Support at university
As a student, you will automatically be a member of your university's Students' Union (SU). The SU does various things to support students:
- Representation: the SU is there to represent students. If you have a problem with your university, from the way courses are run to the help available for student parents, the SU can help make your voice heard. SU positions and campaigns are open to all students, so you can really make a difference here to the things you care about.
- Wellbeing: SUs provide lots of different kinds of support, such as counselling, health advice and academic advice. Most SUs have a dedicated Welfare Officer who should be able to tell you more.
- Social: SUs offer opportunities for you to socialise with other students, especially through clubs and societies. Some universities have a society for student parents, others may have a 'mature students society' which can help you to build a support network, meet study partners and make sure your university does its best to support you. Other societies cover just about every hobby, sport and interest there is, and they will often meet at regular times, making it easier to fit social time into your schedule.
Student Services departments are run by universities and support students in various ways:
- Financial advice: Student Services can advise you on sources of funding that are available, and should be able to explain the financial implications if you want to change your course. At most universities, you will also be able to see a trained financial advisor who can give you general financial advice about debt, budgeting and financial support
- Wellbeing: many Student Services provide one-to-one counselling services to help you deal with any problems you are having.
- Guidance on university procedures: Student Services can give you details on things like the university's policy on plagiarism, or how to make a complaint.
- Careers and jobs: your university should be able to offer ideas for developing employability skills at university, temporary jobs whilst you're studying or advice on future careers
- Childcare: Student Services can give you advice on what provision is available on campus, costs, financial support and applications
Building a support network can be harder for student parents because of the demands on your time, but you don't have to miss out.
- If your university has a society for student parents, it can be a great way to meet other parents. If not, you might be able to start one.
- If group study works for you, it might be easier with other parents, as they will understand the difficulties (eg. scheduling) better and will be available at similar times.
- If there are other student parents on your course, you might be able to share childcare during lectures, seminars or exams.
- Online support networks can put you in touch with a huge group of people with a wide range of experiences. Try The Student Room or Mumsnet.