Personal tutors

Your personal tutor will help you to get the most out of your studies, and provide support and encouragement during your time at university.

Find out who your personal tutor is

All students on taught programmes are assigned a personal tutor. You will usually meet them in the first week of term.

If you are not sure who your personal tutor is, you can find out by signing in to the University of Bristol app and clicking on your name in the top right-hand corner.

You can download the app from the App Store or Google Play.

How to contact your personal tutor

Once you know the name of your personal tutor, you can find their contact details using the University contact directory.

What kind of support a Personal Tutor can provide

Academic support

Personal tutors help you with your academic development and support you to get the most out of your studies. They will:

  • monitor and discuss your academic progress with you and help you reflect on feedback
  • help you develop your sense of belonging within your academic discipline and provide advice on the development of academic skills
  • help you to reflect on your learning and formulate plans for academic, personal, and professional development
  • provide advice about your course, including study choices, and help you understand university policies and procedures
  • get to know you as an individual and be able to write you a reference for employment, voluntary work or further study. It may be more appropriate for the project supervisor to act as the referee for Postgraduate Taught students

In schools with large student cohorts, a team of personal tutors may be used for postgraduate-taught students. Your school will make you aware of the names and contact details of all team members if this applies.

Pastoral care and non-academic matters

Personal tutors are highly qualified members of academic staff with different skills and professional experiences. They are committed to supporting your wellbeing, but they do not receive training to be counsellors or specialist advisers. They will:

  • help you with the transition to university
  • listen to your pastoral issues and concerns sensitively and signpost you to specialist support if needed, such as the Senior Tutor, the Student Wellbeing Service, Residential Life, the Careers Service, the Library or the Study Skills team
  • deal with information you disclose sensitively, respecting confidentiality but escalating any concerns when appropriate

What a personal tutor expects of you

  • Ensure you understand the role of your personal tutor
  • Be proactive in seeking support from your personal tutor when required
  • Reflect on your academic progress, be aware of your skills development needs and engage in personal development planning
  • Actively participate in the meetings with your personal tutor (whether they are face-to-face or online) and to consider the advice and feedback from your tutor
  • Inform your Personal Tutor (or Senior Tutor) promptly of any circumstances (such as illness, anxiety, bereavement) which are affecting your academic work
  • Familiarise yourself with the other support structures and services available at the University and to make effective use of them
  • Attend and prepare for all meetings with your personal tutor (whether they are face-to-face or online) and respond promptly to any communication from them
  • Tell your personal tutor if you are unable to attend a scheduled meeting for good reason and arrange an alternative meeting if appropriate

How personal tutoring works

Before you meet your tutor

We recommend that you note down any particular things that you’d like to discuss in a Personal Development Plan (PDP) portfolio.

  1. What are you looking forward to?
  2. Are there any things that you are unsure about?
  3. What skills would you like to develop during your time here?

Usually, you’ll have the same academic personal tutor throughout your time at Bristol, unless this is not possible, or you request otherwise.

If you are a Postgraduate Taught student in a school where a team of personal tutors is used, you should usually be able to see the same tutor, if you request this when booking an appointment.

When you will meet with your personal tutor

Your school or department will usually organise a schedule of personal tutorials which may be small group or one-to-one meetings (or a mixture of the two), depending on your course of study. As a minimum you should expect:

Undergraduate students:

  • at least six meetings during your first year
  • at least four meetings in every other year
  • at least one meeting a year on a purely one-to-one basis.

Postgraduate Taught students:

  • at least three meetings in Teaching Block 1
  • at least one meeting in Teaching Block 2

You can also contact your personal tutor at any time outside of the scheduled contact times.

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