Dr Erik Baurdoux gives his advice on academic advisor office hours and how students can use them.
What is an academic advisor office hour and how can students use them?
Office hours offer a confidential and informal setting where students can meet with their Academic Adviser to talk about any matters that might be affecting their studies and future plans.
You can also attend office hours if you are taking one my courses. Here, topics discussed would be closely related to the course material and not so much about personal issues.
Watch this video from students in the Geography Department to find out how they use academic office hours at the School.
How can students make the most of office hours? Should they prepare in advance?
If a student has a specific issue to be discussed, such as a reference letter request, then they should make sure to bring supporting documents and any information that could be relevant for your application.
Often, though, issues discussed are less explicit and more wide-ranging. For example, when a student feels lost or stressed it can be even more important to reach out and speak with their Academic Advisor, even though the student may feel that they do not know where to start.
Many of these issues are very common and it is unlikely they will be the only one struggling with something.
What type of things might students and staff talk about in an office hour slot?
A huge range of topics can be discussed in an office hour slot. I currently have 16 advisees from various degree programmes in the Department.
Recent office hours topics that have come up include: reasonable adjustments for a student with a medical issue, a student sharing their mental health difficulties and looking for further support in the School, course choices, past exam results, job applications, study tips and activities at LSE LIFE.
I have also enjoyed learning about wide-ranging and exciting activities my advisees get involved in beyond their studies and LSE in general, including volunteering with disadvantaged youth at a Brixton school, hurling, boxing and supporting Hull City, to name but a few. Some of these seem quite a challenge indeed.
Are there some circumstances where it might be better for students to seek help elsewhere at the School rather than attend an office hour session?
Questions on homework should be addressed directly to the relevant class teacher or lecturer. For various issues (for example regarding visa and health), students may need specialist advice and support from professional services at the School.
The Student Services Centre is a good place to start when seeking administrative support and the Student Wellbeing Service offers free and confidential guidance to all students.
In many situations, it would still be helpful for the student to contact their Academic Adviser so that the student can be referred on in the right direction. Also, if the Academic Adviser is made aware when such an issue arises they can follow up on these in the future.
Can students attend office hour sessions with an academic more than once?
Definitely, there is no upper limit!
Dr Erik Baurdoux is Undergraduate Tutor in the Department of Statistics.
Students can book office hours at LSE in a number of ways, depending on how an academic runs their sessions. Usually, you can book slots via LSE for You or email. Details of when academics’ office hours are scheduled are found on individual course pages on Moodle or departmental webpages.
For some academic office hours, you do not need to book a slot – just check when they are running and turn up. If you would like to have a particular slot to talk about something confidentially, then get in touch with your advisor in advance.
LSE LIFE has some great resources to help you email academics with ease, to help you book a slot.