In this blog article, we’ll give you 10 useful tips on how to prepare best for your first days of studying – and how to successfully master your first few days as a student.
You got your high school diploma and already received a confirmation for your desired study place? Then you’re certainly curious to see what your everyday life as a student will look like in the future. A new city is waiting for you, you will meet many new people, make new friends, visit popular student parties and get so much knowledge that your head might burst. We’re sure you have a lot of questions: What do I have to do before I start my studies? What do I need? And how does my start as a student actually work? Don’t worry: Every student once started and asked exactly the same questions. In this blog article, we’ll give you 10 useful tips on how to prepare best for your first days of studying – and how to successfully master your first few days as a student.
Starting your studies: What now? These are the things you should do before you start your studies
You deserve the summer break between graduation and the start of your studies. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to take advantage of the time off to make one or two arrangements for the start of your studies. Make sure you get a place in a student hall of residence early or look for a suitable shared room. Don’t forget to inform the responsible registration office of your new address. Attention: Meanwhile, many cities charge a second home tax, which also students without any income have to pay. Therefore you should register your new accommodation – if possible – as your main residence. You should also clarify the financing. Can your family support you financially? Is BAföG suitable for you? Or would you rather look for a part-time job? If these questions are of interest to you, we recommend our page on student financing.
1. Beginning of studies
Usually students matriculate for the winter semester. In some degree programs this is also available in the summer semester, but is rather an exception. The winter semester always begins on 1st October and ends on 31st March of the following year. The summer semester lasts from 1st April to 30th September. When exactly your studies start depends on the modalities of your college or university. However, if you want to start your studies in the summer semester, you should be aware that you may have fewer fellow students compared to the start in the winter semester.
2. Read the study regulations carefully.
No matter whether you want to study teaching or digital business – you should always take a look at the study regulations before starting your studies. This is the easiest way to find out which modules your studies contain, how many electives you have to take, which key qualifications you have to acquire and how many CP (Credit Points) you need for your degree. You will also find out which exams are required in detail. How many pages does a seminar paper require? What happens if I get sick at exam date? How many courses do I have to take each semester? And what about attendance requirements at my university – all questions are answered in the study regulations.
3. Attend the orientation sessions.
At least once a year, the colleges and universities organize a so-called ” Orientation Week ” – an offer especially for newly enrolled students. Although attendance is usually not compulsory, we strongly advise you to attend the events anyway. After all, you will get lots of helpful tips here, e.g. how to enroll in lectures and seminars, how to put together your own timetable, which examination office is responsible for you, which counseling center you can turn to if you have any questions about your studies, and much more. Take the opportunity to get in touch with your fellow students and make your first contacts. The sooner you make new connections, the easier it will be for you to make friends.
4. Sign up for lectures, seminars, tutorials and exercises.
Registration for courses is nowadays online. Make sure you know in advance when the course enrollment starts and keep the start date free. Why? Quite simple: Here it says first come, first served. The seminar spaces are often limited and if you take too much time with your enrollment, you risk not getting a place in the seminar of your choice. So keep an eye on the announcements on your institute’s website and make sure you get your courses in time – otherwise you might have to take courses that don’t interest you very much or that don’t fit in perfectly with your timetable.
At some colleges, such as XU Exponential University, you don’t have to worry about your courses – we do that for you.
5. Learn to navigate on campus.
What does HSG mean? Where is my seminar room? And what is the quickest way to get to the Mensa? You will quickly notice that studying is something completely different from what you are used to from everyday school life in a single, small school building. It is usual that you have to change the room or even into another building between two courses. That’s why you should check out the most important institutes and venues before the lecture starts and become familiar with the map. Find out how far the buildings are apart and if you need a semester ticket for public transport (at XU you can get the so called “semester ticket” with which you can use all public transport services in Brandenburg and Berlin). In addition, it would be good if you take a look at the library – after all, you will spend a lot of time here in the upcoming semesters.
6. Explore the library.
Speaking of the library: It won’t play a big role in the first weeks of your studies. That’s why you can take your time with the discovery. But by the time your first assignments are due, you should have figured out how the online catalogue works, how to find your way around the labyrinth of open access areas, magazines and reading rooms – and, above all, which books you are allowed to borrow and which not. Don’t be afraid to ask library staff for advice or talk to anyone: Just as the semester comes to an end, the reading room will be swarming with helpful students.
7. Get used to good time management.
It is not necessarily an advantage that many universities no longer require you to be present and that you therefore do not have to provide any attendance certificates. The buzzword is personal responsibility. Unlike during school hours, no one will check whether you regularly attend courses and if you prepare for your exams. So you have to learn quickly to organize your studies yourself, motivate yourself to learn and make sure that you start preparing for exams in time. Don’t take your studies too lightly – especially examination results such as assignments or seminar papers are often underestimated and much more time-consuming than initially assumed. So don’t wait until one week before deadline to start your work.
8. Find a study group.
Joint learning is the best way. Maybe you have already made new friends – take the chance to organize common learning nights. So you have a direct contact point for questions on understanding, you can profit from each other’s knowledge and motivate each other to learn.
9. Take the opportunity to acquire new competences.
Have you always wanted to learn a programming language, take a course in creative writing or just get fit in Arabic, Spanish or Chinese? Now is the best opportunity! As a student, you have an enormous choice of courses and leisure activities at your fingertips – at discounted prices. What we can also warmly recommend to you is to look for a part-time job that will push your career forward. This will not only improve your budget, but also give your CV a positive entry or two. Many companies are currently looking for motivated working students: So don’t miss this opportunity and apply for a student job in the industry you would like to work in one day – and gain a valuable advantage over your competitors.
10. Enjoy your free time. Your studies should be fun.
The study time is by many people considered as the most enjoyable time of their life. This is certainly not due to the study content they had to learn during this time. Take a break from learning from time to time. Do something with your new friends, plan a sightseeing tour through the city, walk around the blocks or just meet each other for a relaxing cup of coffee on campus. Your study time is also to develop yourself on a personal level and enjoy your newly won freedom.