Science SOPHS

The 2018-2019 Science Faculty Sophs

The 2018-2019 Science Faculty Sophs


Welcome to the Science Soph Team page! On behalf of myself and the rest of my Leadership Team, I want to welcome you all to Western University and wish you all the best on your first year here. The five of us have been working really hard over the past 9 months to help prepare for all you incoming first-year students and ensure that your transition to our Western community is as easy and smooth as possible. Our contact information is outlined on this page as well so please don’t hesitate to reach out if any of you ever have questions about how to get involved in Orientation or have any feedback for us.


You may be wondering, “what the heck is a Science Soph?!” We are a group of Faculty Orientation Volunteers that work to be your academic resources, mentors, and just all-around friends during your time here at Western. Each of the Sophs on our team is placed in a particular residence building or OC group and has a certain number of frosh assigned to them. While Faculty Sophs don’t live in residence with you like your Rez Sophs do, we drop by often and check-in to make sure everything is going well and that you are adjusting nicely to the school. You can ask your Sophs for tips on how to do well in certain courses, ways to get more involved in extra-curricular activities and pretty much anything else you want to know about Western University. We are your connections to whatever you may need on campus so if you need something and don’t know where to go to get it, chances are your Soph can tell you!


Our most important advice to you this O-Week and for the rest of your first year is to remain as open-minded as possible and take advantage of all the opportunities that will be coming your way. We know how busy O-Week can be and how overwhelming it can feel at times, but move at your own pace and don’t feel pressured to be someone you're not. This is a very busy week with a lot of people involved and you will have the chance to meet many other students, within and outside of your faculty. This can be a wonderful opportunity, but don't think that this is your only chance to do so. You will have so many more opportunities throughout the rest of the year in your classes, on campus, at the libraries, etc.


Make sure to check back here often for updates from the Science Soph Team regarding upcoming events or important dates! Follow us on all our social media platforms to really keep up to date with what we are doing and potentially a behind-the-scenes look at O-Week! Have an amazing year!



Mastermind, Ponyboy, Keys, Mooch and Whine-1-1

(Science Head Soph Team)

Follow the sophs on Facebook:

Follow the sophs on Instagram: @sciencesophteam

Follow the sophs on Snapchat: @scisophteam



Put a name to a face! Scroll through and meet the head soph team.



Head Soph/Faculty of Science Orientation Commissioner



Academics Programming Assistant


Charity Programming Assistant



Spirit Programming Assistant


Wellness Programming Assistant




OWL is western’s online learning management system, with each of your courses having a separate tab on the homepage. Within each course tab, you will find the course syllabus, posted lectures, readings, etc. This is where some profs may post online quizzes, important announcements, and also your grades for labs, assignments, and exams. You will likely end up using it almost every single day, so we encourage you to check it out even before courses start at in order to become comfortable with it. Make sure to check out the course syllabus and any announcements your profs have before classes start!


A course syllabus is a crucial document that you will get for each of your courses. It outlines your professors’ contact information, office hours, course content, course materials, lab/tutorial information, and midterm dates - just to name a few. We cannot stress enough how important it is to read the course syllabus for each of your courses before classes start, or at the very least, within the next few days.

What is the course syllabus?

1. Email: Emailing your prof can be stressful, but sometimes it’s necessary, such as when you need exam accommodation. There are specific protocols for emailing professors in terms of the format, what to include, and when it is appropriate to email them. For example, some profs tell you not to email them about course content questions because there are teaching assistants (TAs) to handle them. This is all outlined in the course syllabus, which is another reason why it’s so important to read that document as soon as possible. Finally make sure to address them correctly e.g. Dear Dr. or Dear Professor.

2. Office hours: Office hours are a great opportunity to develop a relationship with your professors, which can often be tough with such big class sizes. You can go discuss any questions you have about course content, how to succeed in their course, or even just get general advice from them. The vast majority of profs genuinely enjoy talking to students, so we really encourage giving it a try. We know how intimidating it can be, but feel free to grab a friend and go together.

How do I contact the professor?

hen you look at your textbook list on student center, some books will be required and others will be suggested. We recommend you look at your course syllabus before buying anything because sometimes profs say that the textbook is actually optional, or that you can buy used ones or previous editions. However, lab books need to be bought new from the bookstore, so there’s no getting around that. Profs usually talk about which books you need in the first class, so don’t feel pressured to buy every “required” textbook right away!

Do I need to buy my textbooks?

abs are designed to let you apply your knowledge from lectures into practical experiments, whereas tutorials will often be used for Q&As with teaching assistants (TAs), and learning skills development. It’s important to remember that, unlike lectures, if you are more than 5 minutes late for a lab, you won’t be let in. Labs and tutorials usually don’t start until the second or third week of classes, but check your course syllabus/OWL announcements to be sure.

What is a tutorial/lab and when do they start?

Classes at Western always start on the half hour, and will usually end ten minutes early to give you enough time to walk to your next class. For example, your lecture at 9:30 will likely end at 10:20 so that you can make it to your 10:30 class. As well, labs and tutorials are often scheduled on an alternating basis, which means that you’ll have a lab one week, a tutorial the next week, a lab the following week, etc. This may seem kind of confusing, but it is very clearly outlined in your course syllabus, so make sure to check that out!

How do schedules work?

f you need to miss a lab because you’re sick, or for compassionate reasons, the protocol for what to do is explained, in detail, in your course syllabus. You will have to submit a form (found on the Science Academic Counselling website), and some kind of documentation to Academic Counselling, and if approved, the lab will likely not count. As long as you follow the instructions in the course syllabus, everything will be okay! However, if you just forgot or slept in, you can try to talk to your professor about it, but there’s often not much they can do for you.

What happens when I miss a lab?

here are so many study spots on campus, but common ones are residence study rooms, Taylor Library (located in the Natural Sciences Centre), and Weldon Library (near the University Community Centre). If you ever need help finding a library or study spot, just ask your soph! You can even just grab some friends and try to explore new study spots across campus.

Where are the study spots?

he short answer is: you can use whatever works best for you. Some people prefer printing out lecture slides and writing notes on them, but many prefer typing them out because it is faster. It might also depend on which class it is (e.g. written notes may be better for math courses). What matters is that you’re engaged in the lecture and not just writing down what the prof says word-for-word, so find what works best for you!

What do I use to take notes?

ou can add and drop courses on your Student Centre page, but the deadline to add any first-term or full year courses is September 14th, and the deadline to drop first-term and full year courses is November 7th and November 30th, respectively. When adding or dropping courses, make sure to consider which courses you need for your program by consulting the Academic Calendar online, which also has all the important dates you will need. As well, it never hurts to book an appointment with Academic Counselling if you’re unsure about anything in this process!

How to add/drop courses?

Recording lectures can be very helpful, especially if you tend to lose focus in class. However, you must ask your prof for permission first because their lectures are considered their intellectual property, and often contain their own research. Most profs will let you record them if you ask, and some will even record and post them for you on OWL!

Can I record lectures?

estern provides a plethora of resources for course help; there are peer-mentorship groups, office hours, teaching assistants, and learning skill workshops - just to name a few. Because the resources available often depend on the course, a good starting point is to ask one of your sophs because they will have a good understanding of the various resources available. It can sometimes be difficult to ask for help, but sophs are solely here to support you, and will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Where do I go if I’m struggling with a course?