The semester is starting soon. Here's a checklist on what you need to do to kick-off the semester right!
The start of the school year is busy for all students, and there's a ton of things to remember and take care of. To help you start the semester right, we've gathered a list for you about some essential things to take care of when starting your studies. Read through them and get a good start to your semester!
1. Register for the semester and pay the semester fee
For most universities and UASs, and some secondary level schools, too, there is a semester fee that needs to be paid before you can sign up for the academic year at your school. If you are a new student and have just received your letter of acceptance, congratulations! Once you've accepted your place of study, signed up for the academic year and paid your semester fee, you can also register for government student benefit and apply for a student loan. Please note that most universities require the semester fee to have been paid by a certain date, and that without having paid the semester fee, you may not be able to register for any courses or receive credit for any courses you may already have signed up on.
2. Find a place to live
It pays off to be the early bird with student housing, as towards the end of summer, student flats as well as flats on the private market are filling up quickly. There are many students who are trying to find a place to live at the same time, and the competition for housing is therefore fierce. If you know anyone studying at the school you are about to start your studies at, you may want to consult with them about where it is best to live in relation to school, the city and student life. At the same time, they may have some tips on where to find vacant housing or potential flatmates. Or if you've got a friend who's also about to start their studies or is already a student, it may be a good idea to suggest sharing a flat together. Most student housing agencies try to prioritize those who are either moving to study from another city or are freshers, but it's important that you start looking for a flat as early as possible.
3. Finances: Apply for student benefit and student loan
Without food and drink, the student cannot live! Therefore, be sure to apply for government student benefit (and student loan) as soon as you have arranged the semester registration and paid the semester fee. There are many students applying for the benefits at the same time, so be early so that you don't have to wait that long before getting your application approved.
4. Make sure you've got the hang of your course literature before the start of the year, and sing up for your courses
Once you've done your registration for the academic year, you can start to browse your curriculum for the year. Go through the courses and the number of credits you need to complete this year, and map out a course plan for at least the autumn semester, and sign up for the courses you've picked, if possible. If you are a fresher, you probably don't have a very good idea about what courses you should take and when. In that case, it's best to first attend the orientation week and meet up with your professors and tutors, who can help you out with picking the right courses and sign up.
It's also a good idea to browse the literature you'll need for your courses, and if you can't get your course books from the library, you should order them well ahead, as a number of other students will be wanting those books as well. Course books can cost you a small fortune, so it's worth checking if you can buy them secondhand or as e-books to save a penny or two.
5. Check your gadgets - computer, phone and anything else you might need
In all fields of study, a computer is a necessity. Luckily most schools provide computers for students' use in their libraries and other learning facilities, but for many students a laptop is also essential. So before the academic year starts, find yourself a computer/laptop that suits your needs as a student and on your free time. As laptops are pricey, it may be a good idea to consider buying one secondhand. A powerful tablet might also be a handy option. Chances are that you'll be working on school related material on your phone almost as much as on your laptop, so make sure you're phone works. In many cases, you can prolong the life of your phone by just getting a new battery (a much cheaper option than getting a new phone entirely), and secondhand phones are also great value, if you need to update your phone.
Oh, and remember: keep your charger for your laptop and your phone always in your bag.
6. Make a study plan (and try to stick to it) and structure your days
The first few weeks at school can be extremely busy and packed with things other than studying to do. To get a good studying routine going from day 1, make a study plan according to your curriculum and try to stick to it. Set aside a time of the day when you sit down and read and do your studying. That way you can more easily plan your everyday life and avoid the bad conscience of not having studied when you had the time. And this does not only apply to studying. All of a sudden there aren't as many hours a day as there were during the holidays. Therefore, you should include in your schedule regular washing days and cleaning days so that you are always sure to have time for the basic chores. This way you create some structure to your everyday student life and provide a good framework for your study start. It's also important to schedule in free time and relaxation. Scheduling your studies, chores and time off will benefit each sector, as you are sure to always get something done on each day.
7. Prepare food in advance
You'll be busier than you can imagine during your first weeks at school and settling to your study schedule. So make use of the time in hand now and prepare some food ready to rely on after a long day at school or a long night at various student activities. It also helps to plan your "menu" in advance; you'll save both time and money when you know what you'll be cooking and eating and when.
8. Participate in orientation week / start of the year events
Most schools organize an orientation week for freshers and many also have other start of the year events, such as fairs and seminars for all their students. For freshers, participation in the orientation week is usually mandatory, and even if it isn't, it's highly recommended. You'll meet with your tutors, your professors and most importantly, your fellow freshers. The orientation week focuses on getting you off with a good start to your studies, helping you navigate course sign ups, course work, essay and exam taking practices and all that. Start of the year events and fairs are a good place to find organizations and clubs that operate at your student union or school, and usually there are also great offers from local companies available to students, so it's well worth going.
9. Find a study group or study buddy
Studying in a group will not only help you tackle your workload but also build friendships with people on your classes and your year. Each of you has a lot of work per course, and studying in a group gives you the opportunity to go through the course material together and discuss the topics, which often helps to grasp the big picture. Chances are you'll be able to help someone out, and get help with work and concepts you are struggling with. It's also a bit more fun not to have to comb through the homework alone.
10. Get yourself a student ID!
You may be able to register for a student ID as soon as you receive news of being accept to your school, but in most cases you can obtain a student ID during the first few days of school. In many schools, the student ID is not only your key to fantastic student discounts, but is also your access card to the library, gym, cafeteria and maybe even your ticket to public transportation. So do not skip on getting a student ID! If the ISIC card is not your school's student ID, you can always get the ISIC card additionally on your smart phone, and we highly recommend this, especially if you are a travelling student or planning on an internship or exchange abroad, as the ISIC card will get you over 150 000 student discounts around the world, online and offline.