Tokyo Institute of Technology: Orientation sessions held for new students at all levels of study

The Student Life Coach Consultation Office, a component of the Student Success Support Section at Tokyo Tech’s Student Support Center, held a number of orientation sessions for new students in late March and early April. Designed to help newcomers confidently acclimate to university life and begin independent studies at the Institute, the sessions covered topics such as the education system of Tokyo Tech and the basics of registration. This spring, 1,117 bachelor’s program students, 1,976 master’s and doctoral students, and 34 transfer students commenced their Tokyo Tech journeys.

Orientation for new bachelor’s program students
The 90-minute orientation for bachelor’s program students was held 14 times on April 6, 7, 9, and 10 at Hisao & Hiroko Taki Plaza, Tokyo Tech’s new student exchange hub. The sessions had three main aims — to help students adjust smoothly to university-level studies, allow them to make plans with a long-term perspective, and create a sense of solidarity and identity among new Tokyo Tech students. Most of the new students in the bachelor’s degree program joined one of the orientation sessions, with approximately 1,000 students participating in total.

During each session, new students learned about topics such as the history and achievements of Tokyo Tech, received tips on how to spend their university years effectively, and heard actual experiences about Tokyo Tech life thanks to lectures by current students and alumni, and support from the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association. The program also included alumni interviews by current students, during which graduates shared their experiences on how they decided on their career paths, spoke about the extracurricular activities they joined during their days at the Institute, and offered advice so that new students can envision their future while engaging in their studies.

The sessions also created opportunities for members of student units to meet for the first time in person. The student unit is an important building block of the bachelor’s degree program at Tokyo Tech. When students begin their studies, they join a unit that consists of approximately 15 students from different Tokyo Tech Schools. Unit members take required courses in the first year and the Liberal Arts Final Report course in the third year together, encouraging the formation of interdisciplinary communities throughout their bachelor-level studies.

At the beginning of each orientation session, new students also had the chance to speaking directly with Tokyo Tech President Kazuya Masu during a quick-fire Q&A session.
New bachelor’s program students shared their thoughts after their orientation session.

Meeting others in my student unit before classes commenced was great.
After a period when many things had to be done right away, it was good to hear stories about our future, which I will refer back to later on.
I believe the overall message from the senior students was that they wanted us to enjoy this university! I also felt that I could easily ask for help if I needed it.
I was pleased to hear the experiences of the graduates, and to learn that I can conduct the research I want.
Orientation for new master’s and doctoral students
On March 30 and April 2, online guidance sessions for master’s and doctoral students were held a total of four times — twice in Japanese and twice in English. Approximately 850 students participated in the Japanese sessions, while some 120 students joined the English briefings.

Both Japanese and English orientations were mainly hosted by Student Life Coaches from the Student Success Support Section of the Student Support Center. The new cohorts learned about the curriculum and the structure of courses common to all graduate-level students, and acquired comprehensive information about specific programs, job hunting, studying abroad, financial support, and the activities of various support offices at Tokyo Tech. During the Japanese orientation sessions, three current graduate-level students shared their experiences in the master’s and doctoral programs and talked about their research and job-hunting activities. In the English sessions, two current graduate-level students talked about their academic experiences, and two current bachelor’s program students shared information on student exchange activities and life on and around Tokyo Tech’s campuses.

Many international students who join Tokyo Tech’s master’s and doctoral programs are also interested in finding employment in Japan. With this in mind, staff at the Student Success Support Section’s Career Support Services provided a career support guidance session in Japanese and English, sharing information on potential career paths and job-hunting practices in the country.

These orientation sessions also kicked off with a brief Q&A session between President Masu and the new students.

Master’s and doctoral students provided their feedback online after their orientation session.

I only had rough ideas about my graduate-level studies, job hunting, and other aspects of my future, but after listening to the orientation session, I had a better understanding of what I need to do.
I had some concerns as I joined Tokyo Tech after completing my undergraduate studies elsewhere, but many of these have now been resolved and I am looking forward to my new studies.
The stories of actual university life at the graduate level by senior students were very informative as I learned how these students plan their research and job-hunting activities.
The friendly atmosphere put me at ease, and I was again surprised by the number of seminars and other events. I want to utilize actively what I learned for designing my own career.
The sharing about school life is very useful!
Orientation for new transfer students in bachelor’s degree program
On April 2, a one-hour online orientation was also held for 33 transfer students who joined Tokyo Tech from technical colleges in the spring of 2022.

As these students joined the Institute in their second or third year of the bachelor’s degree program, they needed to learn quickly how Tokyo Tech’s courses are compatible with those completed at technical colleges, how they can apply for the Independent Research Project, and what they can do to adjust to the new environment and plan their life as Tokyo Tech students. The guidance covered the structure of Tokyo Tech courses, the design of one’s university life, basic points regarding courses after the third year, how to plan for graduation, and the various support services available at Tokyo Tech.

This session also included information provided current students who joined from technical colleges in previous years, and a Q&A session with the president. Masu, who himself has experienced the challenges of being a transfer student, answered each question individually while offering encouragement and advice to Tokyo Tech’s newest cohort of transfer students.

Tokyo Tech’s Student Life Coaches, part of the Student Success Support Section of the Student Support Center, have been providing new students with guidance every April since academic year 2016. In academic year 2022, Peer Life Coaches, all current students who are also affiliated with the Student Support Center, worked together with the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association to prepare for the support sessions by conducting a student needs survey and compiling useful content. Due to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the guidance was held online for two consecutive years, but returned to an in-person format in academic year 2022.