Transition Program


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Student Accessibility Services at McMaster views transition within a broader context to include not only summer orientation, but also adjustment throughout the university experience. Also, it is not an experience for the student to master alone; all people who surround the student take part in the success of this process including parents, faculty, staff and student peers.

This philosophy is the basis for the Shifting Gears Transition Program. The analogy of a ‘shifting gear’ implies the move from High School to University is not a static process, but more so a shift in gears from one learning environment to the next. The aim of the Shifting Gears Transition Program is to provide a series of supports throughout summer, fall and winter for students with a disability. The program encompasses summer workshops for incoming students, peer mentors, a study skills website, ongoing support with implementing accommodations and Monthly social events. All are intended to provide a network of ongoing connections to support student success!

What is Shifting Gears?

  • A transition program for students entering McMaster University with a disability.
  • A series of summer workshops preparing you for ‘the shift’ to university expectations.
  • An introduction to services and campus resources available for students who require academic accommodations.
  • The opportunity to be matched with a Student Ally who can offer guidance and help you build your university routine.
  • Access to a study skills website on Avenue to Learn.
  • Assistance with the academic accommodation process.

Student Ally Program

Enjoyed the Shifting Gears summer workshop series but would like some more help adjusting to university life? Consider our Student Ally Program. Our Student Allies are able to help you throughout the year to navigate and transition into university. You’ll be matched with an upper-year student who is there to answer your questions about university, help you with study skills and join you at our regularly scheduled events! To request an ally, speak with your SAS Program Coordinator or fill out the Request for Student Ally form.


Transition Resources

The following materials are covered during our workshops. Please contact us should you require the resources in an alternative format.

Volunteer as a Student Ally

Our student allies are instrumental in helping students with disabilities navigate and transition into university. You can help by:

 Providing information:

  • McMaster HSR bus routes
  • Library services (physical and electronic resources, LAS, study spaces, and libraries)
  • Athletic and recreation services at McMaster
  • Online supports (McMaster website, MOSAIC, Avenue2Learn, etc.)
  • Campus services including clubs and committees
  • Local community information (favourite eateries, grocery stores, etc.)

Being an advocate: Discuss accommodations with McMaster faculty and staff.

Teaching skills: Share your tips for studying and time management.

Providing social support: Attend our monthly events with your ally partner! This is a great opportunity to network with others and build positive relationships.

What you’ll gain in return is knowledge about the disability field with training and ongoing professional development related to your role, experience applicable to graduate and professional programs, and personal growth and satisfaction from helping others.

The Process:

  1. Submit application: Ally application. Send completed application or accessible format request to
  2. Interview: Meet with the Transition Program Coordinator to ensure your goals align with this rewarding program
  3. Orientation & Training: Learn the skills to be a supportive ally. Training is offered in late August
  4. Match with SAS Student: Meet with your match regularly throughout the school year




For more information on the transition program, contact:



SAS office closed for business, except for test booking accommodations, all day Friday January 19, for staff retreat.
SAS will return to full operation Monday, January 22.

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SAS website unavailable on Tuesday January 23 between 8 pm and midnight.

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