What to expect in your 1st year

"The main thing for me was the culture shock of moving from the tight structure of school periods to the loose structure of only a handful of lectures/seminars"

Eden Brown, Film and media student, graduated 2017

Moving from a school to University can be a bit of a shock- there are no bells and you will have a lot less time spent in class, you are in control. Here are a few pointers to help you settle in. Remember – the key is, if you do not understand or need help – just ask – we are here to help you get the most out of your time with us.


Lectures are important as they guide you through the material in the course and the lecturer can highlight the important areas for you to study. Sometimes these will be interactive and other important information may be discussed at lectures. It is important that you attend all lectures. You are likely to be given an outline of the material to be covered in the lecture in advance and this will be available on Succeed. However, you should also try to take notes of the important points made in the lecture so that you can refer to this when you are preparing for tutorials etc. and revising for your assessments. Some lectures will be recorded through "Listen Again" which provides a recording of the lecture on Succeed for revision purposes. This is not always available and your lectures will indicate if it is available. Semesters give a short time in which to pack a lot of learning, lectures move quickly from topic to topic so missing even a couple of lectures makes a significant hole in your knowledge.

Tutorials/Seminars and Workshops

Workshops/ tutorials and seminars then are an opportunity for you to check that you understand the topic by carrying out the tasks set and by discussing the work with your fellow students and your tutor. Your tutor may be the lecturer in the subject or it may be another member of staff. The more you prepare for these sessions and participate in discussion, the more you will gain from them. Your tutor will not routinely check your work so it is up to you to seek help if you do not understand something. Try to speak up in tutorials to ensure there is a good discussion - this is the best way to develop your knowledge and avoid misunderstandings.

Private Study

What about all this spare time? Time to party? We encourage our students to take part in clubs and activities and to have fun but you should be aiming to spend at least as much time, if not more, on your University studies as you spent in school. Therefore a large proportion of your week should be spent in the library or working alone or in groups on the reading and work set on your modules. It can be very helpful to arrange a study group with a small group of friends on the same modules so that you can share ideas and help each other find your way. There are spaces dedicated to group work available in the library.

How do I contact my lecturer/ tutor

In addition to the lectures and other classes all staff have feedback and advice sessions. These are times when you can meet the member of staff to discuss any questions or problems you have. Details for your lecturers and tutors will be in the module handbooks. Lecturers and tutors also provide email contact details. Remember to check module information first, to try and find the answer yourself, before asking questions. Also, lecturers and tutors are not always available. 

Will anyone notice?

What happens if you just don't bother turning up? Attendance is monitored but not as closely as at school. You need to attend some modules consistently to pass but even if there is no specific attendance requirement on a module, it is likely that you will not do well in the assessment of the module if you miss classes - they are there to help you. If you consistently fail to attend, you will be contacted by the Faculty to discuss any problems you are having. However, the best approach is contact your personal tutor if you are having any problems, they are there to help, you can contact them at any stage.


Feedback is really important to develop as a learner. At University there are many opportunities to receive feedback and it is important to use every opportunity fully. Feedback comes in many forms and the Faculty has some guidelines and a policy to help you understand how to use the feedback you receive. Please note that while lecturers and tutors endeavour to give feedback as quickly as possible, due to research or other teaching commitments it may take up to 3 days to receive a response.

Personal Tutoring

You will be assigned a personal tutor in the first week of your studies.

The role of a personal tutor is to help students feel part of the University community. They are a specific and consistent source of guidance, information and support for students throughout their studies. The tutor should be the student’s first formal point of contact for general academic guidance and pastoral support.

Please find below the web link which includes more information on the role of personal tutors.


Student Support Services

Student Support Services provides much of the support that you might require whilst you are studying here at Stirling. They offer a wide range of support, information and specialist services, all of which are designed to enhance your student experience. 

Student Support Services should be your first port of call if you are looking to maximise your potential and make the most of your student experience. They are here if you want advice and/or support about your finances;  if you require support with a physical, mental or learning disability; if you have personal problems that are making life difficult; or if you just want to talk to somebody about academic, social or University life in general.

Please refer to http://www.stir.ac.uk/student-support/ for more information.

Clubs and Societies

Joining a Club or Society is probably the best thing you can do to help build skills, make new friends and grow your CV! With over 3,000 members in over 100 sports and societies, The Students’ Union cover a wide range of activities. Clubs welcome new members throughout the year with main recruitment during Freshers Week. Clubs also run ‘Give It a Go’ sessions so you can try before you buy! The Students’ Union work hard to make sure all clubs are inclusive and are run with equality in mind.

 From course-based clubs such as Geography and award winning Media societies to interest clubs like Anime or Wizarding, there’s something for everyone.

Check out the full list of clubs and find out how to join at www.stirlingstudentsunion.com/clubssocieties

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