Checklist for returning students: Start here

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Are you planning to recommence your studies after a break? Great! To ensure a smooth return, we have put together a list of the most important practical matters you should deal with right away. Remember that you are not alone – if you have questions, you can always contact your PSP teacher or Student Services staff.

Returning to your studies can make you feel nervous or anxious. This page contains support and advice to enhance your wellbeing and ability to study.

Confirm your right to study

When recommencing studies after a longer hiatus, you should first confirm your right to study: 

When you have received a positive decision on your application, you can register as an attending student. The decision will be accompanied by detailed instructions for registration and the payment of any re-enrolment fee and the Student Union membership fee.

Remember to pay the student healthcare fee in higher education (Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Kela). Students must pay this fee to Kela twice a year.

Read the instructions carefully and, if necessary, contact Student Services for advice.

If you are unsure about the validity of your right to study, you can contact Student Services.

Establish the status of your studies

It is important to establish the status of your studies particularly after a longer break: are your previous studies valid, what studies remain to be completed, and has the structure of your degree changed during your absence? 

As soon as you begin planning your return to your studies, draw up a study plan or update a previous plan. This plan helps you keep track of the degree components you have already completed and the ones that are still missing.  

The longer the break in your studies, the more likely it is that you will need some guidance to get started on study planning. Fret not – help is at hand. Your faculty’s Student Services and the teacher assigned to guide you (PSP teacher or teacher tutor) can support you in drawing up the plan. Don’t hesitate to book a meeting with the above teacher or make an appointment with a student advisor.

Find out about services and systems

If you have been absent for a longer period, some tools and services available to students may have changed. Find out about the most important tools as soon as you return. 

Key things to remember:  

  • Activate your user account. You need a University user account to register for courses and examinations and to use the services.
  • Start using the University email address. You can log in to your email here. Read more about the University email on the IT Helpdesk website.
  • Explore the Studies service. The Studies service contains the latest information on studying, news from the University community, instructions for students, course details, your course calendar, and shortcuts to Sisu and other student tools and services.
  • Explore Sisu. You will use the University’s Sisu student information system to plan your studies, register for courses and, when the time comes, request a degree certificate. You can find a link to Sisu in the menu at the top of each website. Sisu replaced WebOodi in 2021.
  • The Guidance Compass is a good place to start if you don’t know who to contact.
  • Brush up on your vocabulary. Our vocabulary helps new students with the most important study-related terms.  

How to make your return easier

If you are getting back into learning after a break, you may feel you don’t know how to study anymore or that you don’t know anyone at the University and are no longer up to speed with what to do. It is easy and common to feel overwhelmed. Here’s what you can do to make getting back into learning that bit easier:

  • Define your study goals.
  • Consider how much time and resources you have for studies and make realistic plans.
  • Schedule time to deal with the practicalities.
  • Put aside time to find and experiment with suitable study techniques and the right pace of learning.
  • If you can read Finnish, explore the Resource for returning students (in Finnish), compiled by the Nyyti association. 

Consider your ability to study and identify your strengths

Your ability to study depends on your resources and learning skills, and on teaching, guidance and the learning environment. The study ability model of the Finnish Student Health Service helps you understand that this ability consists of various parts that can be developed. For example, you can enhance your learning skills independently or under guidance. In turn, the University develops teaching and guidance based on student feedback.

The ability to study can always be improved. The different parts of this ability complement each other: if you find something challenging, your other strengths will support your ability to study.

  • Explore the above model and consider your current ability to study. What are your strengths? Where do you need support or reinforcement?
  • You can explore the Nyyti website and consider the learning techniques you have employed or how you have used your resources in your studies. 
  • You can also find practical tips for effective day-to-day learning from the University’s counselling psychologists in the Studies service under Support for studies

Individual arrangements support studies

You may need individual arrangements because of a long-term illness, disability or difficulty. Such arrangements may be made as a result of physical or sensory disabilities, long-term illnesses, learning difficulties and mental health problems that hinder your studies and progress. 

Individual arrangements are practical and may pertain to teaching, guidance or examination situations. The assessment of learning is carried out for each student according to the same criteria, unaffected by any individual arrangements.

Read more about individual arrangements and how to apply for them at Individual arrangements support studies.

Treat yourself with compassion

Self-compassion is about being kind to yourself. It is particularly important at times of change. 

Tips for practising self-compassion: 

  • Pay attention to how you speak to yourself. If you notice a feeling of disappointment or failure, take a moment. 
  • Accept your feelings. Do not exaggerate or downplay them. Remind yourself that your emotions are human. It is also human to talk to yourself harshly. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
  • Think about how you would talk to a friend in the same situation. How does it differ from how you talk to yourself? 

More information on self-compassion is available on the website of the Nyyti association.