Semester-start: Practical Checklist

The new, maybe even your first semester at university or college is about to start? Our practical checklist is the best way to get ready for the new academic year.


The first semester at a new university or college can be quite exhausting. There is a lot to do, especially beforehand – from choosing your course of study to looking for an apartment. However, the first few weeks’ right before the start of the semester can also be a challenge for students who are already farther along in their studies. Because unlike in school, a lot of personal responsibility is required at university. After all, you create your schedule yourself. With so many courses, however, it is easy to lose track of things. Here is what to do:

1. Weekly planner & university material

A detailed weekly to-do list or timetable brings order to the chaos of lectures. Many apps also provide digital support and can inform you of future registration and exam dates. Also, check whether you have thought of all your important university materials such as notepads, folders or post-its. If you got your schedule and your materials ready, nothing stands in the way of a good semester start.

2. Questions to ask yourself before the start of the semester

In order to not forget anything at the beginning of the new semester at university or college, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has anything changed in the curriculum?
  • • What are the recommended courses for you to take this semester?
  • • Do you have access to the current course catalog? When and where are your courses offered? Are there any you have to visit implicitly?
  • Where and how do I register?

If you don’t know what to do next, there are many offers of help, especially for first-semester students – from first-semester counseling to information events on the respective field of study. Try to gather all important information before you start your studies! Also check out the guidelines for prospective students for a wide range of useful information – from choosing a course to important insurances.

3. Mobility, Cafeteria and USI

Many students live on a tight budget. Therefore, having your own car might not really be an option. Use the inexpensive semester ticket for train, bus or tram – and if you commute to university, you can apply for a commuter allowance.
Learning makes hungry. Check out cheap places to eat with your friends or get a cafeteria card from the ÖH.
Have you studied enough and really need a break? The numerous courses at the university sports institutes, USI for short, provide you with the necessary balance. Rummage through the wide range of options at your place of study. Keep in mind, that some courses (Yoga e.g.) are very popular, you should register in good time!

4. Living: shared apartment or student residence?

Your time at Hotel Mama is over and are finally moving out from your parents apartment? Cool! You will still need a roof over your head and are now faced with the difficult question of how you want to live during your studies. Flat share, your own apartment or a student dormitory – every type of living has its advantages and disadvantages. The most expensive and complex solution is your own apartment. However, there is a big advantage: you enjoy a lot of privacy. A shared apartment, on the other hand, is really fun and a lot cheaper than having your own apartment. However, peace is often in short supply here. Fixed prices, top locations and additional free services such as a wellness area or regular room cleaning – there is a lot to be said for a dormitory.
Whatever you decide: think carefully about what is really important to you and look for accommodation in good time before you start your studies!

5. Financial check: all costs at one glance

If something is scarce with students, it is mostly money. Therefore, create a financial plan that lists all of your current expenses and streams of income. This is important in order to not lose track. An important source of income for many students are grants and scholarships. We have summarized all information for you in our article on “Financing your studies”.


We are happy to help!