Having Things Under Control

Planning your Studies

Successfully planning your studies goes beyond looking into administrative questions. Although the compulsory courses are relatively broad in scope, particularly in the first few semesters, many academic disciplines allow students to create a profile or set of priorities for themselves early on that will have a major influence on the next stages of their studies. For this reason, identifying the requirements of your degree program early on and planning ahead can positively impact your studies in the long run.

Central Study Advisory and Counseling Service

Despite the high degree of autonomy and independence that a degree program requires, it goes without saying that you can rely on the support of numerous counseling and service points to answer any questions about planning your studies. The Central Study Advisory and Counseling Service is on hand to help with general questions about studying across disciplines. In addition, they can give you impartial, confidential, individual and unbiased advice if you need guidance before or at the start of your studies and, of course, if you have any doubts about your degree, are just getting your bearings or going through a period of re-orientation. They will also point you toward the right contacts if necessary.

© Volker Lannert
Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Barbara Frommann

Subject-specific study advisory services

By contrast, the subject-specific study advisory services represent individual academic disciplines and are based at the relevant institutes and departments. They can help with detailed questions and problems on specific subjects, such as questions on your options for creating your individual profile or set of priorities, support you with putting together your personal course schedule and provide advice on how to best structure your individual study schedule. The subject-specific study advisors are also often responsible for granting credit for course work and examinations completed at another university and/or on another degree program.

Study scheduling

During the first few semesters, there are usually clear rules about how a degree program is to be structured, meaning that students tend to have few options to choose from. Those on bachelor’s degree programs have to start with compulsory modules. After that, however, so-called elective modules give them an early opportunity to create their own profile or set of priorities. The compulsory and elective modules are determined by module structures, which are included as an annex to the bachelor’s examination regulations. Similarly, the structure of State Examination degree programs is governed by curricula that form part of the study regulations. Module structures and curricula generally determine the corresponding study schedule, while also providing guidance on choosing elective modules and/or freely selectable courses.

The website for your degree program also contains curricula and study schedules that are set out in such a way that the standard period of study is the normal scenario where you are focusing fully on your studies. In addition, you can find more details on the content, criteria and objectives of study programs in the module guides. In many cases, individual adjustments to the standard study schedule become necessary, e.g. in case of illness, repetition of a failed module, care for children or work obligations that delay your degree progression. If you find yourself in a similar situation, your subject-specific study advisors will help you adjust your study schedule to your individual needs.

Preparing course schedules with BASIS

You can use the central campus management system BASIS to create your personal course schedule. BASIS contains the course catalog and a wealth of details about the courses (e.g. course type, venue, time, name of teacher). As a student, you can register for and withdraw from courses and examinations. You will need your Uni-ID and password, both of which you will be sent automatically (via post) together with your semester paperwork after you have enrolled and paid the semester fee. Please be aware that some courses build on one another and that you will need to factor into your course schedule the time it takes to get from one venue to another.

We would highly recommend taking part in a BASIS induction session, which nearly all subjects offer as part of the information events during Orientation Weeks. As well as your subject-specific study advisors, you can also contact BASIS Support if you have any questions about or problems with BASIS.

A semester schedule will also help you to create your course schedule. This lists all organizational dates, deadlines and activities relating to degree programs and examinations, such as re-registration deadlines, (secondary) assignment phases, examination preparation time, examination periods and deadlines for term papers and presentations. These schedules can be downloaded from most degree program and faculty websites.

When putting together your course schedule, do not forget that some courses build on one another (you can find relevant information in the module structures and curricula in your examination and study regulations) and that you should consider the time it takes to get from one venue to another in case of on-site courses.

Learning strategies

Students, and first-semester students in particular, often find that learning at school and learning at university are two very different things. In your final years of high school, you generally learned what you were told to and undoubtedly experienced many guided learning settings. Learning at university, by contrast, requires a high degree of independence and self-organization.

It can therefore be helpful to think about your own learning behavior, ideally when you are just starting your studies, and potentially also to familiarize yourself with and try out new learning strategies as well as network with fellow students on different degree programs. To this end, the Central Study Advisory and Counseling Service regularly holds a “Learning Strategies and More” workshop.

Self- and time management

Once you have overcome the initial organizational hurdles when starting your studies, it is a good idea to consider your self- and time management. This is because, alongside the feeling of newly won freedom, you must assume much of the responsibility for organizing your own studies.

Unlike at school, there will generally no longer be anyone checking how much work you are doing every day and every week at university or giving you constant feedback on your approach to your work or level of learning. You are expected to organize your own learning.

This includes, for instance, monitoring the approach you are taking to your work, developing learning routines and reviewing your learning progress. Using strategies and techniques constructively can also help you to structure your everyday learning from a time perspective and set priorities so that you maintain an overview and get your work done by the deadline. This will enable you to stay motivated to learn and perform over the long term so that, ultimately, you can complete your studies successfully within a specific period of time.

The “Be EmPOWERed!” program contains numerous self-learning and training courses on self- and time management, working from home and mindfulness that will allow you to develop an efficient way of working that supports a healthy work-life balance.

Contact Information

Avatar Study Advisory and Counseling Service

Central Study Advisory and Counseling Service

+49 228 73-7080

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