Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Meeting undergraduates - potential questions

More detailed suggestions for one-to-one meeting topics and questions for different stages of an undergraduate student’s degree programme. Focussed on: goal setting, graduate attributes, career planning, and recording achievements.

Year 1 Semester 1

  • How studying at University compares to studying at school or in other contexts
  • Students’ expectations and goals e.g. what are you looking forward to most?
  • Students’ concerns or uncertainties e.g. are there things you are worried or uncertain about?

Year 1 Semester 2

  • How are things going?
  • Have your expectations been confirmed?
  • What are you finding most interesting/enjoyable?
  • What are you finding most challenging?
  • In what ways are you finding studying at University to be similar to and different from your previous experience of studying?
  • What are you getting involved in alongside your studies?
  • What are your main goals for the coming semester?

Year 2

  • What Graduate Attributes (skills, abilities and approaches) did you use the most in Year 1? Which might you need to strengthen further?
  • What are your main goals for the coming year - academic, personal and professional?
  • To reach these goals, what Graduate Attributes are you likely to need and to strengthen?
  • How could you best use your time at University to explore future options and ensure you develop the attributes required for your future?
  • The importance of aiming higher than the minimum threshold for honours entry.

Useful links:

Year 3

  • To what extent have you achieved the goals you set in Year 2?
  • What Graduate Attributes do you think you really excelled in during Year 2? For some of the others, what holds you back? (On the academic front specifically, it may be useful to look at the degree-specific Graduate Attributes.)
  • How honours level learning and teaching builds on but differs from pre-honours – cf. Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level descriptors for levels 8 versus 10
  • To what extent have you achieved the goals you set in Year 2?
  • What are your main goals for the coming year - academic, personal and professional?
  • To ensure you reach these goals, what Graduate Attributes will need strengthened? What support can you use to help you achieve these goals?
  • What work experience plans do you have, gained during Year 3 and/or over the summer? This is a particularly useful time to get work experience or an internship in an area of potential career interest, although any work experience is useful in adding to a student’s CV and giving them a taste of a particular career area.
  • Career plans: encourage engagement with Careers Service. Application deadlines come early and Year 4 can often be quite pressured – starting to think about plans and strategies early makes a significant difference.

Useful links:

Year 4

  • How does dissertation (or similar) work build on earlier skills and abilities? What new skills and abilities will be required and developed?
  • To what extent have you achieved the goals you set in Year 3?
  • What are your main goals for the coming year? What support can you use to help you achieve these goals?
  • Further discussion of career plans and strategies for applying for employment/further study – encourage engagement with Careers Service events and resources on CVs, interview technique, etc.
  • Encourage reflection on and recording of strengths, experiences and achievements – generic skills as well as subject knowledge, extra-curricular as well as curricular.

Source Adapted from College of Humanities and Social Science guidance, with thanks to Morag Donaldson and Gavin McCabe.

Useful links: Careers Service Guide for Personal Tutors: Career themes by year