During the Program

Supporting your Child in the IFP

International studies is a challenging and exciting time for students. Not only are students encountering a new level of academic rigor, but they must do so in a new environment and language. Along with that, we also understand it can also be an adjustment to parents and families. Here are a few ways you can support your child during their IFP year. 

Student Support

Dealing with new challenges and opportunities as they begin their University studies can affect the mental health of many students. The IFP Office is available to ensure students are aware of the many supports available to them as University of Toronto students. It may help your child to also hear about these resources from you as a reminder to students that there are staff members dedicated to their wellbeing and success throughout the year. While there are many resources available, the three that fit most student needs are MySSP, Health and Wellness Office, and NAVI.

MySSP is a app based platform that the University has enrolled all students in, and provides counselling and support in over one hundred available languages.

The Health and Wellness Office is staffed by Mental Health professionals who offer workshops, individual sessions, and personalized support for students.

Finally, NAVI is the University of Toronto’s support navigation tool that can assist students with connecting with a support or resource that suits their particular needs best. Of course, staff at the IFP Office are always happy to meet with students and discuss their needs, and find a positive path forward.

Year at a Glance

As your child progresses through their first year at the University in the IFP, they go through different levels of excitement, stress, motivation, and responsibilities and every month, their needs will look different. Here’s a summary of what a typical IFP year looks like and some areas you can help support them.

Fall Term (September – December)

Your child is:

  • starting their IFP courses and entering a University classroom for the first time
  • meeting many new people and forming new friendships within their classes and the University community
  • getting to know their new surroundings – whether that be their classroom and/or residence, the U of T campus, or the city of Toronto


You can support your child by:

  • encouraging them to interact with their instructors and new classmates
  • giving them time and space to develop new friendships and explore their new surroundings
  • understanding that the adjustment to University may take time. Encourage your child to reach out to the IFP office or their instructors if they ever need assistance!

Your child is:

  • submitting their first assignments and receiving some of their first grades/feedback from their instructors
  • becoming more comfortable on campus and exploring ways to get involved outside of the classroom
  • continuing to build new friendships


You can support your child by:

  • understanding that their marks may be different from what they were in high school. University is an adjustment for all students and your child may need time to adjust to new academic expectations
  • encouraging them to get in touch with their instructors if they have any questions about their courses, assignments or grades. Instructors can provide assistance before the assignment is due as well as provide feedback on how they can improve on future work
  • encouraging them to take a break from studies and get involved outside of the classroom
  • making a communication plan with them. This helps you to know when your child may need some space to study or have time with friends, but also when they may need support.

Your child is:

  • using the break from classes during reading week to catch up on coursework and rest
  • completing their final assignments and tests for the first term
  • getting excited about winter break and looking forward to some well-deserved rest!
  • managing multiple deadlines for their classes and may be withdrawing from family and friends as they focus on their studies


You can support your child by:

  • checking in on your child and making sure they are taking breaks from schoolwork to refresh
  • understanding that your child may not be communicating as frequently during this time
  • encourage them to connect with the IFP office or their instructors if they need any support

Winter Term (January – April)

Your child is:

  • refreshed from winter break and excited to connect with their classmates again
  • adding a fifth, discipline-specific course to their IFP schedule so their workload will increase from the fall term
  • using the break from classes during reading week to catch up on coursework or rest
  • thinking about their plans for after the IFP



You can support your child by:

  • encouraging them to contact the IFP office or their instructors if they have any questions about their coursework or need support
  • checking in on your child to make sure they are completing their coursework, but also taking breaks from their school work to rest and connect with their friends and classmates
  • revisiting your communication plan with your child – is there anything they want to change now that their course load has increased?

Your child is:

  • managing multiple deadlines and staying focused on their course work and final assignments
  • focusing on successfully completing the IFP. They may be anxious about their final IFP assignments and grades
  • thinking about course planning for their fall undergraduate studies
  • feeling proud of all they accomplished during the IFP, but may be tired from the increased workload at the end of the program
  • excited to complete the IFP and get ready for a restful summer!


You can support your child by:

  • giving them space to complete course assignments and focus on their lectures
  • encouraging them to contact the IFP office or their instructors if they have any questions about their coursework or need support
  • encouraging them to take occasional breaks from their coursework
  • sharing in their excitement and pride when the complete the IFP!

Getting Involved

The IFP encourages its students to get involved with the University community outside of academics, as it can be a major pillar of support in their wellbeing, academic success, and social adjustment.

Students living in University residence have a myriad of supports from Residence Dons, House Committees, and residence organizations with the goal of connecting residence students with one another, and providing support when needed. However, students don’t need to live in residence to connect with similar organizations and resources.  

Finally, alongside the IFP Committee, the University of Toronto has hundreds of recognized student organizations offering community based on program, culture, interest, and much more. Students have a wide array of clubs and organizations to join based on what appeals to them, and if they wish to create their own, they can do that as well. Getting involved on campus can be the difference between a student feeling isolated and a student feeling like they are a part of a greater community, and we encourage all IFP students to explore their options and interests at the University of Toronto. 

All IFP students are welcome to join the IFP Committee, an annual organization of students that plan social events, study opportunities, and community building opportunities. The IFP Committee provides students with a chance to learn how campus organizations operate at the university, make valuable connections with their peers, and help create a more connected community amongst students in the program. 

Campus Safety

For some families, this may be the first time your child is living away from home. The University of Toronto is dedicated to providing a safe environment for all students to live, work, and study on campus. There are a number of supports and services available to your child to help them feel safe during their time at the University of Toronto.

For a list of Campus Resources, such as the ones listed above as well as others like the Centre for International Experience, or the Office of Residence and Student Life, see our Campus Resources for Current Students page.

Stay Informed!

Join IFP Parent & Family Newsletter

We understand that this is a lot of information to go through. With this in mind, we will be sending out bi-monthly newsletters to share information about the IFP experience, give you resources to support your child, and answer some important questions that you may have.