General pointers

Here’s some basic tips on settling into life at Carleton. We are always looking for ways to improve so this page may be continuously expanded as time goes on!


As you can no doubt expect, there will be a lot of textbooks you will need to buy for your courses. Where you are asked to buy your books will depend, as it is up to your professors to order books and have them shipped to a store, but usually new copies will be sold at either the University Bookstore (inside the University Centre), Haven Books (a short 10-minute walk down Sunnyside Avenue from campus), or both.

New textbooks are notoriously expensive, however (especially at the school-run Bookstore), so it’s highly recommended that you look for used copies. For books with multiple editions, professors will often accept a copy that’s just off by one or two editions, and chances are if they’ve used the same edition in their courses for a while you can find the exact version you need.

Haven Books, which is run by your student union, also sells used textbooks on behalf of students. Once you’re done with your textbooks, you can take them to Haven, and they can resell it for you. Online websites like Amazon are also good places to look for discounts, and if you’re on Facebook (which is likely how you found this website in the first place), you can hop on the PAPM book hub, and request books, which will most likely be available since there’s a very high chance someone in PAPM has taken that course before.


Each course at Carleton should have a unique course syllabus. This is a document that gives you a brief outline of what the course is about, what books you will need, the mark breakdown and dates for all your assignments and tests, and – most importantly – a detailed structure of how the course will be taught. Usually organized in a class-by-class (or, less commonly, topic-by-topic) structure, the outline will tell you what is being taught each week, and the readings you should do for that class.

The syllabus will usually also have other useful information, such as what to do if you miss a test, the penalties if you hand in an assignment late, and anything else the professor thinks you should know. Keep the syllabus and refer back to it often – it can really help keep you on track, if you get flustered halfway through a course.


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