Role of a Personal Advisor
Each student is allocated a Personal Advisor. The name, contact details and office hours of your Personal Advisor will be emailed to each student’s SOAS account in the first few weeks of term after enrolment. Personal Advisor’s information will also be uploaded on the School of Law Information Point accessed via http://ble.soas.ac.uk/course/search.php?search=School+of+Law+information+point
Why does each student need to see their Personal Advisor?
Your Personal Advisor is the first address for personal and pastoral issues affecting your studies. If you have a problem and are not sure who to go to, ask your Personal Advisor. He/she will either deal with the matter or direct you to other people qualified to assist such as the Academic Development Directorate and Student Services.
Particular matters dealt with by your Personal Advisor include providing your first, and if there is more than one, your principal reference (see School of Law Policy on References below for information about the provision of references) and general advice on course options. For advice on particular courses, talk to the relevant Course Convenor, and if you need to obtain approval before enrolling on a particular course unit consult your Year Tutor.
You will be required to visit your Personal Advisor once a term so that you get to know each other and to ensure that your Personal Advisor is up to date with your progress. If you do this it will be much easier to approach your Personal Advisor if a problem arises as he/she will be better equipped to assist and will be able to give a much fuller and better informed principal reference.
School policy on references:
Provision of References
Before approaching anyone for a reference, please read this School of Law reference policy, and ensure you provide the necessary information. This policy is issued by the School of Law in the interest of clarity and fairness in the giving of references. Please help us to help you. The provision of references is a reasonable expectation on the part of students and alumni, and we wish to assist your career prospects as far as possible. However, this service can impose a substantial burden on academic staff time, and we therefore expect all students to follow this policy to assist us in giving your request the kind of attention that can make a real difference to our application.
References will not be provided by the Head of the School of Law in that capacity unless the institution applied to requires this.
Your first, and usually the only, reference is provided by your Personal Advisor. If a second reference is necessary, this will be provided by your Year Tutor or another colleague who knows you. These will normally be in standard form, confirming your general level of performance (but not your grades or class of degree, this sort of confirmation can only be provided by the Registry).
In exceptional circumstances, such as applications for prestigious scholarships, more, or fuller, references may be necessary. If you need such references, consult your Personal Advisor, (this person’s details will be emailed to you shortly after enrolment in Term 1).
Teachers not in permanent full or part-time employment at SOAS cannot provide references for you.
References will be provided only for students or alumni of the School of Law, and only for academic-related purposes, i.e. for academic applications and for non-casual employment.
Academic staff will not provide open "To Whom it May Concern" references, but only confidential references for specified institutions.
Official transcripts, degree results and certifications of status or registration are given only by the Registry, and cannot be provided by the School of Law or Faculty. The Registry Office is located on the first floor of the Vernon Square campus. They can also be contacted by email email@example.com or by telephone 020 7074 5105.
Students are asked to:
ensure that they have read all instructions carefully and complied with them, providing all necessary documentation, and completed the application form in full;
provide the referee with full information about themselves (a full CV with grades is helpful, and an indication of the applicant's strong points) together with the application and precise, clear instructions as to HOW AND BY WHEN the reference is to be submitted:
Give the referee AT LEAST 14 DAYS' NOTICE, and check that the referee is actually available to do the reference in time.
Referees will keep electronic or hard copy of the reference for two months, in case of any dispute, but are not obliged to inform applicants of the sending of the reference unless specifically requested.
If you do not follow the guidelines above, academic staff are entitled to decline to provide the reference, or provide it at the applicant's own risk as to lateness or efficacy.
Note also that referees will be better able to provide a reference for those students who have kept in touch with them.