"She created a Facebook group which brings all the Biochemistry students together and provides a platform for many upcoming opportunities. I find it very helpful, especially the posts she put on there are usually with pictures, so I tend to take more notice of them rather than emails."
Personal tutors have a central role in supporting students’ transition into and through Higher Education. Research conducted with first year students to investigate what they thought enabled successful transition to university study identified the following six enabling factors (Bowles et al. 2014):
Students’ perceptions of enablers to transition to higher education
Study – i.e. skills, time management, willingness to seek help
Effort– i.e. motivation, commitment, willingness to work hard and interact with others
Culture – i.e. sense of belonging, ability to identify with and value being a student at this university
Orientation– i.e. opportunities to meet staff and student services
Facilities–i.e. infrastructure, such as computer labs and study areas, to support transition
Social– i.e. social events for developing friendships and networks
Consider the implications that these findings have for your role as a Personal Tutor and, in particular, the purpose and nature of your early engagement with your tutees. What might they need to know about and think about?
A degree programme taught by many different people might seem like a fragmented experience to a student used to having few teachers. You act as a central point of contact and can help to give coherence to their degree and university experience, as well helping them to develop a sense of belonging within the department.