Supporting my students' lives

Student life can be challenging for students to navigate as they engage with new experiences.

Balancing study and the rest of their personal lives can be challenging and as an Academic Mentor, you are a port-of-call for students seeking support in adjusting to life at LSE, in London, or in the UK. As an Academic Mentor, students may want to discuss areas outside of their studies with you.

You may want or need to refer them on to specialists, but it is important that you take the time to listen, empathise and understand how best to help the student before you suggest any referral to them.

Students may have a clear idea of what they wish to discuss, or they may rely on you to lead conversations. Below are some examples of the kinds of questions you may wish to ask to guide the discussion.

Questions to ask about their lives’ outside of studies

Settling in

  • Where are you living? Are you happy there?
  • Are there any new activities you would like to try?
  • Are you interested in joining any SU societies? Which ones?
  • Have you registered with the NHS?
  • Do you know about all the services that the Student Services Centre offers?
  • Is being at LSE what you expected? 

Study-life balance

  • What is your timetable like? How are you planning your independent study?
  • How are you managing your study load with other activities or responsiblities you have?
  • How are you feeling about the work you need to do?
  • What are you doing to help relieve any stress or take your mind off your studies?
  • Are you enjoying yourself?
  • What are you doing for fun?

Assessment and exam stress

  • What assessments do you have coming up?
  • What does your study schedule look like?
  • What’s the best time of day for you to take a break? What do you do then?
  • Are you sleeping well?
  • What are your eating habits like?
  • What are you doing to relax?


  • Are you enjoying your time at LSE?
  • Have you made friends with others on your programme / in your department?
  • What do you do on campus when you’re not studying?
  • How are things at LSE outside of your studies?
  • How are you adjusting to life at LSE / in London / in the UK?
  • Do you think there's anything that the department could do to help build a community?

Specific students’ needs

Students’ backgrounds and modes of study can influence their experiences at LSE.

As part of an inclusive university, it is important to ensure the experience, skills and attainment of all students, including those in protected characteristic groups are valued.

We can do this by helping students, regardless of background, participate fully and achieve at equal rates.

Personal support and Academic Mentoring is one of the key ways of making sure this happens. Here are some key things to keep in mind when supporting diverse students in your role as an Academic Mentor.

International students

International students face a variety of extra challenges to their LSE experiences beyond adapting to a new educational system that may focus on different approaches to learning. This includes potential visa complications, registering for the NHS, navigating the different support services across the school, and adapting to life in London.

It is worth checking in with all students, but particularly international students to ask them:

  •  How are you adjusting to LSE?
  • How are you adjusting to life in the UK?
  • Have you been able to find everything you need?

If students are having any visa issues at all, including how various School procedures could impact a visa, or whether students can work (including for the School) on their visas, please refer to the ISVAT page. The team are up to date with all current regulations and run drop in sessions in Michaelmas and Lent term at the Student Services Centre from 1.30pm to 2.30pm on Mondays to Fridays. During the Summer Term and Vacations, the drop-ins are from 1.30pm to 2.30pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Alternatively, you can call them at 020 7955 6853 with specific questions or complete this form with any queries. 

International students may also not know how to register for the NHS, as in many countries, health services are provided by the university for students. There's more information for students, including links to search for GPs here.

Finally, if your international students are interested in learning more about London, but are uncomfortable discovering the city on their own, you can refer them to LIFE in London – a programme of events where students can engage with different London based activities.

Part-time students

Students who study on a part-time bases face a unique set of challenges. Not only are these students in the minotirty but they are often in full-time work or are carers. These means that part-time students may be managing multiple tasks at the same time including multiple, inflexible obligations.

Things you may want to ask part time students include:

  • How are you managing your time between your studies and other obligations?
  • Do you feel like you are a part of your cohort?
  • Do you have people outside of LSE who are supportive of what you’re trying to do?

If students are struggling with their study-life balances, please encourage them to visit LSE LIFE to book one-to-one appointments, where study advisers can meet with them to help develop strategies.

You may want to put part-time students in contact with your departmental administrators to help them contact others studying part-time so that they can develop their own support network.

Mature students

Most mature students are returning to education after a hiatus of either being in the work-force or being full-time carers.

This can create anxiety about expectations from the department on the quality of academic work as well as uncertainty about how to approach student life.

Therefore, it is always worth checking in with your academic mentees who are mature students to see how they are managing their return to study.

Things you may want to ask your mature students include:

  • How are you feeling about your studies?
  • How are you managing the workload?
  • Do you have any concerns about upcoming assessments and what might be expected of you?

LSE LIFE offers a whole host of workshops on study skills, assessments that mature students may want to take advantage of if they are feeling overwhelmed or uncertain. Students can also book one-to-one appointments with study advisers to ask specific questions.

If your students are feeling particularly stressed and anxious, assure them that this is ok and normal.

LSE LIFE also offers occasional mindfulness sessions that they could be interested in joining.

You may also want to refer them to LSE Counselling if their stress and / or anxiety is interfering with their life.

LGBTQ+ students

Students may choose to disclose personal information about themselves, including their sexual orientation.

This disclosure could occur because they are seeking more information about ways of being involved in the LGTBQ+ community, they are facing harassment, or they are experiencing doubt or concern around gender or sexuality.

If students do choose to disclose to you:

  • Respect their right to confidentiality
  • Be supportive and listen
  • Refer students to different resources that are offered below
  • Do not feel you need to offer answers or suggest action
  • Do not pass judgement

At LSE, there are several resources available to LGBTQ+ students. LSESU's Pride, Gender and Sexual Diversity Alliance society provides community for gender and sexually diverse students.

If students are experiencing doubt or concern around gender or sexuality, the LSE Counselling team can support them.

If students have got any questions or concerns about harassment, you can find out more about LSE's policies and help students report them here.

There is further support available in London more widely: 

Switchboard - helpline and information for LGBT+ people run by LGBT+ volunteers.

The Pink Practice - a lesbian, gay and queer counselling and psychotherapy service based in central London.

Imaan - a social support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Muslims, which offers advice and support through their website.

NUS connect - LGBT campaign information

Disability and long term medical conditions

Student with disabilities and long term medical conditions will have their own specific needs and should have, when needed, an inclusion plan with recommendations for individual exam adjustments.

However, students who have not met with Disability and Wellbeing Services regarding these may also come to you.

If a student comes to speak to you about this, recommend that they contact Disability and Wellbeing Services to find out what to do.

They also offer one to one appointments, and students will, in most cases, be assigned a specific adviser.

There's more information on the Disability and Wellbeing Service on the Supporting my students' study page.

Specific learning difficulties

A Student may approach you because they think they may have a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia that hasn't yet been diagnosed.

This can be a sensitive topic for some students, therefore it is important to maintain confidentiality as well as being supportive of students.

If a student does think they may have a specific learning difficulty, please refer them to the Disability and Wellbeing Service where they can have a screening interview.

Depending on the results of the interview, the student will then be referred for a formal diagnostic assessment.

Students who are then diagnosed with a Specific Learning Difficulty will be, if appropriate, given an inclusion plan and a possible recommendation for individual examination adjustments.

For more information on specific learning difficulties, the Disability and Wellbeing Service have created this page.

There's more information on the Disability and Wellbeing Service on the Supporting my students' study page.

Other areas my student may ask about:



For almost all of our students, NHS services can be accessed free. For a minority (mostly Summer School students), they may have to pay.

Students should be encouraged to register with GPs and attend if they need to.

GP surgeries and Walk in Clinics can be located on the NHS website and more information for students can be found in the Student section of these pages.

Mental Health

As an Academic Mentor, you may be the first person a student decides to disclose concerns about mental health to.

You're not expected to be an expert and it's ok to just listen, empathise and refer the student on to The Disability and Wellbeing Service, the LSESU Advice team or the counselling service, depending on what they need. 

There's information for LSE students on mental health here

Pregnancy and new parents

During their time at LSE, students may become pregnant or father a child.

Whether planned or unplanned, this can be a stressful time and students may wish to discuss their options and concerns with you.

More information on LSE's policies and external support on pregnancy/parenthood is found here.

Interruption of studies and extenuating circumstances

If for any health-related reason a student needs to interrupt studies or highlight extenuating circumstances, guidance on processes is available in the Support my Students' study section of these pages.


Living in London can be expensive and stressful and things can and do go wrong in Halls, Private Rented Accommodation and for students living in the home of a family member or partner.

Housing difficulties can be extremely disruptive and students may find themselves unable to work safely or comfortably from their accommodation.

Details of services who can support students having accommodation difficulties are below:

For support with Halls, contact Accommodation and LSE Residences.

For support with Private Rented Accommodation or living with a family member or partner, contact the LSESU Advice team or the University of London Housing Services.

Further information can be found through:

Shelter: national housing and homelessness charity who can advise on rental rights

The UK Government: on local services and renting, as well as Council and Housing Association housing

Citizens Advice: further information on all areas of housing


Managing a tight budget is one of the biggest challenges for many students.

Even if they have part time work or support from family, London is expensive and they may need extra help.

For International students, Visa restrictions on work can cause the situation to be more complicated.

Specialist drop-ins with the Fees and Finance advisers at the Student Services Centre can help students explore any financial issues and understand how LSE may be able to support them.

Debt or gambling advice can be provided by external services such as the Money Advice Service and Citizen's Advice.


Being an LSE student doesn't just have to be about studying for exams and attending classes.

There are many ways for students to get involved, gain experience, meet new people and prepare for life after LSE.

  • The Careers Service offers support finding jobs and internships as well as exploring possible careers in many fields.
  • LSE GROUPS allows undergraduate students to gain experience of completing an interdisciplinary research project.
  • Me+LSE is an interactive tool to help students identify strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Becoming an LSE Peer Supporter could help your students develop skills and support other students in the LSE community.
  • LSESU offers societies, sports, media and RAG as well as opportunities to get involved in representing other students in School meetings as a Course Rep.
  • LSE Volunteering offers a range of different volunteering options and supports students to gain experience and support local communities.