Semester-start: Practical Checklist

The new semester —maybe even your first— is about to begin? With our practical checklist you’re off to a great start!

The first semester at a new university or college can be quite demanding. There are lots of things to do beforehand, such as choosing a field of study or searching for an apartment. The weeks before the start of the new semester are often quite challenging even for returning students. Unlike school, university requires you to take responsibility for yourself and decide your own schedule. With so much to do and so many courses offered it is easy to get confused, so what should you do?

  1. Keep a weekly schedule

A detailed weekly schedule can help you bring order into the chaos of different courses. Today there are many helpful apps. Keep track of all registration deadlines and examination dates so you won’t miss any important date.

  1. Questions before the semester starts

In order not to forget anything for the new semester, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has anything changed in the curriculum?
  • Which course of study is recommended for my field?
  • Am I familiar with the current university calendar? When and where are my courses offered? Are some of them mandatory?
  • Where and how do I register?

And if you’re ever at your wit’s end, there are many Student Support Services, especially for first-year students. You can get assistance for undergrads or attend informative meetings of the respective departments, just to name a few. Inquire about them on time, before the start of the semester! First-year students can check the guidelines containing useful information about fields of study, insurances and much more.

  1. Mobility, cafeteria and USI

Many students are short of money and owning a car isn’t really an option. Therefore, take advantage of the affordable semester ticket that you can use for the train, bus or tram. If you’re commuting, you can apply for a subsidy. All that learning makes you hungry? Ask your friends about affordable restaurants or get a Mensa card at the ÖH. Have you had enough of studying and desperately need a break? Stay balanced with several sports-classes offered by the USI, University Sports Institute. Check out the offers at your study location and remember to register on time as some of the classes are very popular!

  1. Living: Flat share or student home?

Are you ready to move out of your parents’ house? Then you’ll need a new roof over your head. The question is, how do you want to live during your studies? Flat share, your own apartment or a dormitory? Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages. The most expensive and complex solution is having your own place. A clear advantage: you can enjoy your privacy. Sharing a flat, on the other hand, is fun and cheaper compared to renting your own place, but it can be hard to find a quiet moment. Fixed prices, top locations and free services such as spa areas or regular cleaning services are just some of the many advantages of living in a dormitory. Think about what is important to you and start looking on time, before the semester starts!

  1. Checking your finances: keep an eye on all costs

One thing students usually run short of is money. To avoid this, make a financial plan including current expenses and income. That way you won’t lose track of where the money goes. For many students grants, scholarships and allowances are an important source of income. For further information about this subject please refer to our article ‘Study and Finances’.


We are happy to help!