Image of a student receiving student support at university

 by Jon Cheek
, posted On 8 Jun '22

How do universities help students in need of additional support whilst at university? A school and college guide.

This blog content was kindly supplied for the Teachers' Guide to University by Shirley Wang, when in post as the Senior Access Officer at UCL

Universities can offer support in many ways to ensure that the needs of students are addressed. Under-represented students come from an extremely wide variety of backgrounds, subsequently there is no one way to support them.

Many universities have a wellbeing, disability and mental health team that are dedicated to providing a confidential and non-judgemental space, in which students can discuss any issues that may be affecting their ability to study.

Some universities offer support for all students at a base level. At UCL for example, every first-year undergraduate student is assigned with a personal tutor. First-year undergraduate students are also matched with a transition mentor to offer guidance and advice in the transition to university.

What support is available for students whilst at university?

The additional support offered by universities varies but can include:

  • Academic support: Universities can offer additional guidance for learning and studying effectively.
  • Financial support: Finances can be concerning for students. There can often be a range of funding available to students who meet certain criteria. It is worth encouraging your students to research different universities to find out what types of funding is available. This can include scholarships and bursaries.
  • Mental health and wellbeing support: Universities can have different support systems in place to support the mental health and wellbeing of students
  • Disability support: Students with disabilities face certain barriers and universities can offer appropriate help, reasonable adjustments and personalised support. The earlier universities know about a student’s disabilities, the earlier students can benefit from support options.
  • Social support: Social support networks are an important part of students feeling connected with people of a similar interest or background when joining university.
  • Careers support: Some universities may offer additional activities and support for careers if students meet certain criteria.

Please ensure students are aware of what support is available to them at university

Universities are accessible and the support is available to enable students to study as independently as possible during their time there.

Different universities will offer different types of support as mentioned above. To support your students who have additional considerations, it is worth advising them to research what support systems are available at their chosen universities. Often students in need of additional support can contact universities prior to joining to discuss support to help with the transition to higher education.

Some groups that may be able to access additional support at universities include care experienced students, estranged students, disabled students, forced migrants, mature students and young adult carers.

Teachers, careers colleagues and support staff: request your FREE UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University brochure.

This brochure has been produced by in collaboration with HELOA - to support the university guidance that is provided in secondary schools and colleges.

Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK. On topics covering how to support students with their university decisions, university events, widening participation & fair access, UCAS applications (including writing school references) and more. It also includes the key student finance facts from Martin Lewis.

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