The transition from high school to university is a big step. Studying at university requires self-organization skills and motivation. To help our new students get off to the best possible start, WU has been expanding and improving its services for first-year students.
New students are invited to come to Campus WU in August before the start of the winter semester. This gives them the opportunity to get to know the buildings and grounds and to find out more about their academic programs and the available support services. This event was given a comprehensive update in 2016 to be able to make it even easier for new students to get off to a great start.
The day started off with a comprehensive informational program loaded with helpful tips on mastering the first few weeks at university. Students attended a lecture on the first organizational and administrative steps they need to take, followed by an introduction to both bachelor’s programs by their respective academic directors. Program requirements and specialization areas were also covered in detail. In the Teaching Center Aula, WU’s service units introduced themselves and the services they offer, for example the International Office and the WU ZBP Career Center. At the Mentoring@WU stand, new students could find out more about available support programs, and the Volunteerng@WU team talked about opportunities for students to give back to the community.
In the afternoon, members of the ÖH WU students’ union gave guided tours of the campus in small groups. During the tours, new students had the chance to find out all about scholarships, financial aid, and balancing studies with a job.
On September 2, two new workshops were offered on topics particularly relevant to new students. The first was aimed specifically at first-generation students, i.e. young people who are the first in their families to attend a university, and provided practical tips and support for the initial phase of their studies. The second workshop focused on how to get and stay motivated while studying.
Welcome to WU
Mid-September, we welcome the newest members of the WU community with posters and messages painted on the sidewalks directing them to important information online on the WU website, the WU Blog, and our social media channels.
The Welcome to WU networking event on September 26, right before the start of the new semester, was a special highlight. Over 1,000 new students came to the Library & Learning Center Forum to get to know each other and WU. Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger and Vice-Rector for Academic Programs and Student Affairs Edith Littich personally welcomed the new students and provided an entertaining introduction to the university, including an interactive quiz and a vote for the class T-shirt.
Like at the Campus Days, WU’s service units were on hand with staffed booths to introduce their areas to new students.
Students Help Students
In WU’s mentoring program, advanced students support their first-year colleagues and help them get off to a good start. New students benefit from their mentors’ experience and get helpful tips for dealing with their studies. The program is very popular with new students. In 2016, approximately 400 students from 21 different countries applied for a mentor.
The ability to write good papers is a key academic qualification. To help students learn and practice good writing skills, WU and the University of Vienna have developed a program called “Better Writing for Academic Success,” which was launched in the fall of 2016.
Writing mentoring for bachelor’s students was offered at WU during the project’s pilot phase. After receiving comprehensive training as writing mentors, master’s-level students led weekly writing groups, giving tips and support on research, reading, writing, and editing strategies. Creative writing exercises and peer feedback were also included in the program.