activities. Luckily, York University provides resources and services that aim to alleviate some of these stresses. All of these are completely free and accessible to York students, so take advantage of them before you graduate! Considering the hefty tuition that students pay, it’s only right that we utilize these free resources and services at York University as much as possible.

Academic Advising

Even though it’s well known on campus, a large percentage of students get through four to five years at York without dropping into an academic advising session. Academic Advising is a free service that helps students to understand their program and degree requirements, course selection, as well as the processes for academic petitions. If you’re indecisive about which courses to take, what credits you need, are dissatisfied with the major you’re studying, or want to explore other options, then head on over!

Academic Advisors are trained to help students answer these questions so they realize their academic potential. An appointment isn’t necessary. They don’t tend to last long, but there is no limit on how many appointments you can sign up for. Additionally, advisors end each session with a list of action items that you can use to solve academic problems. Search “York University Academic Advising” along with the name of your Faculty (ex. Faculty of Health), and it’ll pop up! If you don’t feel like going in person with a quick question, then contact them by phone and they can guide you remotely. 

Learning Skills Services

During your academic career, you will face courses that make you question your pursuit of higher education. Sometimes the content seems so hard that you lose all desire to study. Your dislike may be due to challenging material. However, it might also be that you don’t know how to study for it. That’s where Learning Skills Services (LSS) comes in! LSS is provided by York University to assist students. They offer workshops, drop-in services, and Peer Academic Coaching. Refine your studying methods and explore new ways of preparing for your exams. These services are open to all Yorkies, regardless of your undergrad or graduate status. Be sure to check them out!

Student Counselling & Development

Juggling a full course load is stressful, but students also deal with the financial and emotional burdens that accompany post-secondary education. York University offers Counselling services to their students. The main goal is to help students realize their potential so they have a better university experience. These services are available from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Mondays to Fridays. Additionally, walk-ins are accepted. The wait may be long, but the sessions are worth it. Sometimes, you need to talk to someone who isn’t your friend or immediate family member to get an objective perspective. Or you need to vent. Utilizing this service is a great way to engage in self-care and release any built-up tension. Counsellors usually provide an action plan so you can identify your next steps. 

Student Financial Services

Oh yes, the dreaded Financial Services. Most of us hate them for taking our money. To be fair, however, Student Financial Services provides assistance to students who are looking to decrease their tuition payments. One of these resources is the Award Search tool on the financial services website. This tool allows students to select options that tailor a list of awards for them.

For example, students choose their faculty, year of study, and the type of award they’re looking for. The tool displays awards that you are eligible for and directs you to the application. Most of these awards are randomly handed out to people who may not even qualify, but who were brave enough to apply. It is so easy to fill out the applications and there is no harm in applying! There are no limits to how many awards you can apply to, select a bunch of them and submit, submit, submit. Awards are a great way to pay off a portion of your tuition and brighten up your resume. 

Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)

PASS is a free and collaborative study session offered by some of the colleges at York University. Regardless of where you stand academically, these sessions will help improve your grades and introduce you to new methods of learning. Also, it’s a great way to meet people who are struggling with similar concepts! During these sessions, the PASS leader will facilitate and allow attendees to contribute to the study session. Common problem areas are covered and there are mock exams to help you prepare for your midterms and finals! Did we mention it’s free? Find the PASS sessions by typing in the name of your college along with “PASS” into your browser. 

Student Papers & Academic Research Kit (SPARK)

Regardless of your field of study or major, you’re going to be asked to write an academic paper during your university career. Some students excel at these while others struggle. No matter how good you think you are at writing, chances are, you can improve by using SPARK. Basically, the SPARK tool is a guide to writing a successful academic paper. Each module is 8-10 minutes long and teaches you something new about researching and writing academic essays, along with examples and templates. It’s a great tool, and since it’s online, it’s accessible by searching SPARK.

Assignment Planner

Yup, another tool to help you with writing assignments. They may seem easy, but once the deadline creeps up, you barely have enough research to write an intro. Another resource provided by York is the online Assignment Planner. You input the date that the assignment is due, as well as the date you plan on starting it. Click the “How do I get it done in time?” button and you receive a detailed work plan!

The Assignment Planner provides a day-by-day breakdown of what you should be doing prior to the deadline. For example, the first day is pre-writing or brainstorming, while the last day will be checking grammar and spelling. This tool is perfect for students because it gives a detailed checklist on how to get started. Simply search “Assignment Planner”.


Going to a commuter school like York can be hard. Not too many dorm parties and no crazy St. Patty’s festivities. Also, with classes that are bigger than movie theatres, it’s super difficult to make friends and find a sense of community. Therefore, join a club that you feel passionate about. Don’t know what clubs exist? Not to worry, that’s why YUConnect is a thing. YUConnect is York’s online platform for all things club-related. With a comprehensive list of organizations and student-run clubs, you will find something that catches your eye. Academics, movies, sports, food, books… whatever your thing is, York offers a club. Get on YUConnect, input your PassportYork info, and you’re good to go! Check out each club’s description to find out how you can join. 

Reach out to friends, professors, or people working in Vari Hall’s RED ZONE to find out what other resources and services at York University are available to you. If you’re going to be here a while, you might as well get your money’s worth! 

Published on December 2, 2020

About Fara Seddigh

Hi! I'm Fara, and I'm a Psychology and Law & Society Double Major at York. My hobbies include drinking overly sweet iced coffee, endlessly scrolling through TikToks, and writing. Oh, and I'm Persian, so you can already guess what my future career goals are...(Hint: the only options are doctor or lawyer)