Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Undergraduate students

How to get the best out of the Personal Tutor system as an undergraduate student.

During your early years at university, your School will schedule meetings with your Personal Tutor (PT) to help you settle in and build a relationship.  Contact will gradually become less formal in the latter years of study, however, you are actively encouraged to request meetings with your PT as and when you feel you need them throughout your time with us.

Note:  If you are not on campus (e.g. on your Year Abroad) then your meetings may take place by telephone, live internet call, or a web conferencing application.  Email exchanges are not considered to be meetings unless they take place within a pre-agreed timeframe to enable you to have a “conversation” (e.g. if you are overseas and emailing within a 24-36 hour period to take account of time differences).

One-to-one meetings

All undergraduate students will meet with their Personal Tutor at least once each year at the beginning of Semester 1.

  • Your Personal Tutor will contact you at the start of the academic year to invite you to meet.
  • An electronic record will be kept of one-to-one meetings. It is the responsibility of your Personal Tutor to keep an accurate account of the content of the meeting.
  • While discussion between Personal Tutors and Tutees will be confidential, notes of the meeting will be kept using the Notes facility on your student record.  Notes can be marked as confidential, where appropriate, in which case they will only be available to an identified core-group of staff who are responsible for supporting each student.

Initial one-to-one meetings for first year students

  • Your initial meeting will normally take place during Welcome Week. 
  • The meeting will last approximately 20 minutes and will outline the role of the Personal Tutor, their responsibilities and yours.
  • The core role of your Personal Tutor is to assist you in reviewing your academic progress and performance. They will also give you an opportunity to reflect on your learning within and outwith the formal curriculum, and help you to plan your future development.
  • Your Personal Tutor will provide guidance on the selection of courses and where appropriate enrol you on courses.
  • At the initial meeting your Personal Tutor will also outline the role of the Student Support Team and highlight the range of other support services (academic and pastoral) available at the University.

Additional one-to-one meetings

  • If you are a first year student, you will be invited to a second one-to-one meeting at the start of Semester 2.
  • All other ad hoc meetings should be set up by e-mail and you are free to arrange one at any time.
  • Your Personal Tutor is a valuable source of information and support, and you should feel free to contact them for one-to-one meetings as required throughout your studies.

Group or Programme meetings

In addition to one-to-one meetings, and other activities designed to support your development as a member of the academic community, group or programme meetings will be organised each year. At least two such meetings will be arranged for first year students, and at least one for second year students. You will be given detailed information about such meetings via e-mail and Learn, the University’s virtual learning environment. Group meetings will usually last around one hour.

At the start of the year, Group meetings may:

  • Outline course structures, and assessment requirements.
  • Clarify the relationship between different departments.
  • Explain the role of the Personal Tutor (PT); indicate the various other sources of information and advice (e.g. Teaching Office, Course Organisers, Year Abroad Co-ordinators);  and clarify what information and support can legitimately be expected from each (e.g. a PT cannot give detailed information about the content of courses in subjects other than their own, and should not be expected to do so).
  • Emphasise that office hours should be used for seeking guidance on academic issues, including feedback.  Administrative issues should be taken to the Student Support Team. See example queries. 
  • Other group meetings will focus on your academic and professional development as you move through each year of study.

Group or Programme meetings which take place throughout the course of the year may include such topics as those listed below, and will be targeted to meet the needs of your particular stage of study:

First or second year group meetings may include such topics as:

  • Essay writing skills
  • Exam preparation
  • Introduction to the Careers Service
  • The transition to the honours years of degree programmes
  • The selection of option courses
  • Issues relating to study abroad

Third or fourth year group meetings may:

  • Deal with the honours degree in further detail
  • Discuss the increasing need for independent study
  • Provide information on the writing of dissertations
  • Provide guidance for students preparing for final examinations
  • Look at the world beyond university
  • Offer input from the Careers Service