One of the big differences between school or college and university is your relationships with the people who teach you.
At school or college you are usually taught in small classes of under 30, and for some A-level subjects this might be significantly less.
Some of your teachers may have taught you from year 7 to sixth form, others maybe just for a year. However long that might be, you will still get to know them quite well.
At University the situation is very different, especially in first year. In lecturers the lecturer (the teacher) will stand at the front of a large group and present while students make notes – not the best environment for getting to know someone.
You are also likely to have teaching in smaller groups, for example in lab sessions and seminars, where you will be able to get to know the teaching staff better and they will get to know you.
Because of this difficulty in getting to know individual lecturers, each student is assigned a personal tutor. This is an academic member of staff who works within the school that the student studies in. Students are encouraged to be in regular contact with their personal tutor and to build up a relationship with them.
Your personal tutor can be there for any issues, questions or support you may need. They are able to give you advice on your course and guide you to find help if you are struggling with any aspect of it. They will be your first point of call if you have any personal difficulties, whether that be illness or other circumstances.
They can also help you if you are struggling with being away from home or the change of studying at University. Whatever the issue your personal tutor is normally the best personal to seek advice from. If they can’t help you they will know the person who can.
Tip: Your personal tutor is also normally the person who will write you any academic references you may need for postgraduate study or for a job after university – so it is really important they know who you are so they can write you the reference you deserve.