Support at University

There is a vast ammount of different types of support available to students at university, below we have grouped the different types that they can access


It is a good idea to talk to your students about the type of support they could expect, and to normalise the fact that it is ok not to be ok.


  • Academic and study support

    Study skills

    Study skills support offered by universities ranges from resources aimed at new or prospective students to help them prepare for Higher Education, to Mathematics and numeracy support, to help with referencing, academic writing and presentations.

    Study skills support can be 1:1 help, group workshops or online resources.

    The support may be offered to all students by a central service, such as the library, or it might be offered within a faculty specifically for their students.

    Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) / Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)

    PAL or PASS are study sessions led by students, for students. For example, students in their second year may run these study sessions for students in the first year of the same course. They are not there to teach new material but to go over topics that were previously covered in lectures or other classes. These sessions are very informal and give students a chance to discuss subjects with peers in more detail.


    Tutors are the best source of support for students who have questions about their course or assessments. Many universities will allocate a personal tutor to each student. Some will meet regularly with their tutees, other tutors have office hours during which students can come and see them.

  • Disability and learning difficulties support

    Every university offers support for disabled students, students with mental health conditions, long-term medical conditions and students with Dyslexia or other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD).

    It is helpful when students disclose on their UCAS application if they have a disability or learning difficulty as it allows support services at university to pro-actively contact applicants and new students about any help available.

    Examples of support include help with applications for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), Reasonable Adjustments to assessment arrangements such as extra time in exams, acquisition of specialist equipment or software, provision of non-medical support workers and specialist study skills support. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But the support available can vary between universities, for example based on their size and course offer.

  • Mental health and wellbeing support


    Pretty much all universities offer face-to-face support on campus. This can range from campus security officers and resident wardens in student halls to mental health practitioners and counsellors. Some support, such as counselling appointments, may have a waiting list.

    Most university support services are available during office hours only, although there often is some provision for 24-hour support, for example during term time.

    Group support

    This might be therapeutic sessions led by a trained counsellor or they might be workshops led by other students. The sessions usually have a theme so that everyone who attends can share and learn from each other.

    Mentoring and buddy networks

    Many universities have mentoring and/or buddy programmes, for example to help new students settle in to student life by pairing them up with a year 2 or year 3 student.

    Online support

    Some universities offer online counselling, for example in the evenings or at weekends. This is usually provided by accredited counsellors external to the university.

    Self-help resources

    Self-help resources can offer you information, tips and advice about a range of issues that affect your mental health and wellbeing. Students can access these in their own time, any time, usually without having to register. The resources may point them in the direction of further support, both within the university and outside.


    There are several ways in which a student’s phone can help them access support.

    They can call university support services (usually during office hours) or local and national charities (often 24/7 or out-of-hours). The university website will have a list of local and national charities including their contact details.

    There are also charities that offer a textline. If a student is in distress they can text and someone will reply 24/7.

    Finally, there are numerous apps available to download that help students look after their health and wellbeing. For example, SAM is an app which helps students manage social anxiety.

    Medical support

    Students should make sure that they register with a GP surgery where they live during term time. This could be a local GP practice or it could be a health centre based at the university. Any support that the university offers is designed to complement the help that is available through the NHS, not replace it.

    Crisis support

    Support services on campus are not an emergency service. If a student or someone they know are in immediate danger, please contact the emergency services. If a student or someone they know are in crisis or distressed students can also contact the Samaritans or the charity Papyrus.

  • Financial advice and support

    Most universities offer financial support and money management advice to their students. Financial support could range from bursaries and non-repayable hardship funds to interest-free short-term loans. Advice includes help with determining eligibility and accessing funding from Student Finance and managing money through effective budgeting. Some universities offer comprehensive financial education to students, for example through online providers such as Blackbullion.

  • Other support


    There will be a range of new systems and software that students have to become familiar with in Higher Education. This includes online teaching portals, online coursework submission systems and library databases as well as course-specific software.

    IT support services are there to help students, for example through video tutorials or a physical presence on campus.

    They may also be able to help students who need specialist software on their personal laptop or whose device is affected by malware.


    There are different situations in which students may need help with their accommodation. For example, if a student lives in halls on campus and there is a problem in the flat, then they are supported by the relevant accommodation service with any housing-related queries.

    If they are looking for student housing in the private rental market, then their university may have a lettings agency which focuses on student accommodation in the area and vets landlords.

    If a student has found private accommodation themselves but they are unsure about some details in their tenancy agreement or they have difficulties with the landlord, then their university probably has an advice service that can help.

    Careers and placements

    All universities want their students to be successful in finding good jobs after graduation. Therefore, all universities have a service which focuses on providing career-related advice and support to students. This could range from exploring career options and finding placements, to writing CVs and preparing for job interviews. Some of this support will be offered online, other help is available face-to-face or over the phone.


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