The Role

The personal tutoring system provides every students with at least one member of staff who gets to know them as an individual, who keeps an eye on their overall academic progress and who is concerned for their general welfare.

"The meeting provides an opportunity to discuss future aspirations and are an opportunity to get to know staff on a more personal basis..."

- UCL Undergraduate, Anthropology

Academic Committee Requirements

The UCL Academic Committee has set out specific requirements for personal tutoring. Please read more about them here.

In brief, the requirements are:

  • That all members of academic staff should be involved in personal tutoring
  • Where possible, personal tutors should remain the same for students throughout their course of study

Personal tutorials are for:

Requirements for year 1:

  • There should be a minimum of 5 formal meetings a year
  • 3 of these must be 1-to-1
  • With further drop-in opportunities
  • There should also be the promotion of, and coordination with, the transitions programme

 Requirements for subsequent years:

  • There should be a minimum of 3 formal meetings a year
  • With further drop-in opportunities
White Space


Foremost, a Personal Tutor's responsibility is to their tutees. Regard all conversations with individual tutees as confidential: don’t discuss their problems with anyone else without their permission, including parents. Keep tutorials responsive to students' needs so that they continue to benefit from the system.

Personal tutors should:

  • take an interest in all their tutees and their activities;
  • be well informed on their academic progress;
  • agree a timetable for seeing each of their tutees on a regular basis (see Academic Committee requirements);
  • set aside times when their tutees can consult them;
  • provide clear directions for appropriate points of contact in an emergency;
  • ensure that students know the contingency arrangements when personal tutors are absent from College for any length of time.

Immigration Advice

Immigration advice is regulated by law. Only those advisers who have been appropriately trained and registered with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner are legally able to provide this advice. Immigration advice, therefore, can only be given by the appropriately trained members of staff located in the Rights and Advice team, UCLU.

At a time when a student may be asking about progression, repeat study, etc, and any impact on his or her immigration status, staff should not attempt to answer the query, but refer the student to this team.

The pastoral aspect of the role

The pastoral side of the role can often be simply a friendly conversation at the start of the meeting. Ask students how they are doing, find out a bit about them and have that informal chat to build trust and good relationships with your tutees. In this way, if any major issues do arise your students will feel comfortable talking to you about them before problems escalate.

If problems do arise that are beyond your expertise then still make sure you take the time to listen to your tutee before encouraging them to get the proper help they need.


There are additional resources on this website to support you in this:

The academic/ developmental aspect of the role

Personal tutorials offer the chance for students to discuss their development beyond their formal studies. Tutorials can be used by students to sound out their thoughts, ideas and concerns with an experienced professional, who can guide them in the right direction, personally, professionally and academically.

The Personal & Professional Development (PPD) system is a useful tool to structure tutorials and help guide students through their learning and development which will directly influence their success at university and beyond.

Examples of departmental custom and practice

Many departments ask their Personal Tutors to undertake specific tasks that help them to get to know their tutees. Some, for example, have an arrangement whereby all marked coursework is returned to students via Personal Tutors, a system that both informs tutors of their tutees’ academic progress and provides a structure for maintaining regular contact. Some Personal Tutors are asked to advise their tutees on the specific requirements of coursework, and perhaps to mark and comment on an initial piece of written work. Others assist their tutees to produce a CV, self-reference or record of progress and achievement. Such exercises are not only valuable for students but provide tutors with much useful information on their tutees. In some departments, tutors meet their tutees socially as a group at the beginning of the course with a small entertainment allowance available to assist this process.

All these activities help to emphasise the proactive nature of the personal tutor’s role and the responsibility Personal Tutors have for all their tutees, not just those who come to them for help. Students succeed best in a supportive environment in which they are helped to realise their full potential, not merely left to sink or swim. We all thrive on recognition and encouragement and an important part of the Personal Tutor’s role is to be aware of and to acknowledge students’ efforts and achievements, to help them build on success and to aspire to higher goals.

Page last modified on 29 aug 13 16:51