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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Support and advice during your higher education course

There may be times at university or college when you need guidance and support on all kinds of issues. If so, there is lots of help available.

Academic issues

Studying at a university or higher education college is very different to being at school or in further education.

On many courses, you'll be expected to study largely on your own. You'll need to manage your time effectively if you are going to meet deadlines, as well as developing your academic skills for tasks such as writing essays.

If you do experience academic problems, your personal tutor can provide advice. Getting help at an early stage can often stop small problems becoming more difficult to deal with.

Most student unions also have a welfare officer who will give confidential advice to students on virtually any welfare or course-related problem. Your college may even have a mentoring scheme, where more experienced students give academic guidance to newer students.

Health and personal problems


The state of your health will affect your ability to study. It’s important to take care of yourself, eat well and take some exercise.

When enrolling at a university or college, you should register with a doctor as soon as you can. Many campuses have their own health services, and some also have their own dentists and opticians.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to claim help with health costs like prescriptions, dental work and glasses.

Visit the NHS Choices website for more information about health services and healthy living, and to find GP surgeries, doctors, dentists, pharmacies (chemists), hospitals and walk-in centres near you.

You can also contact NHS Direct for health information and advice.

  • NHS Direct: 0845 4647

Personal problems

The NUS (National Union of Students) website has advice on dealing with homesickness and other problems commonly faced by new students.

Your university or college will have a counselling service. Some also offer an out-of-hours ‘Nightline’ - a listening, emotional support and information service run for students by students. Or you can call or email organisations such as the Samaritans, which offer emotional support 24 hours a day.

  • Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

You can also let off steam on online forums such as The Student Room - or your university's student union may provide a similar service through their website.


Most universities and colleges offer some form of childcare provision. These can include creches, out-of-school clubs, toy libraries and holiday playschemes. Contact your university or college for information.

Find a childcare provider

Follow the link below to find childcare near you, including childminders, nurseries, playgroups and playschemes.

Financial help for students with children

If you are a full-time student with dependent children, you may be entitled to extra financial help on top of any Student Loans, grants and bursaries you get.

Students with disabilities

Colleges and universities have become increasingly aware of the needs of students with disabilities, and have a duty to promote disability equality.

Many have specialist support services to help meet disabled students’ needs across all areas of university or college life.You may be eligible for extra financial support if you have a disability or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.

Follow the links below for more on what you can expect.

Combining study with work

Many students work part-time to support themselves while they are studying. Others choose flexible learning so they can fit study around a full-time job.

When considering which courses you want to apply for, it's worth investigating whether they can be delivered through flexible learning.

Additional links

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