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New Students


It's important to meet with your advisor, as they'll help support you throughout the year.


All new undergraduate students are allocated an advisor.

Your advisor is a member of staff in your department who can help you make the most of your time at Queen Mary. They are trained to provide guidance for any issues you may be experiencing (academic and non-academic).

They can also help you think about where your strengths lie and find out about the opportunities that you may benefit from while studying. Please contact your School Student Support Officer to find out more about your Advisor.

Meeting your advisor: What to expect

What is the role of the advisor?

Advising is a fundamental part of the role of academics within Schools. Advisors provide different types of support: 

  • academic - supporting you to attain academic success and achieve the desired qualification; 
  • pastoral - supporting you on a more personal level to address difficulties that have an impact on your studies;
  • development - supporting your general personal development;
  • practical - discussing plans and providing references for applications to further study and/or employment; 

Their role is not to be an expert in all aspects of the student experience, but to listen and signpost effectively. Often your Advisor won’t be the best person to support you, but they will help you find the right people at Queen Mary depending on your needs. 

What should I expect from my first meeting with my advisor?

Most Advisors will meet their advisees for the first time during Welcome Week often in small groups. This may well be your first meeting with an advisor and it is ok if you have no idea as to what to expect, or what you are expected to say or do. Here are some ideas of the topics discussed in your first meeting with your advisor: 

  • introductions, background, reasons for choosing your programme 
  • transition from sixth form or college to university 
  • coming to a new country and institution (international students)
  • competencies, past successes, and effort put into previous studies that will help you succeed
  • advisor role:  aims, what they can do for you, when and how you can contact them and how they can contact you
  • Information about a course available online to help everyone to have a clear understanding of sexual consent - 'Consent Matters'. This course needs to be completed before the end of October and is an essential part of the institutional commitment to making Queen Mary safe and respectful for all.

What should I expect from this relationship? What are the boundaries?

Your advisor will establish clear ground rules in the very first meeting. This will help them strike a balance between supporting you and helping you better place the remit of their role in relation to the other members of staff academics on your programme team (module convenors, programme lead) and support staff.  Your advisor will let you know: 

  • the ways in which you can contact them  
  • the turnaround response time you can expect 
  • the measures in place should they be unable to contact and support you as they had planned to
  • the support available in your school (eg. Student Support Officer) and across Queen Mary 

In your meetings, your advisor will tell you what they will do, when and how. Between meetings, your advisor will regularly communicate with you about what is happening and what is being done to put things in place for your on-going learning. 

Their role is not one of a counsellor or social worker but one of an advocate or supporter to help you address any difficulties students usually experience in life that may have an impact on your studies. Your advisor should also encourage you to identify for yourself what your goals and challenges are, which will help you take responsibility for your own wellbeing. 

How much of what is discussed within an advising meeting is ‘confidential’?

Not everything that is discussed in a meeting is confidential. Advisors may be privy to personal information about you (for example, information pertaining to a disability or life situation). Discussions will be handled sensitively, and your advisor will endeavour to respect your requests for confidentiality and disclosure. However, they cannot guarantee complete confidentiality. There are circumstances in which confidentiality doesn't apply. Certain information must be declared and forwarded if it is considered that the student or others may be at risk. Your advisor may also ask your permission to link your name with an issue that you have raised. 

Will my advisor help me reflect on my progress and the feedback I receive?

Yes. Your advisor will help you critically reflect on your academic progress and the feedback you receive and identify ways to use this feedback constructively in the future. You will also develop 'Academic Action Plans' which will enable you to proactively reflect and stay informed concerning who to turn to in situations where you need advice, help and support.

These action plans include: issues arising (pastoral or academic), deadlines coming up/how many/time management, objectives, priorities, goals and next steps. You will have regular catch ups to see how you are progressing and this supported process will help you take responsibility for your own learning. 

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