Introductory period

The introductory period lasts about 1-2 semesters at the bachelor's level and 1 semester at the master's level. In addition to examining and gaining knowledge about subject-specific information, for students this brief period is mainly an opportunity to get to grips with the specialised environment and to get their bearings in the academic world. The introductory period is also characterised in many programmes (particularly at the bachelor's level) by considerable selection requirements. The differing structures of introductory periods in previous decades has been recognised as a challenge.

Examples at Swiss universities

Various initiatives have been launched at individual universities concerning the introductory period. The following examples illustrate the offerings and measures in place at Swiss universities:

Medicine self-assessmentUniversity of FribourgAn online survey shows prospective students whether their interests, soft skills and expectations are a good fit for medical studies.
OrientationUniversity of GenevaAccompanied by students in their third or fourth year, Geneva high school students can attend a one-week orientation at a faculty of their choice.
Academic success programmeUniversity of GenevaWorkshop offering to improve learning strategies and provide one-on-one counselling.
On your marksUniversity of LausanneThere is an introductory course on university studies during the first week of the semester. Course videos available online.
Student and alumni portraitsUniversity of LausanneAdvanced students and alumni discuss the programme they chose and/or their professional career.
Peer tutoringUniversity of LausanneAdvanced students provide tutoring on various aspects of university life.
Assessment yearUniversity of St. GallenAn assessment year helps students to acquire core skills and develop learning strategies and thus close the gap between the expectations of students and those of the institution.
Mentor systemUniversity of ZurichAll physics students are allotted a mentor (professor) for the entire duration of the bachelor's degree, to whom they can turn when needed.
Psychology self-assessmentUniversity of Zurich and FHNWAs part of an online self-assessment, prospective students receive a better picture of psychology studies and career prospects.