When starting studies at LUT, you may wonder what the reference of a “tutor” in university communications means. At first, it can be confusing to know how your tutor and tutor group will help with arrival, but everything becomes clear once you meet your tutor. If you have already started studies, you may be interested in knowing how to become a tutor and the tutor responsibilities. This blog post will explain the role more clearly to help newcomers learn about tutors and also help senior students interested in applying to become a tutor. Tutor applications open at the start of each year (January/February).
What is a Tutor?
A tutor is usually a fellow peer student or researcher at LUT University. If you are lucky, you may have a tutor from your exact degree program. The tutor’s job is to welcome newcomers to the university at a more personal level and communicate important information about LUT, various orientation schedule information, and student events.
Tutors familiarise newcomers with student housing, settling in at the university, opening a Finnish bank account, visiting shops, etc. They are also a great reference for questions you may have about what types of services and organizations are open to students on campus. You can choose how you want to interact with your tutor, by phone or also with occasional in-person meetups (in post-pandemic times).
If you have a question and are not sure who to contact, tutors can point you in the right direction. You should have a chance to meet your tutor during orientation week, but you can also suggest grabbing a coffee or lunch together at any point during your first semester. Tutors are selected by the university for their friendliness, willingness to help, and experience working with students from different cultures, and they can be a great resource and friendly face upon arrival to Lappeenranta or Lahti campus.
Who receives a tutor?
New students and trainees at LUT are allocated a tutor. A student tutor helps newcomers get familiar with Finnish society and culture (if newcomers are international students/trainees) and university life. Newcomers are usually e-mailed details about their tutor approximately one week before arrival.
What is a Tutor Group?
A tutor group is usually made up of new students in the same degree program. This can be a great way to mingle with fellow classmates prior to the start of classes by reaching out personally to other students in one’s tutor group. Usually the tutor will setup a group chat to help facilitate communication among your tutor group, but you can also make this suggestion if your tutor has not created one by orientation week. Some of the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs, especially in Business Administration courses, also require group assignments, and you may be able to find a great partner for your first group assignment in your tutor group!
What can students do with their tutor group?
If you want to try out a new restaurant, take a tour of the city, or try out a new activity like skiing, ice skating, or hiking, you should suggest it to your tutor group. Tutor groups are made up of new students and many will enjoy the opportunity to socialize and meet new people with similar interests. Your tutor group can be your first set of friends in Lappeenranta or Lahti! Participating in activities on campus or locally in the city can be a great way to integrate into your campus city and student life at LUT. If you need ideas of what to do, your tutor can also help give you some suggestions!
How do students become tutors?
If you have already started your studies and are interested in becoming a tutor to pass on the knowledge you have gained, then you should apply to be a tutor! Tutor applications start at the beginning of the Spring semester (January/February) and those selected will participate in training during the Spring and Summer. Tutoring is a paid position, and it can be a great part-time job, especially for international students as proficiency in the Finnish language is not required for the tutors in charge of International Degree Programs or Exchange students. There is also a possibility to get some academic credits as a tutor.
Tutoring requires a significant time commitment at the start of each semester, and then a few hours per week to communicate information to students and occasionally host or facilitate group meetups after the semester starts. When you sign up to be a tutor, you commit to one semester of tutoring, and you can reapply for each semester later on. Once you complete the tutoring training once, you won’t have to attend the majority of training again, but there could be update sessions that both new and experienced tutors will be invited to attend.
Although tutors will have their own unique experiences and knowledge about campus to bring to the role, LUT administration also provides significant information to tutors to keep them updated. Tutors attend training sessions to ensure everyone has consistent information to share with new students. Tutors are also assigned a buddy, a fellow tutor. With a tutor buddy, you can decide to combine tutor groups for a larger group activity during the semester. You could also ask a tutor buddy for assistance with a question or issue as they are there for support.
What are the benefits of tutoring?
There are many reasons why people apply to be a tutor. Here are some key benefits of tutoring:
- Gain experience leading a group
- Build new networks
- Welcome new students into the LUT family
- Chance to practice language skills (international tutor or exchange student tutor)
- Experience working in a multicultural environment
Applications for tutoring
Tutoring application announcements are shared around LUT campus information screens. Details are also posted on the Uni portal announcements usually at the start of each year. If you have questions about tutoring, you can also contact the tutoring secretary.