Welcome Days welcomed first-semester students
To facilitate the start of studies at WU, the university provides intensive support for first-year students during the Welcome Days.
The Welcome Days illustrate that size and quality as well as individual support are not mutually exclusive at a university as large as WU. The new students not only receive valuable information about the degree programs and organizational matters, they are also divided up into smaller groups. This helps to keep students from feeling anonymous and overwhelmed, and to avoid early dropout.
At the beginning of September, WU invited this year’s first-semester students to participate in the WU Welcome Days. In a series of talks, the participants learned more about WU’s services and how to get off to a good start at WU, they received tips for fast and successful academic progress, and they were divided up into nearly 40 smaller groups, each of them supervised by a tutor.
“More than 3,000 bachelor’s students begin their studies at WU every year. By forming smaller groups, we want to make it easier for them to get to know their future fellow students. Contacts made at the beginning of a degree program are particularly valuable, not only for the students’ academic progress but also for their later careers,” says WU Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger.
Counselling and mentoring services to avoid dropout
During the Welcome Days, members of the Rector’s Council personally welcomed the new students. WU Vice-Rector for Academic Programs and Student Affairs Margarethe Rammerstorfer says, “We are happy to welcome our new students. With the Welcome Days, we want to help them get off to a good start in their new life as university students. We want all students to know that we are there for them and that their success matters to us.”
Many students are worried about the high level of self-organization that studying at a university requires. As WU Rector Hanappi-Egger points out, “This is especially true for people who are the first of their family to take up a degree program at a university. To keep them from feeling overwhelmed and dropping out prematurely, WU not only places them into smaller groups but also offers additional support services such as the Starting@WU events and our counselling and mentoring programs. My advice to all first-semester students is to take advantage of these support services and, above all, to participate in our study acceleration programs,” the Rector says.
At the end of August, WU started its Summer University program, which offers a total of 7,400 places in 62 courses. It allows students – including first-year students – to complete exams before the start of the semester. WU also supports students with disabilities through the BeAble program and top athletes through the KADA program.
Some first-semester students are beginning their studies at WU with the support of WU4You scholarships. This scholarship program, which was launched at the initiative of the Rector in 2016, is aimed at high-potential students from low-income families in Austria. This winter semester, as every year, fifteen students will begin their degree programs at WU with financial support from WU4You. They also participate in a special mentoring program and receive individual coaching. So far, 17 WU4You scholarship recipients have successfully completed their degree programs.