Incoming students get early lesson

Summer will soon be drawing to a close, and that means life as a university student is just around the corner for thousands of soon-to-be Mustangs.

As new students arrive on campus next month, they will become part of a more diverse community than ever before – having the opportunity to significantly broaden their horizons on both academic and personal levels.

With all this excitement, however, the transition to university life can be a huge change. Students are bound to be nervous about moving away from home, wondering how they will fit in and what it will take for them to succeed academically.

This is where Off to Western steps in.

Hosted by Alumni Western, Off to Western brings together incoming students with current students and young alumni in order to share university insights and experiences – in essence, welcoming them to Western.

And the best part about it? It’s right in the students’ own communities beginning next week.

Events, which kicked off in Hong Kong on Aug. 7, continue this weekend in Toronto followed by ones in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Oakville, Cambridge and St. Catherines over the next two weeks.

“What’s great about Off to Western is that each event is unique. Incoming students from Calgary and Hong Kong are going to ask much different questions than those from Toronto or the Waterloo region,” says Julie Montes, Off to Western coordinator. “This alone makes Off to Western much different than events like Summer Academic Orientation.”

At Off to Western, students will meet ‘Hometown Volunteers’ – current students and alumni who live in their communities. These volunteers want incoming students to have the best student experience possible during their time at Western and are willing to share what made their time at Western unique and enjoyable, Montes adds.

“This is the first time the majority of these students have moved away from home; it’s a big deal,” she says. “These events are a great opportunity for them to alleviate the fears of transitioning to university while meeting new friends along the way.”

Montes adds knowing in advance what to expect when moving to London will put any concerns to rest and allow Western’s Class of 2015 – and their parents – be better prepared as they settle into campus.

To stay updated about Off to Western, including how to register online for an event in your city, visit the Facebook fan page at