University Tips Blog
Image of a student holding a graduation cap
A headshot image of the author, Gideon Woldeslassie

by Gideon Woldeslassie

Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Manager at Queen Mary University of London

posted on 22 Nov '23

A guide to how universities support students in need of additional support

Students in need of additional support are often the least well equipped to obtain it. Thousands of pounds of additional funding, for instance, goes unclaimed every year because students are not aware that they qualify for it.

As advice and guidance practitioners, there are a number of ways that you can help ensure that students are aware of the support that is likely to be available, and how to access it.

What support is available at university?

A range of free, confidential and professional support services are typically available to students at universities. These include, but are not necessarily limited to:

Mental health and wellbeing services – These are wide ranging and are usually designed to be as flexible and accessible as possible. This can include the provision of a 1:1 appointment, both in-person and on the phone; online support and resources; and round-the-clock crisis support.

Academic support – At Queen Mary, as at other universities, students are assigned an academic adviser who they can seek academic support from on an individual basis, in addition to other forms of academic support that is available.

Financial support – As well as their tuition fee and maintenance loan funding, many students will be eligible for additional financial support in the form of grants, bursaries and scholarships. Alongside being automatically assessed for some of this support when they apply, students can check university webpages and websites like The Scholarship Hub to see what else they can apply for.

Disability and dyslexia services – These services can help students obtain needs assessments, apply for funding and facilitate the provision of course materials in alternative formats.

Careers services – Students can get help to find part-time work, internships and work placements, and can receive support with associated application processes.

Specialised services – These can include tailored support services for care experienced and estranged students, refugees and asylum seekers, residential services and ‘Report and Support’ services.

The students’ union – Run for students, by students, a students’ union provides students with support and opportunities to develop in a range of different ways.

Research is key

Support services at universities differ from each other in precisely what they offer and how they are structured. As such, it is particularly important that students who may expect to access support services at university more frequently, do their research to understand what support is available, and how to obtain it.

As well as specific university resources it is also helpful for students to be aware of more generalised support that is available through organisations and initiatives such as Student Minds, Togetherall and Jumpstart University.

Supporting students into and through university

Students can often get access to many support services before arriving at university, as well as during vacation periods and after they graduate. This can include:

  • Transition support programmes.
  • Access to mental health and wellbeing services prior to enrolling at their chosen university.
  • Student engagement platforms like UniBuddy, which provide a useful tool for students to connect with current university students studying their subject of interest.

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