There are many challenges to be faced when undertaking university study for the first time. Of course, the obvious ones are all connected with the subject material, and the demands of studying and submitting assignments at a much higher level than required at the secondary education level. Some of the not-so-obvious challenges centre around a student’s personal level of preparedness, often associated with maturity but also with the student’s readiness to be self-directed for much of the time. This is a completely different environment to secondary school in which there is a consistent structure around timetabling and immediate feedback from teachers when assignments are not handed in on time.
University study is much more self-directed and requires a student to organise their own study and assignment preparation time. For a person recently graduated from high school, who is accustomed to being directed and prompted by teachers, this is a new experience, and one that would benefit from starting university with a personal tutor.
For a person new to tertiary study, there are several benefits of engaging a tutor very early in the university calendar to set the student off on the right path. An investment in a personal tutor at this stage could be the difference between success and failure, for both the gifted student and the average performer who has to work hard for every credit.
One of the most important attributes a student must develop to be successful at a university level is that of organisation. If the student hasn’t been well trained at high school in using standard time management tools, such as electronic calendars and organisers, task reminders, personal year planners etc., they are already at a disadvantage. One of the first tasks they must do is plan their university year, making sure all lectures are noted, assignment due dates identified and slotted in, and time set aside for study and assignment preparation.
Once this is done, they must develop the discipline to consult these tools every day to keep track of their progress. This is where a personal tutor is absolutely invaluable. Not only will the tutor assist with this pre-planning but will also support the student to manage the large study load. The tutor will check the student’s academic progress to identify any weak areas and ensure that the student is keeping up with the timetable.
Without the structure and immediate feedback from teachers that the student has relied on for twelve years of schooling, it is easy for a new university entrant to flounder. Having a personal tutor gives them an extra person to monitor their progress and takes the load off the parent or guardian.