LSE is no doubt a well-established university and a leading academic research institution. As such, a prospective LSE undergraduate student may feel concerned or confused about some aspects of student life. These include making friends, accommodation, assessments, and living away from home.
In this blog, I outline some of these worries that an LSE offer holder student may have and will describe my own experiences, so that you hopefully may feel some ease, or perhaps more ready to come to campus without worrying as much about some things.
Having moved away from my family home in Liverpool to an entirely new city and a bigger city in terms of landscape and population, I definitely felt overwhelmed on this note. Having friends is a good thing, of course, and many people tend to make life-long connections during their university years. Understandably, it is likely that you are going to want or have to make new friends when starting at LSE.
If you make use of LSE societies, academic events, and networking events, you are highly likely to make some good friends. Personally, I made closer friends with those studying law in my year, because we have an inherent connection and advantage of being law students studying similar things.
My top tip would be to join a society of interest to you because it makes making friends easier. Like bowling? Then join the bowling society, have fun, and make friends while bowling. See here for a full list of LSESU Societies.
LSE halls are available for students to live with other students, near campus. I did not make use of LSE halls, but I can understand why it is advantageous for various reasons. LSE is very supportive of its students, and any concerns you may have will be addressed promptly.
The Financial Support Team will advise you on finances if you need any support on this aspect. LSE also gives support and advice about finding the right accommodation for you. Updates and support on finances and accommodation are emailed to LSE students quite often.
If you decide to live off-campus, make sure you consider how long it takes you to reach the School’s campus and whether or not the transport links are good. The best way to save some money if you will rely on the Underground is to opt for a Railcard and merge it with an Oyster Photocard to get a 1/3 discount on off-peak travel.
The added bonus is that you get to save money for travel when you travel on various UK trains to go to another town or city in the UK, using the Railcard.
Assessments are tailored to the course you will be studying. My biggest concern was how different university exams would be from A-Level exams, particularly to do with footnoting, writing style, and grade boundaries.
Make sure you look at the course curriculum and try to understand how you will be assessed on a given course, before joining LSE. Some modules will have take-home assessments, some will include coursework or dissertation work, and some will include in-person written and/or oral exams.
Knowing what to expect will make you more prepared for when you commence your studies at LSE. Further, using any formatives you may complete in Michaelmas Term will give you an indication of whether you have understood LSE’s assessment expectations or not from the get-go. Feedback is a key aspect of the improvement process after all.
Living away from home
This one will differ for each individual. I am not an international student, but I do live over 200 miles away from home. It is a good idea to keep in touch with loved ones back home, and also a good idea to visit home once in a while so that you can unwind and unstress in a safe and familiar environment.
If your course includes reading weeks, I recommend going home even for a few days during that week where you will have no lectures or classes. This way, there will be no or few clashes with other responsibilities you may have. The perfect time to visit home during term time!