Ready, steady, study
This semester LMU welcomes more than 12,000 undergraduates – 7,600 of them first-year students. This year LMU President Bernd Huber will greet new freshmen in Adalbert Hall, as the traditional venue, the Atrium in the Main Building, is undergoing renovation until April 2013. As usual at the beginning of every semester, every fresher receives the LMU Rucksack packed with useful information and giveaways. And that’s not all. Performance Poet Bumillo and a surprise musical guest will be on hand to make sure that things are not too formal.
First-years – Younger than ever before
The latest intake of freshmen can already claim one distinction: They are younger than the generations of beginners who preceded them. Thanks to the introduction of the G8 Abitur and the abolition of military service, more than 1,800 of those arriving at university are under 19. There are now 120 students at LMU who are still legally minors, although most of them will come of age in the early months of this semester.
Some people would argue that students of this age are too young to attend university. Fritz Seebauer (18) certainly wouldn’t agree. He feels good and ready, and is looking forward to his courses in Informatics and Philosophy at LMU. “The choice was to some extent determined by familial factors. My brother is also at LMU and is writing his master’s thesis at the moment. And I knew what I wanted to do early on – I was putting websites together by the time I was 15.” Seebauer has no misgivings regarding the challenges he will face, and is sure that his former classmates will also cope with the strains of adapting to university. “Of course, going to university involves taking more responsibility for oneself than being at school. But even with one year less experience owing to the G8 Abitur, that’s not a big problem – whether it’s a matter of applying for a library card or taking more difficult hurdles.” He and his former classmates have given much thought to the question of whether and what to study. Indeed, Christiane Mateus of the Central Student Advisory Office agrees that freshers are well prepared. “Most students today are very goal-directed and begin their studies with a very definite idea of what they want from them,” she says.
For those who have no close relations at LMU, assistance is available in the shape of the new P2P Mentoring Program. In this program, “old hands” – or, to be more specific, students who have at least three semesters behind them – are teamed up with pairs of freshmen, to help them find their bearings and get their student careers off to a good start. The TutoRIA program provides special services to new students from abroad, helping them to get acquainted with LMU and adjust to life in Munich.
New master’s courses, more choice
No less than 50 new master’s programs get underway at the beginning of this semester – most of them in the Humanities and Social Sciences. “With the inauguration of these programs, LMU has successfully completed the final phase of the transition to the new course structure,” says LMU Vice-President Martin Wirsing. “The design of the new joint curriculum in Humanities and Social Sciences is particularly noteworthy. The basic idea is to enable students to develop an individual profile by allowing them to select, from a wide variety of interdisciplinary possibilities, the subject combinations most suited to their interests and aptitudes. Such a broad array of choices is currently unique in Germany.”
The joint curriculum in Humanities and Social Sciences constitutes a pool to which individual disciplines contribute course modules and teaching units. Depending on their particular degree course, students may select modules from specific areas other than their major subject. For instance, someone who is doing a master’s degree in History can choose to take courses in other fields, such as Philosophy or Art History.