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STUDENT NEWS: What to expect from your Personal Tutor

28 September 2016

Personal Tutors are here to help you become the very best you can be. This article explains what you should expect from them, and encourages you to embrace their guidance during your time here.

We believe that every student matters and are committed to putting in place the support and guidance you need to become the very best you can be as a student and, in the future, as an employee. Your personal tutor is here to help guide you, emotionally and academically, through your time at university. The relationship students build with their personal tutors can often be an important element to their success.

For those of you just starting your academic journey, it is important that you let your personal tutor help you adjust to the transition between school and university. Be open with them about your concerns and listen to their advice. They were once students too.  They fully appreciate the difficulties you’ll be facing as you take your learning to a new level.

For returning students, your personal tutor will rely on your summative and formative assessment to develop an understanding of your strengths, and of your weaknesses. We all have them, so be prepared to talk frankly about the career you want to pursue and what you need to do to get there.  Being able to identify the areas in which you need to improve is a valuable skill for law studies and professional life.

For all students, your Personal Tutors are here to help you develop the skills you need to negotiate your way through your coursework, exams, university life and more. And when they are unable to help, they can direct you to any one of the specialist support units we have throughout the university – or to your Senior Tutor, Elizabeth Mumford.

In rare cases, students may not feel comfortable talking to their Personal Tutor.  When this happens your Senior Tutor is your first point of call. So please don’t hesitate to contact Elizabeth if you feel you need to talk to someone in confidence and out of your day to day support network.

So what else does the Senior Tutor do? Senior Tutors ensure that the Personal Tutor systems work and take the lead on personal tutoring within the School. Whilst we are dedicated to supporting you as much as we can - we are also committed to helping you develop into independently minded, confident individuals. To do this we need to put in processes that strike a balance.

We need you to feel both supported and able to reach out when needed – whilst recognising that you need to take a mature approach to your own development. In practical terms this means preparing for your progress meetings with your personal tutor, having a loose idea of 2-3 things you want to cover in an ad-hoc session – and making sure you turn up when you’ve booked an appointment.

Obviously there will be occasions when you will just need to unload, especially at particularly stressful times, but as a rule of thumb taking this approach will help you reap the rewards of the personal tutor system and develop the skills and understanding you need to truly unlock your potential as a student.

So what should you expect?

For all students, your Personal Tutor should:

  • organise regular progress / development meetings;
  • be available for informal catch ups during their official office hours; (Blackboard: Law student information -> general ->staff contact details -> staff consultation hours) 
  • respond to emails and voicemails within a reasonable time.

For returning students, your Personal Tutor will also:

  • share your summative assessment from last year;
  • set up a meeting to discuss examiners comments;
  • help you develop a clear plan for moving forward.

We are very fortunate to have an excellent team of academics at the Law School – well respected legal scholars at the forefront of their research fields. We also attract the brightest students. Through our Personal Tutor programme we hope to create an environment in which you will be challenged, inspired and supported in equal measures – an environment in which you can thrive.


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