Nothing is worse then going into the semester and finding out if a course is just not what you expected it to be. The professor is just too mean, incomprehensible or boring. The course deals with subjects that you aren’t familiar with. The course load is too much to balance between your other classes. It’s the most stressful thing to encounter any of these previous issues, but these 5 tips will help you avoid any of these obstacles for when you are trying to enrol for a course at Uottawa.

1. Rate my prof

The professor makes all the difference when it comes to enjoying and even succeeding in a  course. Thank goodness for Ratemyprof because you get to know how your future professor is. These reviews show very useful commentary from previous students that have absolutely no filter. If the professor sucks, students will definitely tell you. Make sure to pick a course with a good prof and go through the commentary by course and time (because some professors are better teacher other years or subjects than others).

2. Course descriptors

This is probably the first thing you are checking anyway, but it’s always a good thing to check Uottawa course timetables or faculty course sequences. These course descriptors have summarized the course in the best way possible. Some courses are similar in name, so make sure you are picking the course for you by checking descriptions. The names can also be misleading which is another reason why these descriptors are used.


3. Facebook social groups

If you aren’t in a Facebook UOttawa social group you need to get on it. The social group is a great place to reach a wide population of GeeGees with one post. If you have a question about a course or professor, post it on a social group and you are sure to get up at least 3 commentaries. If you don’t feel like posting, you can also just scroll and search if anyone has previously inquired about a similar course.

4. Course packages on OneClass 

Websites like OneClass are specialized in courses and course notes for different subjects. Students post the previous course syllabuses and notes, which will let you have a gist of the how your semester will go. By looking at the syllabus you are able to know what type of course load is expected, and what subjects will be tackled. Having the notes for that class means that you can also evaluate your level of comprehension and the level expected from the professor of that particular course. If you get lucky, you might also find an exam package.

5. Word of mouth

This isn’t something you can actually search online, but it’s definitely a useful one. Simply ask someone you know or are acquainted with if they know any information about the course. You are sure to find someone who has taken the course in your friend circle. Whether it’s a close friend or a friend of a friend of a friend, they will tell you how it is. Rumours also tend to spread quickly about course information because us students are always talking about coursework.

All students want to do their best in their courses. Picking the course is the key first step to setting yourself up for success. Make sure you don’t get in a situation where you have a horrible prof, too much work, or no knowledge about the course content. Save yourself the stress and do the homework beforehand.



I’m a 3rd-year International Development student at the University of Ottawa.

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