Are you university ready?

Accelerate is founded by two former UTM Commerce students.
Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 4:42pm
Sarah Jane Silva

According to the Persistence in Post-Secondary Education in Canada report, which analyzed data from Statistics Canada’s Youth in Transition Survey, approximately 14 per cent of first-year university students drop out.

When Accelerate 2015 Conference co-founders, organizers and former UTM commerce students Lavan Puvan and Maks Tochinskiy heard about the discouraging statistic, their mission was clear: let’s help put a dent in that dropout rate.

“High school doesn’t prepare students enough in understanding the transition; they have a mandated curriculum by the province or district and they’re just trying to get through that curriculum,” says Tochinskiy.

“By the time students graduate, they’re not focusing on the actual adjustment of how to handle university.”

This year the conference took place in the Davis Building on the University of Toronto Mississauga campus.

This is the second year for the event, which seeks to equip high school students with the learning and leadership skills to make a positive impact within their school and community.

The packed auditorium was abuzz with those seeking advice directly from university graduates.

It attracted incoming students from all over Ontario who wanted to gain some insight into how to navigate university life.

The day-long event also included speakers who are university graduates themselves and leaders in their fields and careers such as the founder of, and the national marketing manager for BMW, as well as former UTM commerce graduates now working at Deloitte, Accenture and PwC.

Conference topics included: how to study “smart”, goal setting and managing money, dealing with failure, healthy living and stress management.

Breakout sessions were held in separate rooms during the conference and ran concurrently.

Students who were interested in strategies to get into medical school, law school, finance or accounting, and  engineering, were able to get information in a more comfortable and smaller, one-on-one environment.

Free admission was provided to all incoming Department of Management students as well as community groups such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada.

The team at Accelerate will be providing on-going support for students from their first day of class to midterms and all the way to final exams via biweekly support emails.

“In university you have to actually understand what’s going on so you can adapt to what you’re being tested on,” says Tochinskiy.

“We saw this as a gap that needs to be closed for a lot of students.”

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First-year university students get some tips on how to make a successful transition from high school during UTM conference.