Jamila is a certified school counselor in the state of Indiana. She has worked in education for 15 years.
What are Student Services?
Getting a college degree does not have to be a solo adventure. Students need support in all areas of their lives in order to be successful, and this is recognized by schools across the country. Many schools will give you access to a host of student services intended to complement your achievements and remove barriers to success in school. But the question is: what services are important to you, and what will help you reach your educational goals?
In this lesson, we will review five important student services that you should look for when choosing a college:
- Support for new students
- Academic services
- Career services
- Physical and mental wellness services
- Services for specific groups
Support for New Students
To begin, think about your first semester at your new school. If you are the type of person who requires some adjustment time when facing a new situation, you should look for a school that pays special attention to new students.
Many schools offer specific assistance to incoming freshmen, transfer or international students. For freshmen students who may not have guidance from family and friends, a comprehensive program to help freshmen acclimate to university life is a must.
If you are an incoming freshman, find schools that offer a summer program prior to your first semester. These programs provide new students with mentoring and one-on-one assistance with college essentials, such as scheduling. Some schools may even let students get an early start on college life by moving into the dorms during the summer.
If you are the type of person who struggles in certain academic areas or knows that you will be taking challenging classes, pay attention to the types of tutoring services offered. Students who struggle in writing may want to find a school that offers a writing lab or writing center.
If math is a weakness, look for a math tutoring center as well. If you think you need to brush up on your study skills, see if your prospective school offers courses on how to be a successful student. Additionally, all students will want to make sure the school they attend has academic advisors who help with course schedules and financial aid or answer questions about your major.
In addition to academic advisors, a school that offers career services is a major plus. Career counselors offer graduating students vital advice on job searches and resume building, and you can get advice on how to choose a career that matches your personality. Consider it a bonus if the college also has an employment office that will help you find a job or get relevant experience while you are attending school.
Physical and Mental Wellness Services
Remember, maintaining good health is an important facet to college success. The school you choose should support your well-being in this regard.
Basic medical services usually include a medical center where students can see a doctor and get a prescription filled. A recreation center that offers students an opportunity to relieve stress through physical activity should be high on your list as well. A regimen of exercise and a good diet is an excellent support to your mental health and will allow you to persevere during stressful times of the school year.
Despite being physically healthy, some students may find that college takes an emotional toll. It is common for students to experience stress, anxiety and sometimes depression that they are not able to cope with alone. Many colleges offer counseling services for these students. The school may also offer counseling programs for students with specific challenges, such as substance abuse or anger management issues. If you know you will seek out counseling, find out about mental wellness services that are available at your prospective school.
Services for Specific Groups
If you are a student who belongs to a minority group or who has unique needs, make sure you will be supported at the school by finding out ways the school reaches out to its diverse population.
Programs such as the Native American Resource Center of the University of Arizona, the Latino Outreach Program of Georgia State University and the Office of African American Affairs at the University of Virginia can be vital supports for students who may get lost in the flow.
If you have either a learning disability or a physical disability, look for schools that have a disability resource center staffed with people who understand your specific needs. The resource center should offer you accommodations both in and out of the classroom that address your challenges and support your success.
All students need support while getting a college degree, and your school should be the place to find it. In this lesson, we talked about five important student services that can have a positive impact on you and your academic success.
When deciding on a college, look for a place that is going to meet your needs academically and emotionally. You also want to find a school that addresses your individual needs and that helps you achieve balance, which is needed to be successful in your academics. With the right support and services in place, you will find yourself comfortably on the way to getting your college degree.
When you are finished, you should be able to:
- Name and describe five important student services
- Determine which student services are important for you
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