"Tutorials are the perfect time to gain clarity on lecture material and also provide an incredible opportunity to explore your subject beyond the curriculum with an expert in the field."
– Nas Andriopoulos
Imperial College Union President
The tutorial system varies from one department to another, but you will usually be allocated a personal tutor who you can turn to for advice or support during your studies.
What is a personal tutor?
This is usually a member of academic staff who is allocated to you for the duration of your course to offer help and support with academic or personal issues. They will also follow your progress throughout the course to help keep you on track to succeed.
How often should I see my personal tutor?
Some departments will allocate slots in the timetable. More often though, it is up to both of you, but it is good to try and meet them at least twice a term. Your department will tell you what is usually expected. It can be very beneficial to develop a good relationship with your tutor - keeping in touch via email between meetings is a good way to do this.
What if I don't have a personal tutor?
Don't worry if your department doesn't allocate you a tutor - there will be a Senior Tutor, programme manager or someone else in your department who can give you support.
What is a senior tutor?
Most departments have a Senior Tutor whose job it is to oversee the personal and/or academic tutors. The Senior Tutor is the person to turn to for further advice or if your personal tutor is unavailable for any reason.
What if I want to see my personal tutor alone and we meet as a group?
You could always arrive a little early or make yourself an appointment. Alternatively, you could email your personal tutor to arrange a meeting.
What if my personal tutor is too busy to see me?
Your personal tutor will have many calls on their time, but they will always make time for you. If you cannot see them right away, do book a time that is convenient to both of you.
What sort of issues can I take to my personal tutor?
You can discuss any aspect of University life with your personal tutor, whether that’s the course, financial worries, your friends, personal problems or anything that is causing you concern.
Personal tutors will be able to advise you about your academic progress, identify strengths and weaknesses and suggest ways in which you can improve your performance. On top of this, they are your first port of call for any welfare, financial or pastoral issues that you may have. Personal tutors can also provide an academic reference for when you wish to apply for jobs, placements or further study or a listening ear for problems, both personal and academic.
If they cannot help or you feel uncomfortable talking to them about certain issues then they will be able to suggest who you might talk to.
What if I have an issue I don't feel comfortable raising with my tutor?
If you don’t want to discuss a particular issue with your tutor, you could contact the Senior Tutor in your Department.
There are also many other sources of support and advice at the College:
What is Starfish?
Starfish is an online system which supports the relationship between you and your personal tutor, as well as the wider circle of people who are involved in your academic progress and pastoral welfare. The system is not yet being used in all departments.