Supporting final year undergraduate students

During the final year of undergraduate study at LSE your students will start to further focus on areas that interest them within their fields, as well as, for many students, undertake a dissertation or independent research project.

Many students feel this year goes by quickly and it can feel highly pressurised, but as their Academic Mentor, you can help them through this process while drawing on services such as LSE LIFE and LSE Careers to give them the best chance of securing the job or further study they are aiming for.

This section outlines some of the common areas of concern for third year students and how you can help them navigate through to graduation.

Course choice

As in the second year of undergraduate study students have the ability to choose some of their courses. As their Academic Mentor, students will be coming to you for advice on what to take. Therefore, it is important that you have a good knowledge of the content of courses available to your students. This can help students make informed decisions and increase their likelihood of a successful and enjoyable academic year. Students will make their decisions through LSE for You. Here is how the course selection process usually looks:

1. You discuss course choice with your students and take note of their preferences.

2. You advise your student to enter the choices into LSE for You as soon as possible.

3. You then check LSE for You and approve the choices if they are within the programme regulations.

4. If a student chooses an unlisted course (e.g., one from outside the programme regulations), you should add comments to justify the approval of the course. The Departmental Tutor will also need to approve the course choices in these circumstances.

5. You shouldn’t approve any course choices that haven’t been discussed with your student.

6. Students can make further changes until the system closes, and you will receive an email to approve each of these changes.

7. A timetable will be automatically generated in LSE for You by the advertised date.

If a student has a timetable clash, their timetable won’t appear on LSE for You. They will have to make appointments to their selection or complete a timetable class approval form, available from the Departmental Tutor.


While not all 3rd year students write dissertations, for those that do, it is one of the key markers that shape their academic experiences in their final year of study. For many students, this will be both their longest piece of academic writing as well as their first chance at engaging in independent research.

Even if you don’t supervise your academic mentees’ dissertations, they may want to bounce ideas off of you regarding their work. During your mentoring sessions, you may want to ask students about their dissertations, their managing of this longer project, and how they are tackling it. For example, you could ask:

  • How is your work on your dissertation going?
  • How are you managing the different stages?
  • What is your research question? How are you trying to answer it?
  • How are you planning and managing your time?

LSE LIFE offers workshops specifically for undergraduate dissertations. These workshops cover such topics as exploring the literature, structuring dissertations, and issues around writing.

Life after LSE

One of the key causes of both excitement and anxiety for third year students is planning for their life after completing their undergraduate degrees. Therefore, students will want to talk to you about what they would like to do – this could include both future study (either at LSE or another institution) and career aspirations.

Some questions you could ask your students include:

  • Have you got plans for after you graduate? What would you like to do?
  • Are you considering further study? In what and where?
  • What would be your ideal career?
  • Have you approached relevant staff or alumni of the School for further advice?

Future study

If students are interested in pursuing further study, they may want to speak to you about the following:

  • What are possible areas of study they could focus on in light of their current programme?
  • What universities offer these programmes (and what reputation do those programmes have)?
  • What is the application process like? (How might it be different across institutions and country contexts?)
  • What should they include in their personal statements?

Your knowledge on your academic field and the possibilities of what to study along with your familiarity with your students’ interests are invaluable in mentoring students through the process of deciding to apply for future study. Also, make sure students are aware of any application deadlines which could be as early as November or December.

LSE LIFE offers a session in Week Seven of Michaelmas Term on how to apply for a master’s degree. Students can also book a one-to-one with a study adviser at LSE LIFE to review their personal statement.

Career aspirations

For many students, they will be planning to enter the workforce full time upon graduation. This means that during their final year of undergraduate study, they will be considering what their options might be and then applying for jobs in that area.

While you are not expected to be an expert in career opportunities, it may be worthwhile talking to students simply to pose questions that they may want to consider for themselves. This may include what they would like to be doing in five years’ time, what kind of career would they like, and what career path do people who have worked in those fields followed.

LSE Careers offer a wealth of support for students, and it is highly recommended that you suggest students contact them. They offer workshops and bookable one-to-ones that students can sign up for on CareerHub, and they also offer CV drop-ins at LSE LIFE once a week.

Students on the Tier 4 Visa must consider work restrictions before applying for any paid work in the UK. Contact ISVAT for further support.


Students will need references for work after university or for applications for future study, and they commonly ask their academic mentors (as well as course lecturers and departmental tutors). Students should give you ample warning if their need a reference from you, and should make their CVs available to you to help you with the reference writing process. Much of the information that is useful for reference writing can also be accessed from LSE for You – class reports, student grades, and other miscellaneous information.

You should only give references when the student has given his or her consent or when the organisation making the request has provided proof that the student has consented. If an employer requires proof of student attendance, this is handled by the Registry team in the Student Services Centre – forward the request to

If you do not feel you can provide an appropriate reference, discuss the reasons why with the student and see if you can help them identify and contact somebody more appropriate.

Stress and anxiety

It is normal that students may feel stressed and anxious about their final year. It is important to remind them to maintain healthy habits during their studies, dissertation writing period, and exam time to ensure that they do well. Check in on their sleep habits, and verify that they are creating study schedules that include breaks. These small things can help.

However, if their stress and anxiety is interfering with their ability to study or apply for jobs / new degree programmes, they may need more specialised help. If students are struggling with high levels of stress and anxiety that are interfering with their ability to study, please refer them to Wellbeing or LSE Counselling for support.