Services to Students

First-Year College Experience (FYCE)

About Us

About the First-Year Experience Office

The First-Year Experience Office was established within Student Services as part of a College-wide plan to increase academic success and retention.

The Education Advisor works with the College community toward providing outreach programs and services to students, parents, faculty and staff.

Programs and Services


The Office offers programs and services designed to support and assist the first semester student in making the transition to a college environment. Services and programs include:

  • Providing Learning Skills Workshops
  • Bridging the high school – CEGEP transitional gap
  • Welcoming orientation for students living away from home
  • Extended orientation sessions through class visits to provide pertinent information and links to a broad range of supportive services
  • Intervention programs to identify and assist at-risk students; Early Alert and Mid Semester review programs
  • Courtesy check-in calls to new students at mid-semester
  • One-on-one consultation for skill development, success strategies, and information about College services

Parents play an important role in student success. Outreach to parents of new students includes a mailing in the fall semester with information aimed at easing the transition to college. Parents are invited to direct their concerns or questions to the Education Advisor.

Faculty and Staff
The First-Year Experience Office is also a resource for teachers and provides support and assistance in addressing problems that may interfere with a student’s academic performance. The Education Advisor contributes to professional development activities for faculty working with College-wide committees to implement new, innovative strategies for student success.

Phone: 514-457-6610 x5286

Contact Us

The Education Advisor can be reached at the following coordinates:

Anthony Haddad
Herzberg 119
Tel: 514-457-6610, ext. 5286
Fax: 514-457-4730

Early Alert Program

The Early Alert Program is designed to:

  • Help students get off to a good start in the first few weeks of school
  • Assist teachers in addressing problems that may interfere with academic performance
  • Refer at-risk students to Student Services and other College resources
  • Support first year students with high school to CEGEP transitional difficulties

For Parents

Parents have an important role to play in guiding their family members through the transition from high school to CEGEP. The next few years are a time for academic and personal growth leading to new challenges. With your support and encouragement we can help John Abbott students make the most of their academic experience. Please feel welcomed to call upon us for information or assistance.

Below you will find tips that will help you guide and counsel your son/daughter through their CEGEP years.

Confidentiality policies on student information apply to those 18 years of age and older and must be respected at all times. Personal or academic information is not shared unless previously authorized by the student.

Contact us:

Tips for Parents

Confidentiality of Student Information

Confidentiality of student information is an important and sensitive issue. It is important for parents to understand that the College is bound by law to respect the privacy of our students if they are 18 years of age or older. This means that grades, progress reports, transcripts and all personal information is confidential and given only to the student, unless the student has given written permission to do otherwise.

If a student is less than 18 years of age, transcripts and other information may be released to the parent(s) or guardian(s) upon written request only. The philosophy in Student Services is one that fosters the building of a relationship and a sense of trust and respect with our students. Therefore, though the parent may have the right to information, it is generally more effective to have the cooperation of the student.

However if at any time confidential information is obtained that indicates a probable risk, threat or danger to a student, the safety concern will take precedence immediately and confidentiality of information will no longer be operative.

Program Choice

Contrary to popular belief, not all programs ‘keep the doors open’ for everyone. “My parents would be devastated if I switched out of my current program”, says a first semester student. Are you willing to listen and accept the possibility that they may want to change paths? Most students entering CEGEP are uncertain about their career visions and need time to explore their options. Our Counsellors and Academic Advisors are here to provide information and guidance.

Orientation for New Students

A smooth transition to CEGEP is an important step in the success of first semester students. New students are invited to attend an orientation session in August to learn about campus facilities, services, and available resources. They will also be given a copy of the student AGENDA book, and can obtain their ID cards and lockers, purchase their books from the Campus Store, and buy parking decals; thus avoiding line-ups once classes begin. Students always tell us they worry about getting lost on the first day and so we recommend that they take a guided tour, and find out where their classes will be held before the first day. Encourage your son or daughter to participate in orientation and help them feel more at ease about starting college.


Attendance in class, lab, and fieldwork is mandatory and policies regarding unexcused absences are published in course outlines. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with the teacher if problems arise with attendance or punctuality. If a student is ill or has a chronic medical condition, he/she should advise teacher(s) immediately and may be asked to provide medical documentation. In the case of religious holidays, students should advise their teachers in advance and make appropriate arrangements for missed assignments, tests, etc.


Doing homework is essential. We recommend that students develop a study routine early in the semester, with an hour of homework for every hour of class as a guideline. For a science student that can be 28 hours of homework a week! Students should take advantage of their breaks during the day to do homework and study, and with 7 or 8 courses and a 15 week semester, weekends and evenings are a must.

Adjusting to the Pace

Students always tell us that the faster pace in CEGEP is one of the biggest changes from high school. Every student is given a course outline for each class in the first week of the semester. Ask your son/daughter if you can have a look at these course outlines to get an idea of the amount of work required for each course and deadlines. Establishing good work habits and maintaining a steady pace allow students to feel more in control.

Study Skills

Working smarter, not harder, is a learned skill. It is entirely possible to do well in high school and not have to work too hard at it. This is rarely the case at the college level. Many students are not aware of their strengths and weaknesses and rely on old study habits, which may or may not work for them in CEGEP. Students who want to upgrade their learning and study skills or become more efficient in their studies can find workshops and other services to help them in the Academic Success Centre (H 117). Link to Academic Support Centre

Living Away from Home

Living away from home is a big adjustment for both students and their families! Not only must students adjust to a new school environment, they now have the additional responsibilities of living away from home: shopping, cooking, dealing with roommates and/or landlords. It takes time to feel settled and at home but it helps if they become involved in student life by joining a club or team, or volunteering on campus. Welcoming activities are offered and support in making the transition is available through Student Services and Housing Services. As parents, you can show your support and concern by sending care packages and keeping the lines of communication open. Link to Housing Services

Academic Support

Asking for help can make the difference between passing and failing. Teachers often report that one of the reasons a student fails a course is that assignments were never handed in, or were late, and therefore could not be graded. Sometimes students just feel overwhelmed and procrastinate. Encourage your student to see his/her teachers for help, and to make use of the many free services and resources available in the College such as peer tutoring. Link to Academic Support Centre

Mid-Semester Assessment

All first-year students are sent a progress report in the fall semester and then again in the Winter semester. By the end of October – term 1 or March of term 2, a written report is sent electronically to the student’s Portal account informing them of their progress in each course. The objective is to encourage students to seek help before it’s too late. You might want to ask your son/daughter to see this report and discuss the results with him/her.

Recognition of Academic Achievement

  • Dean’s List
    The College recognizes the top 25 students in the College by placing them on the Dean’s List which is posted in the Herzberg building. A letter also goes home informing the student’s family.
  • Honour Roll
    Students are named on the Honour Roll if they are in the top 10% of their program, have a minimum 80% average with no mark under 75, and are taking the required number of courses for their program. The Honour Roll is posted in the hallway of Herzberg and a letter is sent to the student’s home.
  • Departmental Awards
    Individual departments recognize graduating students with awards at convocation.

Probation Policy

Students must meet the academic requirements of the College to remain in good standing. Full time students must pass at least 50% of the courses they are enrolled in (rounded up) to remain in good standing. Unfortunately, there are students who do not pass the minimum 50% of their courses in a given semester and are on probation for the next. This means that if they do not pass the minimum 50% of their courses in the probation semester, then they must leave the college for one year before they can reapply. The College provides a very strong support system for students on probation but the student must take the initiative to reach out for assistance. Parental support and guidance are vital.

Extra Curricular Activities

Learning happens outside of the classroom too. Everyone needs time for fun, so encourage your student to get involved in sports, clubs, and volunteer activities. These are enriching experiences that will become life long memories.

Issues Around Working

Being a student is a full time job yet it is becoming increasingly more common for students to be also working 20 or more hours a week outside of school. Studies show that working up to 12 hours a week can be positive; however, more than 12-15 hours and students start to run into academic and even stress related health problems. Discuss consumer and lifestyle choices, the need to set priorities, and how a job fits in with their goals. Link to Student Employment Centre

Financial Concerns

Learning to live on a budget is one of life’s challenges. For most students it’s a matter of lifestyle choices; to others it’s a matter of supporting themselves or a family. Financial worries need not get in the way of getting an education at John Abbott College. Information about loans and bursaries as well as financial planning is available through the Financial Services in H 139. Link to Financial Assistance Services

College Resources and links

Counselling Services 

Staffed by professional Counsellors, Counselling Services offers career, personal, and educational Counselling. A teacher or other staff member may refer students to Counselling, however students on probation must meet with a Counsellor on a regular basis after a probation contract is signed.

Students can meet a Counsellor on a drop-in basis or by appointment Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Academic Advising 

The Academic Advisors provide information about admissions requirements to CEGEP, programs and courses, university applications, and career opportunities. Students are encouraged to meet with an Advisor, by appointment at least once a semester. Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Academic Success Centre 

The Academic Success Centre should be on your son or daughter’s list of “get-to-know” places on campus. Located down the hall from Student Services and staffed by learning specialists, the Centre offers academic support for all students. Workshops and one-on-one consultations on reading, language, and study skills are offered as well as academic support for English Second Language. Peer tutoring is available on a drop-in basis for math and science as well as many other subjects. The Learning Centre is open Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, and the Academic Success Centre Tutoring Programs (LB-023) is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Academic Success Centre contact information is 514-457-6610 x5285.

Cultural Diversity Awarness 

Serving as a resource for students and staff from all cultural backgrounds, coordinated activities that reflect the diversity of John Abbott’s population are hosted to promote academic and social programs toward student integration and retention. Students are encouraged to get involved in the planning and organizing of such events through the support located in room H-159.

Indigenous Student Resource Centre 

The Centre offers students from the Indigenous communities a welcoming space for social and academic support in an environment that is culturally and traditionally relevant from Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (H-417) Click here to visit the Indigenous Student Resource Centre webpage.

For Students

Our aim is to ensure that ALL students have the same opportunity to achieve their academic and developmental goals while attending John Abbott College.

To access all information, please go on the Students Success Community on MY JAC PORTAL.

Tutoring & Study Centres

Students have access to several quiet places to study where they can find computers, reference materials and friendly peer tutors. Tutors help them with homework, prepare for tests, as well as pass on study tips and strategies. Working with a tutor is a great way to use breaks, and it is FREE.

Work smarter, not harder!

Academic Success Centre H-139
  • Drop-in tutoring for all subjects including English second language support
  • Read/Write lab: online tutoring, workshops, appointments
  • Athlete Academic Student Involvement Program , Academic Coaching Excellence

Writing Centre P-109
  • One on one peer tutoring for reading and writing assignments
  • Drop in or reserve a writing tutor by making an appointment in Penfield 138A
CAF (Centre d’aide en français) P-004
  • Help with reading, writing, and speaking French, with or without an appointment
Language Resource Centre P-006
  • Study area with computers and reference materials to develop language skills in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Mandarin and English.
Math Study AreaH-200A
  • Study area with computers and reference materials, including textbooks and solution manuals
  • Teachers are available to work with students, within the Math Help Centre, on a drop-in basis; all levels of math
  • Tutoring Assistance Program:  First-semester students who have been referred by their Math teachers are assigned to weekly tutoring sessions with a tutor (up to and including Cal. I)   
Biology Learning Centre AME-318
  • Drop-in tutoring, reference materials, study guides, slides, computers, 3-D models
Chemistry Tutoring CentreAME-418
  • Drop in tutoring: Chem 001, 003, NYA, NYB
  • Solution and other reference manuals
Nursing Lab
  • Tutoring in Nursing courses, Math for Meds.
Physics Tutoring Centre AME-205 & 219
  • Drop in tutoring and reference materials, Physics 006, 912, NYA
Business Learning Centre HO-212
  • Help available for Business Administration courses
  • Computers available
Psychology Lab H-240
  • A quiet study area with computers
Social Science Drop-In Lab H-431
  • Help available for Quantitative Methods, Research Methods and Integrated Activity – Computers and technical assistance available
Biopharmaceutical Technology AME-134
Paramedic Care AME-614
  • A quiet study area
Pedagogical Computer Centre Drop-in labsAME-120 & C-187 &
  • Computer and Internet service
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