If you need help during your studies, it helps to know that institutions offer a wide range of support services to assist you with any problems you may face, including those of an academic or personal nature. You'll find that student advisers are very understanding of the issues you face as a student (after all, that is their job) and can really provide help when you need it.
The student services and facilities will vary depending on campus size, student numbers and funding from student contributions. Large university campuses will usually offer all of the services and facilities below plus more, while smaller private institutions will offer services and facilities more tailored to their student cohort.
In this section we cover:
Study skills unit
This service gives students advice on everything academic, from tips for taking notes during lectures and researching effectively to referencing correctly and producing high-quality assignments. Some institutions employ specialist staff who can assist with areas such as mathematics or English as a Second Language. You can usually bring work or assignments with you to your appointment to get feedback or assistance.
Peer support and tutoring programs
Adjusting to student life isn't always easy, so it's worth looking out for peer support and mentoring programs at your institution. Many institutions run peer-assisted study sessions, which are designed for students who want to improve their academic performance and are run by students who have previously studied the relevant unit.
Trained counsellors can give confidential advice to students struggling with their studies, relationships or problems at home. You can also make an appointment to have a chat if you are having trouble adjusting to the changes that come with beginning tertiary study (such as being away from home or keeping up with an independent study schedule). This service is available without a doctor's referral.
Careers offices provide counselling and guidance to students who are unsure of what field they want to enter after graduation and need some guidance choosing subjects, as well as final-year students looking for their first job. They may also provide advice and assistance to students seeking part-time work or work experience during their course. Most institutions offer a combination of group workshops (such as those for résumé writing and interview skills) and one-on-one sessions.
The financial services team at your institution can be seen when you need advice about budgeting, employment rights, taxation, government allowances and other financial questions or problems. Financial advisers can also assist students to obtain student loans, whether this is through the institution or a bank.
Housing service staff usually give information about on- and off-campus accommodation options for students and maintain a database or noticeboard of available rooms and properties. They may also be able to advise you about your rights as a tenant and provide assistance should you require help with a rental dispute.
Clubs and societies
The range of clubs and societies verges on the ridiculous, with groups for everything from environmental activism to beer appreciation and medieval re-enactment. Even if you're studying part time and continue to work, you'll find that many activities are organised after hours (think faculty balls, cinema screenings and sporting activities), over the weekend and during semester breaks. These are a great way to get involved and make new friends who share your interests.