ST10 – What do our (future) students need? – From the first steps to everyday student life

Presentation
Room C – monday 15:30-16:30

Victoria Reszler

University of Graz, Austria / Educational and Student Services / 4students

Victoria Reszler studied German Language and Literature at the University of Graz and works for the Educational and Student Services at the University of Graz. She has been part of 4students, the student information service, since 2011.

Summary

4students is the student information service of the University of Graz and the first contact point for prospective students, first year students and continuing students. In the session we want to give an overview on the services offered by 4students, present the results of our questionnaire concerning student’s needs and talk about our experience in “what works”.

Abstract

Since 2011 4students – the student information service of the University of Graz – has drawn up a questionnaire concerning students’ needs before entering university, during the first weeks on campus and for their future university life. Based on these results, 4students constantly adapts its services and develops new ones – aligned with the student life-cycle. In the paper session we want to give an overview on the services offered by 4students, present the results of our questionnaire and talk about our experience in “what works” (based on data).

First stage of the student life-cycle (orientation, awareness, perception): Each year 4students organises two major events for future students. At the Open House Day more than 2000 visitors, among them mainly school classes, visit the University of Graz in order to inform themselves about the academic programmes as well as the university environment. In the course of the Trial Study Days, future students can attend courses of almost all academic programmes and learn more about organisational structures, services for students and the university campus. In addition to these events, 4students offers a peer mentoring programme for first-generation students to prepare them for their new life at university, as they don’t have close family members who have experience in studying. 4students also developed and now constantly updates two online-portals concerning student information and study programmes (http://www.uni-graz.at/en/studying/ and http://studien.uni-graz.at/en/degree-programmes/).

Second stage (admission, first steps): During the official admissions period, 4students offers an information desk in front of the admissions office with the purpose of answering all questions concerning the academic programmes and student life in general. In order to familiarize with the university, future students can attend the Welcome Day at the beginning of the semester, which offers workshops, information events and an introduction to all study-related service points for new students. As a reaction to all the students’ different requirements, 4students also produces podcasts on topics such as admission to university and enrolling for programmes.

Third stage (studying, continuing): The 4students:live workshops are especially aimed at continuing students. These workshops are supposed to help them to get along with their studies by supporting them in many different areas, such as scientific writing, study techniques and doing research.

As a “one-size-fits-all” approach is very unlikely to succeed – particularly when considering the growing diversity of students – 4students uses different methods when it comes to offering services and providing information to new students. As mentioned before, there are a lot of event formats adjusted to the student life-cycle. Moreover, 4students offers help by answering questions concerning studying and student life via phone, e-mail, Skype and Facebook every day. Apart from the large range of information available on our websites, there is also printed material containing information about the academic programmes, first steps at university, the campus and so on.

Due to an increasing demand, 4students gradually extended its range of services over the past few years and by now has virtually taken over the marketing of the academic programmes of the University of Graz.

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