Campus Life

U of L’s Early Start Experience helps first-year students succeed at university

The University of Lethbridge’s Early Start Experience (ESE) will be offered online in August, giving new students the opportunity to learn all they need to set them up for success at university.

Offered by the School of Liberal Education, the Early Start Experience is designed to help students make the transition from high school to university, all while earning them a full course credit in the two weeks before the regular September start of classes. Participating students develop the skills and resources needed to succeed at university and learn how to build social networks with a diverse group of fellow students. They learn how to do research, write for university-level courses, study effectively and access all the resources available to them. Especially valuable right now, new students will also learn how to manage and do well in online courses.

In 2019, students in the Early Start Experience met in person, but this year they'll meet online due to the pandemic.

“When students start university, they start a journey to a new stage of life,” says Dr. Shelly Wismath, dean of the School of Liberal Education. “As they enter the academic community, students are challenged to find their place in this new world. The Early Start Experience gives students valuable social, cultural and academic skills that are useful regardless of their major.”

Past students have given the program rave reviews.

"The Early Start Experience made my first semester so much more comfortable," said one of last year's participants. "It took away almost all of my feelings of nervousness and unsureness. This program helped me find my way around and get to know the University much quicker."

“After taking this program, I felt prepared for this new part of my life,” said another student. “It took away a lot of the stress and anxiety that I could have had without it. Some other first years I have met who didn't take the Early Start Program missed out on some very helpful tips, tricks, and general info that I feel very privileged to have. I also gained some experience and confidence with the professors who have helped me throughout the first semester, even though the class was over.”

The Early Start Experience is scheduled to run from Aug. 24 to Sept. 4 and registrations are being accepted now. The program is available to all first-year students who have been accepted to the U of L for the Fall 2020 semester.

“The Early Start Experience gives new students the chance to prepare for their academic studies at the U of L,” says Wismath. “With most classes being online in the fall, they’ll also be poised to succeed in the online learning environment.”

For more information and to register, visit Early Start Experience. Contact Wismath at 403-329-2529 or by email at