Should You Attend Every Undergraduate Introductory Session?

Before the Autumn Term starts, universities offer what’s known as Fresher’s Week. Although it is specifically aimed at first-year students-so they can settle in and have a look around campus-it is also a way for continuing students to reconnect with their peers and Faculty Members. However, as years pass, you might want to skip these introductory sessions and sleep in or meet up with your friends instead. In this article, I will discuss if you should attend every undergraduate introductory session.

A typical introductory week comprises a series of talks from faculty members and your future lecturers. During my first year at the University of Southampton, I attended every session offered, as I was eager to know all about the Science Foundation Year. Every morning of Fresher’s Week I showed up at 9 a.m. and listened to how the program was structured, the labs run, and what was expected of us. These talks proved useful and fundamental to be up to speed with the beginning of the year.

In September 2019, when I looked at the schedule and realised I would have similar sessions, I decided not to go to all of them. Looking back in hindsight, I think this was a mistake. Even though I was convinced I would not get any benefit out of them, Faculty Members shared fundamental information which I later had to ask someone who attended.

Topics of the introductory week

Your university should provide you with a Welcome Events Timetable, similar to that given by the University of Southampton. More details will come soon, but I’ll share a short list of topics Faculty Members might discuss during the introductory sessions.

  • Programme Specifications;

  • Timetable;

  • Required attendance;

  • Lab sessions, safety policies, and supplies needed;

  • Extra reading resources for the modules;

  • Assessments, marking schemes and grades;

  • Exams;

  • Key dates, such as holidays, terms and exam periods;

  • Societies, including your Faculty’s;

  • Any additional information depending on your Course and Year.

After looking at the list I just wrote, I realise some topics repeat themselves throughout the years. However, consider that some policies might change from one year to another, such as the weighing of each module, the assessments and the programme specifications. These sessions can help you reconnect with your fellow students, give you the information you need to have a head start and are an excellent way to get into the “beginning of term” mindset.

My answer to the original question is: Yes, you should attend every introductory session. They can be repetitive and lengthy, but the topics discussed are fundamental to avoid relying on second accounts. Remember, it is always better to hear the information yourself and take notes on the key points.

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