5.2 Organising student orientation

Prior to the start of the academic year, the departmental tutor is usually responsible for ensuring that new students are properly informed about departmental orientation events, and may also highlight what is available at School level. (Although each student receives a pack including central information at registration, it is helpful if School information is also included in department literature.) A link to the Your first week| website is helpful. When planning the departmental orientation, it is worth noting the timing of other events to avoid clashes.

All students are expected to attend the School Orientation which usually takes place on the Wednesday of Orientation Week.

The Student Services Centre (SSC) Advice and Reception Team and student volunteers provide help at desks and other points around campus.

Most departmental orientation events are arranged towards the end of the week before teaching begins in the Michaelmas Term. Some departments hold events for each programme of study they offer whilst others have general formal information sessions and social events for all new students. The DT is responsible for overseeing the arrangements for undergraduate orientation and may have assistance from others, for example from administrative staff, programme director(s) and, if appropriate, the General Course tutor.

Orientation has several functions and some of the most important are:

  • to welcome new students to the School, the department and their programme;
  • to provide students with the information they need to settle into their studies at the School; and
  • to help students build social networks so that they can make the most of their studies and their wider LSE life.

Each department will have its own approach to orientation that may include introductory sessions about departmental and wider support available (eg, Language Centre, Careers, Teaching and Learning Centre, IT Services, Library).  Orientations often include social events, and can usefully include involvement of existing students as they are often best placed to guide new starters. Academic advisers are generally expected to attend, but this depends on the departmental culture.

The Teaching and Learning Centre and Student Services Centre jointly published Orientation 2012 - available at lse.ac.uk/tlc/resources| - which, although the dates are not valid for this year, includes much useful information about pre-arrival, key Orientation Week events and ideas from across LSE for departmental orientation.

An example of a departmental orientation programme from the Philosophy Department is provided in Appendix 3|.

Many departments provide their students with a departmental/programme handbook or guide at orientation that includes course and contact information together with useful tips on beginning their studies. The DT is often responsible for overseeing production of the handbook, with active involvement from key administrative staff. The Teaching and Learning Centre has guidance notes on departmental handbooks and can provide examples of good practice to help staff review and update their own materials: see Guidance notes on departmental undergraduate handbooks|.


Student Mentoring Scheme

The LSE Student Mentoring Scheme is part of the Orientation programme for new undergraduates, including General Course students. The Scheme is organised by SSC and does not require direct involvement from AAs, although departments may wish to promote the service to students and encourage continuing students to volunteer as mentors.

The Scheme complements Orientation programmes and support services by offering new students the chance to network with second/third year undergraduates in the same department.

All student mentors are given training and are made fully aware of the available support services at LSE. They are briefed not to advise on academic matters and may refer mentees to AAs or DTs as appropriate.

See LSE Mentoring Scheme| for more information.