Knowing How to Best Support Finalists

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By: 
Clare Langman, Information Specialist, Aston University

Clare Langman reports on the latest event exploring the information and support needs of students at different stages of their studies.

On Wednesday 27th March an event was held at Aston University posing the question ‘What do Year 3 students need to know?’  This built on previous events which looked at how best we can support Year 1 and Year 2 students.  We began the day playing a game of Final Year Fortunes, which was a variation on Bingo.  This was led by Olu Popoola, Teaching Fellow from the Learning Development centre at Aston University along with two final year undergraduate students, who provided a fascinating perspective into the mind-set of finalists. The activity looked at various aspects of what makes a final year student tick, from exams, their dissertation and job hunting to what food they like to eat to keep up their energy, through to where they like to search for information and how they deal with pressure. The students gave delegates some useful suggestions of how libraries could improve our services and support for final years. 

This was followed by a presentation from Samantha Jordan, a Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD student who provided a unique perspective into the kinds of support final year students need. Samantha was a mature student herself, who had gone on to become a Programme Administrator. As she had recently moved into her new role, Samantha had various different types of direct involvement with students and as a result was able to provide some interesting suggestions of areas library staff could target. 

I then followed this session with a talk on my own personal experiences of working with final years, focussing on how our role becomes more pastoral and supportive in a students’ final year as they need encouragement, reassurance and hand holding to help them through.  Relationship building and offering a personalised service is important to help students feel that they are not alone during this highly pressured period of their studies. 

Following a refreshment break, delegates moved on to an activity where they were each challenged to started thinking about what they currently did for final year students, and what they may do as a result of the morning sessions. Delegates had a chance to develop these ideas practically, by beginning working on an action plan to take back to their institution.  The last talk of the day was from Ceri Laing, Senior Assistant Librarian from De Montfort University who talked about close collaboration with Careers to fully embed support for final years.

Overall the event was an interesting and highly thought-provoking day which hopefully has inspired people with new ideas to takeback to their own institutions. A number of presentations and outputs from the day are provided below, for those wishing to refresh their memories

Presentations

Third Year Slides Number 1Third Year Slides Number 2Third Year Slides Number 3

Outputs

3rd Year Outputs 01