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Digital entry

With the help of an app, first-year students get to know the University of Freiburg

Freiburg, Sep 17, 2020

Digital entry

Photo: Sandra Meyndt

In their first weeks at university, students are usually faced with numerous open questions and challenges. The app “Studientstart – Uni Freiburg” (“Start of Studies Uni Freiburg”), which was already launched for the 2019/20 winter semester, is intended to provide practical support during this important phase. It contains a lot of information and helps users to plan orientation week and other events as well as create checklists. Before the start of a predominantly digital semester, the app provides services that are all the more valuable.

On an exploratory tour with a mobile device: first-year students can use the app “Studienstart Uni Freiburg” to locate central facilities such as the Collegiate Building I or the University Library. Pictures: Sandra Meyndt

Download, install, and off you go. Right after opening the app, students will receive an invitation to the official kick-off event “Studienstart - Uni Freiburg” (“Start of Studies Uni Freiburg”). Users must register in advance for the digital event at the beginning of the winter semester, which usually takes place in the Black Forest Stadium. The app “Studienstart Uni Freiburg 2020” is designed to help first-year students get started at the University of Freiburg. Dr. Alexandra Rüdell and Anna Mielich from the Central Academic Advising Office (ZSB) planned and implemented the application in spring 2019 with an external developer and other departments of the University of Freiburg.

“Activate your UniAccount” is a note on the start page. One of the first steps in studying is to familiarize oneself with technical aids such as the campus management software HISinOne, the learning platform ILIAS and the university WLAN eduroam. “Especially during the Corona pandemic many people lack the social contacts with whom they can discuss such things,” says Rüdell from the ZSB. In the app’s profile settings, users can choose their course of study; special information is also available for international students. Depending on the settings on the smartphone, the app appears in German or English.

Arrive and gain a foothold

General dates such as the first semester academy, the kick-off event and the ZSB’s new video consultation hour will soon be available to first-year students under “Events.” There you can also find the subject-specific events that are appropriate for the selected course of studies. Students can choose between compulsory and optional events of the introductory week and in “My schedule” they can compile all the dates they want to attend. The app even notifies users if they have not yet added subject-related mandatory courses to the program. “The departments themselves enter the events into the app. I would therefore like to thank everyone involved for this cooperation,” emphasizes Rüdell. Whether it's the Botanical Garden with the institutes of biology, the Faculty of Engineering, sports facilities, the Natural Sciences campus or the buildings in the center: Under “Locations,” users can view the entire campus, select specific areas and also locate individual buildings.

Whether events, consulting services or helpful tips: The app "Studienstart Uni Freiburg" provides first semester students with all the important information they need to start their studies. Pictures: Sandra Meyndt

Whether it’s about finding accommodation, financing or insurance, the “Checklist,” which is the result of the ZSB's many years of experience, gives first-year students an overview of what has been done. The central facilities, offers and general terms of the University of Freiburg can be found in “Info & Tips.” The “Glossary” is a list of terms that was originally created for the first-year student welcome guide and is constantly being expanded. "With the help of such information, students can get to know what the University of Freiburg has to offer. For further success in their studies it is important to arrive and gain a foothold,” says Rüdell.

Knowing who knows what

Finally, under “Contact,” the app refers to subject-related offers such as the student advisory service as well as to interdisciplinary contact persons such as the Student Service Center, the student secretary’s office, the psychological counselling service and the legal advice offered by the Studierendenwerk. Furthermore, links to the social media channels of the University of Freiburg can be found. Students can use the contact form for questions and feedback. In the “Newsfeed” the student online platform UniCross, the Office of Public Relations and the Student Service Center publish articles on various topics. Rüdell combines this function with another goal: “Of course we also want to inform our first-year students about developments at the university and point out new opportunities to them.”

Patrick Siegert