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Prepare for your first semester

A guide for new students
Congratulations on becoming a new member of the University of Sydney community! There is a lot to learn as you embark, but this guide will help you find the information you need as a new student.

Essential first steps

Once you’ve accepted your offer, you’ll need to start thinking about how your course is structured and the choices available to you.

Read up on course planning, to better understand the structure of your course and how to choose your units of study.

You should also read your online handbook for specific course requirements and options. 

Most faculties and schools also have academic advisors who can provide advice about planning your course.

An email confirming your UniKey and when to enrol into your course will be sent to your personal email address when enrolment opens for your course; so make sure your contact details are up to date.

In the meantime, you are welcome to consult your course handbook to familiarise yourself with your course requirements. 

You need to enrol in order to secure your place, so it's important to do this as soon as possible. When you enrol, you'll need to choose your units of study. However, you can change these up until census date

Useful tips

Make sure you take a note of all the key dates related to your enrolment and study, including enrolment deadlines.

Your UniKey (emailed to you when enrolment opens) is used to access all of the University's systems. 

Make sure you start regularly checking your University email, as this will be used for any correspondence from the University (including a checklist for new students).

You should also log in to Canvas, the University's online learning platform, where you'll find your unit of study sites.

We also have loads of information for current students, to help you navigate the University.

Useful tips

If semester hasn't started and a unit of study that you've enrolled in isn't on Canvas yet, don't worry - the unit coordinator may still be preparing it!

You can find out more about what to expect in your unit of study outline. The outlines for first year subjects are published two weeks before classes commence; all other subject outlines are published one week before classes.

Your unit of study outline will inform you of the books, course readers and equipment you need (such as lab coats). It’s best to buy these early to avoid queues.

 

You will be allocated a personal timetable before semester starts, based on the units of study that you've selected. 

Find out when your timetable is available, and how to enter preferences and change your schedule.

Settle in to uni life

Before semester begins, attend your orientation events, workshops and information sessions — they'll introduce you to the University, and prepare you for success. Make sure to register for your faculty's events during Welcome Week, and get involved in fun activities with other students.

We're here to support you throughout your time here, and want to help you achieve your academic and personal potential. We have plenty of student support services, including counsellors, medical services and centres to support your study and learning.

Useful tip

While you may not need them right now, learn about our support services early so that you know where to go if you ever need them. 

University life isn't just about the classes; there are so many ways to get involved in your student community.

The best part? Along the way, you'll make lifelong friends, try new things, develop your hobbies and interests, gain leadership skills and have fun. 

Useful tip 

Joining a student club is one of the best experiences you can have at uni and now you can do it completely online. Head to our new Virtual Clubs and Societies platform to chat and connect live with members from more than 250 USU clubs with just your Unikey. Join a club that interests you on the spot, or take your time to see what’s on offer across the full program to become a member later.

Nervous about making friends? Remember that most students are in the same position, and are looking to make new friends too - check out our guide on how to make friends at uni.

Explore your new campus